In formation

18 Jul 2017 – 20 Aug 2017

Cost of entry

£1 Day Entry

ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Circus/Charing Cross

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A two-month long programme of public events assembled to explore the ICA’s role as a civic institution.


Today we are faced with the dismantling of public institutions and the common worlds they represent; in the contemporary political arena, notions of collective understanding and shared purpose are increasingly contorted towards authoritarian ends. Widening economic disparities expose the ways in which 'democracy' is founded on mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.  

In formation discusses the need for, and practices the formation of, spaces that allow multiple perspectives to co-exist. This summer, the Institute of Contemporary Arts configures itself around a loose programme of public events, assembled to explore the ICA’s supposed role as a civic institution.   

In formation is a platform for discussion and experimentation, and for sharing ideas and knowledge, while also opening future perspectives on the ways in which the ICA architecture is used and how the organisation might operate within it. In formation includes speculative presentations and actions from a wide range of activists, artists and thinkers, building on existing as well as emerging contributions to today’s cultural and socio-political discourse.  

In formation encompasses inquiries into shifting and uneven spaces of sociality and commonality, from urbanism and housing, to the physical and abstract boundaries that delimit the movement of people. In formation takes shape through art’s capacity to bring into being hybrid and complex forms of collectivity. Ignoring typical disciplinary divisions, In formation’s programme is organised collectively by a group of ICA Staff, and extends this principle by inviting publics and participants to treat the 'Institute' as a place of connected and sustained engagements.  

Many emerging movements and contemporary organisations share a drive to form the spaces necessary for the production and promotion of social justice. There is a real and pressing need to (re-) establish the role of the contemporary arts in this regard, rather than assume their civic virtue. In formation asks what an organisation such as the ICA might become, and for whom. It sees the act of gathering around art and ideas as deeply entwined with the urgent social and political concerns of today.    

Participants include Khalid Abdalla, Nana Adusei-Poku, Jessica Ashman, Julie Béna, Massimo de Angelis, Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, EAVI, Tamer El Said, Yance Ford, Maja and Reuben Fowkes (Translocal Institute), GUAP Magazine, Caspar Heinemann, ICA Student Forum, Islington Centre for Migrants & Refugees, Last Yearz Interesting Negro/Jamila Johnson-Small, NIC Kay, Luce Irigaray, Hamish MacPherson, Ewa Majewska, Sophie Mallett, James Massiah, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Chantal Mouffe, Quantum Natives, Jack Self, Derica Shields, The Slumflower, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, Werkflow, Jan-Werner Müller, Frank B. Wilderson and Young Girl Reading Group (Dorota Gawęda & Eglė Kulbokaitė).


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