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Ute Meta Bauer In An Interview With Marius Babias

Easy Looking – Curatorial Practice In A Neo-Liberal Society

Marius Babias: On the basis of your experience as curator of the Third Berlin Biennial, we’d like to discuss some general issues relating to curatorial practice today. I suggest that we talk moregenerally about criticism in relation to curatorial practice. The curator’s work creates an echo in the media, by way of which the content and themes of the exhibition are communicatedto a wider public. How do you see the relationship between curating and that wider communication? Is that communication also part of the practice of curating?

Ute Meta Bauer: With regard to the curatorial problems that exhibitions raise and address nowadays, and I’m using the word ‘exhibition’ in its widest sense here, the dialogue between curators, artists and the public has moved forward significantly. In many cases I have received very different feedback and new interpretations of exhibitions from artists, not only those who wereinvolved in the exhibitions, but also other artists who see, in the truest sense of the word, what questions an exhibition raises, what interrelationships are generated and whatinterpretations are made possible by the exhibition as a dispositive. Also, the present-day public expects more information than the public of the past. In contrast to the open-minded attitude of the artists and the visitors, my impression is that the critics are increasingly refusing to understand, and respond appropriately to, discursively designed exhibitions. They don’t comewith an open mind, whereas the public at large shows a real willingness to be responsive to newer approaches.

Especially when faced with somewhat more complex contexts, possibly involving other fields, I suspect that the critics writing in the arts sections of newspapers, in particular, have problems of comprehension.

Marius Babias: When I speak of ‘communication’ I mean the media on the one hand, but also, on the other, the accompanying programme, the marketing and the exhibition’s overall communications apparatus. Does ‘communication’, thus defined, fall within the curator’s scope of responsibilities?

Ute Meta Bauer: Well, for instance in the case of the Third Berlin Biennial, I had decided not to hire a separate marketing and press agency on the outside, so to speak, which people generally do nowadays simply because the media machine that has to be serviced is so vast. Because of the effort involved, I can quite understand why people outsource the marketing and press work toagencies. But for one thing outsourcing is very cost-intensive, and for another, I don’t want the content to be spoon-fed to the press in bite-size pieces by an outside contractor. Added to which, if you do outsource, it’s very easy, in terms of content, to lose track of who is communicating what and to whom.

Marius Babias: You are advocating total curatorial control, from the content of the exhibition to communication and marketing issues. In the context of the ‘culture of debate’, doesn’t that smack ofcultural hegemony?

Ute Meta Bauer: No, not if it is clearly stated who is responsible for what. I regard myself as the artistic director, responsible for everything, right down to the details, and that includes themarketing strategy. In every contract I sign, I retain a right of veto over the sponsors. Past experience has taught me to insist on that. Among other things, I am concerned about the possiblyrather old- fashioned concept of ‘credibility’, and one can never say that sponsors have no influence over the content, given that the public is made aware of the company’s corporateidentity at the very same time as it is experiencing the work on display. That’s why I like to retain control over this myself.

Marius Babias: Now a question on the concept underlying the contents of the Third Berlin Biennial, which set out to explore the relationship between art and society, in the widest sense, taking the Berlin subculture as an example: Did you not take into account that, in the conception of Berlin’s marketing strategists, the biennial was meant to perform a very different function, namely to present a positive image of the capital rather than drawing attention to areas of conflict?

Ute Meta Bauer: I would like to link this to your earlier question about ‘the public’. It’s time people accepted that there’s no such thing as ‘the’ public: there are several publics who havedifferent needs and different areas of interest, and each associate something different with art. One can try to figure out how these different publics can be reconciled with one another, but one could also argue that, in Berlin, for instance, the needs of this or that particular public are already being met through existing projects. The MOMA exhibition appealed to different publics than the Third Berlin Biennial.

For me it was important to be responding to the actual situation in the location where the Biennial was taking place, Berlin, and to get involved in areas that, in my opinion, are not givensufficient visibility in Berlin’s major art institutions. I don’t mean individual works or artistic concepts, but the questions and issues associated with those works and concepts. And for such issues there is most certainly a very heterogeneous public in Berlin; the question is only, whether it is identical with the one imagined by the arts sections of the newspapers. Inthis context you have to ask yourself who actually controls the media in Berlin. Because in fact it is controlled by a very few people nowadays, no more than two or three bigpublishing houses, which consequently enjoy a virtual monopoly. When an opinion-leader from one of these publishing houses takes a particular line, the other papers from the samestable won’t oppose it. There are fairly clear hierarchies at work there: so much for the cultural hegemony that you accuse me of. The power that you attribute to me as a curator is very flattering, but in reality it is power that is exercised elsewhere, for instance in media reporting. As I say, where the principal opinion-formers lead the charge, the othersmeekly follow. This is a circumstance I find extremely alarming, which is why we need as many projects as ever: art exhibitions, for example, but also other types of cultural events such as theatre and film programmes, which are committed to a critical discourse. That is one of the reasons why I curate exhibitions like this at all.

Marius Babias: My next question concerns the dilemma in present-day curatorial practice: On the one hand it wants to open up a forum for debate, but at the same time it encourages the commercialization of the cultural field. How do you handle this double role?

Ute Meta Bauer: Before studying at the academy of art I attended a grammar school with an emphasis on business and economics, which gave me a good grounding in business management and economics. After that, before starting my studies, I worked for SDR (Southern German) television, so I’ve long been familiar with all those issues about the public’s taste andunderstanding. On the basis of that early training and experience I made a conscious decision not to adjust my professional life to harmonize with considerations of that kind. After all, one has one’s reasons for committing oneself to a sphere of activity that could be described as a critical space. The range of content in German public television, for example, has been narrowed down more and more. From the early days until well into the 1970s, it was possible to create programmes with really fascinating and unusual formats, but then the possibilities, in terms of content, were steadily reduced: always on the grounds that the viewing figures were too low...

Marius Babias: ... so it was the tyranny of the ratings…

Ute Meta Bauer: … Exactly! And why has the cinema, including the arts cinema, made such a comeback in terms of popularity? After all, for a while we were constantly being told that cinemawas dead. The public isn’t as narrow-minded as some people like to argue when they want to discourage higher-quality artistic productions. The assumption that only entertainment, sex,comedy or violence will achieve high ratings may well be correct, but the one doesn’t preclude the other, as good films have amply demonstrated. It’s a matter of how things are done;it’s the endless diet of one-dimensional pap, allegedly pitched at the right level to appeal to the public that leads to intellectual and emotional impoverishment. Discourse-based productions are attracting larger numbers again, because people don’t like being treated like idiots.

Another thing I find regrettable is that I’m accused, amongst other things, of demonstrating a lack of humour in my exhibitions. I have a strong sense of black humour; it’s just a bit less obvious. You simply can’t equate the superficial comedy-show humour which the media are so keen on these days with the subtle humour and caustic sarcasm that I prefer. Alright, so it seems the ‘meaning of life’ is not vouchsafed to everyone. And I can’t bow to the pressure to offer something ‘within the reach of everyone’s understanding’, whatever thatmeans, if only because I myself am interested precisely in the things I don’t understand. I feel like the Beastie Boys: In an interview they said something to the effect that in their lyrics they are not prepared to make allowance for the ‘dumbest’ listener, just for the sake of reaching him as well. And it’s no coincidence that they made this comment to a journalist.

What is relatively new for curators is being confronted with that gigantic media machine and the internationalization that goes hand in hand with globalization. More than six hundred articles worldwide were written on the subject of the Third Berlin Biennial alone. That didn’thappen with the previous Berlin biennials. This time even our website was translated into Chinese, in its entirety. So you’re catering not only to publics in the location where the event is taking place, but to a range of publics in a range of widely differing cultural contexts. And the perception and reception of the works of art, the questions a project raises andthe statements it makes vary accordingly. We have to bear that in mind these days; it’s part of our job. Of course it makes a difference whether you’re curating an internationalbiennial or a smaller project aimed specifically at a local public: this determines what sort and size of media machine is set in motion and has to be ‘satisfied’. Also it’s no longer enough just to hold a press conference at the opening. The press wants to be told ‘everything’ well before that, and during the actual run of a biennial, or whatever, you have to be constantly supplying more information, otherwise you don’t get any more coverage.

Marius Babias: You advocate a model of curatorial practice aimed at creating a critical space, but for some years the zeitgeist has been hostile towards critical art. Is it not the case that bad times for critical art are also bad times for critical curators?

Ute Meta Bauer: Yes, who would deny that? But I was surprised by the unanimous conservative backlash among the critics, their demand for ‘l’art pour l’art’. In an American art journal I wasaccused of instrumentalising art for political propaganda. Certainly I do try to give the critical potential of art its due place within exhibitions. I was surprised, though, to see how somepeople in the field of scholarly research immediately saw parallels and possibilities for their own work when they looked at the form of communication achieved and the affinitiesrevealed in and by the Third Berlin Biennial. This is not, of course, to be unreservedly welcomed. When, for instance, an architect like Rem Koolhaas and his Harvard studentsmake a study of the informal sector in Lagos and the enormous flexibility and mobilization that develops there in a kind of self-regulatory process, you have to take careful note of whothen profits from the results of the study, and which people from what sphere of activity suddenly start to show an interest. But art reporting is clearly lagging behind when it assumes that acritical discourse is problematic for the ‘uninitiated’. Nowadays even commercial companies realize that they need to concern themselves with critical discourses. In his inaugurallecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, the architect Eyal Weizmann, who co-curated the exhibition Territories at Berlin’s KW Institute for Contemporary Art, presented excerptsfrom a video interview with a high- ranking military strategist of the Israeli army. The military are thoroughly familiar with current spatial discourses. They are evidently quiteknowledgeable on the subject and are already incorporating their conclusions from these discourses into their military strategies: deterritorialisation in the place of linear structures; thiswas already apparent in Ariel Sharon’s early settlement policy. The discourses put forward at the

Third Berlin Biennial, which are by no means new, are widely known and are being utilised even by those against whom they are directed. And yet the arts sections of the newspapers are trying to take us back to the nineteenth century.

Marius Babias: The reason why the military and private enterprise take an interest in ‘critical theories’ is so that they can make the military apparatus, or the creaming off of profits, even moreeffective.

Ute Meta Bauer: Of course. But surely it’s absurd that both the military and the capitalist enterprises understand the innovative potential of critical discourses and respond to them, while a lot ofpeople in the art ‘operating system’ just keep going round in the same old circles. Of course it’s not our intention to launch critical discourses so that they can be more effectively studied, commandeered and exploited for profit by those other interests. We need a continuous critical discourse, which has to be a ‘common’ one: by which I do not mean aconsensual discourse.

Otherwise I fear that we shall increasingly be faced with so-called ‘parallel societies’ and ‘parallel worlds’, or, which is worse, actually help to bring them about.

Marius Babias: Careful! ‘Parallel society’ is a right-wing antithesis ‘multiculturalism’.

Ute Meta Bauer: I know, but that doesn’t mean that the concept shouldn’t be considered and examined just as much as the concept of multiculturalism which, in my opinion, is equally problematic; the whole point is to examine the various concepts critically. In this connection I’d like to call attention to the idea of the ‘class society’, which of course has fallen rather out of fashion, but in the light of present-day developments in society is becoming much more relevant again. The trend to ever- greater privatization, the formation of elites and a simultaneous growth in poverty are just some of the key aspects here. And in art, too, we can’t just naively crawl away and hide in a corner, neither as artists and curators nor ascritics. We live together on one planet which is made up of very complex and interconnected systems, including, incidentally, the system of art, and we react to these systems in different ways; power and above all wealth are more unequally distributed than ever before.

Marius Babias: An exhibition on the scale of the Berlin Bienniale is a social medium, and this gives it a social significance that far exceeds what can be achieved by, for instance, an exhibition in a gallery. As the curator of a major exhibition one is able to exert a certain influence; in connection with imagery and language one can generate policies that radiate into society.

Ute Meta Bauer: Of course that’s one reason why one does it, but the effect isn’t really as far-reaching as all that: I only wish it were. I myself have a critical attitude towards major projects and biennials. I think that nowadays you make more of an impact with smaller projects with very specific aims, which has a lot to do with the fact that today’s world is totally permeated by the media. To a large extent the popular mood is manipulated by way of the media. It’s no coincidence that politicians behave very much like pop stars in the media, and these days evencurators are under the same pressure to succeed as music producers or theatre and film directors. Nowadays you have to sell yourself as a person; you have to be either eccentric or‘surprisingly’ normal. If you refuse to yield to this pressure to ‘perform’ for the media, or your personality doesn’t come across well, then you don’t get much press coverage. Another factor that shouldn’t be underestimated is that, in this country, difference is still defined in terms of the classic parameters of social distinction, namelysex, ‘race’ and class. These are still very much in operation, and people are treated according to their backgrounds. Any one social class refuses to be dictated to by another, and vice versa.

When you say that as a curator one has a certain power of discourse, that’s good to hear. We’ve fought and worked for that.

Marius Babias: For a curator you’ve had an untypical career, in that it hasn’t developed in a straight line. You started out as an artist, before empowering yourself to be a curator through aprocess of ‘learning by doing’. How have the circumstances changed in the last fifteen years?

Ute Meta Bauer: There are more venues for contemporary art than there used to be. That doesn’t mean, though, that there is also proportionately more money for contemporary art, so theresources available for filling more space with more and more projects are actually reduced in real terms. It was in response to this development that the German Federal CulturalFoundation was established, elevating the status of culture by making it a responsibility of the state. The field of culture has expanded and become more differentiated, and cultural institutions have to share their public accordingly. In order to be visible nowadays, you have to offer much more, shout louder, be bigger or be very specific in what you do, and there is much more pressure to justify what you do. Another thing that has changed is that, fifteen years ago, there were no training programmes specifically for curators. The people who worked as curators were art historians or had a museum background; a smaller number came from other professions and usually worked on a freelance basis. But now there’s awealth of training available, and that has both advantages and disadvantages. So for me, teaching at an art academy, it’s important to confront young artists with the problems ofcurating and to make them aware of the way power is divvied up in the world of exhibiting, questions about the design of the exhibition space and so on. Incidentally, my career is not very different from that of other freelance curators.

Marius Babias: What qualities does a curator need nowadays?

Ute Meta Bauer: There are people who are very good at dealing with both artists and their work and at generating public interest by using their own personalities as a medium for conveying the art. Depending on the institution or the locality, it’s almost becoming a prerequisite that curators, too, should bring a certain charisma with them. In my opinion it’s more important to knowhow to deal with art very precisely and, in consultation with artists, be in a position to consider all the issues that their works raise. You should be able to produce catalogues andpublications yourself, and keep an eye on the kind of press coverage that your exhibition receives. The demands made on curators have greatly increased, not least because everything is produced at a faster pace. For instance, where an art institution might once have had a period of two or three years to develop an exhibition, that’s rarely the case today. At least not where biennials, art galleries or art societies that show contemporary art are concerned.

Marius Babias: Are particular qualities and skills in greater demand than before?

Ute Meta Bauer: In art institutions, the call for anti-establishment practice is certainly not very great. But then it never has been, except perhaps in the early 1970s. But there have always been people,whether artists, curators or museum people, who have made subversive thinking an integral part of their work, and for whom that attitude was, or is, the very reason for theirinvolvement in art and culture. And I hope this group of people will never die out. The capacity to think in ways that challenge the accepted norms, to reflect on what you do and what area you should devote your work and commitment to, and to see yourself as an autonomous subject of a critical civil society, is something that I feel is desirable for everyindividual, not just in the world of art. There’s undoubtedly less emphasis on developing critical (self-) awareness nowadays; fundraising skills are higher in demand.

Marius Babias: What is the basic model that underlies your work as a curator? How do you combine the different spheres: research, choice of theme, realization, production and marketing?

Ute Meta Bauer: My work tends to be team-oriented. But by that I don’t mean a grass-roots form of power-sharing; we work under too much time pressure for that. I do try to find out who’sgood at what, so that I can put together a team on that basis, as they do in film-making. I mention this to avoid any idealized misconception as far as hierarchies are concerned: there is a hierarchy, and as a ‘control freak’ and ‘artistic director’ I often claim the right to have the last word. For instance, when I work with the graphic designers who have to be able toservice the whole communications apparatus, I like to explain the ideas and objectives of an exhibition to them in such a way that they can then communicate those ideas and objectivesappropriately in the design of the exhibition and the system by which the visitor is guided through it. The design of an exhibition is just as much a part of the statement one is making asthe exhibition itself, the accompanying events and the publications. I am open to suggestions and willing to let myself be persuaded.

I’m not resistant to new ideas and concepts. In my collaboration with the participating artists and the team, lively debate is essential. Unfortunately we have less and less time for it,and that has a damaging effect on the projects.

Marius Babias: In terms of the politics of identity, do you see curating as an act of ‘self-realization’, in that it is part and parcel of your career and your outlook and not ‘alienated’?

Ute Meta Bauer: Well, I would say that people have established who they are by the age of twenty. After that, the self-realisation phase should be over. I don’t want to be forever circling aroundmyself. But creating a political space, to demand scope for self-determination, is something that I regard as fundamental: and I mean a political space that one shares with other people, aspace for a ‘community of shared interests’. And I consider exhibitions, artworks, plays, newspaper articles, concerts, all of the forms and media of culture, to be a part of that, so that we ourselves remain alert in our thinking and don’t get lulled into a state of complete torpor.

Marius Babias: Approaching the issue from the point of view of the present crisis in work, the idea is gaining ground, even if it’s not politically feasible at the moment, that future work must relate to the politics of identity. It must have to do with the individual, with his or her interests, abilities and wishes. From the perspective of work theory curating looks atfirst sight like an act of ‘self-empowerment’.

Ute Meta Bauer: In what quarters is that idea gaining ground? I would prefer to replace the term ‘self-empowerment’ with ‘self- determination’. Certainly you have to empower yourself before you canachieve self-determination. Self- determination, in my view, goes a step further. It’s a concept that has been shaped by many people, not only in the field of art, but above all in theworld of work. The demand for self-determination as a reaction against the alienation of work on the factory assembly line derives from the workers’ protest movement of the 1970s and actually originates with Marx. The producers of culture adopted those ideas. And the idea of autonomous art really has nothing to do with the claim that it seeks to be self-realising but, once again, with the concept of self-determination: artistic production that is no longer dependent on commissions from the nobility and the Church. Instead of “Don’t bite that hand that feeds you”, it’s “ Do bite thehand that feeds you”.

The artistic terrain is, as always, a grey area with all the accompanying advantages and disadvantages. But after all, the field of art is so open that producers from other culturalspheres can cross over into it when they find themselves being forced to be more mainstream on their usual territory, in film or music, for instance, because of competition from the American cinema, financial pressure, media marketing, the need to achieve economic viability, etc. It is important to know whose territory we are on. The boundaries between art and the adjoining fields have become more permeable. Of course we still have the traditional means of conveyance to the public, such as exhibitions in galleries and museums; but nowadaysvery diverse artistic and cultural concepts exist side by side. Due to globalisation, questions of ‘identity’, whether personal, cultural or political, and the question of ‘who is speaking towhom, and from what position’, have become much more central.

Marius Babias: It hasn’t been all that long, just a few years, since ‘independent curator’ was a term of abuse. Museum curators and many artists shared a prejudice against independent curators, whomthey regarded as ‘meta-artists’. Now, however, such curators are no longer seen as upstarts, but are accepted as partners. Firmly incorporated into an all-embracing social image-making process, independent curators have nowadays become agents of a neo-liberal ideology of creativity.

Ute Meta Bauer: Oh, really? The image of the curator as a meta-artist comes up with monotonous regularity at symposia. And in the meantime the neo-liberal tendency towards exploitation is to befound in all areas of creative expression. It’s true that what happened to some extent to the role of the critic in the 1980s, when economic dependency would turn a critic into the mouthpiece of a particular trend in art, is also happening now through the co-opting of curators. More than before, curators are being used by the private sector for its own ends: to put it brutally, they are being ‘kept’. ‘Independent’ curators are undoubtedly still viewed with scepticism. As I said, at conferences you often hear the objection,specifically from artists, that curators are ‘omnipotent’ and make or break artists’ careers. That’s only true to a limited degree, and only in the case of a handful of well-known curators, the so-called ‘global players’. On the one hand, the curators represent the ‘guiding’ standard, while on the other, there are complaints about their supposed position of power. What receives too little attention in this context is the complex network of relationships between dealers, collectors and museums, which is in far greater need of examination than the supposed opposition between artist and curator.

Marius Babias: In the cultural sphere, curators and artists contribute to devising work models (self-organization, self- management, cooperation, etc.), which not only diffuse into society generally(one-person businesses, mini-jobs, etc.) but may also serve to grant cultural legitimacy to a process of economic redistribution.

Ute Meta Bauer: Well, all those graduates of curatorship programmes need employment, after all. Of course, if you choose to, you can find a model there that can possibly be adapted to otherprofessions and work situations. In the 1980s, at the time of ‘appropriation art’, conceptual art borrowed from advertising and adopted the philosophy and strategies of commercial enterprises. The different worlds observe each other and inter-react, ‘diffuse’, as you put it; everything is dependent on everything else, each side takes inspiration from the other, ‘stealsthe other’s clothes’; that’s the normal way of things, and it can even possibly serve as a corrective. I don’t believe that it is these models from the art world that are underpinning currentsocial developments; art is simply too marginal an area to have that effect. The real cause is that there’s just less paid work to be had. Certainly, in today’s information age, the creativeindustries are a potential area of employment for art graduates, and it has never been more than a small minority that took the path of the supremely gifted ‘artist’, from art academyto gallery to museum. But in contrast to the present, those who didn’t manage to establish themselves in the art market saw themselves as failures. Nowadays the opportunities forworking and gaining acceptance as an artist are far more varied. I don’t just see this as the neo-liberalist appropriation of art and artists, but as an extension of the concept of art. There have been changes in the artists’ view of themselves and in what kind of achievement they find acceptable, and those changes are increasingly reflected in the curricula of art academies.

Marius Babias: I didn’t mean that as an accusation, but rather an attempt at an explanation. For me, there is obviously a problematic relationship between art and neo-liberalism at the level of pictureand image production. In other words, art, where it provides positive images, is instrumental in glossing over processes of social reorganisation. Seen in that light, curators are playing a considerable role in the de-politicisation of the visual culture.

Ute Meta Bauer: There is some truth in that, but it doesn’t, by a long shot, apply to all of my fellow curators. I find it problematic when exhibitions use works of art to convey other ideas subliminally. I, on the other hand, am accused of being too politicized, too theoretical and of using the ‘poor’artists for my own purposes. I regard the ‘de- politicizing of leisure’ to be no less problematic than all the forms of ‘non-material work’ that are associated with artistic practice. Whatin the music world is called ‘easy listening’, a type of music which I like very much, by the way, has now entered the art world as a sort of ‘easy looking’, where leisure timemust be filled and all those supposed expectations: ‘everyone has to understand it’, ‘it has to interest young people’, ‘Museums have to reach out to more and more people from all social groups’ are totally at odds with the actual profile of their public, given that most museums are far too expensive for a ‘working-class’ or unemployed family. For certainsocial classes, a family visit to a museum has become quite unaffordable, so that museums can only reach out, a priori, to the better-off members of society. On the other hand, those‘workers’ who do go to exhibitions know this perfectly well, and what they want is, as I’ve already said, to be challenged, not lulled to sleep. The two of us are proof of that,don’t you think?

With thanks to Anemona Crisan, Yvonne P. Doderer and Renate Wagner.

Translated from the German by Judith Rosenthal



Title of exhibition: First Story – Women Building/New Narratives for the 21st Century
Place: Galeria do Palácio/Biblioteca Municipal Almeida Garrett, Porto, Portugal.
Date: 13 October to 16 September 2001 curated and designed by:Ute Meta Bauer
Contributors: Asterisk, Ruth Becker, Nina Cohen, Dyke TV, Maria Eichhorn, Christiane Erharter, FO/GO LAB, Gudrun Gut, Itsuko Hasegawa, LSD, Barbara Morgenstern, ReginaMöller, Trina Robbins, Nicole Wolf, Women on Waves, womenspacework, Elke Zobl
Project management: Yvonne P. Doderer Interpretation: Guiding System by Nina Cohen Exhibition architecture: Harappas by Itsuko Hasegawa Exhibition graphics: Susanne Schwarz


Marius Babias was born in Romania, studied literature and political science at the Free University in Berlin. In 1996 he won the Carl Einstein Prize for Art Criticism. 2001-2003 he hasbeen artistic co-director at the Kokerei Zollverein | Zeitgenössische Kunst und Kritik in Essen. In 2005 he has been commissioner of the Romanian Pavilion at 51st Venice Biennale and has curated the exhibitions The New Europe, Generali Foundation, Vienna and Formats for Action, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin. In 2006 he has been co-curator of the Periferic 7 –International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Iasi (Romania). Since 2008 he is director of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein(n.b.k.). Babias  teaches  art theory  at the University of the Arts inBerlin. He has edited Im Zentrum der Peripherie (1995), co-edited Die Kunst des Öffentlichen (1998), Arbeit Essen Angst (2001), Campus (2002), Handbuch Antirassismus (2002), CriticalCondition Writings by Julie Ault, Martin Beck (2003) and The Balkans Trilogy (2006). Marius Babias is also the author of Herbstnacht (1990), Ich war dabei, als ... (2001), Ware Subjektivität (2002) and Berlin. Die Spur der Revolte (2006). He lives in Berlin.

Since 2005 Ute Meta Bauer is Director of the Visual Arts Program, and professor, at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Department of Architecture in Cambridge/Boston, USA.Between 1996 and 2006 she held a professorship in Theory, Practice and Interpretation of Contemporary Art at the Fine Art Academy in Vienna and was the founding director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo (2002-2005). She was part of Okwui Enwezor’s team as co-curator of Documenta 11 (1999-2002) and was artistic director of the 3rd berlin biennale forcontemporary art (2003-2004). In 2006 she curated the Mobile Transborder Archive,  a  scenario  project for InSite05 (artistic direction: Osvaldo Sanchez) in Tijuana and San Diego. She ischairwoman of the art advisory board for the Goethe Institute und member of the curatorial advisory board of the 3rd Yokohama Triennale (2008).


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