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The Iaşi Library – Cristian NAE: Creative reading workshops – Ways of artistic knowledge

March – April 2014 Iaşi
7-9 Al. Lăpuşneanu St.

Over the past two years, Iaşi managed to acquire a selection of books – which did not necessarily follow a precise concept – in order to create a small-scale public library related to contemporary art and curating. This process made us think about how libraries are built according to various subjectivities, and therefore the natural way to grow our book collection would be to have it designed by our audience in workshops and other kind of construction processes, involving the periodic commitment of a certain group of people. Hence, we thought about inviting someone whose academic and curatorial skills, alongside with a solid knowledge of the local audience, would engage in such a process, in the shape of a series of workshops.

This person was Cristian Nae, a PhD associate professor of art theory at the G. Enescu University of Arts of Iaşi. His suggestion was to organize "Ateliere de lecturi creative – moduri ale cunoașterii artistice / Creative reading workshops – Ways of artistic knowledge". Iaşi, Cristian Nae and the workshop participants will thus embark on a rather different way of viewing and building an art library. The workshops will be held weekly for two months, starting 8 March 2014.

"Lacking a material, discrete and quantifiable product, reading is a form of knowledge production that has rarely been seen as what it is in fact – a form of abstract cognitive work capable of evading the frameworks this production occurs in, due to its volatile character. What happens, though, when reading is a form of knowledge about the world escaping the discipline boundaries imposed by the current education system? What happens when we no longer have experts who possess the knowledge, but instead many modes of collective curiosity, still not formalised into systems and rules, when reading is no longer a passive and solitary pastime, but instead a form of collective critical activity, unregimented in social terms, capable of configuring micro-communities united by their passion for debate and their desire to produce change? [...]"

"[...] The term «creative reading» draws on the idea that reading is not juts a passive form of recording information, but rather an active form of participating in cultural life, capable of negotiating and even challenging the dominant meanings in a certain social configuration. By investigating the multiple overlappings of art and the social sphere, the term challenges the separation between the art sphere and the social sphere, as well as that between artistic knowledge and other knowledge forms or practices. Also, starting from the ability art has to build forms and materialise knowledge processes capable of challenging social structures, the creative reading workshop aims to shape the political, historical and social imagination of its participants through practices of critical and collective reading practices." (Cristian Nae)

You can sign up for the workshops by writing to, starting with 4 March 2014.

Cristian Nae is an art critic and theorist, currently working as Ph.D. lecturer at the "G. Enescu" University of Arts in Iasi. He is a former NEC and Getty-NEC fellow of "New Europe College" Institute of Advanced Studies in Bucharest and a postdoctoral researcher at UAGE Iasi. He is also a former editor of Vector Magazine (2006-2008) and contributor and member in the editing staff for several journals and reviews (such as IDEA, ARTA, Artmargins). He is interested in aesthetics, contemporary art history (especially in Eastern Europe) cultural and visual studies.