press release

Cork Caucus is a major 3-week international cultural caucus to investigate art, possibility and democracy.

Cork Caucus is a significant trans-disciplinary meeting of artists, writers and philosophers taking place from June 20th – July 11th 2005 in Cork City, Ireland. The purpose of Cork Caucus is to use the city as a base to investigate the relationship between art and the possibility of change in a specific place. Through a range of activities, Cork Caucus will provide ways in which the ambition of art to intervene in social life and political thinking can be debated at this moment of apparent political stasis.

Background Cork Caucus draws on two Community and Art workshops held in Korea in early 2002 and Indonesia in late 2003. Another key precedent is Joseph Beuys’ bid to establish the Free International University in Ireland. A failed application to the EEC in 1975 asked for support to investigate ‘the contribution cultural and intellectual life can make to society’. Caucus picks up that question again in Ireland.

Caucus is an ambitious project including new public commissions, lectures, picnics, workshops, BBQs, reading groups, exhibitions and informal gatherings. The grounds for Caucus have been prepared through an extended Grassroots programme.

Democracy The word Caucus links the project directly to the process of making a democratic decision in a collective gathering. A major issue will be how can we can decide the value of the relationship between what we are engaged in – the territory of visual culture – and political or cultural change.

Can artistic discussions and material projects contribute to the development of the democratic model itself? Can the structure and potential of the democratic forum be revisited and enacted in other ways today? How can an art activity leave a legacy of creative possibility that enlivens a local situation?

Given that democracy has to function at the most local level to be meaningful, Cork Caucus has invested much of its time in developing situations in the city through the Grassroots phase. It will be through the tensions and opportunities that arise between local initiatives and the international art participants that some of its possibilities will be revealed.

Organisation Cork Caucus is organised by the National Sculpture Factory (NSF), with invited curators Art/not art, Charles Esche and Annie Fletcher.

Cork Caucus is an official ‘Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture’ project and is also supported by the Arts Council's Projects award, The British Council, The European Cultural Foundation, The Mondriaan Foundation, the Prins Claus Fund, the I.F.A.(Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.