Conference: Punctum Ceasura – art criticism in a new public sphere

29 november - 30 november - 23:59 Open arrangement

What role does art criticism play outside of urban centers? How does this relate to the new public sphere? These are some of the questions for a two-day conference on art criticism in a new public sphere.

When: 29/11 at 12pm – 30/11 at 14 pm
Where: Badhotellet, Ågatan 16, Tranås. It will include a voluntary dinner session in the evening and an early morning pre breakfast session in and around the the hotel pool.
The conference will be located in Sweden’s oldest bath hotel, “Badhotellet”, in the city of Tranås in the Småland region of southern Sweden. Tranås can easily be accessed by bus and train with good connections from Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen/Kastrup.

Through lectures, workshops and conversations, the conference Punctum Ceasura discusses art criticism’s possibility to act beyond economic pressure and the demands from mechanisms of centralisation. What are the convergencies between art criticism and pedagogy, or between art criticism and public art? Confirmed participants (more TBA): Erika Balsom (London), Cristina Bogdan (Bucharest), Macarena Dusant (Stockholm), iLiana Fokianaki (Athens and Rotterdam), Maja Hammarén (Gothenburg), Jessica Skrubbe (Stockholm), Parvin Ardalan (Malmö), Stine Marie Jacobsen (New York), Mårten Arntzén (Stockholm), Andros Zins-Browne (Brussles), Kristian Vistrup Madsen (Berlin) and Kim West (Stockholm).

The conference is arranged by Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Mike Bode and Frida Sandström within the framework of the international and interregional project New Småland, in collaboration with the Public Art Agency. Read more about Punctum Ceasura here.


Conference fee: 200 SEK if you do not need accommodation (students, unemployed or low income 50 SEK).
Participation (single room, breakfast, refreshements and amnities): 1.200 SEK
Reduced fee (students, unemployed and low incomes): 500 SEK.

Email before 31 October 2018.
State your name, e-mail and telephone number and level of participation. RSVP for the dinner session is required.


Punctum ceasura is the blind spot of the gaze, an absolute lack of activity. The word ceasura also implies the pause in movement or sound that enables an ongoing rhythm in dance and music. Without the ceasura, there would be no contrast – there would be no dance, no music. As such, the ceasura is essential for making, experiencing as well as speaking about artworks. This conference highlights the role of such a pause. Departing from art criticism and other actors within the field outside of urban centres, in the so-called periphery, we look at the strategies being developed partly in response to a new, centralised and market-driven media landscape. What does locality mean to arts, media and criticism in a future public sphere? Can being off-centre imply alternative methods of producing and discussing art?

We can agree that value of cultural criticism lies beyond the number of issues sold in stores or the amount of clicks, likes and shares generated online. The role of art criticism needs to be discussed on a larger scale, as part of an evolving new public sphere. Art criticism is certainly affected by geographic boundaries and current media landscapes. Pedagogy, in its turn, is an activity without products, which stretches the gaze and the resonance of the work, highlighting it’s possible consequences in a future Art world. The so-called “crisis” in art criticism is here seen as crisis for media platforms in general. We want to direct our gaze to the blind spot, asking for alternative languages and spaces of expression.

Looking into on the future, with an impending harsher cultural climate; artists, critics, educators and art institutions will have to work closer and yet remain at arms-length-distance in relation to each other. The new public sphere is definitely complex, and this is one way of approaching it beyond short-term solutions. Through critical reflections from several fields of professions, we aim at initiating the start of a new turn in art criticism. To enable this, we have invited writers, artists and organisers to whom art criticism, in different ways, is essential.

This conference is the starting point for a continued discussion. An in-depth reflection from the conference will be published in New Småland’s coming three year publication with planned release in late 2019.

New Småland is organised and funded by Kalmar Art Museum, Kulturparken Småland, Vandalorum and Växjö Konsthall together with The Region of Jönköping County, Region Kronoberg and Regional Council of Kalmar County and Linnéuniversitetet with support from The Swedish Arts Council.

Photo: Video still från Katrina Neiburga’s two-channel video verk Pickled Long Cucumbers (2017)