Re-Thinking Artistic Knowledge Production (Heidelberg, 23-24 Mai 2013)


Symposium of the DFG-Network “Media of Collective Intelligence” in co-operation with the Cluster Professorship of Global Art History, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context: The Dynamics of Transculturality”, Heidelberg University

The production of knowledge in artistic or aesthetic practices has recently been discussed in relation to scientific research. While contemporary art takes over scientific methods and practices, it still leaves the question open whether or not aesthetic practices should be judged differently from scientific experimentation and what exactly the outcome of artistic knowledge is. The aim of the symposium is to re-think aesthetic knowledge production from a new vantage point, focusing on the importance of distributed creativity and globally entangled media cultures.

The production of artistic knowledge in shared or even collective creative processes is a phenomenon that is often associated with the latest “global turn”. This turn is described as the spectacular rise of economic, socio-political and technological entanglements around the world since the end of the 1980s. Emblematic for this process was the rise of the World Wide Web that began to dominate what used to be diverging and not necessarily related mediascapes. However, shared knowledge production also has a long tradition in the arts and literature and can be discussed in relation to the much earlier rise of mass media such as printed books, film making or television. Yet, while researchers have been quick to note the accelerated circulations of goods, agents, and concepts that seem to easily cross national, geographic and cultural borders, which had been firmly established and often seemed impermeable during the Cold War era, scholars of art history, media studies and visual anthropology have only recently begun to suggest theoretical approaches that respond to the increased complexity of processes involved.

The symposium will 1) address media based processes of distributed creativity 2) discuss how the global turn has transformed practices of professional artists and creative amateurs alike who engage in what can be called transcultural mediascapes. Some of the key questions of the symposium are: Are there new ways of collectively producing and sharing artistic knowledge which would transcend earlier practices by which artist groups and artistic media were able to overcome the ideals of single authorship? Has the utopian potential of the web been realized (also in other creative media practices) with its promises of global interconnectivity, unbound participation and the idea that collectively produced knowledge results in more than the sum of individual contributions? Or do we see historical conflicts of (authentic) authorship, unequal power relations and cultural misunderstandings taking on a new look and becoming viral on a new, global scale?

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Arts With(out) Borders (Berne, 6-8 Juin 13)


ARTS WITHOUT BORDERS: Rethinking Methodologies of Art and Culture in the Global Context. 6-8 June 2013 Universität Bern

Keynote Lectures:

Ursula Biemann, artist / writer / video essayist, based in Zurich: “Videogeographies: Artistic practice in the field”

Prof. Dr. Arnd Schneider, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo: “For a New Hermeneutics in the Art – Anthropology Encounter”

Conference Summary:

In recent decades, global processes have had a profound impact on the humanities and social sciences. These processes are defined by an increasing migration and mobility of people, objects, and ideas across cultures and borders, a phenomenon that signals a need to address the contact zones of exchange and clash, and the energies or tensions produced in the process. While the impact of these phenomena on artistic production is acknowledged, the specific effects on our modes of analysis of those productions have yet to be addressed. Under the heading Arts With(out) Borders, this conference connects to theoretical and methodological challenges within the study of arts and culture. It furthermore asks whether borders — both physical and symbolic — have been built up or dissolved within the practice of research due to the increased mobility of culture and ideas and an expanding global interwovenness. Such issues have become relevant across disciplines, but they have not been satisfactorily recognized or addressed. This conference presents a diverse range of approaches to these questions and future directions for the study of arts in a global context. Spanning the fields of art production, art history, and anthropology, a platform will be opened to discuss the effects of global cultural processes on the analysis and study of artistic production, and the broader implications in political, social and cultural issues.

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Conférence: Critical cartography of art and visuality in the global age (26-27 avril, Barcelone)

The First International Conference Critical Cartography of Art and Visuality in the Global Age aims to engage with the complexities of the new status of art and visuality in contemporary art practice in the context of “globalization”. Focusing on the paradigms of identity, alterity, memory, locality and interculturality, as well as on new ways of understanding the political, ecological, technological, economical and scientific dimensions of the current age, the conference seeks to locate the “topos” from which each of these paradigms forges links between theoretical concepts and innovative work methodologies, as well as analyze the currency of a New Art History in dialogue with Visual Culture Studies.

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Design and Mobility: The Twenty-Second Annual Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Graduate Student Symposium on the Decorative Arts and Design

26 et 27 avril 2013 Theresa Lang Student Center, 55 West 13th Street

This year’s theme is mobility which has become one of the defining traits of the age: new modes of living and transportation have created increasingly mobile lifestyles, aided by mobile communications networks, cultural products can move and spread across the globe with ease, and changing climate conditions are forcing relocations and rethinking of building patterns. On the individual scale, designers have worked with transformable and reusable products, or to help make individuals more mobile. The symposium will explore various aspects of mobility in the decorative arts and design — on macro and micro scales, from literal to  metaphoric perspectives.

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