Radical Praxes 00b(i)
Matthew Burbidge

1. Radicality can be political, and it can be physical, chemical and mathematical. It can be educational. Radicality can be architectural, literary, literal, musical and even artistic.

2. Radical Praxes is a politically active commonality made up of art makers, art disseminators and art thinkers.

3. It is based around a core gallery programme that is cyclical in structure. A cycle takes four years. But the people are Radical Praxes. Radical Praxes is responsible for its gallery, and for its statements. But the people are Radical Praxes.

4. The leitmotif of Radical Praxes is a consideration of ‘radicality’ insofar that all exhibitions in the core programme are accepted initially as proposals by the review board, made up of ten members of Radical Praxes. The review board then decides whether an exhibition is radical enough to be presented by Radical Praxes.

5. Radicality is the leitmotif of the exhibition programme. This does not of course mean that other topics are excluded. You can talk radically about cinema, for example. Or talk about radical cinema. Leitmotif is an Anglicization of the German for ‘leading motif’ or ‘guiding motif’. One may see it as the smallest structural unit possessing thematic identity.

6. For every show in the core exhibition series that Radical Praxes is responsible for, an art thinker will be commissioned to write an essay. This expenditure is calculated as core expenditure, and is absolutely central to the programme. The programme will thus generate theory and discourse even in its default state. 

7. Radical Praxes is also an experiment in democracy, in solidarity, and in communication and its media. The political structure of Radical Praxes is deliberately constructed to throw light upon the functioning of representative democracy. As such, the art historian with an interest in politics will be able to make a model for study out of the story of Radical Praxes. The story of Radical Praxes can be compared to the story of a political party, though to become accurate, that simile has to be recontextualised.

8. This apart from the more obvious fact that the programme of Radical Praxes will, if it simply runs its course, provide us with the most considered definition of the important word ‘radical’ that the art world possesses. It won’t touch the definitions of mathematics, viz.: In commutative ring theory, a branch of mathematics, the radical of an ideal I is an ideal such that an element x is in the radical if some power of x is in I. A radical ideal (or semi-prime ideal) is an ideal that is its own radical (this can be phrased as being a fixed point of an operation on ideals called ‘radicalization’). The radical of a primary ideal is prime. But art being art, we will make use of mathematical definitions too. For this one, the radical of an ideal, exactly mirrors our predicament.  

1. There are 32 core members of Radical Praxes. Each core member has the final responsibility for one of the 32 shows in the core exhibition programme, which has a cycle four years long. 

2. Core members are elected at the end of each cycle, by the existing membership. For the first cycle the first core members will be invited by the presidency. Each new member selected in this way has a right to suggest further members, core or associate: subject to a 51% vote in favour by already existing members.

3. The president is a core member, and has a casting vote. 

4. The presidency is for a period of 2 years, subject to biennial presidential elections. In addition to the president, the presidency also consists of two other roles: that of treasurer, and that of secretary.

5. The most important factor in all of this is the review board. It is the board that creates almost all of the bureaucracy. Ten members are elected for each exhibition year, starting May 1. Every member may go up for election to the board in February, including associate members, who are not part of the core. 

6. Associate members have equal status to core members, but do not have the responsibility of putting on one of the exhibitions in the core programme. Associate members cannot run for the presidency. They are invited to suggest that Radical Praxes sponsor exhibitions, media actions, physical interventions in public space, and other artistic disseminations. Subject to initial approval by the board, such projects are then voted on by all members: a 51% vote in favour of a project ensures that Radical Praxes will sponsor it. Associate members are admitted and expelled (if necessary) on the proposal and vote of the 32 core members. 

7. The founding president is the writer of this list. The president’s basic duties are to run the exhibition space, represent Radical Praxes to the media and the art world in general, and most importantly, to operate Radical Praxes as a theory-generating engine. Every member is expected to bring to Radical Praxes the reality of a radical praxis that they either embody, or which is embodied in the work or the person of someone else, to the core: from which theory will be generated, as if from a spinning rotor.  

8. Changes to the constitution of Radical Praxes can be made at the annual conference on the proposal of a member, which must then achieve a majority in a full vote of all members. 

1. Radical Praxes is governed by a dedication to inductive logic, and to a lesser extent, deductive logic. You may infer from this that artists and art workers with the typically medieval belief in their predestined immortality are not welcome to join as members. Such artists and art workers can of course though be invited to work with us by a member as part of a radical proposal that will then go to the review board.

2. Radicality has a few essential ethical qualities, which sadly, even in the 21st century, need to be spelled out. Racism, sexism, or prejudice towards any person on the basis of a judgement about the way they look or act privately, or their background or class is absolutely taboo: both in the behaviour of members to each other and towards the general public; and this also applies of course in an oblique way to the content and form of any Radical Praxes iterations. You cannot work with us if you are a sexist. Despite this injunction, which will rule out a lot of male abstract painters: many of the themes of Radical Praxes will be about racism, sexism, and other ignorant prejudices; in short, about political realities. 

3. For this is one way in which an exhibition or other proposal will be judged by the review board: for its political relevancy. For political relevancy in art is such a rare thing, that an artwork or exhibition that is politically relevant is certainly on the way to achieving radical status. 

4. Another aspect to radicality is its need for accuracy. Inductive logic, that is logic based on probabilities judged from lived experience, is preferred to deductive logic, although we love Sherlock Holmes. But not everyone is as capable as Sherlock. Experience is the basis of all true knowledge. For that reason, there will be fund-raising instruments, so that Radical Praxes can support the work of art context actors exterior to the beaten track, in order to draw benefit from their more liminal experiences.

5. Hannah Arendt made a distinction in her thought between that or those she called the social and those or that she called the political. Radical Praxes recognizes Arendt’s distinction: through our structure, and the projects of our members, both core and associate, we intend to go beyond the social and enter or become the political. This is the major motivation to become a member of Radical Praxes, a meeting of equals on subjects of importance within and beyond the art context. Our politics should provide models for alternatives to the current stratification of wealth and power in the art world, and also in the political world and the world of commerce. If the political class can perceive that the Arendtian politics that we engender is actually what they should embody, then it will be a great victory for Radical Praxis.


6. In the wake of two series of four exhibitions, each of which is called a theme, there will follow a Radical Praxes conference around which members are invited to orientate. There are two themes per year, eight per cycle. The conferences are held annually in April. The founding conference however will be held in February 2016. The organisation of the annual conference is the responsibility of the secretary. 

7. Themes are curatorial big concepts: such as abstraction or conceptualism. They may also be plucked from politics or philosophy, or any other academic discipline. Even sport science.

8. Obviously, the picking of a theme is a particularly contentious situation. Themes may be suggested by any core member, and are voted on by the entire membership. First come first served. 51% vote required for legitimacy. The first theme of Radical Praxes will be selected by the founding presidency on the advice of all members.