17.04.2020 - 5.05.2020 Arts

Open call for artistic projects — Galeria Arsenal

Dear Artists,

Together with Galeria Arsenal in Bialystok (Poland), we would like to invite you to take part in the open call for a virtual exhibition: THE END OF THIS STORY HASN’T BEEN WRITTEN YET, OPEN CALL: SOLIDARITY AND AGENCY. 

As everyone else, we are trying to adapt to the current crisis. Our governments declare states of emergency in response to the pandemic. Once again we enclose ourselves within the borders of our nation states, which introduce unprecedented measures of surveillance and control. We want to believe, however, that the period of quarantine can also be a time of increased agency and that it can inspire the creation of communities based on action and cooperation.

We ask ourselves about the role of a temporarily closed arts institution. We believe that it should consist not only in virtual contact with the public but also in showing solidarity with you and in providing space for dialogue. We do not want to say, “see you when it’s over.” We want to know if you can all afford to stay home, or if you need support. What does quarantine mean for you? Please send us messages and projects about your day-to-day life, your struggles and your hopes. We want to talk about work, loneliness and human relationships in times of pandemic.

Most importantly though, we encourage you to reflect on the possible models of solidarity among the arts and activist communities, local communities, workers’ unions, solidarity with people who are socially marginalised or who are at high risk of developing severe illness from coronavirus. With non-human beings, with those who are most seriously threatened by the virus and the economic consequences of the pandemic. We are looking forward to your accounts of mutual aid and your thoughts on the capacity and limitation of the Internet as a tool for building communities. We are looking forward to hearing your ideas on how to persist in the struggle for a better future when we can no longer organize demonstrations and protests. We are looking forward to your suggestions of how to use art tools in times of emergency.

This crisis amplifies the problems generated by global capitalism, neoliberal policies and uncontrolled consumerism. However, as Naomi Klein reminds us today, “the end of this story hasn’t been written yet.”She states that the decisions about coming out of the crisis are not only the responsibility of elites and policymakers. They will be based on the “ideas that are lying around.” That includes those which have so far been rejected as utopian, and which now become part of the everyday struggle. Opportunities like that occur only in moments of deep crisis.

Rebecca Solnit wrote that ”in disaster, we are often at our best, however briefly, […] in those hours and days many have their best taste of community, purposefulness, and power”. If we accept her idea that crisis can bring about positive change, we should start asking ourselves how we can use it to start building a better world. Is there a chance that in the long run it might contribute to lowering consumption? Or, as Kornelia Sobczak suggests, will it become a microlab of post-growth? How can we inspire each other to adopt new practices and how not to forget them in the safer times?


– Application form should include:

  1. the project or its concept in any technique and format that enables to present the project online
  2. your work description
  3. resume

– Attachments should’t be larger than 5 MB. In case of films, videos or other, larger digital files, please send the link to youtube, vimeo or other website or wetransfer it.

– Application should be send on opencall@galeria-arsenal.pl address untill 5.05.2020

– Please state ‘Open Call: Solidarity and Agency’ as an email subject

– Please carry out your work according to COVID-19 precaution measures’ guidelines

Terms and conditions of an open call are available [HERE]

About Galeria Arsenal: 

The Arsenal Gallery in Białystok is one of the leading Polish contemporary art institution with a history that can be traced back to 1965. The Gallery has been following a comprehensive and consistent exhibition programme, presenting and fostering contemporary art in a variety of media and offering an excellent perspective of all the most important and interesting phenomena in art, with particular focus on East and Central European context.


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