fig-2: Confessions on a dancefloor
Fatoş Üstek is curating 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks as part of fig-2 at the ICA Studio. Here, she celebrates being a quarter of the way through the project.
It is a unique moment to mark the quarter mile of fig-2. Somehow it feels harder to go back to its beginning, to the time before fig-2 was on the cards for me, since it is now embedded in my system, in my way of being, thinking and relating to the world around me.
I do enjoy its mammoth scale and the long-run of production. I've never been the type to run towards the grand finale of projects, but was always engaged in their making and realisation – hence the process was significant. With fig-2 I have the privilege to explore and discover the potential of every moment within. It is striking that this journey, like all journeys, will end soon; perhaps sooner than I predicted. I have already curated 13 shows since the year started and worked with an amazing line up of artists, writers, poets and dancers, who I invited to join me to explore and experiment with urgencies and desires. I do not know what will happen after fig-2; all I know is that I am here and in the now.
When I look back, it feels longer than it has been, in a way, because my concept of time and temporality is expanding. The margins of a quantitative time is merging with its qualitative double. The fig-2 team operates on a structure and a fast pace of responding to the unexpected.
Every Sunday evening and Monday is marked by the de-installation of the previous show and installation of the new one. Every Tuesday, my team and I get together to address what is happening within the week and what is to come. Every Wednesday we make sure that the newsletter goes out to announce the forthcoming artist. On Thursdays we mostly start focusing on the following week while balancing the work for the previous weeks. Meanwhile, the gin company Sipsmith's [which creates a new cocktail for each private view] arrives by 5pm on Mondays, and the iceman just before. Our dedicated photographer, Sylvain Deleu, makes sure that we have an extensive record of the openings and the installation (pictured). We tap in with our supporters, communicating what the week holds.
Alongside that, I visit artist studios, websites, follow up with exhibitions in town and abroad, and catch up on magazines and publications. I go forward in time, tying the programme like a chain of thoughts, expressions and manifestations; while I tune in with the immediate past to see and seize the manner in which the program has been shaping. It is an expanded condition of Bergsonian duration, which I would portray by stretching a rubber band beyond its flexibility threshold.
Lastly, the Art Fund Curatorial Seminar functions as a reality check; an opportunity to investigate the current streams in curatorial production, and explore – with a committed audience – the modalities of definitions, positions and elucidations of art, and artistic and curatorial practice within the realm of fig-2, which I see as a non-institutional institution.
As mentioned above, it is only the quarter of a long run, and I try to make sure that the floor is steaming up and the dance is enjoyable.
fig-2 is at the ICA Studio, London, until 20 December 2015. The Art Fund is supporting Fatoş Üstek, its curator.