Systems Art Manifesto


Something is rotten in the current art systems. So we think it’s time to start thinking about things – for instance about the art of organizing art or what art is all about – apart from fast money, art functionaries, dichotomous worldviews, boring museums, global art jet setting and eccentric parties with incredibly hip and incredibly rich people.

This manifesto is meant as an idea to help rethinking, evolving and innovating the art systems. It is for artists of all kinds, for curators, art organizations and institutions (exhibitions, projects, museums, galleries, universities…), art historians, art lovers and all people who enjoy solving complex problems and just for people who are interested.

Why? Because we believe that art is an important value and key-factor in shaping our future into a sustainable one. A future that goes beyond money, traveling, luxury, status symbols and higher-faster-further-thinking. Along with an intact environment, art is the foundation and source for a dynamic, interesting, reflecting individual life in a complex digital world. And we need this rise of personal complexity. The variety of self-expressing and making art is a crucial resource to keep us humans (as human systems – to speak with Niklas Luhmann) connected and in a stable balance. We love the approach of systems art and want to revive and develop it further.

  1. Make art not business.
    (You are an artist, not a brand – get naked and rule the world.)
  2. Stay playful and agile.
    (Copying sucks!)
  3. Don’t take yourself and art too seriously.
    (We are all in this shit together and have to solve bigger problems right now.)
  4. Embrace diversity.
    (See Ashby’s Law of requisite variety and Heinz von Foerster’s ethical imperative)
  5. Experiment and listen sincerely to others.
    (Get rid of your mental models, practice something new – at least once a day.)
  6. Fail fast, fail forward.
    (Shame and distress can be powerful tipping-points.)
  7. Stay autonomous – at least, as far as possible.
    (Autonomy is the most powerful force of art. See Theodor W. Adorno and Max Weber: The utopian potential of art.)
  8. The process is art – we are social sculptures.
    (It’s fun to exchange and evolve together.)
  9. We prefer self-organized, heterarchical networks to exclusive hierarchies and snobby art institutions.
    (Let’s hack the systems with guerrilla art.)
  10. We see ourselves as a part of a collaborating, sustainable, circular society and environment and of various interconnected dynamic systems.
    (That’s why we use agile and systems thinking methods like holistic thinking, Gestalttheorie, phenomenology, constructivism and scrum, system pertubations and a new approach of epic theatre )

Version 2022-06-30

Picture: Performance by “Karin Frings. Was willst du von mir wissen? Klasse Kinoshita” (Art Exhibit, Kunstakademie Münster, 27.6.2022) (Read my column about that)

(This systems art manifesto is agile and will evolve constantly with new insights.)


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