Radical Praxes 00b(ii)

Writer: Matthew Burbidge

Date: 28.10.15


1.    Radicality can be political, and it can be physical,chemical and mathematical. It can be educational. Radicality can be architectural,literary, literal, musical and: even artistic.

2.    Radical Praxes is a politically active commonalitymade up of art makers, art disseminators and art thinkers.

3.   It is based around a core gallery programme that iscyclical in structure. A cycle takes four years. But the people are RadicalPraxes. Radical Praxes is responsible for its gallery, and for its statements.But the people are Radical Praxes.

4.    The leitmotif of Radical Praxes is a consideration of‘radicality’ insofar that all exhibitions in the core programme are acceptedinitially as proposals by the review board, made up of ten associates ofRadical Praxes. The review board then decides whether an exhibition is radicalenough to be presented by Radical Praxes.

5.    Radicality is the leitmotif of the exhibitionprogramme. This does not of course mean that other topics are excluded. You cantalk radically about cinema, for example. Or talk about radical cinema. Leitmotifis an Anglicisation of the German for ‘leading motif’ or ‘guiding motif’. Onemay see it as the smallest structural unit possessing thematic identity.

6.    For every show in the core exhibition series thatRadical Praxes is responsible for, an art thinker will be commissioned to writean essay. This expenditure is calculated as core expenditure, and is absolutelycentral to the programme. The programme will thus generate theory and discourseeven in its default state.

7.    Radical Praxes is also an experiment in democracy, insolidarity, and in communication and its media. The political structure ofRadical Praxes is deliberately constructed to throw light upon the functioningof representative democracy. As such, the art historian with an interest inpolitics will be able to make a model for study out of the story of RadicalPraxes. The story of Radical Praxes can be compared to the story of a politicalparty, though to become accurate, that simile has to be recontextualised.

8.   This apart from the more obvious fact that theprogramme of Radical Praxes will, if it simply runs its course, provide us withthe most considered definition of the important word ‘radical’ that the artworld possesses. It won’t touch the definitions of mathematics, viz.: In commutative ring theory, a branch of mathematics, the radical of an idealI is an ideal such that an element x is in the radical if some power of xis in I. A radical ideal (or semi-prime ideal) is an idealthat is its own radical (this can be phrased as being a fixed point of an operation on ideals called'radicalization'). The radical of a primary ideal is prime. But artbeing art, we will make use of mathematical definitions too. For this one, the radical of an ideal, exactly mirrorsour predicament.


1.            Thereare 32 core associates of Radical Praxes. Each core associate has the finalresponsibility for one of the 32 shows in the core exhibition programme, whichhas a cycle four years long.

2.            Coreassociates are elected at the end of each cycle, by the existing association.For the first cycle the first core associates will be invited by the foundingpresidency. Each new associate selected in this way has a right to suggestfurther associates, core or non-core: subject to a 51% vote in favour byalready existing members.

3.            Thepresident is a core associate, and has a casting vote.

4.            Thepresidency is for a period of 2 years, subject to biennial presidentialelections. In addition to the president, the presidency also consists of fourother roles: that of treasurer, of marketer, of manager and that of secretary.

5.            Themost important factor in all of this is the review board. It is the board thatcreates almost all of the bureaucracy. Ten associates are elected for eachexhibition year, starting May 1st. Every member may go up for election to theboard in February, including non-core associates.

6.            Non-coreassociates have equal status to core associates, but do not have theresponsibility of putting on one of the exhibitions in the core programme.Non-core associates cannot run for the presidency. They are invited to suggestthat Radical Praxes sponsor exhibitions, media actions, physical interventionsin public space, and other artistic disseminations. Subject to initial approvalby the board, such projects are then voted on by all associates: a 51% vote infavour of a project ensures that Radical Praxes will sponsor it. Non-coreassociates are admitted and exiled (if necessary) on the proposal and vote ofthe 32 core associates.

7.            Thefounding president is the writer of this list. The president’s basic duties areto run the exhibition space, represent Radical Praxes to the media and the artworld in general, and most importantly, to operate Radical Praxes as atheory-generating engine. Every associate is expected to bring to RadicalPraxes the reality of a radical praxis that they either embody, or which isembodied in the work or the person of someone else, to the core: from whichtheory will be generated, as if from a spinning rotor.

8.            Changesto the constitution of Radical Praxes can be made at the annual conference onthe proposal of an associate, which must then achieve a majority in a full voteof all associates.


1.    Radical Praxes is governed by a dedication toinductive logic, and to a lesser extent, deductive logic. You may infer fromthis that artists and art workers with the typically medieval belief in their predestinedimmortality are not welcome to join as associates. Such artists and art workerscan of course though be invited to work with us by a associate as part of a radicalproposal that will then go to the review board.

2.    Radicality has a few essential ethical qualities,which sadly, even in the 21st century, need to be spelled out. Racism,sexism, or prejudice towards any person on the basis of a judgement about theway they look or act privately, or their background or class is absolutelytaboo: both in the behaviour of associates to each other and towards thegeneral public; and this also applies of course in an oblique way to thecontent and form of any Radical Praxes iterations. You cannot work with us ifyou are a sexist. Despite this injunction, which will rule out a lot of maleabstract painters: many of the themes of Radical Praxes will be about racism,sexism, and other ignorant prejudices; in short, about political realities.

3.   For this is one way in which an exhibition or otherproposal will be judged by the review board: for its political relevancy. Forpolitical relevancy in art is such a rare thing, that an artwork or exhibitionthat is politically relevant is certainly on the way to achieving radicalstatus.

4.    Another aspect to radicality is its need for accuracy.Inductive logic, that is logic based on probabilities judged from livedexperience, is preferred to deductive logic, although we love Sherlock Holmes. Butnot everyone is as capable as Sherlock. Experience is the basis of all trueknowledge. For that reason, there will be fund-raising instruments, so thatRadical Praxes can support the work of art context actors exterior to thebeaten track, in order to draw benefit from their more liminal experiences.

5.    Hannah Arendt made a distinction in her thoughtbetween that or those she called the socialand those or that she called the political.Radical Praxes recognizes Arendt’s distinction: through our structure, andthe projects of our associates, both core and non-core, we intend to go beyondthe social and enter or become the political. This is the major motivationto become an associate of Radical Praxes, a meeting of equals on subjects ofimportance within and beyond the art context. Our politics should provide models for alternatives to the currentstratification of wealth and power in the art world, and also in the politicalworld and the world of commerce. If the political class can perceive that the Arendtianpolitics that we engender is actuallywhat they should embody, then it will be a great victory for Radical Praxis.

6.    In the wake of two series of four exhibitions, each ofwhich is called a theme, there will follow a Radical Praxes conference aroundwhich associates are invited to orientate. There are two themes per year, eightper cycle. The conferences are held annually in April. The founding conferencehowever will be held in February 2017. The organisation of the annualconference is the responsibility of the secretary.

7.    Themes are curatorial big concepts: such asabstraction or conceptualism. They may also be plucked from politics orphilosophy, or any other academic discipline. Even sport science.

8.   Obviously, the picking of a theme is a particularlycontentious situation. Themes may be suggested by any associate, and are votedon by the entire membership. First come first served. 51% vote required forlegitimacy. The first theme of Radical Praxes’ core programme will be selectedby the founding presidency on the advice of all associates.

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