Caption for Going Inside/Going Public, Falke Pisano (2022), a site-specific public audio installation translated to video, shown in successive versions over first months of Where Should We Begin?

Where Should We Begin?

Producing value, resisting value and giving value in institutional context, through labour, speculation, (in)visibility and narrative

Artists/cultural practitioners continuously enter into institutional contexts that put demands and expectations on them and make them demand and expect certain things from themselves. Much of this can be traced back to the (colonialist, heteropatriarchal, racist) capitalist system and logic we live in. These internal and external expectations and demands make it difficult to take the direct financial remuneration they receive as a measure of quantitative or qualitative value for the different forms of labour they engage in, to produce and present a work of art, to contribute to a public programme, or to write a text. Despite recent positioning of the artistic practitioner as a cultural worker and the introduction of Fair Pay as part of the Fair Practice Code (in NL) developed by the cultural field itself, they rely on additional value producing mechanisms. They work many hours because they believe it will pay off in different ways (the work will be better/better received). They include visibility into the category of remuneration (the value of which will translate in more opportunities in the future). They consider the narratives they are included in or are able to co-shape as part of what gives their work its value (whether these are art world discourses of value or narratives that represent our their values).

In the public programme Superhost 2022: Where should we begin? we investigate these interlocking value producing mechanisms: labour, speculation, visibility and narrative, and the tensions they produce within us as we take part in them, are not able to take part in them and/or do not want to take part in them. What questions arise when we pay extra close attention to our personal experience of the material and systemic conditions in which we work? What information can we draw from it? How do our tensions and discomforts relate to those of others? How do we relate to the tensions, discomforts and conditions of others? What happens if we bring our curiosity, desires and imagination to the tensions we experience? Are we able to develop strategies to intervene in our own conditioning and that of the institutional context around us?

Where should we begin? consists of situated research that aims at collapsing discursive and material realities. To allow for this to unfold, the programme is kept quite open despite an overall structure, a basic methodology and certain lines of inquiry that have been determined on forehand. Throughout the year the programme will develop recursively, on the basis of questions that arise as a transparency is created towards the conditions in which the programme comes to be. 


SUPERHOST is a programme of M HKA investing in a year-long relationship between an artist or a collective practice, the museum and its participating communities, and supporting the production of artworks, performative or discursive creations.

SUPERHOST 2022, the second edition of the series is a project by Falke Pisano titled  Where Should We Begin?. It consists of a site-specific installation, displays of artworks by invited artists, performative works, lectures, screenings, interviews and workshops conducted by the host and its guests throughout a year.

Where Should We Begin? forms a sustained, multi-layered (practical, conversational and artistic) research into labour conditions in the field of art, with a specific focus on the labour involved in public programming in art institutions. How do we pay attention to and include the broader context while thinking, articulating, negotiating, administrating, coordinating, communicating, producing, making public, and so on? What forces shape the way we work and the decisions we make?

Situated within the museum, this research aims at collapsing discursive ideals and material realities to discover how different practitioners carve out a space for imagination and desire as they consciously negotiate the conditions in which they work.