Networked_Performance

Live Stage: Armin Medosch [at Vienna]

Armin Medosch | Automation, Cybernation and the Art of New Tendencies (1961-1973): Art as Visual Research :: May 11, 2011; 7:00 pm :: Academy of Fine Arts, DG14/Turm 4 (top floor, then go up the staircase by room 214), Schillerplatz 3, A-1010 Vienna.

Armin Medosch’s lecture, organised by the WWTF Art(s) and Sciences research project Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the Arts, will be based on his PhD thesis-in-progress Automation, Cybernation and the Art of New Tendencies (1961-1973) (Arts and Computational Technology, Goldsmiths, University of London, Digital Studios). The thesis interrogates the project and international art movement New Tendencies (NT) which originated in Zagreb, former Yugoslavia, in 1961, and lasted until 1973. The basic methodological assumption behind Medosch’s research is that new insights are gained by questioning the various interdependencies between an art movement such as NT and the concrete historic development — in this case the struggle for hegemony during the Cold War and the techno-economic paradigm of Fordism-Keynesianism. NT can be divided into two phases, an initial phase between 1961 and 1965 when NT first emerged as a movement and produced ‘programmed art’ without using computers and a second phase from 1968-1973 dedicated to ‘computers and visual research’. Medosch’s presentation for Troubling Research will exclusively focus on the first phase.

In a very dynamic period of rapid discoveries between 1961 and 1963 NT found and defined itself as an international movement. It is crucial to understand that this could only happen on the territory of former Yugoslavia which as a non-aligned nation drove a wedge into the binary logic of the Cold War and provided a space and an institutional environment where a specific synthesis between unorthodox socialist ideas and aesthetic Modernism became possible, and where artists from East and West could meet. NT was one of the first postwar art movements which exclusively strove to replace the notion of art with the notion of ‘visual research’. This important step arose from a questioning of the dominant mode of the art market and a desire to redefine the role of the artist in society. The redefinition of art as visual research had a number of direct consequences which were for the artists of NT of a strict logical necessity. It implied the exclusion of subjective psychological aspects, the designation of working processes based on ‘rules of play’ which, once those rules had been decided, could be carried out in a perfunctory manner, and a more strictly defined notion of the artistic experiment. The objectification of the creative process also enabled the working in groups and the exchange of ideas and methodologies so that groups functioned like micro-universities of artistic research.

Armin Medosch is a writer, artist and curator whose work explores relationships between social change, technology and art. Recent work includes the project Hidden Histories / Street Radio, a participatory public art project for Southampton, UK, realised in collaboration with Hive Networks; initiating and co-curating of the international exhibition “Waves: electromagnetism as material and medium of art”, Riga 2006 and Dortmund 2008; co-host of the conference track on ‘networks and sustainability’ together with Rasa Smite, Riga 2010; conference editor and chair for “Creative Cities”, Vienna 2009, and “Goodbye Privacy”, the theme conference in 2007 of Ars Electronica. Currently, he is working on a PhD thesis on paradigm changes in art, technology and society, based on a case study of New Tendencies (1961-1973) at Goldsmiths, Digital Studios, University of London. Main webspace: The Next Layer.

Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the Arts is a research project that responds to the 2009 WWTF Art(s) & Sciences call by interrogating the very conditions of the current upsurge of the art/research articulation. The project shifts attention from defining (and eventually solving) a problem to that of rendering a ‘problematic.’

A core feature of this problematic concerns the fact that place, status, and function of any claim to ‘research’ are discursively and socially produced and therefore ultimately contestable. The insight in the “ubiquitous, taken-for-granted, and axiomatic quality of research” (Arjun Appadurai) enables to question the “strange and wonderful practice” known as research, its “cultural presumptions” and its “ethic”. Following on this track of reasoning and aligning with the Institutional Critique tradition in the arts, Troubling Research aims to unsettle any existing consensus concerning the nature of arts-based research and the art/science relationship. It achieves this through establishing a – deliberately – diversified cluster of artistic and research practices (represented by the participating researchers) the commonality of which will be constituted by working through the potential of the problematic to be excavated and/or developed in the course of the project.

Accounting for a multiplicity of diverging perspectives, the participating researchers will work, independently and as a collaborative entity, towards a reconsideration of an alleged interdependence of the categories of art and research assumed by the current politics and economy-driven research orientation within the European system of higher education in the arts.

Troubling Research is based at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and funded by the WWTF – Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds (Vienna Science and Technology Fund). During a period of 18 months (March 1, 2010 – August 31, 2011), the transdisciplinary project team, comprised of artists, curators, theoreticians, will generate and stage various kinds of discussions around the issue of the very (im)possibility of research and its particular performativity in the arts. Participating researchers of Troubling Research are Gangart (Simonetta Ferfoglia, Heinrich Pichler), Johanna Schaffer, Johannes Porsch, Tom Holert, Stefanie Seibold, Carola Dertnig, Axel Stockburger and Diedrich Diederichsen.


May 10, 19:29
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