Centro Cultural del Bosque
January 22 to 24, 2015

PAC, the Patronato de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico, announces the 12th edition of SITAC, the annual international symposium on contemporary art theory and practice from January 22 through January 24, 2015. 

Against the backdrop of profound crises in education internationally, an exploding private sector and the accompanying weakening of civic structures, and of conflicting approaches to agricultural sustainability, SITAC XII boldly proposes that artists and art projects—working in conjunction with disciplines and actors outside the field of art—point the way to more just societies. 

On the fault line between individual ethics and institutional notions of justice, much where the current upheavals in Mexico erupt, a rich and slippery terrain is opening, and is increasingly also the site of provocative artistic projects.

Titled Arte, Justamente | Just Art and directed by Carin Kuoni, presents a comprehensive program of workshops, seminars, short-term residencies, the conference with keynote lectures, and a publication, all of which investigate shifts in the construction of justice through contemporary art. For the first time, SITAC has expanded beyond the three-day conference to include short-term residencies in the fall that establish common concerns between visiting and local artists and lay the groundwork for the key concepts of the conference itself. These residencies, titled Estudio SITAC, are directed by Lucía Sanromán.

 SITAC XII mines the terrain through three lines of inquiry into food, education and gender justice, guided and informed by three international art projects and their Mexican counterparts, the local hosts for the short-term Estudio SITAC residencies. They are New Delhi-based artist Amar Kanwar and his project Sovereign Forest, paired with CaSA and La Curtiduría in Oaxaca; Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti and their School under a Tree whose retreat is supported by Alumnos47; as well as Ultra-red with Vogue’ology, hosted by Campus Expandido of the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma (UNAM).  

 Each day of the conference is anchored by one project that acts as the catalyst for a rigorous, multidisciplinary and broad discussion of issues relating to Food Justice on January 22, Education Justice on January 23, and Gender Justice on January 24. The presenters are those who acted as hosts to the international projects leading up to the conference as well as additional experts, opinion leaders, scientists, scholars, practitioners, and other artists. 

Food Justice, on January 22, focuses on the schism between localized and indigenous agricultural knowledge with the practices of multi-national agribusinesses, and how legal concepts such as "crime" and "rights" are expanding to include non-human beings and the environment. Keynote speakers are Amar Kanwar and Brazilian artist María Thereza Alves, joined in morning and afternoon sessions by molecular geneticist Elena Alvarez-Buylla (co-founder of Union of Socially Concerned Scientists, Mexico), Gustavo Esteva, founder of Universidad de la Tierra, Argentinian artists Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolás Goldberg, Ecuadorian activist Lina Solano (Women Defenders of Mother Earth), anthropologist Federico Navarrete Linares, and others.

Education Justice, on January 23, is set against Mexico’s rich history of progressive education resonant in its current crisis, and examines learning as a form of reoccupation, both cognitive and spatial, in precarious political and physical contexts. The keynote address is offered by Palestine-based architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, who define their School under a Tree as "shared living in a state of displacement," informed on their work in a refugee camp in Palestine. Participants in the Estudio SITAC School—convened for the week preceding the conference—will present. Also included artists and musicians as well as Carlos Alberto Torres, founding director, Paulo Freire Institute, University of California, Los Angeles.

Gender Justice, on January 24, examines some of the political, cultural and social conditions that lead to constructions of gender and how performances of gender can intervene and undermine social and political regulating bodies. The keynote addresses for Gender Justice are delivered by artist Robert Sember and activist Michael Roberson. They will be joined by artists Micha Cárdenas, historian and media theoretician Jasmine Rault, and others.  A concluding Council with all speakers is presided over by legal scholar Miguel Rábago Dorbecker, Professor of Rights, Universidad Iberoamericana. 

Arte, Justamente | Just Art convenes for a communal luncheon in the Plaza Ángel Salas, shared between conference speakers and all participants and prepared by local fair food collectives, in collaboration with Comilona. The proceedings of Arte, Justamente will be captured in a publication that will document the work of the Estudio SITAC, the presentations at the conference and will feature a Glossary of terms related to notions of justice. 

SITAC XII director Carin Kuoni is the director/curator of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, New York. In her work, she focuses on how contemporary art practices reflect and inform social, political and cultural conditions, and examines, for instance, the relationship between contemporary Native American identity and colonial, 19th-century portraiture (Red River Crossings, Swiss Institute); democratic, participatory processes (OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding, Parsons The New School for Design); artistic and social networks (The Grand Tour, Swiss Institute; #searchunderoccupy, Parsons); or agency (The Puppet Show, ICA Philadelphia; Post-Speculation, P!, New York). She is the editor or co-editor of several books, among them Energy Plan for the Western Man: Joseph Beuys in America, Words of Wisdom: A Curator’s Vademecum, and Speculation, Now. She is a 2014 Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellow. 

Lucía Sanromán is an independent curator and writer. Recent projects include the retrospective exhibition inSite: Cuatro ensayos de lo público, sobre otro escenario at Proyecto Siqueiros: La Tallera, in Cuernavaca Mexico. She is co-curator with Candice Hopkins, Janet Dees and Irene Hofmann of the reinvented SITE Santa Fe’s biennial SITElines.2014: Unsettled Landscapes (July 2014). She was awarded a 2012 Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellowship for Citizen Culture: Art and Architecture Shape Policy, an exhibition and research project organized by the Santa Monica Museum of Art (September 2014), and is a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellow for 2014. 

SITAC is a project by PAC. For more information about SITAC, please visit SITAC would like to thank CaSA Oaxaca, La Curtiduría, Museo Experimental El Eco and Campus Expandido, MUAC-UNAM.

Centro Cultural del Bosque
Teatro Julio Castillo
Mexico City

Image Credits: Protest march in Mexico City, November 20, 2014. Photograph by Santiago Arau Pontones. Courtesy the artist.

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