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ZKM_Events 11|2005

Art & Language & Luhmann III
What work does the artwork do?

Symposium in the ZKM-Media Theater
Sat-Sun 11/05-06/2005
Sat 2:30 pm, Sun 10:00 am
Admission free

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Speakers / Abstracts

Art & Language | Chris Gilbert | Charles Harrison | Matthew Jackson

Chris Gilbert [MATRIX Kurator, Berkeley Art Museum] : »A Discontinuous History: the 'Jetztzeit' of Art & Language in the mid-1970s«

Through an examination of the critical project of Art & Language in the mid-1970s, this paper will explore the thesis that key features of the artistic and political landscape that the group pointedly addressed at the time closely resemble ours today. A keen awareness of artists' implication in social and economic systems provoked a sophisticated and self-critical politics inside the group. A corollary of this thesis is that art's politicization and especially its development of a self-conscious politics may be seen as interrupted in the late 1970s—despite the important contributions of 1980s collectives and »appropriationists«—and only recently begun to be reprised. The paper will look closely at Art & Language's working to form new social relations, especially new pedagogic ones, through the indexical works and through alternative media forms such as The Fox (1975-6). Comparisons to new, networked socialization will also be explored. A limit to the comparison, however, must be noted: Art & Language’s resistance to »continental« theories of the subject, as is evident in dismissive references to French theory in Art-Language vol. 3 no. 4 [»Fox 4«], left the group without an adequate theorization of subversive subjectivity and contributed to their difficulties in articulating a postmodern project wholly distinct from the »return to painting.«

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