ICA-Sofia Gallery
34, Vasil Levski Blvd Sofia, Bulgaria, CO 1504


Cliche as Identity

April - September 2004

The main marker for belonging to a certain cultural community is the ability to recognize and reproduce the common clichйs. The verbal clichйs seem to be more obvious and thus we have a greater critical distance to them. What is thought the role of the visual clichй in the construction of various identities such as national, gender, religious, etc.? What is the relationship between the visual clichй and the discursive one? Does one depend directly on the other or is there a different kind of dynamics between them?

The use (or the abuse) of the clichй in the artistic practices is becoming more important. Is an artistic statement possible at all without relaying somehow on the clichй? The process is ambiguous: on one side, irony is undermining the clichй and disturbs its trust value; on the other, it may actually be recalling and re-confirming it.

Not every one is able to identify the visual clichйs. The local knowledge about them constitutes a clear border between the locals and the foreign. We are here the ones who can recognize certain clichйs regardless whether we worship or ironize those. The knowledge of global clichйs is just a case of that: not everyone can identify them; although universal, these are after all distinguishing one slim layer of the enlightened ones over the rest.

The Resident Fellows Program is the product of a partnership between the ICA-Sofia and CAS-Sofia activities and programs on a more theoretical level. It will be organised by the Centre for Advanced Studies Sofia in accordance with the ICA. Within a given year, CAS hosts four resident fellows from Bulgaria for a period of six months each. They come from the fields of contemporary visual arts, other artistic areas, or academia and are selected by the Experts' Unit of the Visual Seminar based on their submitted applications and the application/selection procedures appropriate in such cases. The resident fellows have a stipend and reside in Sofia for the period of their fellowships while working on a specific artistic or research project related both to the topic of the “Visual Seminar” project and to the other activities of CAS. The finalized projects are presented in public in Sofia and discussed by the Forum of Visual Culture (see Module 1).

The idea of cooperation between academics and artists is based on the familiar experience of the Centers for Advanced Study in Europe and USA. Their established practice involves the artists’ participation in the intellectual community of researchers gathered for other research projects of the Centers for Advanced Study. They engage in, and contribute to, the debates and the heuristic atmosphere of the Centers and develop their own artistic projects based on this experience.

Such fellows would be selected by a special procedure appropriate in such cases.

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