This seminar will focus on the relationship between artistic practice, art theory and artistic writing; probing ways to cross cultivate writing and art making as two sides of an artistic practice. While artists have become increasingly reliant on theory and philosophy in order to find avenues to produce works of art; there is little theory being produced directly in the art field. In effect, the reliance on outside sources for the theoretical foundations of art practice, becomes a form of recycling, robbing art of its role in contributing as a source of original theory to discourses outside of itself. This seminar attempts to highlight and perhaps shift that relationship towards a more productive role for art in the production of theory. The participants will examine artistic writings produced within the last 3 decades, focusing on the works of theory by Anton Vidokle, Hito Steyerl, Martha Rosler, and Liam Gillick (additional authors TBA). Through readings, conversations and writing projects, participants will be encouraged to approach artistic writing as embedded into their practice and not as a schizophrenic double running parallel to a separate art object.
“There is an implicit relationship of reciprocity between mainstream networks of cultural circulation and the new ones being proposed. What happens when new forms are absorbed? How can you resist a system that has factored in resistance as part of its circuit of expansion? What we are given as a model for resistance, also works as an assumption: It assigns references, perpetuates readings and presupposes the conditions both for resistance and for what is being resisted. It denies the unexpected, and this predictability makes the cycles of cultural production rather similar to the cliffhanger show, ‘The Perils of Pauline’ (a 1917 silent serial shown in weekly installments featuring a perpetual damsel in distress. At the end of each installment she was placed in a situation that looked sure to result in her imminent death. The start of the next episode showed how she was rescued or otherwise escaped the danger, only to face fresh peril again.) Thinking of art/cultural production as a “damsel in distress,” why do we, in fact, want to rescue her? How do we escape the genre and revitalize things? Is it possible to propose a circulation model that will remain vital and current?”
–Julieta Aranda (2006)
A syllabus will be assigned at the beginning of the seminar, and students are required to do all the assigned readings. The main objective of the course is to develop writing as an integral part of art making, so students are required to complete a 3000 word text that relates to their work. The guidelines for the final texts will be determined at the beginning of the seminar, and the texts in progress will be rigorously discussed throughout the duration of the course, both collectively and in one-to-one sessions. Course participants will also be required to write 2 reviews of art exhibitions that they have seen during the seminar. These should be delivered in advance to the meetings and will be discussed collectively.