TRACES OF AUTONOMY - THE ECONOMY OF SPEECH AND VOICE IN GLOBAL ART PROJECT CURATED BY VAN ABBEMUSEUM.
Considering the new program 2010/2011:
An artwork today is no longer just an object in its independance, but exists out of a complex network - a discrete economy - of statements and events. This now obvious truth has a profound inpact on all those actors that work to produce and mediate art. The name given to this development is the 'decline' or even the 'death' of art's autonomy. How irreversible this presumed decline of art's autonomy may seem, this does by no mean indicate that it is clear how we should produce and receive art today. Many institutions and professions have been carefully constructed around this almost sacred autonomy, including the profession of the artist. In this project a group of maximum 10 students will conduct an investigation mapping out the consequences of this development, identifying problems that should be addressed and thinking out a way how to address them in a symposium in early June in the Van Abbemuseum.
The starting point for the project will be the work of two French philosophers Bruno Latour and Jaques Rancière. Both philosophers have opened a door that leads beyond the type of critical analysis that dominated the thinking of the preceding generation. From Rancière comes the insight that art's autonomy should not be understood just as it's independance or as a right to be esoteric, but that it plays a particular role in modern democratic societies, marking the point where someones private 'voice' - unrecognized by the majority - enters the public stage and becomes 'speech'. Within todays globalized world this transformation from voice to speech takes on new forms and asks a new awareness from artist and related professionals. It is Latour who has developed a method on how to arrive at such awareness, based on tracing connections. In the project we will explore the value of Rancière's insight and Latour's method for artistic practice, offering Ma-students not so much a platform to produce new works, but more a deeper understanding on how to mediate their own work in the future. Although there is a good chance that this work will also be affected by this project.
The project will be supervised by staff members of the Van Abbemuseum and different guest teachers and coordinated by Steven ten Thije. Students who want to participate are not required to have specific knowledge, but should be willing study texts and participate in discussions.