Our bad experience: Unprofessional attitude of The Cultural center of Belgrade’s management towards About and around curating
Collaboration with The Cultural Center of Belgrade (KCB) related to our engagement for the 53rd October Salon, precisely the leading people of this house and Salon, Mia David and Zorana Djakovic, we describe as dishonest and unprofessional. Even though we previously appreciated their support of the first season of About and around curating- as hosts for first session (Artget Gallery, guest Aleksandra Estela Bjelica Mladenović), and later during Festival Mikser 2012, as valuable technical support; our later collaboration, instead of expected upscale direction, was completely oppositely directed.
We were invited on the 53rd October Salon in June 2012, by the Salon’s Coordinator Zorana Djakovic publicly and quite officially, while she was our guest on 13th session of About and around curating; and few weeks later curator and selector of the Salon Branko Dimitrijevic confirmed the same invitation, and additionally, on his suggestion, we started discussing on more activities that we could take under our responsibility (facilitating project for Art collective Expodium).
1) In official flyer, meant to be shared to visitors on exhibition site, we were neglected with inadequate and imprecise role- only as support for someone else’s project (Expodium). Later excuses from KCB’s Director Mia David, for such “misunderstandings”, even if we accepted them, actually, didn’t improve the situation, because:
2) Contract about our engagement, which we mentioned several times, while we met, and patiently waited for proposed draft (It’s been usually said: It is so busy period, and as soon as we find some time…), which we’ve never been offered actually; and on top of that all:
3) We remained unpaid for any material support (including fee), which, as is well known, on quite regular basis every participant gets from this institution, on occasions like this.
4) Finally, through correspondence with KCB’s Director David, we realized that our project wasn’t from start never included in the budget of the 53rd October Salon.
Our conclusion, therefore, is that we were vanished deliberately from printed edition, and lack of Contract proposal missed, actually, because we were never meant to be paid for job that we done, by invitation of same institution, as most frequent support program of the 53rd October Salon.
Because of such irresponsible and unprofessional attitude towards us, as authors of project About and around curating, we must state to colleagues and wider public that we DON’T RECOMMEND any kind of collaboration with KCB, while current management leads this institution. Our warning is specially related to artists and independent art organisations, domestic and foreign. In Serbian cultural field, particulary in public sector, running of institutions is a deeply dark matter- last 3 decades or so Applications for employment are so rare, or never actually happen; many Open calls for projects, aren’t actually open, at all, and used as cover for some purpose. All important decisions are made far from any public sight, under rules of political and nepotistic interests and deals. That is most important reason for lack of responsibility for (un)quality of institution’s work; not to mention business ethics. Actual moment urges for crossover collaboration between civic/ independent and public sector, which nowadays more and more is needed for institution due to a lack of financial resources to develop and maintain own projects, and moreover asking themselves- what are they doing, how and for who, anyway? (the matter of transparency); therefore it is extremely important to take a real good look at unprofessional business manners and to persistently insist on clean relations, contracts, material duties, deadlines. In any institution, no matter which sector, public or civic, a lot of professionals are working dedicated to their jobs, just like they do in KCB, as well, but, on our opinion, those don’t lead this institution, today.
Andrej Bereta and Srdjan Tunic
Curators, Art historians
Authors of the project About and around curating/ Kustosiranje
NGO ARTIKAL, Belgrade
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