with Grégory Castéra

Wednesday, 20 November
18 h
public talk

Art collectives, and the various forms of collective practice in the field of culture, are often understood in opposition to the artist as individual genius, echoing non-hierarchical forms of organizations and alternative ways of living. Today the art collective is not necessarily a synonym of subversion or emancipation. Parallel to recent developments of network technologies, many collective methods and values have been assimilated and reinvented by engineering, management, marketing, and by most contemporary political ideologies. Also, the ecological crisis and the development of information technology make more visible and increase the interdependence between humans, nonhumans and technique. In order to face the current and future multiscalar crisis, various forms of collective practices are encouraged, such as democratic experimentation, composition of knowledge, interspecies relations, collaboration with Artificial Intelligence, commoning, intersectional representativity, or translocal cooperation. If one can hope that the ways to think, act and live collectively will be one of the main issue the next decade, what will the understanding “the collective” be? How many are we? How the present and future collective practices can foster better social understandings, encourage new forms of solidarity and improve living conditions for everyone?

A few months ago, Grégory Castéra started a research on historic and contemporary collective practices across fields of knowledge and territories. During the workshop, we will try together to re-describe each of the participant’s practices as collective ones. Because we need new words and representation to understand our contemporary definition of « collective », we will experiment with various ways to visualize and name it. During the talk, Castéra will present his method of research and some cases, and we can eventually test a few practices with the audience.


Grégory Castéra (born 1981, lives in Paris) works as curator, director of organization and educator in the field of contemporary art. He is interested in the application of artistic practice and thinking in domains such as law, linguistics, care, ecology or social entrepreneurship. Most of his projects involve collaborations across discipline to address social concerns. For example, he is currently curator of “Infinite Ear” at CentroCentro, Madrid, an exhibition to be heard in multiple ways conceived with Deaf and hard of hearing people (with Tarek Atoui, Lendl Barcelos, Valentina Desideri, Myriam Lefkowitz, Mattin, Alison O’Daniel). He also prepares The Against Nature Journal, a journal of culture and human rights on the interpretation of the legal concept of “Nature” in the regulation of gender and sexuality. With Sandra Terdjman, he is co-director and co-founder of Council (2013—), an office for contemporary art working on the composition between art and other fields through a programme of exhibitions, events, publications and fellowship. He also served as co-director of Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (2009-2012), coordinator of Bétonsalon (2007-2009) and co-author of the Encyclopedia of Spoken Words (2007-2014). Castera organized exhibitions and events for Bergen Assembly, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscou), MoMA PS1 (New York), Sharjah Biennial, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Wiels (Bruxelles), Iaspis (Stockholm), among others. He received the 2013 Médicis Hors les Murs Fellowship and was the 2016 Witte de With Curatorial Fellow.