Summer Plenary 2016 - Course Proposals
We are the Social
This course explores the concept of the social bond as a source material for making art. We will discuss whether art can be an agent for social change and, if so, what the responsibility of the artist might be. I will show examples of artworks made during specific political and social events. The morning gatherings will explore concepts such as consensus based decision making, agency, event, relational aesthetics, socially engaged arts practice, social media, democracy, class, economic contexts, the glocal, hegemony, power and artivism. We will explore key works by Jeremy Deller (especially ‘The Battle of Orgreave’), Tania Buguera, Santiago Sierra, Ellie Harrison, the suffragettes and other time and site specific works.
On Personae, Fiction, and Identity
“There are more I’s than I myself,” so said Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Writing under the guise of more than seventy-five distinct authors in The Fictions of the Interlude, Pessoa goes on to say “To pretend is to know ourselves.”This three-day workshop will explore the various ways in which the life of fiction might be roused, creating characters that oftentimes almost silently emerge in our artworks. As a way to investigate both the true and imagined self, we will adopt the strategies of imitation and invention as a way to coax these characters to come out and play. As we dive into ambiguity, historical myths, gender roles, and the fantastic we will discover how research begins to percolate through the act of merely being human.We will look at a variety of artists and writers whose work explores the idea of fiction and false personae including, Claude Cahun, Jorge Luis Borges, Marcel Duchamp, Walid Raad and the Atlas Group, Klya Kabakov, Joan Fontcuberta, Michael Ondaatje, Keith Waldrop, Andrea Fraser, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Eleanor Antin.
Day Trip to Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain)
This one-day field excursion will explore Teufelsberg, a hill reaching 120.1 meters above sea level and made up of approximately 400,000 bombed out houses that ultimately cover and bury a Nazi military training school. On top of this mound there still exists the American listening stations used during the Cold War. We will spend the day touring the grounds as well as using the landscape as a backdrop for our field studio. Students may draw, record (audio and visual), write, wander and reflect on the vast history of this site.
This course explores our relationship to the concept of family. What does it mean to be a mother or a father? What is our relation to our parents? What happens when the subject is missing? How do we relate to our siblings? What about twins? Through the Oedipus concept, Freud ascertained we are born into a great trauma, one that is universal, as well as evolutionary. The importance of this is reflected in the substantial body of works of art that discuss family ties, from Candice Breitz video installations ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ and Yoko Ono’s ‘My mommy is beautiful’ to Sophie Calle’s moving video of the last moments of her mother’s life.
Smuggling as Curatorial Practice after the ethnographic turn – 3 day workshop with guests
Lately, ethnographic oriented artistic works appear especially in Mid-European countries increasingly. These approaches are interested in foreign social, cultural, economic and political forms of life in society. This development results from the national frictions of globalization in the post-coldwar-era and the interest in art to involve with the Others. On the backdrop of the new Humboldt Forum and the re-building of the Prussian castle in the city centre of Berlin discourses about the relationship between visual art, anthropology and art history are absolutely en vogue.
Is this great interest in artistic interpretations of the ethnographic connected to the production of identities and the question of Global Art in times of crisis? How do artists work with ethnography today? And how can we undermine the dichotonomy of the North-West vs. the South-East after the Ethnographic Turn? I understand the workshop as a research-based practice and a reflexive contribution in the context of a globalized art world with new power constellations. Smuggling, a term has raised by British art theoriest’s Irit Rogoff, is a reflexive entanglement of art historical and anthropological knowledge, since I believe that both disciplines can complement each other and expand. Guests will be part of the workshop.
Under a Spell
This one-day workshop introduces artists to methods for creating in states of light trance. In the first half there will be a short history of artists who create/d in altered states of consciousness, and discussion of various methods for working in trance. In the second half, participants will be lead through a guided meditation designed to invoke another state of consciousness, after which we will create works of performance, visual art, and/or writing.
Day Trip to Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité
This one-day field excursion will explore the Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité (Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité) touring the collection of Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902), the inventor and grandfather of modern pathology. We will take time throughout the tour to draw, write, and discuss the concepts, ethics and politics surrounding not only the body and its relationship to medicine but wider notion of the ‘collector.’
Tools of Conflict Engagement
Many artists today are working in collaborative and partnership situations with other artists, other professionals and communities. Often this engagement brings up difficult cultural and personal differences amongst the parties. Differences that are not understood can become an impasse to working together and result is conflict. How we communicate can have a tremendous impact on relations across conflicting differences. There is nothing wrong with difference, nor with conflict, in fact we need challenges to go beyond what we already know in order to develop creative options. Conflict is human, so is difference. What we often lack are models of how to engage with conflict in generative rather than adversarial ways.Workshop participants will creatively adapt engagement tools to meet specific issues that they face or expect to face in their artistic practices.Tools that we will explore include:
Bias Awareness, Dynamic Listening, Focused Conversation, Consensus Building, Dialogue Facilitation, Conflict Mediation, Negotiation.
Leaving a Mark on the World: How do Marks Mean and to Whom do they Belong?
This 1 day workshop will focus on processes of marking. We will use the practice of drawing as a basis from which to expand our understanding of what marking might entail. We will primarily look at three different yet interrelated ways of conceptualizing marks and the activities of marking:
– As a re-enactment of the game of fort-da: A psychoanalytic approach developed, for example, in the work of psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron. This approach views marking as relational and as a way of performing, structuring, and understanding subjectivity
– As the traces or leftovers of an activity: The notion of the index, as developed by Charles Sanders Peirce
– As a simultaneous repetition and withdrawal relating to the “trace of the other”: An approach suggested by Jacques Derrida who proposes that all marks are self-effacing to some degreeWe will look at work by a variety of artists, including Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Cy Twombly, Marianna Uutinen, Robert Overby, Dorothea Rockburne, Louise Hopkins, Francis Alÿs, Ana Mendieta, and Katie Pratt.Through creative exercises, we will consider the following questions: What is a mark? How may we understand the activity of marking? What might be the relationship between a mark and the person who makes it?
Lost in Global Taste
As the old adage goes, you are what you eat. Each of us grew up with a family cuisine, a recipe passed down from one generation to another or – in some cases – a take-out or fast-food that defined one’s family kitchen. And these in turn inevitably were colored by the food cultures in which one’s family lived or felt was their cultural heritage. But, today these scaffoldings of identity are eroding. In our current age of globalization, restaurants, grocery stores and take-out markets carry the foods and ingredients of regional cuisines right to our door. What is being lost? What is being gained? Not only in terms of cultural identity, but also our physical beings? With these new foods being introduced into the body, are we also introducing new micro-organisms? Are we ultimately not only becoming more alike but also spawning new beings? And, ecologically is this a good thing? Shipping exotic spices takes a toll on our environment. But, learning about another culture’s culinary history and food also has a wonderful ability to bring people together. This class will explore this and more, culminating in a feast, where not only foo,d but a whole meal is transformed into an artwork.
The artist as writer as artist
This course examines the practice of writing as an artwork in itself. We will work on style and presentation and I will introduce you to methods of writing. We will explore how writers and artists write, and how they present their work in text, installation, book, performance or sound formats. We will explore genres, storytelling, tense, voice, instruments for writing, substrates, the relation between image and text, scores, who gets to speak and the act of performing text. I will show you examples of works by Sophie Calle, Sarah Tripp, Sharon Kivland, Guillermo Gomez Peña, Susan Brind, Liam Gillick, Tim Etchells, Jill Magid, Mike Nelson, Simon Fujiwara, Simon Morris, Alejandro Cesarco and many others.
Space As Play / Living Space of Freedom (Arendt)
Freedom, according to Hannah Arendt, depends upon the “capacity of motion which cannot exist without space.” She writes, “To live together in the world means essentially that a world of things is between those who have it in common, as a table is located between those who sit around it; the world, like every in-between, relates and separates men at the same time.” Berlin’s Mauerpark (“Wall Park”) takes a former forbidden zone dividing East and West and reactivates it as a communal site for leisure and culture. Today, there are even swings that sweep occupants in the air over the old dividing line — an instance of space as play resonating with Arendt’s “living space of freedom.” We will inquire into the meanings and interrelations of space, play, art, design, solitude, the social, urbanity, and freedom. A dynamic range of examples by individual artists, performing collectives, local groups, and governing bodies will guide and inspire us, from Theo Jansen’s “Strandbeests” and Gordon Matta-Clark’s site-specific architectural interventions; through a timeline of NYC subway actions by Adrian Piper, Ann Messner, Improv Everywhere, and others; through Palestinian Parkour’s juncture of athletics, acrobatics, and activism; to IBA Emscher Park and Ferropolis, German industrial regions that have been transformed into public parks. Ultimately, we will generate ideas, put forth proposals, and realize art works and public space projects expanding possibilities for space as play.
The Role of Chance
This course seeks to explore the role of chance (and its corollary – control) in art-making and their continued relevance to contemporary creative practice.This three day practical workshop begins with an examination of the historical origins of chance as an acknowledged mediator (or collaborator) in the artistic process before moving on to examine the ways in which artists have incorporated chance occurrences in their work. We’ll then move on to considering the workings of chance in our own individual practices and conduct an ‘audit’ of the workings of contingency and control in our respective processes, in order to ensure that the two are functioning in a well-balanced and considered way.We’ll also be examining the difference between chance and randomness, and exploring how ideas from physics, philosophy and art intersect and inform our understanding of these concepts. Artists and theorists who inform this workshop include William Anastasi, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Anthony Eagle, Max Ernst, Helen Frankethaler, Eva Hesse, Margaret Iverson, Ellsworth Kelly, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Dieter Roth, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Kazuo ShiragaEach day consists of a longer individual or collaborative practical assignment, backed up by presentations and class discussions of relevant artworks and readings, along with shorter exercises intended to bring the implications of the readings into sharper focus.
The seminar explores the meaning of “voice” from a range of different angles: voice as the medium of speech, voice as breath, voice as a musical medium, voice as a metaphor, voice as a political expression (as in vote), voice as disembodied technological medium, voice as a concept in grammar and literary theory.
The performance of inner art
Everything is fast. Everyone is faster. Our minds, thumbs, bodies move toward future robotization.. To stop and experience an ancient method of inner art, we will study the life of Teresa of Avila a mystic, teacher of contemplation and meditation. The 3 days of the workshop, we will live contemplatively/monastically, practicing the art of slow and learn a “how to” by studying Teresa of Avila’s life via CD lectures. After each CD, we will perform our interpretations of her teachings. The intention of the workshop is to co-create an atmosphere of still, inner beauty so as to incorporate these attitudes in our daily lives. Theory is also a component of the class and each day we will discuss 3 aspects of performance: 1. performance and autobiography. 2. performance and time, 3. performance and social justice.
Gedankenexperiment / Thought Experiment
: term used by German-born physicist Albert Einstein to describe his unique approach of using conceptual rather than actual experiments in creating the theory of relativity.
: an experiment carried out in thought only.
In this workshop, we will explore the precept that creativity is based on imagination, and we will seek deepened relations to our own ongoing bodies of art work. We will consider how scientists, artists, writers, and filmmakers have forged revelatory and revolutionary ground by way of thought experiments as a primary research (and creative) mode, from Einstein — who coined the term “Gedankenexperiment” in regard to his own process — to Adrian Piper — whose dual and inseparable identity as philosopher and artist have sparked odysseys into mind-body relations that, in turn, are anchors of 20th c. art history. For additional insight and inspiration, the eclectic course content also will include interdisciplinary artist Fred Forest and his theory of Communication Aesthetics, Jonas Mekas and other fluxus artists, the Marshmallow Experiment, filmmaker Peter Watkins and his radical projects Punishment Park and The War Game, Georges Perec and other Oulipo writers, and the Situationist International. We will invite personalities from different corners of Berlin to collaborate with us.
This seminar explores ramifications of the disappearance of tragic vocabulary and symbols in contemporary western culture, as theorized by Byung Chul Han and others. According to this critique, which can be traced back to Nietzsche’s criticism of the Socratic tragedy as an ‘excess of realism,’ it is possible to observe the gradual disappearance of thresholds of negativity in contemporary life. A culture that generates increasingly powerful affirmative discourses (from TED talks to social media) looses sight of the tragic aspects of human existence, and its language no longer offers a symbolic language available to describe loss, the defeats, failures, irredeemable suffering, in short, the tragic aspects of existence. Loss and failure become private matters to be dealt with in therapy sessions, the isolation of addiction, or corrected through self-help books and motivational seminars. Is it possible to recuperate a tragic vocabulary in the field of art? What would be gained in doing so? Is there a violence of positivity? The seminar examines such questions drawing on philosophical and aesthetic sources.
Resistance: defying the self
In 2011, Time Magazine named the “protester” person of the year, arguing that protest has become “the defining trope of our times” and the protester as “a maker of history”. More than anything, however, this form of resistance is a creative process. As an example Fluxus was a form of resistance, which is inevitable if you want to draw something out or interrogate something different that goes against the mainstream. Resistance is often used in the context of politics, but it is also a form of artistic expression and an artistic tool. During this workshop we will aim to research the topic of “resistance” in a variety of ways and seek to explore how we as artists are able to use this tool for our own artistic practices. In addition to theoretical framework, we too will face our own personal resistance towards ideas, concepts and the other. We will have discussion about ethical doubts or simply about the matter of taste, by looking at artists and theoreticians like Fluxus, Karen Finley, Teddy Cruz, Dusan Makavejev, Tehching Hsieh, Ron Athey and Rocio Boliver.
The Never-Ending Now
Recent research (Wittmann, 2014) suggests that the effective psychological duration of the subjective ‘now’ is two to three seconds. Similarly, studies by Melcher et al (2014) indicate that the human brain is able to order and process disordered stimuli into a coherent narrative if the jumbling is contained within the two to three second span identified by Wittmann.This workshop will explore the creative and philosophical implications of this research in relation to the multiple notions of ‘now’ implicit in different modes of creative practice. It will also bring them into dialogue with aspects of the work of Derrida and also Bakhtin’s concept of the Event in order to examine the utility of and relevance of these theoreticians to our re-thinking of the ‘now’.We’ll do this through a number of individual and collaborative practical exercises and class discussions of relevant texts. We’ll also look at works and writing by artists who have pushed against or played with notions of ‘now’, ‘presence’ and ‘present’, including Marina Abramovic, Laurie Anderson, Marcel Duchamp, Liam Gillick. Laura Owens, Peter Paul Rubens, Bill Viola and others.Alongside this, we’ll be thinking about larger notions of ‘now’, specifically in relation to the term ‘contemporary art’. We’ll be looking at how that term operates as a marker and also investigating the porosity of its boundaries, in an attempt to gain a deeper comprehension of the ways in which it functions in art world discourse.
The Book as Generative Form: Book Arts, Micro-publishing, and the Body as Book
We will explore the book as architecture: a bounded, framed space that marks out a space both visual and textual—a space to think, see, and touch. This 1 day course takes a look at how artists use books either with reverence, or in order to defy their power and to resist inscription. As a tool of dissemination, we’ll think about books in lots of forms, and explore micro-press traditions such as the broadside and the chapbook. There will be a making component to the day where we’ll try our hand with non-adhesive binding and sketch out possibilities for the unbound book, the out-of-scale book, the body as book, the book as performance element, blueprint, choreography. Regardless of one’s practice or medium, the book can provide a way to think, move, and make; this course, therefore, will include guided brainstorming sessions on how book forms may extend, impact, interrupt, or complement our current projects.
Vernacular Narrative: 21st Century Moving Image
This 1 day course will survey important moments in the history of film to discuss the way cinematic language is formed. We will watch and discuss a number of film extracts and associated theory to explore how the filmic vernacular evolves and changes, particularly with regard to 21st century technologies.
Studio visits in Berlin
This 1 day course will focus on discussing art works and practices with Berlin-based artists in their studios. The core aspect of the course is the conversation between students, artists and the teacher, reflecting on the artists’ methods, ideas, processes and final works. The course intends to reinforce students’ understanding of their own work, how it relates to a wide range of artistic practices and to techniques, forms and ideas in contemporary art. Post-lecture dialogues also offer the opportunity to strengthen students’ personal vision as well as their development as self-reflective and critically-engaged artists. Visiting artist studios in Berlin provides the opportunity for students to network while offering them a unique way of understanding the creative diversity of the city. Each visit will take approximately 1-2 hours and covers either all visual arts or a theme that will be chosen together with Transart.
Vanishing Acts: Processes of Dis-Appearance
“To go unnoticed is by no means easy…This requires much asceticism, much sobriety, much creative involution.”
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand PlateausWhat happens when instead of exhibiting itself an artwork strives to disappear? This workshop will revolve around processes of dis-appearance–appearing by disappearing or disappearance as appearance. We will begin by looking at works in which the artists efface their actions. This effacement may happen through subtle or minimal actions, through the use of ignorable elements, and/or through mimesis of pre-existing elements. We will consider practices that enact a variety of “disappearances.” Artists whose work we will discuss include Vija Celmins, Lai Chih-Sheng, Susan Collis, Bruno Jakob, Gianni Motti, Bethan Huws, and Ana Mendieta. Alongside these artists, we will discuss notions of camouflage, and effacement as these are developed in texts by Roger Caillois and Rosalind Krauss. We will also consider Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of becoming-imperceptible in order to begin constructing a conceptual framework around disappearing works.Through creative exercises, we will attempt to devise and enact processes of dis-appearance, with dis-appearance being understood in relation to the media and art forms each of you chooses to work with.Finally, we will consider the implications of these acts of dis-appearance for the audience that experiences the artworks as well as for the artists themselves.
Jacques Derrida suggests that “the gaze called ‘animal’ offers to my sight the abyssal limit of the Human” (2008, p.12). This three day course seeks to explore the role of the animal in constituting notions of humanity, both creatively and philosophically.Drawing on texts by John Berger, Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Cora Diamond, Donna Harraway and Ludwig Wittgenstein we will explore the various ways in which the animal, considered here as humanity’s Significant Other (after Harraway) informs and inflects what it means to be human. In doing so, we’ll also seek to put ourselves in the place of the Animal Other so that we gain a fresh perspective on the seemingly ever increasingly anthropocentric culture(s) we inhabit.We’ll do this by undertaking daily individual and collaborative practical exercises interspersed with presentations and class discussions of relevant readings. We’ll be looking at and discussing works by a variety of artists who have engaged with notions of ‘the animal’ in their practice, including Joseph Beuys, Rosa Bonheur, Damian Hirst, Dennis Oppenheim, Meret Oppenheim and Carolee Schneemann.
The most desirable space
Robert Fillious´ hat, a weapons fair or even an institution – The demands of space that come within artistic practice can be surprising, unexpected.
When it comes to the idea of space, the idea of an art work becomes physical and relational to its surrounding and possible actors. When we start investigating the space in our artistic practice, we may often talk about an anarchic, playful space first.
The idea behind this 1 day workshop is to reach techniques of naming space and locating your work in psychical as well as virtual and other sensual spaces.
This one-day seminar investigates a history of altered states of consciousness in the history of art. We will explore western and non-western traditions and histories, looking at intoxication, meditation, and other techniques that artists have used in the act of creation. It culminates in sensory deprivation exercises that will lead to solo or group work.
Travelling, Mapping and Nomadism. Walking and talking around Mobility practices
The concepts of social transformation and intercultural dialogue are deeply rooted in artistic practices. In the new global context, art and creativity offer a different way to think about the community, with its local/global connections and intercultural relations. In a situation where plurality and complexity are dominant, elements such as “mobility”, “encounter”, “connection”, “crossing borders”, “intercultural exchange” and “dialogue” become increasingly necessary and somehow inevitable in order to compose new ways and new forms of coexistence. “Art”, as the French philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud said, “is a state of encounter”. Walking practices; learning by traveling; maps and constellations; the links between art, mobility and globalization; the experience of wandering and the transformation of cultural identities will be some of the issues analyzed and discussed in the course. This proposal aims to investigate the development, transformation and transmission of critical and emotional knowledge, focusing on specific art projects, readings and collective practices.
In contemporary cultures, the concept of friendship has received renewed attention and has increasingly become the theme of artistic work and current processes of subjectivation. A distinct difference appears to exist between the commodified and generalized friendliness on social networks, and the noble, virtuous idea of friendship found in philosophy and literature of centuries, where friendship often receives its meaning in the face of an enemy. But in current discourses, a new art of friendship is emerging that emphasizes both an independence from established social and political structures and relinquishes the traditional claims of sovereignty. In the seminar, we investigate how art has defined and redefined the meanings of friendship, and what the role of artistic work is in questioning the transformation of friendship into mere friendliness promoted in the digital economy. We look at friendship an artistic rather than economic form of subjectification and study relevant examples in art history and contemporary art production.
The Waiting Game
What comes from this place of pause as we wait for an assumed resolution that may, or may not, ever happen? What happens when we are seduced by the build-up only to be left without a crescendo? This three-day workshop will probe the notion of suspense, anticipation, and expectation as we turn to the narrative (both linear and non-linear) to examine the cessation of time. As image makers, we will set out to create works that react to the convoluted space of “waiting” – a space that drops us somewhere between panic and pleasure; desire and unease; arousal and anxiety. We will also challenge these ideas as we look towards the pause as a respite – a period of (non)time in which to understand nothing and everything.This process-based workshop will support projects in all disciplines, though emphasis will be placed on the development of aesthetic skills critical to the creation of time-based works involving image, sound, and performance. Slide/Film lectures and readings will provide a deeper context for daily, hands-on studio work as we consider theoretical and practical problems inherent to interdisciplinary forms.We will look at a variety of artists, musicians, and writers that employ these strategies such as Gordon, Fischli and Weiss, Sala, Pfeiffer, Marclay, Beckett, Woolf, Reich, etc. etc.
Live: Audience Connection and Shaping the Moment
This one day course is focused on the moment you stand up in front of an audience and you see all eyes on you. It’s a moment full of agency and potential—but it’s also a moment that can overwhelm. We will look at practical ways to generate connection with the audience, as well as exploring ways of subverting it. Within the live encounter there is the possibility to bring a polished performance and persona, to bring rehearsed material, scripts to read. There is also the possibility to risk it all, to not know what you will say or do or be. We will look at these different approaches and development confidence in using them all.
Art is writing, writing as art
Writing is a derivé by which we project a position, denominate new places of experience and project a dimension of our work as a creative process. Texts are paths, iceberg points through which we mark the visible aspects of our biography, experience and artistic/theoretic/critical approaches to the world.With the acceleration of globalization processes and the expanding network of messages and images it implies, the role of writing has become extremely important. Words, letters are also images and tags inside of the world wide web and outside of it: in medial and real life. The possibilities of integrating writing to our creative process are the research and practical object of this course.Through reviewing several examples of texts belonging to the field of art writing, written by the participants as well as by artists, curators, historians, theoreticians, etc., we explore how to empower our textual production and how can we use language and written words in order to produce meanings and experiences in contexts of circulation and exhibition.Day One: Reading and writing/Review of artists´and curators´writings, possible modes and strategies.
Day Two: We´ll visit the Kitchen of the Institute for Endotic Research for a collective workshop.
Day Three: We´ll read statements, biographies and other sorts of texts we´ve produced to read to the other participants.
Art and the Echo Chamber(s) / Your Art practice during Critical Times
A 1 day workshop addressing the contemporary issues facing artistic practice. Basic conversations regarding originality/zeitgeist/movements/market and derivative work in art. Recognize contemporary art production as a dialogue and how his/her art-practice is part of a larger conversation relevent to his/her environment/conditions. Artists will be pushed to articulate his/her positions within their chosen fields of concern. A consciousness within the students art-practice will be interrogated with the self-critical tools needed to sustain a personal and public dialogue, With an emphasis on analytics of creating new artworks. The student will be asked to produce clear and articulate strategies and solutions.
This is not an art-history or theory class but this knowledge will be required for a high level of discourse within a workshop setting.
To unearth within each student their own logical understandings of their art-practice and its reasonable goals.
Delineate individual strategies to pursue the trajectories of their practice.
To articulate an assessment of the relevance of their work within the local or international contexts of art.
Grapple with the divide between practice , theory and market.
Develop presentation strategies within the brevity limits of the elevator-pitch.
Create awareness for the use and deployment of back-up strategies in either art-practice or/and dissemination.
Art After The Anthropocene
This three day workshop develops a narrative through which we will ask how artistic and other creative practices might engage with the world once we acknowledge that we are living in the Anthropocene. We will be accompanied by examples of artists’ practice which exemplify a range of dispositions towards this more-than-human, vibrantly material world. We will wonder at the hubris of ‘the moderns’, the audacity of the avant-garde and the sadness of the retreat into the imaginary. Our hopes will be raised by Donna Haraway, Felix Guattari, Bruno Latour, Jane Bennett and Timothy Morton— those who acknowledge our inextricable entanglement with other things and who might best prepare us for art-making ‘after the anthropocene’.
Making Words Work: Expanded Uses of Text and Poetry in Visual Art
Text-image works abound in the visual arts and there are long traditions of this: from illuminated manuscripts, calligraphic traditions, the marriage of Chinese poetry and painting, to 20th century movements including fluxus, pop art, and conceptual art. But if you make art and use words, what words should they be? This one-day workshop takes a tour of text-image possibilities, with an emphasis on the “text” part. We will experiment with writing strategies to generate, develop, and refine our texts. We will also explore a variety of typographic strategies for presentation, such as grey scale, sign-painting traditions, the uses of handwriting, and the tension between legibility/illegibility. The course will include a brief introduction to some contemporary poetry-writing techniques, forms, and movements. The day’s readings, presentations, writing, and revising sessions are all aimed at helping visual artists—or those who do not call themselves “writers”—make the most out of found text and their own words.
Textiles: Good for Thinking and Making!
Writing about the Institute For Figuring Crochet Coral Reef Project, Sophia Roosth called corals “good to think with.” This 1 day course extends that same goodness to textiles. Over the course of a day, we will survey textile forms and methods: textile as a way of thinking as well as materiality and practice. For each making technique—weaving, embroidery, basic quilting/sewing, hyperbolic crochet—we’ll touch on the corresponding thought framework that we can apply to almost any intellectual and handwork project. Textiles have a way of reminding us that moving between mental and manual labor is generative, and in fact, there may not be a between! Regardless of your medium or research project, special attention will be given to the transposition of textile techniques into “other-than-textile” arenas such as drawing, painting, sculpture, dance, sound, and theory.
Wanderings, Musings, and the Art of Getting Lost
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
Through daily excursions we will approach the poetics of walking as a medium for studio production. In this 3-day workshop, we will wander in and out of urban space and along its edges and ask ourselves what it means to get lost in or on the square, the park, the wood, the river. Finding inspiration from the flaneur of the 19th century to the current day walking artist, we will walk together and we will walk alone, we will make and we will write, and we will chart, all culminating into a shared imagination of experience.We will explore a wide range of artists, writers, and walkers including the Situationists (Guy Debord, Simon Sadler), Andre Breton, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Eugene Atget, Edward Muybridge, Bruce Nauman, Simon Pope, Sophie Calle, Richard Long, Nicolas Dumit Estavez, Henry David Thoreau, and Walter Benjamin, among others.
Consensus Fetish: Propositions for multipolar engagement in the 21st century
This course would be structured like a recipe, one part thinktank, one part conversation, one part proposal, one part performance. Can we create a less antagonistic world? As artists and creative thinkers we have a responsibility to the world we exist within to produce an expanded vision of the possible through creating alternative combinations, concepts, and definitions. These constructions for the future meld a new vision by manifesting the unthinkable, unknowable and nonsensical, complicating the reasons for violence and oppression by way of ingenuity and imagination. We will directly engage in both collectively and individually shaping the future of community and contemporary issues by addressing and analyzing the fetishes which have created the situations and events while at the same time consciously intervening and fracturing binary modes of being.
Indoctrination or edification: Tensions in education and creative practice. A one-day experiential workshop
This one-day experiential workshop focuses on the educational relationships of creative practitioners. It rehearses and examines some conversational situations that might arise in encounters between students and teaching staff, but also considers how educational expectations and dispositions might be transferred or re-enacted in other professional situations of practice. The aim of the workshop is to enhance participants’ awareness of relational dynamics within learning conversations, and provide them with a means of understanding these aspects in their own learning experiences and their work with others beyond the Transart MFA in Creative Practice.My research into dialogue as a mode of practice and understanding has highlighted how discursive educational encounters between participants in creative practice have become an established feature across multiple fields of professional practice. This has led to a reappraisal of the role that workshops, laboratories, temporary schools, symposia, discussions and alternative sites of education play in constructing creative and artistic practice but what is somewhat still overlooked is how traditional, philosophical and educational perspectives tacitly shape and constrain the relationships, encounters and interactions between creative practitioners and others. For example, early career practitioners may be unaware how dynamics and expectations enacted in their own learning can be transferred into relationships and exchanges with public.
What is charisma and how is it embedded in an image? The etymological root takes us back to Greek word “kharis,” meaning “grace” or “favor”. Charisma is therefore a form of a gift, something received. One could say that charisma is “divinely” implemented propensity manifested in the force of attraction that resides in certain objects and individuals. But how exactly is it attained, through what exercises, training, habits? And how does it turn from grace into a curse as it embraces emulation, adoration, and captivation? Yet, it is hard to imagine being attracted or inspired by an image, a line of writing, or the presence of a person, without charismatic modalities that work on the level of temperaments and vital, barely perceptible, impulses. Generally speaking, there is both attraction and suspicion (if not fear) of the charismatic force displayed by things. Its slippery meaning thus shifts back and forth between the political and the aesthetic, making it hard to differentiate and classify. We will investigate charisma, the elusive attraction at the core of aesthetic practice, as it is perceived in art objects and artists themselves. Furthermore, the charisma of the image (and its potential totalitarianism) retains its power on the level of desire. A desire that is not only a mechanism that measures what we lack but also that which takes us “off track”, a striving towards joy. In light of this, what does it mean to be “touched” by the charisma of the image? (One day workshop)
Curators Inside – 3 days workshop about the initiative with curatorial guests
Curators today are more internationally active that ever before: They are interfaces between artists, museums, galleries, project spaces and the public. What inspires them? How do they work? What are their visions?The Curators Inside initiative provides an exclusive insight into the practice of institutionally connected, as well as independent exhibition makers. On the occasion of a current exhibition, a residency or a publication, the curators will introduce you to their projects: What are the conceptual lines of the exhibition? How has curatorial practice changed over the years? What kind of influences and developments can be observed?In our discussion, Curators Inside focuses on different approaches, tendencies and perspectives of curatorial work, at the same time fostering a space for networking and the exchange of ideas.
Speaking Back – Developing ways of using Review/Reaction as art material
Can a response to an artwork form an artwork? There are many artworks that reconfigure or reimagine an original work (Sherrie Levine after Walker Evans for example), and a long history of appropriation in contemporary art (Douglas Gordon as one example). We shall take a more involved approach and will consider if taking a position can be an artwork. Can verbalising critique or affirmation be a starting point for an original work of art? We’ll take into consideration fan art homages, spoken word reflections, as well as visceral attack. Strategies we might work with include language, collage, speaking-to-camera video, and performance. This class is inspired by Roland Barthes’s The Death of the Author and but also considering his other writing responses text for example The Pleasure of the Text and Camera Lucida.
Is it fair to say that superior works of art, literature, film, etc., are some kinds of (precise and revelatory) hallucination? To what extent can we address reality itself as hallucinatory? On the other hand, what are the implications of sober hallucination, one that results neither from intoxication nor from any disorder? The Latin root of the term is “hallucinari,” meaning “gone astray in thought.” Hence, is it not ethically and aesthetically necessary to produce (in this world, our world, gone astray) a work equally out of bounds, wandering according to its own impulses? How else can reinvigorated sensations, ideas, and worlds emerge (if not during twilight and dawn)? This seminar will redefine the meaning and experience of hallucination.
Subjectivity in the Mirror
This course will explore how we frame ourselves in moving-image work. Looking at a number of examples of narrative subjectivity in experimental and arthouse cinema, we will discuss the implications of identity and gender in a transnational, non-binary context.
The Oculus: The Light and the Circle
Sight has been preferred and dominant sense in the history of aesthetic perception.
Besides the critique of this domination, this seminar will delve into two particular qualities of the seeing experience: a) the light as the agent that stimulates the organ (the eye) and b) the circle as the preferred geometric form of the seeing objects. Vision here enigmatically becomes light when it falls or emanates from the circle (e.g. the eye, the sun). Our goal is to on the one hand diagnose, politically and aesthetically, the present state of vision and, on the other, to unravel its necessity for more expansive understanding of what constitutes space, creation, and inspiration. Through these two portals we will address theories of perspectivism, animism, and vitalism. Our discussions will include politics of transparency (from satellite surveillance to micro-drones), cross-cultural conceptions of the “evil eye” phenomena, photosynthetic properties in nature, and the impact of shadows as immanently belonging to the sphere of light rather than being its opposites.
Found: Citation and Meaning
This course will look at how artists use found-footage and quotation in film, and how meaning can be created by borrowing and citing from eclectic sources. Watching film extracts followed by discussion, we will explore the role of found-footage in contemporary art discourse.