The Agency for Legal Imagination: 2015-18 / A publication including a survey on 10 years of Ludlow 38

The Agency for Legal Imagination (ALI) is an independent organization dedicated to the investigation of the existing and imagined relations between legal and artistic imagination, as well as between visual and legal activism. Existing as an adaptable platform based on exchange and collaboration between institutions, individual practitioners, and scholars from the fields of art, law and politics, the ALI can provide theoretical analysis and creative, new perceptions on justice, imagination, as well as visual and judicial activism. Through the untangling of spaces, gaps, and lacunae in which both fields of practice and knowledge intersect, the ALI sets in motion an exploration of influences and interactions between law and art. Offering a new critical approach and methodology, the ALI aims at establishing novel ways to rethink the position of art and cultural institutions while re-imagining the law and its institutions.

As the Agency for Legal Imagination’s residency in New York is coming to an end, this publication functions as a report that provides an in-depth overview and visual picture of the ALI’s various activities since 2015. On the one hand, the book establishes a curatorial field of research and practice about the reciprocity between law and art, and, on the other, it aims to prompt a critical reflection about those relations. Delineating a new theoretical field, this book puts forward a curatorial practice that connects art and legal institutions or practitioners with new publics. Arranged in a non-linear fashion, this publication starts with “We Indict!” the first New York exhibition organized by the ALI in 2018 and ends with Motions, a program on the traumatic effects of immigration law co-curated with Adelita Husni Bey, and UnLocal board members Raoul Anchondo and Christhian Diaz (November-December, 2018).

Also, the year 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, an initiative of the New York delegation of the Goethe-Institut working in 98 locations worldwide. This decade-long curatorial engagement in New York City calls for a critical reflection about Ludlow 38’s practice and knowledge production in the New York arts community as well as in contemporary German art and culture.

The Agency for Legal Imagination initiated Ludlow 10, a preliminary study focusing on the curatorial staff and the artists who, since 2008, have been actively affiliated with Ludlow 38 (see PDF above). The ALI opted to use the exclusive database collected by the Goethe-Institut in order to trigger questions and ignite an overdue conversation regarding race, gender, and age.

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