ARCO opinion: Fulya Erdemci Public Good
SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain in Amsterdam, which advises, develops and creates art projects in relation to the public domain, has played a structural role in the formation of the impressive history, heritage of “public art” in the Netherlands in the last 26 years. Though SKOR was initiated as a part of the Dutch welfare state policy in 1986, it developed into an independent art institution in 1999, transgressing the limits of “public art” and creating an experimental platform for contemporary art and public domain.
The recent budget cuts in the cultural sector have influenced the total infrastructure of the art and cultural field in the Netherlands. Although SKOR has been restructuring itself intensively for the last two years, such severe cuts cannot be taken as a positive reinforcement for change and reinvention of institutional structures. The scale of cuts surpasses the limits of the livelihood of institutions.
Although this policy compels institutions to develop strategies to stimulate public-private funding, SKOR’s long-standing experience and history in commissioning, which involves public-private partnership, was neglected by the same government. Furthermore, the necessary arrangements and regulations on the side of the private funding and sponsorship are yet to be tested (by trial and error), while the reduced public funds will increase the competition for available public-private funding and sponsorship. Considering the given time frame, this foresees panic-stricken chaotic transitions in the field. Consequently, the new formation(s) of SKOR is contextualized within a changing ecology of arts & culture and react to the currently emerging –and changing- dynamics of Dutch society.
As Art-in-public-domain is the most democratic interface of contemporary art, SKOR will continue to claim and anchor this field in two different lines, promoting internationalism and cosmopolitan culture. Being overtly present and visible in urban public spaces, Art-in-public-domain can reach diverse publics, communities and networks beyond the traditional limitations of class, gender, race, age, ethnic background, religion and so forth. It reaches out even to the ones, who do not usually go to the museums, galleries and other places designated to art. When Art-in-public-domain is coupled with the notion of internationalism and cosmopolitan culture, it has the potential to generate a public sphere, in the sense of a public forum, where local and international perspectives mingle to concentrate and debate on the urgent issues related to the society at large.
Fulya Erdemci is director of SKOR in Amsterdam
This text is presented at the Metropolis M ARCO booth in English and Spanish and on this website.