As you go…roads under your feet towards the new future is a long-term project and research inquiry that reflects on the recent Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and how it will alter the aesthetics and practices of everyday life in different local contexts.
The project was conceived and initiated in 2019 by Biljana Ciric, founder of What Could Should Curating Do? (WCSCD), after research visits to a number of localities in relation to BRI in 2018, supported by Foundation for Arts Initiatives.
The research inquiry focuses on Central Asia, the Balkans and East Africa and is conceived and developed with cells or partner institutions across these geographies, who will act as hosts and facilitators of the research to be done in collaboration with local communities. Research partners of the project are: Moderna Galerija (Ljubljana, Slovenia), ArtEast (Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic), Times Museum (Guangzhou, China), National Library in Bor (Serbia), Addis Ababa University (Etiophia), and WCSCD (Belgrade, Serbia).
The inquiry engages in collaborations with artists, activists, architects, agricultural researchers and anthropologists in an effort to understand the impact of the BRI on different locales, creating a critical analysis and reflection.
The project will also decentralize the importance of an exhibition as a mode of presentation and consider further different ways of going public by establishing local archives related to BRI, embarking on artist commissions, and developing other rituals of exchange and sharing through public programs.
The partner institutions met for the first time in Addis Ababa in February 2020 and defined commonalities as threads of the research in relation to the project and they are:
Being an agent of its own culture
The project attempts to connect the different local contexts, many of which are not usually on the contemporary art map, most of which are dismissed for being non-western, or not western enough. Part of this effort is then to imagine new connections within and between these localities that could be lasting and function as vehicles for further thinking about the commons, searching for ways to think and act in new, more self-determined situations.
The first, discoursive, stage of the project during 2020/21 is supported by Foundation for Arts Initiatives.