K.Ö.N.I.G./K.Ö.N.I.G Dienst am Kunden - Nr. 7

26. September 1999

Concept: Anne Schlöpke

Krönung, at the Venice Biennale
Artservice, project and campaign

AS GUEST IN THE 'SERENISSIMA': K.O.N.I.G. found its crowning finale at this year's Venice Biennale.

This year KünstlerHaus Bremen was invited to present the project K.O.N.I.G./K.O.N.I.G. Dienst am Kunden in the Italian pavilion of the Biennale.
The invitation was extended by ORESTE, a network of Italian artists, who were invited by Harald Seemann to occupy a space in the central pavilion of the Giardini. The aim of the group is to promote an exchange among artists, to develop new group strategies, to create free spaces for ideas, interventions and projects, "to identify and experience channels of communication". For the entire duration of the Biennale, ORESTE has invited artist groups, organisers of off-spaces and independent projects to contribute their concepts and experiences to the discussion.

The K.O.N.I.G. day was Sunday, 26 September. Presentation and action were under the motto COMMUNICATION-SERVICE.
(Also invited were Rita Canarezza and Pier Paolo Coro from San Marino, whose artistic strategies aim in a similar direction to our K.O.N.I.G. project's question of art as service).

We decided on an action appropriate to the situation and the question of our project:
+ Appearance as artservice personnel (recognisable by name badge, "official" sticker and clothing).
+ Short interviews with visitors on the question "What do you want from the art/the artist at this moment?"
+ Giving away a selection of artists' statements on 'art versus service' that we had received during the project (translated in English).
+ Giving away Venice postcards stamped with the K.Ö.N.I.G. stamp.

Communication and presence were thus at the centre of our action. Instead of handing out concept papers and written documentation (which may be taken along but are rarely read due to the overabundance of information), we embodied the project.
In conversations with the visitors, we also reported on the individual events of K.O.N.I.G.; photos, which were unpretentiously placed on the conference tables, videos and CDs, editions of the project and brief information about the participating artists served as visual aids. The action was surprisingly successful. By introducing ourselves by name and offering dialogue, anonymity was broken. Freed from the passive role of the viewer taking in the tour, the recipient was suddenly the centre of attention, became part of the action. Intensive conversations developed about expectations and desires of art, strategies of artists and the K.Ö.N.I.G. project.

The rather casual way in which the material was presented aroused curiosity and the possibility to sit at the tables invited people to delve into the material that was spread out.
We had not expected such a positive response from the visitors to our service offer.

At the roundtable discussion, which followed our action and the presentation of the two artists from San Marino, the question of art as a service was dealt with in depth once again, different positions via artists who thread themselves into social structures were discussed. the economic and cultural-political possibilities of networks were examined.
For our further work, international contacts with colleagues resulted with the option of joint projects and expansion of the network, among other things with the aim of joint fundraising.

Bremen, den 04.10.99
Anne Schlöpke, Isolde Loock, Barbara Thiel (Künstlerhaus Bremen)