1. When you were invited to be a member of the jury that selected the project for the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2005, were any strategies or methodological norms regarding the evaluation procedure communicated to you? Can you detail?
2. What were the general criteria for selection and the priorities that you applied to the participating projects?
3. What were, in your opinion, the qualities that detached the winning project from the others?
4. Do you have any suggestions for improving the selection procedure?
1. No, I cannot. When I arrived there, the State Secretary Virgil Nitulescu tried to define the criteria but they sounded so ridiculous that we decided to eliminate by repeated ballots the low-quality projects in order to be able thus to discuss thoroughly the acceptable ones…Five projects remained at issue. The final classification was determined by polling. The representative of the Ministry played only an advisory role.
2. I have no idea how the others judged the projects, but I judged according to what I know about the international scene, about the Venice Biennale (practically and conceptually), and about those who proposed the projects. From my experience, I can say that what is written on paper matches vaguely what will be shown in the Pavilion. And this for objective reasons, but also from constraints that nobody anticipates when sitting cross-legged in an office with air conditioning. This is to say that the project serves purely an orientation purpose and only the main idea will probably remain. If you read now Daniel Knorr’s project, it’s possible not to be extraordinarily thrilled by it. Its setting in the Pavilion and Babias’ contribution intensified and positively changed what looked facile and slightly sly in the project phase. To return to our discussion, I voted for intelligence. I knew it would have impact and that it would be well done. It seemed to me that, in the Romanian Pavilion, after a series of cold and rather complicated digital art, a conceptual project would be welcomed. I was right.
3. It was a good project, not a sketchy compilation of artists. It had courage. It created a platform for the future projects; it was not an ode for the participating artists. The project of Daniel Knorr interrogated the context within which we all act. It placed it higher than in reality.
4. Two days are essentially needed: the first for reading the projects, the second for discussing them. Those who don’t see the files before are easy to manipulate. The members of the jury must be changed every two years. The jury must include active and internationally present artists and curators. It’s necessary for the jury to know the Biennales’ phenomenon in general and the Venice one in particular. The starting budget must also be known. But the direct appointment of a curator or of an artist might be an equally good and just procedure. Without contest. This would reveal who is en vogue at a certain moment and what the current establishment really wants. If not, I suggest announcing the contest in local art magazines, on-line art forums and websites. It could be settled that the contest will take place in November (and not in January), two years from now. It’s a biennale, isn’t it?