Since January 2007, Nato has organized major projects for Creative Time such as The Creative Time Summit (2009 and 2010), Paul Ramirez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It Is What It Is with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie (2009), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul Chan’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum with curator Peter Eleey. Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004) with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including BookForum, Frieze, Art Journal, Artforum, Parkett, Cabinet, and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. The College Art Association awarded him for distinguished writing in Art Journal in 2004. He curated the exhibition for Independent Curators International titled Experimental Geography with a book available by Melville House Publishing. His book Seeing Power: Socially Engaged Art in the Age of Cultural Production is due out by Melville House in January 2012.
The projects included in the Living as Form archival exhibition were selected by a group of curators, writers, artists, and historians, including: Caron Atlas, Director, Arts and Democracy Project of State Voices + Community Change Initiative; Negar Azimi, Senior Editor, Bidoun magazine; Ron Bechet, Professor of Art, Xavier University; Bik Van der Pol, Artists; Claire Bishop, Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Art History at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York; Brett Bloom, Artist, Temporary Services; Rashida Bumbray, Associate Curator, The Kitchen; Carolina Caycedo, Artist; Ana Paula Cohen, Independent Curator, Writer, and Editor; Common Room, Architectural Collaborative; Teddy Cruz, Architect; Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Curator of Contemporary Art, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC); Gridthiya Gaweewong, Independent Curator and Artistic Director, The Jim Thompson Art Center; Hou Hanru, Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of the Exhibitions and Museum Studies Program, San Francisco Art Institute; Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter, Artists and Directors, The Trinity Session contemporary art production team; Shannon Jackson, Professor of Rhetoric and Performance Studies, University of California, Berkeley; Maria Lind, Director, Tensta Konsthall; Chus Martínez, Chief Curator, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Sina Najafi, Editor-in-Chief, Cabinet magazine; Marion von Osten, Artist, Writer, and Curator; Ted Purves, Artist, Independent Curator, and Chair of the Social Practice graduate program, California College of the Arts; Raqs Media Collective, Artists, Curators, Researchers, and Media Practitioners; Gregory Sholette, Artist, Writer, and Assistant Professor of Sculpture, Queens College, The City University of New York; SUPERFLEX, Artists; Christine Tohme, Director of Ashkal Alwan, and Independent Curator; and Sue Bell Yank, Writer, Arts Organizer, and Assistant Director of Academic Programs, the Hammer Museum.
Bik Van der Pol is the collaborative practice of Liesbeth Bik and Jos Van der Pol (both live and work in Rotterdam). Since they began working together in 1995, their installations, videos, and drawings have interrogated the temporality of physical and cultural spaces. In 2007, they designed a screening format and guidebook for the Istanbul Biennial’s Nightcomers video program throughout the city that broadened public access to the “high culture” event, as opposed to the traditional design of an exclusive screening structure. Their work has also been shown at the 10th Biennale de Lyon in 2010 and the Moscow Biennale in 2007. www.bikvanderpol.net
Carolina Caycedo (born in 1978 in London; lives and works in Los Angeles) is an artist who is invested in urban street cultures, issues of immigration, and processes of exchange. Her practice often incorporates bartering in city streets in order to develop an alternative value system to the traditional capitalist structure. In 2002, starting with a van with a full tank of gas, she subsisted for a month solely on what she could barter in Vienna for her project Daytoday, that spanned seven years. Her work has been exhibited in well-known museums and festivals worldwide, including the 2009 New Museum’s Generational, the 2006 Whitney Biennial, the 2003 Venice Biennial and the 2002 Istanbul Biennial.
Surasi Kusolwong (born in 1965 in Ayutthaya, Thailand; lives and works in Bangkok) builds market environments that place an emphasis on social interaction over economic exchange. His practice navigates between public and private spaces, playing with concepts of both economic and cultural values, and the dialogue between people, art, and consumer products. In his project Minimal Factory ($1 Market)/Red Bull Party (with D.J.) (2002), Kusolwong recreated a typical Thai street market within a gallery space, selling a plethora of Thai-manufactured objects for one dollar each. He has shown internationally, including exhibitions at MoMA P.S.1, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.
MadeIn Company was initiated in 2009 by conceptual artist Xu Zhen and has since produced work in a range of media. The company’s name refers to the mass manufacturing of goods, but also phonetically translates into Chinese for “without a roof,” evoking the sense of openness that permeates the collective’s practice.
Long March Project is an ongoing initiative that organizes international exhibitions and projects, community-based educational programs, and artist residencies. Conceived in 1999 by Lu Jie, the name of the project references the Long March (1934–35) of Mao Zedong and the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, one of the largest political upheavals in history. After establishing the Long March Foundation in New York in 2000, the project officially began two years later when its founding members invited artists, writers, curators, theorists, activists, and others to join them in retracing the historical route of the march. Since then, the Long March Project has taken on the role of art dealer, artist-run space, gallery, commercial enterprise, and publishing house.
Megawords is a free Philadelphia-based magazine that collaborates with dozens of renowned and unknown artists and thinkers to cover the world through words and pictures. Frequently moving beyond the printed page, the magazine has initiated “pop-up” storefront projects and installations, which include guest speakers, musical performances, workshops, and screenings. www.megawordsmagazine.com
OurGoods is a barter network for creative people. OurGoods connects artists, designers, and craftspeople to trade skills, spaces, and objects with each other. More work gets done in networks of shared respect and shared resources than in competitive isolation. By honoring agreements and working together, members of OurGoods will build lasting ties in a community of enormous potential. www.ourgoods.org
SUPERFLEX, founded in 1993 and based in Copenhagen, is an artist collaborative whose projects engage economic forces, explorations of the democratic production of materials, and self-organization. They describe their projects as tools for spectators to actively participate in the development of experimental models that alter the prevailing model of economic production. For the ongoing project Guarana Power (2004), the artists developed a soft drink in collaboration with Guarana farmers in the Brazilian Amazon who have organized themselves in response to the corporate monopoly on the purchase of raw material. SUPERFLEX has participated in most of the international biennials, including São Paulo, Venice, Gwangju, Istanbul, Berlin, Taipei, and Prospect1. They have also had numerous important solo shows in large institutions such as Kunsthalle Basel, Kiasma and the Van Abbe Museum. Their solo show at Peter Blum Chelsea in spring 2010 was chosen by the Village Voice as The Best Art of 2010.
Temporary Services (founded in Chicago in 1998 and currently based in Copenhagen, Philadelphia, and Chicago) is a group of three people (Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin, and Marc Fischer). They produce exhibitions, publications, events, and projects that blur the line between art practice and other creative endeavors. They explore the social context and the potential of creative work as a service provided to communities. The group started as an experimental exhibition space in a working class neighborhood of Chicago and went on to produce projects including the book and installation Prisoner's Inventions (2001–ongoing, in collaboration with Angelo) and the nationally-distributed newspaper Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics (2009–ongoing). www.temporaryservices.org/MARKET
Time/Bank (e-flux.com/timebank) is a platform where groups and individuals can pool and trade time and skills, bypassing money as a measure of value. Time/Bank, organized by the artists Julieta Aranda (born in 1975 in Mexico City; lives and works in New York and Berlin) and Anton Vidokle (born in 1965 in Moscow; lives and works in New York), is based on the premise that everyone in the field of culture has something to contribute and that it is possible to develop and sustain an alternative economy by connecting existing needs with unacknowledged resources. Time/Bank allows individuals to request, offer, and pay for services in “Hour Notes.” When a task is performed, the credit hours earned may be saved and used at a later date, given to another person, or contributed towards developing larger communal projects.