István Szakáts: One ring to rule them all - political control and entrepreneurialism in culture
The declared ambition of the Cluj ECoC bid was “to engage the communities of the city in a common life-changing project, helping us to fulfil our potential to act as a community”. So how are we performing? Can we save all the trouble, just say the default “ok-ish”, do the group hug, and move on? Sure we can. However, for those who’d feel a pinch of hypocrisy in this exercise, there is a more nuanced menu to check, including: consolidation of power structures, reinforcement of the privileges of the already privileged, increasing social gaps, or the general entrepreneurization of culture. Take heart. The group hug will feel even better in the end.
István Szakáts is an artist, curator and cultural producer. He is president of the AltArt Foundation and president of Fabrica de Pensule (space for contemporary arts) in Cluj, Romania. He has been advocating for empowerment through culture, socially engaged art and active citizenship. As a multimedia artist, he co-designed and produced a series of works including Pata-Cluj documentary film and Samples – a sequel of mixed reality performances in public space. He has taught various media related disciplines at the Cinema, Media and Television Department of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and the Sapientia University.