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editorial

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a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

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willem de greef under pressure

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u t e m e ta b a u e r i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p… ?

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clementine dellis

posing singul arit y

23 – 27

jan verwoert

room for thought

u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

28 – 32

simon sheikh

33 – 40

mick wilson a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

41 – 43

bart verschaffel

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colofon

44 – 46

48

5 journal of artistic rese arch summer 2008


edi tor i al

3 – 4 editorial

Too many conferences currently being organized by art

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

academies draw attention to the recent development of

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

PhD’s in art trajectories. Yet an even more important issue

today pertains to the specificity of MA Fine Art programs

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

of art academies. After all, it is the master’s program, focused on research, that prepares artists for a possible PhD

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

trajectory; it is the master’s program that offers artists various perspectives on their professional careers; and it is the

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

master’s program and its strong emphasis on the specificities of its curriculum that force the bachelor’s program to reflect

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

on the particular structure of its own curriculum.

simon sheikh

Moreover, in spite of the obligation to implement the Bologna rules by 2010, many European countries interpret the concrete establishment

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

of the master’s program in various ways. In some countries, a one-year

bart verschaffel

program is offered, while other countries concentrate on a two-year program. Some countries have had master’s programs in Fine Art for many years, whereas others hardly adhere to the deadline for the

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implementation of a master’s program. These clear-cut urgencies indicate a definite need for an international symposium addressing the issue of the specificity of the MA Fine Art programs. In order to explore these questions further the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design ( MaHKU ) started a longterm collaboration project with the Brussels Sint Lukas Academie, an academy which, similar to MaHKU, offers a one-year MA program in Fine Art. A series of meetings last year between lecturers from the Sint Lukas Academy and the MaHKU generated a number of additional questions. It turned out that a variety of issues could be categorized in three sub-categories: the student perspective or the question of competencies; the lecturer’s perspective or the question of specific didactic strategies; and last but not least, the perspective of the institutional environment where the interaction between lecturer and student takes place. Precisely these three perspectives – addressing the same issue from different points of view – are departure points for the symposium A Certain Ma-ness ( Amsterdam, Spring 2008 ) organized by both academies in collaboration with VCH De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam. During the first two presentations ( Jan Verwoert, Clementine Deliss ) the perspective of MA-competencies is the starting point. The issue pertains to whether it is possible to map the various skills required for the MAprogram particularly with regard to a reflective and critical attitude, and a conception of both knowledge production and research. How can we assess these competencies? Could it be that specific, rhetorical qualities are decisive? What will happen to traditional skills such as mastery of technique? Is the artist unskilled despite having followed the graduate program or are traditional skills reformulated during the course of the program and its critical studies? What do critical and contextualizing skills mean for the situation of the academy as such? Is the graduate art academy eventually nothing more than a bastion of the neo-liberal art system as is often the case with prominent American MFA program’s,

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or is the academy still clearly defined as an outpost for a culture-

3 – 4 editorial

critical awareness? During the next two presentations ( Simon Sheikh, Mick Wilson ) the

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

perspective shifts to didactic strategies. Can one determine how a MA

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curriculum is characterized? What are adequate didactic strategies and educational models, and how do they differ from a BA program?

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

What are the differences and similarities between the various European MA Fine Art programs? How does the Bologna-ruled,

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

curriculum-based program and its seminars, lectures, and various methods and bodies of knowledge relate to the still dominant studio-

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

based paradigm with its rituals of tutorials and studio visits? How do we prevent a more topical discourse based on critical studies and

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

artistic research becoming canonized into a novel form of academia? Finally, how do the current educational strategies and models relate

simon sheikh

to the research practice of lecturers? In other words, how could the lecturer’s own artistic research be strategically deployed in the

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

curriculum?

bart verschaffel

The question of the position of one’s own artistic research leads us also to the theme of the research environment. Is it the task of the academy to develop a specific artistic research environment? How

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should such an experimental research environment be facilitated? How does such a research environment relate to the artistic field mostly determined by the free market system? Is it the potential of the experimental environment as one of the last asylums for deviant forms of knowledge production ( or thinking ) that made a great number of curators decide in recent years to proclaim the academy as the starting point for their exhibition projects? Investigating the issue of the academy as field of possibilities from the perspective of the Graduate School appears urgent. In other words, in what way – political, facilitative, infrastructural – could the Graduate School contribute to the development of a research climate in art education? These questions are approached during A Certain Ma-Ness in two ways. First, artists Tiong Ang and Aglaia Konrad developed a presentation in the exhibition space of VCH De Brakke Grond parallel to the themes of the symposium. The exhibition shows the interaction between the research of the lecturer ( Tiong Ang, mahku and Aglaia Konrad, Sint Lukas ) and of the student ( Filip Gilissen, Sint Lukas, Joris Lindhout, mahku ) as a didactic tool for creating a dynamic research environment within the current educational system ( The visual material printed in mahkuzine 5 is a series of impressions of this parallel exhibition ) . Secondly, Bart Verschaffel’s talk, Willem de Greef’s introduction, and the presentation of the Utrecht Consortium ( see Research Reports ) all elaborate further on the conditions and possibilities of an artistic research environment. It was Ute Meta Bauer at the Vienna School of Art who was one of the first people in the art academy field to address these questions and issues in the context of institutional preconditions. Therefore, she opens the symposium A Certain Ma-ness with a keynote statement. ( hs )

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a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

3 – 4 editorial

o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

w il l em d e g r eef

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

To make it very clear from the outset, the subject of this symposium is not PhD’s or doctorates in the arts, or for artists, be they practice-

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

based or not. First and foremost, this symposium tries to deal with what we call in Belgium, or at least in Flanders, and believe me even

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

in Dutch it sounds also quite weird: “academizing”. Especially the academization of higher arts education. By this we mean that higher-

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

level art institutes, if they want to provide Master’s degrees, will necessarily have to present or develop curricula for students which

simon sheikh

are clearly “embedded in research”. Art students have to become academics or develop some basic competencies in research. Is there

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

really a need for this? And if so, what could it probably mean? This

bart verschaffel

is what this symposium is about. Let me give you some facts on the educational system in Belgium. Fact number one: since 1989, education has not been a national

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matter. Instead there has been a complete devolution of competencies for education to the different linguistic communities, meaning the Flemish and French groups in Belgium. Since then the Ministry of Education for the Flemish Community is responsible for higher education in Flanders, and only in Flanders. Fact number two: arts education is a regular part of the Flemish educational system. It has not always been so. Only in 1994, just one decade ago, art education became a full part of the higher educational system. Which means that only since then were its structure and its qualifications aligned with the rest of the system. At present, and probably as a consequence of this, the Flemish government started to implement the Bologna declaration some years ago, and no exception was made for higher arts education. Like all the other higher education programs and courses, universities and non-universities alike, higher arts education has undergone and is still undergoing several reforms, including reform of the Bachelor-Master degree structure. Nevertheless, there are some peculiarities in the way the Flemish government has implemented the Bologna Declaration. As adopted by the Flemish Parliament in the 2003 Act on the structure of higher education in Flanders, the largest part of the non-university higher education programs and courses, those provided by what we call the “hogescholen” ( higher educational institutes ), are generally transformed into what are called “professionally oriented” Bachelor’s degrees. Other programs or courses, provided by both universities and “hogescholen”, are being transformed into “academically oriented” Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. In other words, professional bachelor’s degrees are only provided by the “hogescholen”, while academic bachelor’s and master’s degrees are provided by universities and by the “hogescholen.” Another important aspect is that there is only one kind of Master’s degree in Flanders. Contrary to the Netherlands, for instance, the

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Flemish government has chosen not to introduce a “professionally

3 – 4 editorial

oriented” degree at the Master’s level. One of the major consequences a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of this choice is that all Master’s degree programs have to be “embedded in research”. All Master’s degrees in Flanders are

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

supposed to be academic. Moreover, for most of the Flemish politicians it is widely accepted

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

that the “hogescholen” cannot possibly meet this requirement for “academization” without a helping hand from the universities.

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

Therefore, each of the “hogescholen” has been affiliated with a university. My own institute, the Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel,

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

is associated with the Catholic University of Leuven. All this undoubtedly poses many questions. Let me just point out some of

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

them. Firstly, today nearly all courses in higher arts education in Flanders

simon sheikh

are supposed to be leading to a Master’s degree. Some have called it the academic drift of the arts institutes or departments. Is there really

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

a need for this ? Do all students in the arts really need to follow this

bart verschaffel

academic track, or is there still a need for more professionally oriented programs? Or, to put it differently, does the difference sharply evident in Flanders between professionally oriented and academic course

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programs make any sense in higher arts education? Secondly, if higher arts institutes want to transform their traditional programs into academic programs, they will necessarily have to reset their targets and to rethink the curriculum. How would an academic curriculum look which still made sense for higher arts education and for art students? What are the academic competencies they are supposed to develop? More profoundly, is the identity as such of higher arts education not at stake here? Thirdly, how do we make a clear link, if we want to, between arts education and research? Does it mean, for instance, that in the near future all staff members of art schools should hold doctorates or a phd?

Or are their artistic or professional qualities more important?

Does it mean that higher arts institutes have to develop their own research programs? If so, what type of research should they develop? Importantly, how can one evaluate the quality of the research done by higher arts institutes or departments? Fourthly, does all of this not demand a change in the structure of higher arts education itself? For instance, should higher arts institutes become fully embedded in the universities and evolve into a full faculty department at the university? Do universities have enough experience with performing arts? At least in Flanders it is no secret that artistic research is an underdeveloped, if not undeveloped, scientific domain. Even the Flemish minister of education himself stated recently that the helping hand of the universities in the process of academization cannot be more than a small finger. All these issues are not unique to Flanders. Many arts institutes, all over Europe, are looking for the best way to deliver excellent art education within an outstanding academic context. I believe this symposium offers us a wonderful opportunity for discussing these issues

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under pressure

3 – 4 editorial

u t e m e ta b au er

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

The art system, especially the art market today has become part of the educational system. The art schools and universities – previously more

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

free and open zones for experiments – gradually became incorporated into a suspiciously commodified system. Art students have more

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

knowledge of the art market than ever before, and “creating” successful artists has become a standard promise on the mission statements of

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

and calls for applications to MA programs. This is not only for programs in the United States.

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

What might be more specific within the US American setting is the very short path from the art school to the gallery into a collection. This

simon sheikh

might be the case in London as well. The exorbitant tuition fees in the US put a certain pressure to “succeed” on both the institution and

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

the student. The strong market has made art education red hot, and

bart verschaffel

has become an increasingly, attractive field within education. Culture and art are significant economic factors leaving their mark on how art education is shaped. ma courses have expanded both in the field

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of artistic education and curatorial studies to serve an ever-growing market. Art academies invent new programs ranging from mas in public art, to critical studies, critical curatorial studies, and so forth, which is a indeed a welcome specialization disrupting the dominance of hundreds of years of European “master schools” established in order to select and form “the best.” Nevertheless, being a critical scholar myself, one wonders where will all these students go when they leave the institution with their degrees in their pockets? If you invest so much into your education, you want to know what the pay-off might be. In order to serve these expectations, there is a certain pressure on the art schools to connect early with the art market and to generate a smooth entry into the system while the future artist is still in school. This is a major shift as compared to, say, even ten years ago. Then the debate centered around what the majority of art students would do who never entered the golden triangle of the academy–gallery–museum. Would they instead become more creative web designers, producers of video clips, and so on? But with the expansion of the market through a new generation of collectors and the globalization of the market itself including the biennial boom, the chance of grabbing a seat on the art carousel has sharply increased. On the one hand, the desired and demanded accessibility to this “ field of distinction” for a larger number of people has finally become a reality. Today there are more exhibitions taking place, more art institutions opening their doors and more museums for contemporary art being established than ever before. More private collections, in more countries, are opening their doors to the public. But was this what we meant when we asked for more visibility as young art students twenty five years ago? Weirdly enough, it feels as if the art market has replaced the music industry, with its annual top of the pops and one-hit wonders. Although I appreciate that today almost everyone can be a producer of some kind, I am not sure this is a positive development.

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The art market is growing rapidly. Where there is a biennial today,

3 – 4 editorial

tomorrow there is an art fair as well, and are we not in need of art a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

schools too at all these newly emerging locations? Again I am of two minds. I support the improved access to discourse and modes of

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

production in many places of the world, as I still believe in artistic

willem de greef

practice as a necessary critical contribution to the formation of

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

societies. The market embraces all too quickly, however, each new

u t e m e ta b a u e r

spot popping up on the global map. Yesterday it was China, today

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

India, and tomorrow Dubai and the Gulf; art has become a huge

clementine dellis

globally operating machine in need of skilled labor.

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

This brings us back to the art schools. Are they still places to

jan verwoert

discuss the meaning of artistic production within the larger field of

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

culture? Do they negotiate the role art plays in contemporary society?

simon sheikh

Previously, art academies and art schools were pre-market, a kind of playground and creative laboratory when the academy was more

mick wilson

innovative. Solid educational foundations were provided by a ”master”

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

when a school’s focus and reputation rested more upon skills and

bart verschaffel

techniques. Additionally, the academy provided a somewhat sheltered “biotope” encouraging experience and wild growth. Yet now the art

research report

schools seem pretty much part of the canon, as today no one can

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afford such naiveté. Myriad strategies are incorporated to serve the system.

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Art and its different manifestations have become a powerful economical factor, a growing industry producing scores of new job opportunities. Art is now a lifestyle. There is a huge demand for fresh artists, young curators, new host sites for biennials, galleries and so on. The questions we need to address are: What is communicated through this new art, through current exhibitions and their various formats? What is their content and for whom are they being staged? The society of spectacle, as Guy Debord presents in his text and film, is rife everywhere. But what will be left after the glory days have faded? A recent debate on New Institutionalism in “Bureaux de Change” by Alex FarquharsonΩ referred to a number of us freelance curators joining the “safe haven” of the institutions for higher artistic education. I don’t necessarily agree with that argument as grounds to support an opinion and debate. To me there is no outside to the institution, no outside to the art market and vice versa. The market is part of the discursive field. The art world is and has always been a complex system, a field of constellations and interrelations; some are amicable, some more antagonistic. The critical field defines itself as distinct from the commercial sector. However, as stated above, it is a system of interconnected relations, where each “actor” decides where we position ourselves, and in which direction we move. These are not fixed configurations and an institution today does not represent the same thing it did twenty years ago. “Off” spaces nowadays are not necessarily more political than a museum, as this depends on how and by whom a space or institution is run. To assume the same clear divisions exist as did maybe twenty-five years ago would be overly simplifying, a black-and-white understanding of this complex system. Therefore, some knowledge of system theory, some reading of

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8


Bourdieu, Rorty and Luhmann never hurts in becoming aware of our

3 – 4 editorial

very own entanglements. a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

To return to Farquharson’s mention of freelance “curators [re-] entering or flirting with educational art institutions”: today’s

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

conference topic does indeed raise the question of why curators in recent times have been accepting leading positions at art schools,

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

universities etc., specifically those who previously held highprofile curatorial positions. From my perspective, one reason is the

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

increasing commodification and instrumentalization of the position of the curator for all sorts of agendas and desires. A second reason is

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

that today’s director of a museum or a “Kunsthalle” is more involved in management and fundraising activities than in working on shows

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

or directly with artists as was the case in the past. Art schools seem to offer a kind of temporary refuge for those with a desire to sustain

simon sheikh

a more critical and discursive practice. I do not want to criticize my colleagues in art institutions and do not want to sound all too

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

negative, but I want to express – and this I share with a number of

bart verschaffel

my colleagues – a strong feeling of unease about the economic and political pressures that those who run museums increasingly have to face today. Furthermore, one should not underestimate the potential

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and pleasure of working with students, the inspiration to be found in other related research fields, and the option of getting away from the sheer pragmatism of running the day-to-day business of a museum. To be mainly involved with satisfying trustees and/or local politicians rather than investing time researching fields that might be not that popular – this is not everyone’s cup of tea. The wish to renegotiate the role of art through an expanded notion of artistic education allows a certain degree of distance, and some independence, from what the art field represents, at least in the Western hemisphere. I have been studying art myself, extended by post-graduate studies in art theory. Therefore, I am quite aware of the influence of teachers and the impact of innovative institutional leadership in higher artistic education upon students. In my case, a European male-dominated art school setting, although a very open and liberal one, affected my desire to understand not only art theory, but also the social topography of the art world at large. But what I currently see happening is the `take - over’ of the, at least so far, more distant locations by the market and its protagonists – and the pressure attached to the market is already felt. The motivation actually causing my shift from working as an artist and organizer to curator and educator seems outdated. The exclusion of a younger generation of artists, specifically women, from mainstream art institutions in those days, was a catalyst for me and some artist friends to generate something else. We – as an artists’ group, called “Stille Helden” – were not completely opposed to art institutions; but there was no space for us available and what we saw exhibited, did often not address what mattered to us or was not linked to our discussions about art. Instead of complaining, we simply created our own formats and spaces and generated our own audiences. We were students of the visual arts, performance and theater, film, music, and poetry. Today this all seems so far away. It was not until later that I understood that art history is not made

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in the garage; the authority on the art historical cannon is to a

3 – 4 editorial

certain extent still in the hands of the major museums and based a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

on their collections. More and more, though, the market dictates what art is produced and, thus, shown. I can only hope that at one

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

point the necessity to interfere becomes strong enough to enter the history-producing apparatus. I still see certain gaps arising within

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

the dominance of the market, within art history that mattered to my generation – such as the already mentioned lack of female positions

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

etc.. We have to demand a review and a correction of public collections and force a change in outdated focus points.

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

So, there is a need for crucial debates within universities and other societal institutions focusing on those issues. For obvious reasons

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

they should take place as well within an apparatus of representation such as an art museum, or within opinion-creating blockbusters such

simon sheikh

as Documenta, the Venice and Whitney biennials, and the Carnegie International. One should not forget, they have the budget, the

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

infrastructure, and also the media power to “correct” and re-write art

bart verschaffel

history. But are there any shared intentions to do so at present? In that respect, those “institutions” are indeed highly interesting. To come back to teaching, I see teaching in art schools as a practice

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in line with my curatorial work. I keep in mind the BBC’s founding mandate: “Educate, Inform, and Entertain” as a healthy mix and a valid model. I feel the relation between art and exhibitions offers the option to test situations and combinations. The exploration of thoughts and work is a necessary focus in art education. An exhibition is equal to a seminar for me; both formats produce a communicative space through artistic and intellectual means, so nothing is wrong with involving students in exhibitions. It must be made clear, though, what the idea behind such participation is; it is not to create a showcase for students entering the market. When I studied art in the early 1980s as part of the group of young artists called “Stille Helden”, this was my interest. Being part of an artist group allowed us not to get pigeonholed; being unpredictable prevented us from being co-opted. I must have internalized this attitude, and this made me sensitive towards being identified with an institution rather than with a distinct practice. And last, but not least, in those days as young artists we were far removed from having a master plan to develop and to manage a career. Facing today’s powerful art market with huge cash flow on one hand, and an inflation of temporary exhibition formats such as the exploding number of biennials on the other, there is a definite advantage to “duck and cover” within an educational structure for a while. One should also not forget that a number of conceptual artists, such as Hans Haacke at Cooper Union and Michael Asher at CalArts could only sustain their practice during previous high art markets due to their teaching positions, offering them some independence. Yet teaching is also about the possibility and responsibility of transmitting a specific understanding and notion of a critical artistic and cultural practice to a younger generation of art students. Even today I seek to find “company” to explore, to discover, to reflect, and to analyze, to share what I perceive, in order to be able to implement a correction through a multitude of voices whenever necessary. As the

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conceptual artist Joseph KosuthΩonce stated so clearly: “...an audience separate from the participants does not exist.” I consider myself always to be the primary audience for my projects. As an audience,

Ω k o s u t h ,

j o s ep h : a r t a f t er

p h i lo s o p h y a n d a f t er

3 – 4 editorial

c o l l e c t e d w r i t i n g s 19 6 6 -19 9 0 . c a m b r i d g e , m a s s ac h u s e t t s / lo n d o n , e n g l a n d : t h e m i t

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

p r e s s , 19 91 .

you have to engage in what you perceive, you have to participate

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

to produce a discourse and to understand an art work. One of my

willem de greef

teachers in art theory at the Academy in Hamburg, Michael Lingner

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

claimed that only the combination of a work of art, its perception, and

u t e m e ta b a u e r

the communication about it generates what we consider art. During the years I directed an artists-run space in StuttgartΩ, I developed a view of the audience as informal participants over time, i.e., as

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

Ω k ü n s t l er h au s

clementine dellis

s t u t tg a r t f r o m 19 9 0 -19 9 4

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

an entity sharing and debating experiences. This understanding of generating an audience to develop a space of communication, a public

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

space sphere within an institution for education, is still crucial and important to me, but is more difficult to achieve. Later, while working

simon sheikh

as a curator for large-scale exhibitions such as Documenta11 or the 3rd

mick wilson

Berlin Biennial, my self-understanding of my position as a curator did

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

not differ much from my self-understanding and way of working as a

bart verschaffel

practicing artist right after finishing art academy. For me, it remains essential to enter institutional spaces and at the same time not to become too comfortable within them, to be

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challenged, to be committed for a certain time span and then to move on to new territories. That keeps one alive and very sensitive to cultural developments. Today, I realize that the art schools are too involved in the markets, possibly caused to a certain degree by curators entering the field. At the same time, I view both art and curating as ephemeral and process-oriented work, work not so easily absorbed. Therefore, we should maintain a laboratory-type situation in the academies. Since raising theoretical questions through both artistic and curatorial practice is one of my driving forces, I regret that the awareness of colonial, postcolonial, gender, and class debates that once appeared in the curricula of art education disappear almost immediately through the back door now that they have a whiff of “pc ” about them. Today, these issues are addressed to pressure artists into being “do-gooders”, while they should really be “free” thinkers. But free of what? That question reminds me of Antonio Gramsci and his notion of the artist as organic intellectual whose role is not to act, to subordinate or to serve a system, but to be a critical and independent voice negotiating civil society. Such understanding has been continued by a number of recent political philosophers such as Toni Negri. Surely one should not fall into the trap of considering art, artists, curators, museums, and art schools as fixed entities. These notions are in constant flux, and the speed of the transformational process has been increased alongside the development of high consumption in general. For example, although the market is strong today, I recall that in the 1990s it was the curators who were considered the strong players in the field. Before that, the institutions were the opinion makers. In other words, art takes part in the economical and political reconfigurations on this planet as much as everything else. Globalization as such does not stop when it comes to art. Power positions are not static or written in stone. As long as we are able to address that in our educational positions, and communicate that

48 c o lo fon

11


constellations are constantly shifting, we are still doing fine.

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Let’s return to the topic of curators connected to art schools. The a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

opening of Documenta11 took place in March 2001 at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with Platform_1. This meant there were eighteen

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

months before the initial scheduled opening date of Documenta11 in June 2002 ( then called Platform_5 ). Platform_1 was focused

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

on a series of talks, workshops etc. on “Democracy Unrealized”.

u t e m e ta b a u e r

Such topics triggered some highly sensitive reactions amongst my

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

colleagues on the faculty at the Vienna academy. Some of them

clementine dellis

wondered how debates on democracy related to the agenda of an art

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

school. Several art critics, art dealers, and art collectors asked why

jan verwoert

such an important exhibition as Documenta11 was launched in an

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

art school context and on a topic unrelated to art. Those questions

simon sheikh

indicated that antagonism was already on the rise. What I shared with Okwui Enwezor and my colleagues from Documenta11 – Carlos

mick wilson

Basualdo, Sarat Maharaj, Mark Nash, Octavio Zaya, and last but not

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

least Susanne Ghez – was the view that Documenta is a knowledge

bart verschaffel

production machine. In other words, we considered Documenta as an educational tool. An exhibition of that scale reaches many peopleΩ, many for the first time encountering contemporary art. The so-called

Ω p l at f o r m 5

o f d o c u m e n ta 11 ,

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t h e e x h i b i t i o n i n k a s s el i n

20 02 , h a d a r o u n d 650,0 0 0 v i s i to r s .

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professionals have to re-encounter art each time they experience new works, too. So Documenta11 was criticized mostly for resembling a seminar for higher cultural education. But since the Documenta11 curatorial team understood this exceptional exhibition format as a form of knowledge production, why not launch Documenta11 at an art academy, and why not view it as an expanded series of seminars? Platform_1 - 4 correlated with the discourses artists invited to Documenta11 were currently exploring. In order to focus on the specifics of these discourses, we had to go to the places of origin or of relevance for each of the platform topics. For example, to debate creolité in Kassel does not make much sense, but if you debate it in St. Lucia, a place with an everyday experience of this fairly recent academic discourse, it feels quite normal. Automatically one is confronted with criticism of people who share the experience and have deep convictions on the topic. One needs a “critical mass” to interact with you if you raise such questions. That is immensely important in order to establish a serious kind of back-and-forth debate and to delve deeper into a topic. I see an exhibition as a zone of activity, a space one has to produce; it is not a given. An exhibition has to clarify the questions raised and share this process with the audience, rather than educate them from the position of those “in the know.” Such a “zone of activity” marks the effort one makes to create discursive art – through a curatorial decision. What do we generate as curators when we put art works, artistic views, next to each other, and what do we generate by what is then written about it? When it comes to research I consider curatorial practice well-situated within an art school context, also because museums are withdrawing more and more from curatorial obligation. Once, museums were the places for serious historical research. Today they are forced to take part in a tourist industry and have started to become fundraising machines in order to survive. Curators are under pressure to

48 c o lo fon

12


continuously produce art shows that create media attention and attract

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large audiences. That leaves them with less time for research. No a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

wonder some curators migrate to educational institutions in order to do research. Exhibitions are not being created to simply satisfy us.

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

An exhibition should be able to create a space for critical reflection, a space for discourse that challenges the way we think and the way

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

we perceive the world. A “good” exhibition leaves one irritated, troubled, stimulated. Aren’t those the exhibitions that stick around the

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

longest?

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

simon sheikh

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y bart verschaffel

research report 44 – 46

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48 c o lo fon

13


i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p ... ?

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cl ém en t i n e d el i s s

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Is it possible to map the various skills required for the MA - program

willem de greef

particularly with regard to a reflective and critical attitude, and a

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

conception of both knowledge production and research?

u t e m e ta b a u e r

My contribution to this discussion is based on ‘Future Academy’, a curated research initiative set up in 2003 that has been driven

primarily by voluntary and non-paying cells of postgraduate students.

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ? clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

Supported by host institutions from Europe, Africa, India, usa ,

jan verwoert

Japan, and Australia, Future Academy has effectively spanned five

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

continents in its attempt to discern the context for independent

simon sheikh

research in art in times to come. Currently part of Edinburgh College of Art, Future Academy does not provide an ma or mfa

mick wilson

and, in fact, has no formal legitimacy in terms of official diplomas

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

or exam qualifications. However, what it has provided for students

bart verschaffel

studying at both large-scale institutions as well as smaller protozoan organisations is a recursive and transitional model for learning how

research report

to conduct focused research as artists, whilst simultaneously coming

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to grips with survival, economic models, and responses to fieldwork in foreign locations. As a self-reflexive investigation that relies on

48 c o lo fon

the free will and engagement of students from different institutions and faculties it is necessarily heterological: it appears to disturb the existing coordinates of fine art education by tracing paths across geopolitical locations that throw up earlier colonial cartographies and question current affiliations of power and knowledge that are in the process of being re-negotiated.Ω Over the last five years, Future Academy students have acted as the diagnosticians of their own art education, a process, which can only be successful if they view their

Ω“ t h e

n ot i o n o f

‘ h e t er o lo gy ’

r ef er s to t h e way i n w h i c h t h e m e a n i n g f u l

fa b r i c o f t h e s e n s i b l e i s d i s t u r b e d : a s p e c tac l e d o e s n ot fi t w i t h i n t h e s e n s i b l e f r a m e w o r k d efi n e d by a n e t w o r k o f m e a n i n g s , a n e x p r e s s i o n d o e s n ot fi n d i t s p l ac e i n t h e s y s t em o f v i s i b l e c o o r d i n at e s w h er e i t a p p e a r s .” j ac q u e s r a n c i èr e , t h e p o l i t i c s o f a e s t h e t i c s , i n t er v i e w w i t h g a b r i el r o c k h i l l , c o n t i n u u m , 20 0 4 , p. 71

current condition as closely aligned to that of a future environment for research, production, and community. Interestingly, students who take on Future Academy either leave quickly because they do not understand its apparent lack of course structure, or became so fully involved in it that their ownership of it is unrelenting. As a procedure that involves the elaboration of new proposals and their execution, Future Academy characterises my activity as a curator over the last ten years. This has involved generating work with artists and writers through the independent organ Metronome and led to a backstage approach to curating for which the art college has proved to be the most efficient and responsive institutional setting.Ω In 1999, I published Backwards Translation based on the ex-curricula of students, setting up a situation of parallel research and co-production between the Städelschule in Frankfurt ( where I was a guest professor) and the art academies in Vienna, Bordeaux, Edinburgh, and finally Biella, with Michelangelo Pistoletto who was setting up the Cittadellarte and University of Ideas. In 2001, I transited around Scandinavia for eighteen months, building up an analysis of the use of rhetoric and the voice in art practice with a voluntary posse of postgraduate students who were studying at the various art colleges. This research deepened until we decided to make voice recordings in a studio in Oslo and develop another Metronome

Ω i t

i s d eb ata b l e w h e t h er t h e d e v elo p m e n t o f m e t r o n o m e w o u l d h av e

b ee n ac h i e v e d i n t h e m i d to l at e n i n e t i e s i f i h a d w o r k e d w i t h i n m u s eu m s w h er e t h e em p h a s i s o n p u b l i c v i s i b i l i t y a n d ac c e s s m ay h av e r u n c o n t r a r y to t h e f o c u s o n ‘ c o n c ep t ua l i n t i m ac y ’ t h at i c h o s e to work with.

14


publication called The Bastard, co-funded by art academies in Oslo,

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Bergen, Malmö, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. In 2002, nine exa c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

postgraduates and I set up base for ten months in the derelict, yet high-security Royal Army Medical College that had just been acquired

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

by Chelsea College of Art and Design. Navigating through this vast,

willem de greef

sinister site next to Tate Britain with guest artists while imagining its

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

past and future led to The Stunt and The Queel, a publication and 12-

u t e m e ta b a u e r

hour event held in the unconverted Millbank building. At that point, I

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

developed Future Academy, turning back onto itself the environment

clementine dellis

in which I had been given so much conceptual freedom and means

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

of production. Once again I set up informal research units, and was

jan verwoert

able to knit together institutional support, first between the London

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Institute ( now University of the Arts), Chelsea College of Art and

simon sheikh

Design, Tate Britain, and later Edinburgh College of Art, and Glasgow School of Art. Finally, in 2006 and 2007, I published the last two

mick wilson

editions of Metronome for documenta 12, collating materials from

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

Future Academy fieldwork and developing a further constellation of

bart verschaffel

backing and finance, only this time in the US, Australia, and Japan. Metronome is neither vanity publishing nor self-publishing, but the

research report

carrier and medium through which I have transported this research in

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motion that tends to lie somewhat to the side of recognised curatorial models, regulated art publishing and academic norms.Ω

Ω s ee

m e t r o n o m ep r e s s . c o m

48 c o lo fon

Future Academy and Metronome clearly have many points in common including their unofficial status – you may well ask how Metronome fits into the UK’s Research Assessment Exercise when most productions are without isbn and Future Academy student cells are not academically accredited? Several convergences exist, for example, the nurturing of self-appointed communities of artists and researchers who engage in a joint investigation and debate modes of survival; the process of moving and working in different cities and involving local histories and organisations in the project as it evolves; and the primary focus on translation as a key trope in advanced art practice.Ω

Ω o s c a r

t ua zo n , a r t i s t a n d c o l l a b o r ato r i n f u t u r e ac a d em y,

em p h a s i s e s t h e p r o b l em o f t h e a r b i t r a r y c o m m u n i t y s o o f t e n f o u n d

However, the one convergence I would like to turn to now is the

i n ac a d em i c s t r u c t u r e s :

influence of early ethnographic experiments in research, fieldwork

s t r u c t u r e o f a l a r g e i n s t i t u t i o n r eq u i r e s c o l l a b o r at i o n w i t h p eo p l e

studies, and their subsequent interpretation. I am interested in looking back at the controversial discipline of social anthropology, which I studied alongside contemporary art, but then denied an affiliation to throughout the 1990s.Ω I want to revisit the maverick methodologies of twentieth century anthropologists from Margaret Mead through to Michel Leiris and more recently, Clifford Geertz. In particular, I’ve come back to Gregory Bateson, the polymathic academic and cyberneticist who made seminal advances in the translation of systems of knowing and communicating. Bateson’s concept of the “metalogue” is relevant here. Using a relational methodology to understand perception, Bateson refers to recursiveness as meaning that repeatedly loops back onto itself in a reflexive dialogue with its representational boundaries, building a form of “ecological epistemology”, a thought-structure that is naturally interdependent and interactive with other disciplines. Bateson writes, “A metalogue is a conversation about some problematic subject. This conversation should be such that not only do the participants discuss

“i

wa n t to a d d r e s s w h at i s ee a s a n i n h er en t

l i m i t to t h e ac a d em y a s a pa r a d i g m f o r e x p er i m e n ta l w o r k . fi r s t , t h e w i t h w h o m yo u m i g h t n ot h av e a n y r e a l a f fi n i t y. t h er e i s a h o r i zo n o n t h e k i n d o f au to n o m y p o s s i b l e i n t h i s s i t uat i o n . s e c o n d , w i t h i n

a n ac a d em i c s e t t i n g m o s t o f t h e f u n da m e n ta l q u e s t i o n s o f s u r v i va l h av e b ee n a d d r e s s e d a n d ta k e n c a r e o f by t h e i n s t i t u t i o n . a n d f o r a n a r t i s t i c p r ac t i c e w h er e t h e p r i m a r y i s s u e i s h o w to g e t by, t h i s i s a r e a l o b s tac l e .” m e t r o n o m e n o .11

Ω h av i n g

s t u d i e d s o c i a l a n t h r o p o lo gy i n t h e e a r ly 19 8 0 s , i wa s

i m m er s e d i n a s t r a i n o f

“s em a n t i c

a n t h r o p o lo gy ” w h i c h n ot o n ly

r ef l e c t e d r ef er e n c e s i h a d i d e n t i fi e d e a r l i er a s a n a r t s t u d e n t i n t h e w o r k o f j o s ep h ko s u t h , s u s a n h i l l er , m i c h a el b u t h e , lot h a r

b au m g a r t e n a n d ot h er s , b u t o f f er e d a s el f - c r i t i c a l a n a ly s i s o f t h e d i s c i p l i n e ’ s n a r r at i v e t r o p e s

( s ee

j a m e s c l i f f o r d , pau l r a b i n o w ,

c l i f f o r d g eer t z , m a r c u s a n d c u s h m a n , e tc .). m y s u b s eq u e n t w o r k w i t h

p r otag o n i s t s f r o m t h e b l ac k a r t s m o v em e n t i n lo n d o n , c o l l a b o r at i o n s

w i t h a r t i s t s i n s e v er a l a f r i c a n c o u n t r i e s , p lu s t h e b u r g eo n i n g p o s i t i o n o f c u lt u r a l s t u d i e s r e n d er e d p r o b l em at i c t h e o n g o i n g a r t i c u l at i o n o f s o c i a l a n t h r o p o lo gy a s a n a p p r o p r i at e m e t h o d o lo gy f o r a n 8 0 s ’ u n d er s ta n d i n g o f g lo b a l i s at i o n , r ac e a n d d i f f er e n c e .

15


the problem, but the structure of the conversation as a whole is also revealed to the same subject. Only some of the conversations achieve this double format.”Ω This perpetual mirroring exemplifies

3 – 4 editorial

Ω g r e g o r y

b at e s o n ,

“s t ep s

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

to

a n e c o lo gy o f m i n d ”, 1971 .

the liminal dimension located between researching something

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

and producing a representation of this process, just as it evokes

willem de greef

the distinctions and concordances between academic discourses of

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

knowledge production and the eccentric vagaries of art practice. To develop Future Academy as a Batesonian metalogical investigation

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

means pitching it first to students, and then involving them from day one when nothing is known, and there are no results, encouraging us

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

to determine hypotheses together and form the representation of our findings gradually as they are being pursued, to become interlocutors,

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

collaborators, and highlighters together. The work of the students has a bearing on what I produce, where I travel to, and whether I survive

simon sheikh

professionally, and yet, at the same time, each of us has the authority to retain a sense of individual development. One question emerges

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

here: can both art students and faculty recognise the plurality and

bart verschaffel

therefore the instability of methodological procedures as part of their research activities, or is the current conception of competence and accreditation in art education unnecessarily driving both parties

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towards conformism? Underlying my interests in the art academy environment is the presupposition that it offers an exceptionally individualist, deregulated, and heterogeneous location for visioning the future and forming agents in this process. As well as providing a more or less thorough training ground for artistic positions, I would argue that the academy is the site of prelusive knowledge. Its artist-members are able to deploy the transformational moment in their research of aesthetic practices in a way that is not possible in any other institution today. For the art academy specialises in and nurtures the lead-up time to production through a particular approach to the relation between ideas and things, places and people. As Martin Prinzhorn stated in a conversation at the start of Future Academy, “Art academies should be places where research is done that actually cannot be done in universities because universities have other limits that art academies do not need to have.” One might say the same distinction applies to the art academy in relation to the museum as a site of new production: art academies necessarily should be places where art is engaged with and expanded in a manner that cannot be achieved in museums and galleries. So my personal question, reactivated again and again over the last ten years, has been to ascertain whether the art academy remains a location in which its faculty can experience the flexibility to undertake the prelusive or unknown that defines independent research and the work associated with it, rather than becoming reduced to mere providers or teachers? This brings me to the blurred definitional framework of what we call the art academy, a fuzzy logic that is perhaps this institution’s saving grace and ongoing claim to heterodoxy. On an elementary level, an art academy, like any institution, is the organic result of a groups’ desire to work together and formalise certain experiences and resolutions. However, following Jacques Rancière’s notion of the “aesthetic regime of the arts”, the art academy necessarily embodies

48 c o lo fon

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an antagonism, which functions to reinterpret the past and reinscribe

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as well as redistribute values of competence. He writes, “A ‘common’ a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

world is never simply an ethos, a shared abode, that results from the sedimentation of a certain number of intertwined acts. It is always a

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

polemical distribution of modes of being and ‘occupations’ in a space

willem de greef

of possibilities. It is from this perspective that it is possible to raise the

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

question of the relationship between the ‘ordinariness’ of work and artistic

‘exceptionality’.”Ω

u t e m e ta b a u e r

Ωibid,

pag e 42

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

As the name Future Academy indicates, I’ve opted for the heavy

clementine dellis

connotations of the historically bound, heritage art academy and

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

combined it with more self-destruct, artists’ collectives whose scale

jan verwoert

is necessarily small and mutable in contrast to the elephantine

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

magnitude of the major art educational establishments that most

simon sheikh

of us work within. However one chooses to define the academy per se, definitions usually lead at one point to a certain tension between

mick wilson

inclusion and exclusion, formal and informal, organised and

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

deregulated knowledge. For example, one might focus on the academy

bart verschaffel

as a protection lodge, run by an elite orthodoxy with a structure which necessitates it to be non-accessible and non-populist. Highly

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ritualised in contrast to more bohemian academies, entry is based on

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convocation rituals, on strictly maintained interpersonal networks, and on notions of adherence. A more innovative analogy might be

48 c o lo fon

the one raised recently by Georg Schöllhammer at documenta 12. Here the academy is understood as an editorial group. Presenting this notion at the Metronome Think Tank in Tokyo, Schöllhammer states, “The idea of the documenta magazines project is to come back to a form of mobility that is also a form of academy, a very stable form, namely the editorial group. It has a long tradition in independent media and involves a group of people working over a long period of time on issues which they find interesting to translate from one place to another or to present, because they have the distinct feeling that they need to speak about these in an audible and visible manner. We thought, why not use these academies, these editorial groups and bring them into discussion with one another?”Ω Schöllhammer’s proposition combines the method of an organ such as Metronome with that of a collective research project like Future Academy, and more could be developed on this relationship. However, here I’d like to focus on the art academy as the tool of cultural expansion. The geopolitical incentives of this formulation rise and fall according to demand, and are permanently revised and reactivated to reflect changing concepts of national and cultural heritage, and by extension internationalist policy. From the 19th century mercantile marriage of Empire Education, and Trade, we shift seamlessly into today’s neo-liberal threesome of Globalisation, Learning, and the Cultural Industries. Today’s corporate rather than imperial model of schooling and human resource development places emphasis on structures we are all too familiar with. Life-long learning, vocational training, concordant accreditation systems, virtual learning environments, a powerful, global market in postgraduate education, and an unhealthy reliance on the fees of foreign, non EU students. It begs the question as to whether the European MFA is actually a neocolonial device ultimately being developed to be implemented beyond

Ω s ee

m e t r o n o m e n o . 11 , w h at i s to b e d o n e ?, to k yo , 20 07

17


the territorial parameters of the Bologna agreement? Meanwhile, the

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student body increasingly mutates flooding the once singular character a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of a nation’s art academy with an unstoppable flow of new influences, latent cultural backgrounds, and confused expectations. A college

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

with a large amount of international students is heterogeneous but not necessarily able to make use of this condition. Nevertheless, what I

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

hope characterises today’s globalised art academy is not just the frenzy of standardisation, but the alternative option of travelling intelligently

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

through different institutional structures with their contrasting value systems, in order to perform a deep transfer of knowledge that

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

can reflect and compliment the newly international character of this student body.

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Within the first six months of Future Academy, I made the decision to curate this investigation away from a super-structure of European

simon sheikh

super-schools and to focus instead on the current ramifications of

mick wilson

colonial art academies established in the 19th and 20th centuries,

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

thereby questioning today’s renewed forays into educational expansion.

bart verschaffel

As a result of pitches I made to artists, scholars, and students on the hypotheses and modus operandi of this research, I was able to set up experimental student cells and with these, parallel institutional

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partnerships. I worked first in Senegal, where the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Dakar is actually a post-independence phenomenon initiated by the late president and poet Leopold Sedar Senghor in 1963; and then in several cities in India, where art colleges were aligned historically with their British colonial counterparts. In both locations, there were different institutional scales at work. For example, the Media Centre of Dakar, an ngo co-financed by Norwegian state funding, was working with the Ecole Nationale des Arts in Dakar and teaching new media to students, and in Mumbai, the urban research group pukar (Partners for Urban Knowledge and Research), devised by social anthropologist Arjun Appadurai with us academic funding, was producing documentary films with students of Shri. J. J. School of Art. Both NGOs could thereby circumvent entrenched bureaucratic problems within the older structures and enable students to develop new methods and productions external of the existing curricula. Likewise Future Academy would negotiate its way forward with its motherships in London and Scotland, and encourage students from the different departments or schools to take ownership of this research. Later, when Future Academy moved to Japan, this symbiotic relationship was confirmed once more with the participation of small artists’ collectives in Tokyo that focus on educational formats, such as CommandN, m-lab, or Arts Initiative Tokyo ( AIT ), indicating a true mushrooming of short-term working systems. AIT, for example, runs exceptional evening classes on curating and contemporary art, open to a wide range of office workers and people whose education may not have included formal art studies. With this modest endeavour, AIT has managed to remain financially self-sufficient and autonomous. Future Academy’s resolution to be voluntary and non-paying led to a deep interest on the part of the students in all locations in economic propositions. In February 2003, a weeklong Future Academy seminar generated a proposal by mfa students to set up a bank. Their claim

48 c o lo fon

18


was straightforward: independent thinking required independent

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economies. In the future, the role and value of the artist might lead to a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

a type of international intelligence for which both a black market and a barter system might become operational. The senior management

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of the uk School in question immediately quashed the proposal and,

willem de greef

as any further development was voluntary, the students continued

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

with their individual work and this institution’s involvement in

u t e m e ta b a u e r

Future Academy pretty much ended there. However, the focus on

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

economics did not and it was in Dakar that the most coherent and

clementine dellis

topical economic model was developed, precisely because the nervous

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

accountability of the host institution did not interfere with students’

jan verwoert

conception of legitimate research.

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

The model proposed by the Senegalese artists referred back to the

simon sheikh

Tontine, a micro-credit scheme originally devised by the Neapolitan Lorenzo Tonti in 1653. In Dakar, the scheme was activated in the

mick wilson

recession of the 1980s as an alternative to the development banks,

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

which, whilst apparently run by the Senegalese, were still closely tied

bart verschaffel

to French finance. Key to the Tontine in Senegal has been the cultural and social dimension it employs to ensure that a rotating rhythm of

research report

contribution and spending is maintained by each of its members. Trust

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and social sanctions encourage a self-selection process with regard to the group’s membership. Tontines can fall within several categories,

48 c o lo fon

from those that are regulated by religious and commercial interests in order to cover financial difficulties or pay for pilgrimages to Mecca, through to smaller cooperatives based on neighbourhood structures, women’s groups, the organisation of events, or the acquisition of health and educational infrastructures. The fundamental issue with the Tontine is that it remains outside of the law, is not monitored by the police or the state, and constitutes part of the informal economic chain. Tontines can even have clandestine membership arrangements such that although the savings will rotate from person to person these individuals remain unknown within the group. In the context of Future Academy, the Tontine provided an experiment in alternative funding systems and actually paid for the Senegalese visas to India so that they could to take part in the Synchronisations forum set up by their Indian Future Academy colleagues. Likewise, the Edinburgh cell also applied the Tontine system to their collective finances, and managed to raise a considerable amount for their visit to India. As research on this financial, communal structure developed, so too did the concept of the individual who might operate it: the student on the one hand, and the teacher or professor on the other, both defined as agents in a transactional relationship. If the example of legally extraneous micro-credit associations had provided the framework, it was to be the hawker or itinerant salesman who offered the role model.Ω “ We realise that there are eminent professors of economics in Senegal who often receive travel grants to go to Europe or the States in order to study during the holidays. They come back with theories. In contrast you have the hawker who has no formal education in economics and who has only attended traditional and Coranic schools. This hawker enters the economic system too; the one that we call informal, and he or she travels worldwide. What have these people done to become successful in the context of an international system? They receive

Ωt h e

s e n e g a l e s e m u s i c i a n a n d p r o d u c er yo u s s o u n ’ d o u r

took part in the first future academy forum held in dakar in january 2003 . at this meet -

ing youssou n’dour raised the issue of the growth in opportunities for young peo ple and the fast track that the youth perceived in becoming a musician today . he

recently collaborated with benetton and established a local, senegalese microcredit association called birima to sup p or t sm a l l s c a l e e n t r ep r e n eu r i a l i n i t i at i v e s . o n e o f t h e i c o n s u s e d i n t h e p r

c a m pa i g n i s t h e p o r t r a i t o f a s e n e g a l e s e h aw k er . s ee w w w . b i r i m a . o r g

19


no support from the government. But if they could enter the future

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academy, we could ask them how their system functions without basic a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

formal economic principles, and how it is that they still manage to survive (…). The hawker is at the heart of our intellectual debates right

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

now. But also in terms of media and communications. The formal

willem de greef

and the informal do not only exist in economic terms. They exist in

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

the artistic domain too and we should open up this debate in Future Academy.”Ω Effectively the Senegalese Future Academy team spent lengthy periods in Dakar analysing informal systems such as the network of beggars, the stock exchange of second-hand clothing, and illegal taxi drivers with their speed-driven race against death, looking at

u t e m e ta b a u e r

Ω d i s c u s s i o n

b e t w ee n

n a l l e au r o , m a n e ,

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

a n d awa d i o u f at

clementine dellis

f u t u r e ac a d em y ’ s ‘ s y n c h r o n i s at i o n s ’

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

e v e n t i n b a n g a lo r e ,

20 05

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

all these phenomena in terms of aesthetic values and vectors, and deducing complex performative and presentational modalities from

simon sheikh

them. Moreover, their final conclusion was that at a certain point (postgraduate education) student and teacher need to reformulate

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

the hierarchical relationship of knowledge transfer and enter into a

bart verschaffel

flat zone in which each party recognises the value of their respective input and can effectively pitch and barter their way forward. Here we find the transition from informal to formal, and the shifting of

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competence from illegal mini-cabbing to the acquisition of what in London taxi driver’s parlance is known as the ‘Knowledge’. Indeed,

48 c o lo fon

extensive debates took place between the students in Future Academy on the relationship between informal and formal economies, emphasising their interconnectedness: “The informal sector is a little like a bazaar, like a market. You go out and find your guy and he offers you a mixed bag of things. You don’t enter a pyramid structure. It is random. If we look at the informal sector and how this fluid state of the economy is run, should we look at it in isolation or not? Instead of having one-day economies, can we find a way to align the informal to the formal sector? This is the predominant economic paradigm that we are trying to work with or break out of. If we want to analyse one-day economies or smaller more chaotic models where things are done in more fluid ways, then I feel we need to take into account that this actually works and investigate its relationship to the predominant paradigm. I do not think we should look at it in isolation.”Ω In India, the Future Academy team subsequently re-defined this proposal into the ‘Permeable Academy’, describing the mobile architecture of the itinerant salesman as that of a moving directory of comparative studies, analyses, networks, and individual contacts across the world. In this Permeable Academy, expertise would be handed over to informal economists, peripheral academics, and “ traders and crafts people would meet at the shack studio, a tea shop outside the walls of the heritage academies. To resume the argument so far: competence in Future Academy is the ability for students to make a series of shifts. Firstly, from prescribed learning structures to voluntary initiatives that do not feature in their academic assessment, and which they are encouraged to qualify and take ownership of, and that, if anything, may fast track them into a professional context. Secondly, from a sole dependency on grants, loans and student debt towards alternative economic

Ω u m a n g , <<<<<‘ s y n c h r o n i s at i o n s ’

e v e n t i n b a n g a lo r e , 20 05

20


approaches with regard to studying, research, production, travel, daily

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survival and collective projects. I’d hesitate to call this the seeds of a a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

micro-institutional development but increasingly I feel it may just be heading that way. It would confirm the value accorded by artists in

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

transactions that introduce service environments into their work from the clinic through to purchases that can be made

online.Ω

I would like to end on a related issue that provides the basis for intellectual competence: the figure of the polymath and the concept

willem de greef

Ω i ’ m

thinking of joe

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

s c a n l a n ’ s c o f fi n s , a n d ot h er p r o p o s a l s

u t e m e ta b a u e r

f o r o n l i n e s a l e s at t h i n g s fa l l d o w n . c o m

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

‘ of a roaming faculty. Let’s go back to Gregory Bateson who defines his

clementine dellis

stance in opposition to what he sees in the 1970s as the increasingly

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

materialist ecology of academic departments, something that one

jan verwoert

could argue is taking place once again. In 1971 he states that “such

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

matters as the bilateral symmetry of an animal, the patterned

simon sheikh

arrangement of leaves in a plant, the escalation of an armaments race, the processes of courtship, the nature of play, the grammar of a

mick wilson

sentence, the mystery of biological evolution, and the contemporary

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

crises in man’s relationship to his environment, can only be understood in terms of such an ecology of ideas.”Ω

bart verschaffel

Ωi b i d .

When we investigated future faculties of knowledge in the art academy, in other words those subjects, contexts, and practices that

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might be taught, researched, and developed, it was to both latent aesthetic processes, and everyday relational activities that attention was directed, which may be no wonder, given the global importance of social interventionism in art practice of the 1990s (from N55, to Superflex, Open Circle, Raks, or Pukar in India, Huit Facettes in Senegal, to name just a few). Art students, they argued, could benefit from a lawyer on immigration and identity issues, just as they might be interested in hearing from economists or scholars whose research is founded in the cultural idioms and methodologies of non-Western societies. Heterodox combinations of information and skill would inform art practice: for example, the exercise of a particular sport as a model for analysing thought structures (e.g., Senegalese wrestling as mental and physical dialectical engagement). In this manner, a future art academy would engage in a polymathic economy; a polymathic educational model; a polymathic faculty, and finally a polymathic understanding of place, situating itself between different public audiences, institutional structures and time frames. With the introduction of a ‘Roaming Faculty’, the polymath, like our hawker earlier on, becomes embedded in a structure dedicated to mobile knowledge transfer and deep exchange. It’s a non-prescriptive condition of empathic learning, that provides for a parallel extension in the work of guest, peripatetic researcher, and the transnational group of students who work with him or her. The Roaming Faculty model offers selected artists and scholars the chance to develop new work through a chain of interconnected situations at four to five different art academies. It’s a consortium of sorts, but it is led by the value attributed to an individual’s research, to the shaping of content and the nurturing of transcultural and transdiciplinary positions, which stand outside of the course curricula. Moreover, for a participating institution, the Roaming Faculty structure requires part investment of no more than 20 to 25% of a full professorial salary. The Tontine system that fuels this moving group of artists and

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scholars guarantees the on-going low-level costs, which are shared,

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rotates ownership between the participating institutions, and helps a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

to broker decision-making. Our Roaming Faculty member is the itinerant hawker not only of ideas but also of ways of apprehending,

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

analysing and evaluating their presence within the next generation of artists and practitioners.

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

So to conclude, I’d like to propose three areas of articulation for fine art students: first, the predisposition to embark on voluntary

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

non-course or examination-led investigations which enhance an understanding of different methodologies of research; secondly, a

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

lucid and production-based interest in economic and symbolic value; and finally a polymathic approach to knowledge production linked

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

to an enhanced disposition towards translation, understood here as the flexible act of idiomatic transference between disciplines,

simon sheikh

methodologies, and cultural contexts. The value accorded to survival and self-organisation leads naturally to a further set of skills: the

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

rhetorical and analytical wherewithal to stake a position as a student

bart verschaffel

player in the revision of educational structures; and by extension the ability to engage with a form of research that is non-prescriptive from the outset. To impart this critical approach to the student seems to be

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essential today, and thereby to dissolve the idea that following a course will make them into an artist

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posing singul arit y

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ja n v er w o er t

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

In the continuous rituals of institutional politics and their related internal closed-door logic, there is fortunately always someone

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

trying to keep doors wide open. That is not something to be taken for granted, since institutions tend to follow strictly the Kafkaesque

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

dynamics of closing in on themselves, thereby creating hermetic black boxes which destroy information and burn bridges with the

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

outside world. In fact, the logic of institutions and the logic of art education are fundamentally at odds, because institutions are innately

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

about legitimation and evaluation, while art education is about inspiration and creation. Those different principles imply that people

simon sheikh

who actually believe in art education will always have to fight the logic of the institution and its continuous institutional ceremonies.

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

The question is how to talk about fighting institutional rituals in

bart verschaffel

public, since that fight is a practice filled with clandestine techniques. I would rather suggest working on a clandestine manual or instruction book listing all the tricks and all the ways of seduction

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required to enable art education within institutions not designed to facilitate anything remotely linked to that form of education. However, I am not in the position to talk about clandestine knowledge in public. So I must find other ways of sharing it. The second issue that worries me is the current prominence of the notion of art as a form of knowledge production. In my view, that notion is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what conceptual art practices meant. Today, though well-meaning and wellintentioned, we do take works from the 1970s seriously and believe they have produced knowledge. Yet it might simply be that we did not understand that conceptual art is about intellectual provocation and the disruption of thoughts, ideas, and words. That disruption is not necessarily connected to the production of knowledge, but rather to the creation of new forms of embodiment, i.e. to discovering whether there are new ways for art practitioners to embody provocative ideas and produce novel forms of communication. We lose the spirit of conceptual art when we actually believe it has produced knowledge. Benjamin Buchloh has argued that the past is the aesthetization of bureaucracy. Along those lines of thought, I do believe that education based on the notion of art as a form of knowledge production creates artists focused on skills such as self-administration and email production. Perhaps we should reconsider the legacy of conceptual art and investment in producing intellectual bodies of art; perhaps we should understand the intellectual even as something entirely different from the academic. After all, the academic discourse is about evaluation and legitimation, while the intellectual is about the public embodiment of ideas and thoughts, i.e., the libidinal and cerebral embodiment of an idea. Embodiment goes necessarily beyond the academic discourse, even if it depends on the academic discourse to realize its practice. This in turn brings to another important issue: the issue of the academy as institution. If we want to maintain a critical discourse,

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we can never speak in the name of the institution even when we

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are speaking about the institution. Many times, contemporary a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

discussions suddenly create an uncanny moment of closure when we speak of the institution in the name of the institution. That

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

perpetuates the false assumption that we are all just institutional people and that is the only reason we are entitled to speak on its

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

behalf. There must be a way of speaking about the institution not in its name but in the name of something else. Something pointing to

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

the possibility of a different world; something implying a utopian principle. Perhaps a utopian world is a world without any need for

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

institutions. Currently, the most pressing question is in what name or in whose

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

name we want to talk about institutions. I would suggest that it might be necessary to speak about institutions in the name of the good

simon sheikh

life. When you read Negri and Hardt’s Empire, the question of the good life is actually the most pressing issue they raise. They argue

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

that today’s means of production are the means of communication,

bart verschaffel

the means of social existence. In the new forms of immaterial labor, the biggest growth industry is communication. As producers of artistic subjectivities, we are producers in the new industry of

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communication. We sacrifice our very lives in that new economy, as we put our life skills at its disposal. Therefore, teaching artistic subjectivities is teaching people how to put themselves at the mercy of the communication industry. That is what you must do as an artist or an intellectual. How can we avoid becoming public commodities, docile bodies and willing contributors to a new form of immaterial labor? Negri and Hardt explore how we may regain control over our intellectual lives. Reappropriating today’s means of production no longer implies invading the factories, but essentially to wrest back the means of social communication. At heart this concerns resuming control over our social lives. I believe one of the most urgent questions facing the art academy is: How do we want to live together? How can we renegotiate the forms of communication that will determine the conditions of our life together? I would like to raise three issues related to that question. One concerns the ethical-political question of the good life connected to the question of subjectivity or singularity. The second is the matter of temporality or the organization of time. The last question concerns debt or indebtness. Let me start with the question of subjectivity. We are works in progress, constantly producing subjectivity. One of the major contradictions in a society dedicated to the production of subjectivities is the issue of singularity. This issue pervades art schools and is almost everywhere in highly individualized societies; the one hope we all share is that we are the chosen, the singular ones. Immediately, that puts us at odds with everybody else. What do you do when there is more than one of the chosen on a panel or in a room? That is the first experience you have when entering an art school; officially you are the chosen, since you have been accepted, but suddenly with horror you realize that you are surrounded by chosen ones. The issue of the chosen is part of a larger discourse in society.

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Books such as the Harry Potter series or films such as the Matrix or

3 – 4 editorial

the Lord of the Rings are all about the chosen. Usually the chosen becomes approved or legitimized through violence and competition.

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

The chosen has to fight within a constellation or competition among

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

others to prove that there can only be one. One could consider the promise of singularity not to be a problem

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

as it is a deeply existential experience. However, the actual problem is that competition is the sole mode or experience of the promise of

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

singularity society offers today. There is no other alternative, except violence, to realize that deeply existential feeling of singularity.

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

So the pressing question is whether we can really propose an alternative model to competition to realize that collective experience

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of singularity. I think we have an unique opportunity to do that in the art academy, because the question of singularity is the most

simon sheikh

pressing issue every student experiences when entering art school.

mick wilson

How can we be singular, together? In that context, Derrida’s Politics

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

of Friendship is fascinating, since he writes about the community of

bart verschaffel

jealous lovers of solitude who have nothing to bring to the community save their love of solitude. Those bonds, without constitutions and manifestos, are forms of conviviality not pointing to the need for

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another church or another constitution, but to the need for forms of antagonistic friendship, allowing the sharing of solitude. The antagonistic community of jealous lovers of solitude might prove provocative. In that sense, I would like to make the distinction between a community of provocation and a community of convocation. Often communities are about coexistence, union, assembling people together to eradicate differences among them. I dream of a provocative community that might exist in an art school as an antagonistic community of provocateurs. The art of posing as a form of provocation is one of the competencies you gain as an art student. You learn to present singularity as a form of provocation. There are bad and good ways of posing. Bad ways of posing are just imposing; imposing your subjectivity on others. Good ways of posing are exposing; exposing yourself to provoke someone else into reacting to what you are saying. That is what you do as a student, but it is also what you do as a teacher. In a literal sense you provoke; you call upon somebody to articulate his or her position. How do you effect the calling, though? I think it should be provocative, not convocative. Let’s provoke a provocative community of poses. One of my ideal models of an academy as a provocative community would be The Muppet Show. A strange assembly of creatures finding a way to coexist that is impossible to explain. So, the first issue deals with the exercise of singularity within the different ethics of a community building. The second issue I mentioned above pertains to temporality or the organization of time. Today, temporality is the regime determining institutional life and also the market. Temporality is related to the urgency to answer emails immediately, with always staying on the beat, in the loop. That is a temporality of absolute presentism. When you always live in the present, it becomes difficult to imagine disrupting that regime of a particular temporality. I like to think that the academy is a good place to do just that.

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Ideally, the academy is a place of many temporalities, where various

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generations meet. The artist embodies both the experience of the past and performs the experience of the present, while art students

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

embody the promise of the future. Thus, the art academy is a place

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

where various pasts, presents, and futures exist in one building. That is a big challenge, though at the same time conflictual, when one

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

temporality starts dominating others. There are traditional academies, like Düsseldorf, where the past

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

squashes all presences. But there are also high-performance academies, where people embody the present and erase any memory

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

of the past. I was once in a place that was so presentish that the person running the print workshop was fired because of his links

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

to past knowledge. This indicates things seriously have gone wrong. People embodying the past also embody a particular form of

simon sheikh

potentiality, since one never knows what the art of the future will be. To generate the art of the future, you need some non-contemporary

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

past potential. I think the more temporalities an academy has, the

bart verschaffel

better it is. Staying in the Muppet Show model, you could say that we should have many overlapping, completely antagonistic and incongruent temporalities, embodied by people who might never

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be able to properly talk to each other, since they all speak different languages. Yet there should be a way for different temporalities to coexist in one building. In a Nietzschean sense, the potential of the art academy lies in a radical non-contemporary quality, or in a multiple sense of temporalities. That has to do with characters and generations, with artists and texts brought in, and with the oblique angles of talking and choosing the subject of teaching. The goal should be to multiply and diversify the inherent temporalities of the academy, and to produce a different form of co-existence and conviviality, where people, ideas, and practices embodying different forms of temporality may exist under one roof. Finally, we need to talk about the third issue mentioned: debt. Very often, especially in market-driven societies, debt is at the heart of education. People become involved in serious debt problems when financing education. While teaching in academies in countries where the social welfare state still exists, as well as in academies in Britain and the United States, I realized that different institutional structures produce different forms of debt. After three years in Sweden, I found that students left school with a debt to the community. To redeem themselves from that debt they immediately start doing a socially engaged project in order to give back to the community and to do good. While teaching in L.A. and talking with students there, I found of course that debt is market-related. Not surprisingly, L.A. students have to pay back what they were given. Thus, artists must have financially viable products ready and out in a gallery, because they have to pay back their student loans. On a basic material level, one can only wish and hope that all people will get enough money to pay their loans back. However, beyond material debt, there is also a spiritual and a symbolic debt. I think students all become indebted to certain ideas and to certain principles through forms of education. In a welfare

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state, they become indebted to the idea of the social or society; in a

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market-driven environment, they become indebted to the market. On that symbolic level, teaching can make a difference in helping

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

students to determine to whom or to what principles they chose to

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become indebted. I believe we have to communicate that a certain

willem de greef

indebtedness will always linger with both students and teachers

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

at the end of the year. When the graduates go out into the world, teachers feel enormously indebted to them, because they have received

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

affirmation of the validity of producing art. That is a promise one can never guarantee. Teachers are always tricksters because they

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

bear witness to the fact that art is not just a product, but will make a difference. How could one ever make that guarantee, while art could

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

equally be a highway straight to hell? As a teacher, you will remain completely indebted to people whose lives you would have to assure,

simon sheikh

while you cannot actually do that. So there is a mutual sense of

mick wilson

indebtedness, and perhaps we can never redeem or absolve ourselves

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

completely from this debt. All we can do is shift the debt into a mode

bart verschaffel

of dedication by asking to what do we spiritually want to be indebted, beyond the material? This leads to considerations of how one might go beyond the

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institution. What other horizon could we open up? What would it mean to be indebted to the good life? There is a beautiful book by Gayatri Spivak called Death of a Discipline, where she raises that question of debt and dedication. In the end, she asks to what spirit do we dedicate our teaching. Especially when teaching traditional skills, to whom do we want to dedicate that practice? Then she refers to Virginia Woolf and that fantastic passage at the conclusion of Room of One’s Own where Woolf speaks to the feminist writers of the future, by saying you should write for the ghost of Shakespeare’s sister, for the sake of her return to the future. That is a perfect example of shifting debt to dedication. Let’s go for another form of art, another form of embodiment. I would like to propose dedication as the principle to which we devote our practices of embodiment

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room for thought

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si m o n s h eik h

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

How could one use ideas from critical art practices within an educational model also connected with accreditation, evaluation,

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

and course plans? This question relates to didactic strategies and to what the discipline called teaching means today - and what its

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

object of study entails. However, in the postmodern and postcolonial era, disciplines are no longer fixed, as Spivak states in Death of the

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

Discipline. One might argue that the death of disciplines has been occasioned by interdisciplinarity. Yet the lack of an overall ideological

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

goal in terms of utopias could also be blamed for that. Currently we have a specific political horizon, which is both anti-utopian and anti-

simon sheikh

revolutionary. Disciplines once involved in utopian and revolutionary

mick wilson

goals also find themselves in a crisis. What then would be our object

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

of study today? Is it the art world, the artist, or is it art? These objects

bart verschaffel

overlap and seem hopelessly entangled. One of the goals of art education could be to try and unravel the triad art world, artist, and art.

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In spite of the problems with defining the object of study, the art academy has never been so successful as it is today. Even though the academy may have lost its aura and its disciplinary modus operandus, all major exhibitions in commercial shows and galleries demonstrate that exhibiting artists are products of art schools. That is a historical shift compared to fifty years ago. Presently, the only way to become an artist is through the art school. So we can at least say with some certainty that art schools produce artists. But what kind of system are we using? And what is the system we are educating people for? I believe that a MA curriculum should never be entirely predetermined; it should also imply a certain lack of rigidity. The curriculum should not only be involved in the production of knowledge, but also in creating a space for thinking. Where knowledge could be inhibiting, thinking could break down pre-determined knowledge. In that sense, Spivak talks about “unlearning”. I am teaching in Malmö’s Critical Studies Program with students from all over the world. They all have different preconceptions about art, so we are continuously involved in deskilling, in trying to let them unlearn what they have learned; not only in terms of their education, but also in terms of their socialization and cultural context in general. We consider artistic production as being outside the contradiction between theory and practice, as a reaction to academicism at art schools today. Both theory and practice need a specific mode of address and a specific mode of representation. We focus on available modes and how we can deconstruct and reconstruct, configure and reconfigure them. In our view, artistic practice is always based on a theory, and vice versa. There is no hierarchical relationship between theory and practice. In addition, our program is interdisciplinary with a focus on what could be called the role of the cultural producer ( artist, curator, writer ) within the art context. We specifically try to mix artists, curators, writers and theorists in one master’s program

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in order for them to develop a single vocabulary of representation.

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Unlike theory courses at the university, we offer insight into how a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

art is produced. In art history courses, you learn how art is received, but you do not learn how ( contemporary ) art is produced. Even in

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

curatorial programs, there is rarely a discussion about how art works are produced. Artworks still seem to come to us as almost ready-

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

made, as building blocks that can be used in the articulations of the exhibition.

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

In the context of an expanded idea of the notion of representation, we could state that in critical theory, it usually means that someone

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

stands for someone else, so that there is a certain absence both spatial and temporal. However, in art we could argue that representation

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

is an act whereby something comes to represent something else. By mirroring those two conceptions, we can create different kinds of

simon sheikh

understanding and disentanglement. Another question cropping up is what the relationship is between representation and de-

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

presentation. I understand de-presentation as the disappearance of

bart verschaffel

ideas and imaginations actively or passively de-presented from the world. An obvious example of de-presentation would be the so-called post-communist condition which is now impossible to discuss or

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imagine. What does that mean? What is that act of de-presentation? Those questions play an important role in understanding how any representation of the world has certain exclusions rendering things possible or impossible. In our program, we also try to discuss how one as a cultural producer one would define work vis-à-vis the apparatus surrounding production and presentation. What is the public role of the artist, historically, presently, and potentially? These discussions must revolve around various truths and methods of representation. In other words, how can we, through various modes of address, construct new narratives, new counter-narratives and perhaps even new subjectivities? To and for whom does one speak as a cultural producer? What is the difference in conceptions and locations of various notions among institutions, audiences, constituencies, and communities? Sometimes these notions are considered synonymous, but obviously there is a immense difference between production related to art institutions or production related to the audience. What happens if we try to transform audiences – as many artists currently try to do – into a constituency or a community? What does that mean? With regard to constituencies, we see a move into the educational space of curators, since art institutions ( museums ) have a problem with constituencies. The current composition of the museum’s constituency is very difficult to define. Fifty years ago, it was the nation-state, the bourgeoisie, i.e. the education of the populace into a national, unified body. That was the goal of the museum. In those days, its constituency could be easily defined based on the interests of the ruling classes. Today, though, most art institutions are part of the so-called entertainment industry. So there is a profound shift in how to define a constituency. Perhaps that is starting to permeate art education. There are certain historical models of the art academy that have been handed down to us that could easily be deconstructed. One model

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pertains to the idea of the masterclass, one professor talking to

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multiple students and deciding just what art education is. In terms a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of mode of address, this is of course a pre-democratic model, a nondialogical model of address, based on the sovereign reigning over the

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

subject. The subjects are all listening to their master’s voice. That is an inherently hierarchical and masculine subject position. However,

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

now that artists engage with the world, and not just with themselves, we must question the relevance of this model and perhaps look more

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

closely at the university model now replacing the masterclass. That is the very issue of a certain ma-ness.

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

To paraphrase Spivak, “If the art school is a teaching machine, we must ask what kinds of subjects, i.e. students, and what kind of

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

knowledge, i.e. teaching, are being produced.” That is an urgent issue, since the results of institutional critique, originally an

simon sheikh

artistic practice, but now moving to a curatorial practice, loose

mick wilson

their effectiveness in terms of transforming the art environment.

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The critique and the transformation from managerialism, and its

bart verschaffel

administrative model, have been much more profound. That very model lies behind the implementation of the Bologna process and its type of top-down political dictating on how all art education should

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be structured. That has very little to do with institutional critique as such. Rather, it is a critique of how institutions work, how they are inadequately historical, and how they fail to be equipped for dealing with the current situation of lifelong education and re-education. Therefore, I believe it would be unrealistic to think that the implementation of the Bologna model or system would solve the problems most of us have – I hope – with the historical master classes. That model would merely substitute the system of discipline for the system of control. Where traditional educational systems were part of a disciplinary society, the new model of examination, modules and internalization can only be seen as part of a society of control. The cultural producers we try to create in the Malmö program can also be seen as a counter shift towards these developments within art administration and politics. Artists are a sort of social avant garde, on the forefront of our current society and its notion of immaterial laborers. As producers of knowledge, universities are often teaching machines, replicators rather than producers of knowledge. For this reason, one should not uncritically adopt the university structure. Rather one should learn from them as spheres of experience, as places through which subjectivity has been formed, and as discursive spaces. Simultaneously, one should examine the implementation of its productive features, while omitting a certain notion of unproductive time and space, potentially hidden in the academy model. One should then try and maintain the open-space freedom of the laboratory. This is why, I believe, it is important to shift the notion of knowledge production into what we at the Malmö art school call room for thought. Thought has boundaries different entirely from knowledge. Hopefully it is too difficult to transform thinking into a commodity, a phenomenon, as happens with knowledge in the knowledge industry. However, there have also been didactic historical models that could prove inspirational. One model I have been interested in is based

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on Paul Veyne’s ideas. Rather than seeing knowledge as something

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uncontested, as something transmitted solely from the authority a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of the teachers to the students, Veyne tried to begin from spaces of experience, while giving equal value to the experiences and pre-

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conceived notions of the student and the teacher. One way to do

willem de greef

this is to have a group of participants in a course with very different

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

background. In that sense, I am not only talking about disciplines, I am also talking about location and culture, about different parts of

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

the world and different languages. In this model, all students will be forced to immediately translate what they view as their knowledge of

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

both themselves and the world. Another inspiration for teaching theory I discovered was on a more

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

pedagogical level in Veyne’s work. He found that teaching adults using children’s books caused them to learn very simple things they

simon sheikh

could not move past. So he would replace the children’s books with complicated books which then immediately initiated a sphere of

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

production. I always give students the most difficult text first as an

bart verschaffel

introduction to theory. In terms of adequate, didactic strategies and educational models, one could argue that teaching Critical Studies has a dual function.

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On the one hand, we are studying a genealogy of critique, and on the other hand we are studying critically. Secondly, socialization seems to be the most important way art schools produce their subject of knowledge, i.e. the artist. However, within that socialization it is hard not to see that students socialized for the art world are influenced by the market – as Ute Meta Bauer argued. Already in the mid 1990s, a book published by Stephan Dillemuth was called Academy ( cf. mahkuzine 2, 14-21 ); this was one of the first re-evaluations of the critical artistic potentials of education while considering the educational space as an artistic space. In Academy, there is an interesting text by Andrea Fraser, who states that she is not capable of writing a text on teaching. All one can offer are contacts with gallery owners and the art world – perhaps that is the real teaching, the real socialization, she claims. If one cannot offer that form of socialization, what else is there to offer? Fraser’s interesting statement alludes to a possible scenario one must be aware of in a Master’s program. Currently we are seeing a wild expansion of the market, and probably several people engaged in teaching have had the experience that even second-year students are already showing in private galleries and selling work. So why do they still need an art institution? Even though the institution gives a degree similar to the university system, it is actually a degree worthless in the real world. One can talk about the program’s content, the room for thought, and the production of knowledge, but that only seems to result in an unprotected title. So, what exactly is the malevel? There is an idea that one could study anything all over Europe connected to mobility – which is something completely different from fluidity – a notion popping up in the Bologna process. You could have a Bachelor’s in Fine Art and then a Master in Biology. In principle, of course. One could say, a bachelor course is a foundation, an introduction into basic skills and disciplines, an introduction into the art market. Why would you ever need a master’s degree

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in art if you are already an artist with your bachelor’s degree? Why

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should you spend two more years in school? You could want to go for a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

a phd; in fact, that would be the only reason to get a master’s degree. Of course, I am over dramatizing the situation in order to point out

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what could become the problem with master’s degrees vis-à-vis the market, and vis-à-vis the marketing of education. If the ma program

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

does not provide socialization, it has to provide some kind of critical understanding of what art means, of art’s placement in the world in

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

addition to its place in the art world. Finally, I would like to explore the topic of the relationship between

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

educational strategies and the research practices of the lecturers. At the Malmö school we ask seminar leaders, who come from a variety of

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

backgrounds such as theory, art production, and curating, to present their research rather than work toward fulfillment of a curriculum.

simon sheikh

This means that we need a certain fluidity and looseness in our course descriptions and certain keywords which can actually change the

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

program’s content. That is more inspirational and interesting then

bart verschaffel

listening to an analysis of Foucault’s Order of Things one more time. That is also how art schools can differ from university humanities departments such as art history or philosophy. At our school, research

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and the practice of the lecturers are reflected in the teaching, but – the other way around – is the teaching also reflected in the practice of the lecturers? In other words, is pedagogy part of the artistic and theoretical practice? Or are these separate things? How could pedagogy influence your work and your thinking? Could one actually analyze artistic or theoretical work in the light of teaching at a specific institution? Does one’s work have an institutional color?

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u n c e r ta i n

`m a - n e s s´

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m i ck w il s o n

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Is it possible to determine how a MA art curriculum is characterized? What are its appropriate didactic strategies and educational models?

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

I am going to respond to these two questions by working through the general problem of the MA in art education and how the issue

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

occurs within the Bologna process. Next, I will turn to the question of how the academy has emerged as a paradigm and a recurrent theme

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

within the field of contemporary art practice. That third question is connected with the conditions of the university at large. At present,

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

universities defend the rhetorics of the 19th century. However, that rhetoric is exhausted, since it has failed to withstand a neo-liberal

simon sheikh

paradigm. So, we have to invent new ways to speak the university. In fact, in fine art and in the contemporary art practice, we are facing

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

problems not significantly different from the ones our colleagues

bart verschaffel

in literary criticism, philosophy, and sociology have. Our common problem is that the demands of a technocratic discourse have become the norm. All the other discourses face its effect and consequence. So,

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we are all forced to review, reassess, rethink, and rediscover what it is that we believe we are doing. I just want to begin by noting that the ‘Master’s’ degree – across all subjects – has always been one of the least understood and least defined academic degrees. For decades, there have been calls from different positions to try to achieve some equality about what it is exactly what the Master’s entails as distinct from a degree at a doctoral level. ‘The Bologna Conference’ is such an attempt to achieve a common, independent definition, through various instruments. The related Dublin Descriptors are actually the core statements from the European Union as to what constitutes the specific Bologna outcomes. This is what the Dublin Descriptors state. Master’s degrees are awarded to students who: – have demonstrated knowledge and understanding that is founded upon and extends and/or enhances that which is typically associated with Bachelor’s levels and that provides a basis or opportunity for originality in developing and/or applying ideas, often within a research context; – can apply their knowledge and understanding, and problem-solving abilities in new or unfamiliar environments within broader ( or multidisciplinary ) contexts related to their field of study; – have the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, and formulate judgements with incomplete or limited information, but that include reflecting on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgements; – can communicate their conclusions, and the knowledge and rational underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously; – have the learning skills to allow them to continue to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous. Within the Dublin Descriptors is the core of the competencies and outcomes required of an MA graduate. A series of distinctions is

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made between Bachelor, Master and Doctorate. For example, under

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the heading Making Judgements: Bachelor’s level: [involves] gathering and interpreting relevant data.

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Master’s level: [demonstrates] the ability to integrate knowledge and

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handle complexity. Doctorate level: [requires being] capable of critical analysis, evaluation

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

and synthesis of new and complex ideas. So ’Bologna’ is consistent with making distinctions of ‘kind’ at

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

the same Master’s level. We can make distinctions – between a ‘professional’ and employment – focused Master’s, and a research-

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

oriented Master’s; – between structured or unstructured Master’s;

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

– between specialist or generalist Master’s; – between discipline-specific or multi-disciplinary or even

simon sheikh

interdisciplinary Master’s; – between one or two-year Master’s programs.

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

Is it possible to determine how a Master’s curriculum is

bart verschaffel

characterized? Within the ‘Bologna process’ the focus has been on outcomes, not on the curriculum. The advocates of Bologna propose that:

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– curricula can retain their diversity. – the Master’s award can be described without reference to one specific discipline. Then one must ask whether it is possible to determine how a Master’s curriculum for contemporary art practice is characterized. Do we not already address some of the generic MA level descriptors in the first two to three years of undergraduate study? For example, a Master student [demonstrates] the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, and formulate judgements with incomplete data. But wouldn’t we also expect that from a third-year undergraduate student? A primary issue, then, is the question of how the generic descriptors match what we already do within contemporary art education. There are other more important risks at stake here. Even accepting that ‘Bologna’ does not prescribe curriculum content, however, there are other risks within the ‘learning outcomes’ ( or competencies ) model. In the competencies, the transformative and critical potential within pedagogy is underrepresented or even absent within the descriptors. The educators within the descriptors appear as secondary ‘resources’ for the realization of the outcomes. The students appear to be constructed as pre-autonomous actors – they are in search of an agency; they do not begin with an agency. This is an important component related to our fear of overspecialization in the outcomes or competencies model. There are other risks in the ‘learning outcomes’ model. The support for curriculum diversity, which on the surface may appear welcome and beneficial, also correlates to marketization; we are required to differentiate our educational products and compete in the new market place of higher education. This move to establish the market economy everywhere is of course the primary agenda of neo-liberal dispensation. More dangers may be identified. The introduction of the Anglo-American system of Bachelor and Master degree programs into the European art school system ( as part of the so-called Bologna

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process ) seems to point towards the creation of open academies with

3 – 4 editorial

an unstable sense of identity rather than towards the consolidation a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

of art schools as educational institutions with regimented schedules. Part of the problem here is that this move is effectively shuttering

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the openness we have come to understand as being the potential – not always delivered – of the art academy model. I believe that the open

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

academy rhetoric is somewhat problematic. The essential germ of the open academy model is that in an educational setting, where the work

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

of the student-artists is unhooked from the immediate productive demands of the market, the open academy will offer more space for

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

risking new and unwarranted forms of art production and more space for thought. Confronting this view, we have the sense that the

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

market is making inroads into education, since the annual student presentations and the graduate shows have become hunting grounds

simon sheikh

for gallerists and curators who are tripping over each other in their insatiable craving for talent.

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

The question is whether the transformation from a place of creative

bart verschaffel

freedom to marketplace is good for the quality of the art academy. So we have two kinds of market threats: i Higher education as such has become a more intensely marketized

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system in general; ii The art market colonizes the imagination and orientation of the student-artist within the academy. It is not necessarily the case that the art market appears on the doorstep; it is merely that the student imagines the possibility and already starts playing a different game. However, there is even a third type of ‘market’ beginning to emerge: the reputation-based economy of art education. We all participate in the reputation-based economy in the form of e-flux, the advertising pages in Art Forum, constructing one’s curriculum vitae, and so on. The reputation-based economy within art education also blurs into its larger counterpart within the contemporary art world. We have institutional reputations, program reputations, artist-teachers as ’chosen ones’ jostling for status. Until recently, we had a labor market governed by reputation. A labor market is partly regulated by the guild process of artist-teachers themselves. So, within the network of fellow competitors for reputational standing, the cultural capital and the ascription of reputational standing was something endemic to a community of discourse. People got together and spoke about art. Today, the reputation-based economy of art education has been displaced by the emergence of managerialism. Now the criteria for recruitment and promotion are no longer primarily based on reputation, but driven by the discursive community around the extended field of contemporary practice. Similar to all other areas of cultural policy, a certain bureaucratic disclosure moves in. Within our working practice, we are suddenly required to disclose what it is that we do as art educators. When and why we give awards, and how we do our jobs within the scenario of handing out awards. Is it then possible to determine how a Master’s curriculum is characterized? Yes, of course! But the really important question relates to purpose. What is our purpose? What do we need to disclose? What is it that we do? To what end and with what purpose are we

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describing and [discursively] constructing the Master’s program or

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indeed any program? a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

The possibilities are: – that we are doing it simply to mimic an alien system;

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– t hat we are doing it because there is some impulse to regiment and shutter the openness;

willem de greef

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– that we are trying to establish credibility with our funders; – that we are trying to bring an offering to the market place;

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– that we wish to provide a robust and critical learning environment. ‘We’ art educators. What is it that our work does? What is it for?

clementine dellis

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It is as if the curator conversation died, and the art education conversation leapfrogged over it. Everywhere in the journals, the

jan verwoert

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3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

fairs, the biennials, the question of art education is being asked and rehashed again and again. It is also being answered and tested

simon sheikh

in many different ways - but not so visibly, I would suggest, in the

mick wilson

academies themselves. ‘Pedagogy’ was one of the three leitmotifs

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of documenta12; Manifesta’s Notes for an Art School, Cyprus and

bart verschaffel

unitednationsplaza theme; Frieze’s ‘Art schools then and now’; ArteContexto’s recent dossier on ‘teaching visual arts’; ‘protoacademy’; Cork Caucus; and Frieze Art Fair’s recent round-table

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discussion on art education ( October 2007 ). The future model of the art school is clearly something engaging the imagination and energies of the international contemporary art scene. There are three observations I would like to make in light of these developments in the larger field. 1

T he meditations on and experiments in alternative academies consistently return to the quandary of ‘emancipatory practice’, to questions of ‘autonomy’ and ‘agency’. How do you work within institutional structures, hierarchies, different dispensations of power? How do you work within this and still address questions of emancipation? These are standard, troubling questions of education in general, but they really recur strongly throughout all these different experiments. The tension that might be painted as a showdown between Ranciere’s ignorant schoolmaster and Bourdieu’s sociologist king.

2

The ‘academy’ debates are troubled by the possibility of the educator’s ‘bad faith.’

3

T he ‘academy’ projects and debates too often fail to address the general state of higher education in favor of a narrow focus on the specificity of art education. These are three generally recurrent features. I want to expand a bit on what I believe is significant. T he quandary of ‘emancipatory practice’ – how to enable ‘autonomy’ and ‘agency’. Possibly the best articulation we have of our aspiration as teachers is not to dictate, not to determine, not to describe, not to control, but rather to facilitate, to enable the flow of other discourses, and practices, and autonomous agencies. Here the question of art practice and the notion of autonomy come together. We want to create structures which do not themselves exhaustively prespecify what will happen, but which in some way enable. Then part of what that structure must be able to do is to entirely dismantle and change.

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But we should still be troubled by this. Consider the petty cruelties

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and rivalries of teachers for the affections of their students. The first a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

thing you learn as a student in the academic environment is the flow of influences in the room when teachers and students meet. Consider

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the classic power struggles of academics for their tiny territories. Consider Bourdieu’s early lesson on the cultural indoctrination

willem de greef

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of students not by what is spoken, but by what goes unspoken, undisclosed, un-interrogated in the ‘disciplinary’ conversation.

u t e m e ta b a u e r

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Consider also the desire for ‘pure’ conviviality, the pure flow of uninterrupted, dialogical exchange. I am worried when people seek

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

pure positions. The American cultural studies practitioner George Lipsitz says, ‘Living with contradictions is difficult, and, especially

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

for intellectuals and artists employed in academic institutions, the inability to speak honestly and openly about contradictory

simon sheikh

consciousness can lead to a destructive desire for “pure” political

mick wilson

positions, to militant posturing and internecine battles with one

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another that ultimately have more to do with individual subjectivities

bart verschaffel

and self-images than with disciplined collective struggle for resources and power.’ This is why we might be a little bit cautious of our claims to realize

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moments of pure conviviality. If we cannot do it with our colleagues, why do we think we can do it with our students? Teachers, even artist teachers should perhaps not seek purity and an attempted disavowal or refusal of authority. We should perhaps rather seek to cope with -and reflect upon this ‘coping with’ – the impure, the mucky – the muddy wet ground, the brackish ground upon which our agency is based. Let ‘us’ not disavow authority. Let us accept our authority and our considerable agency and open it to accountability. Authority is not in and of itself ‘bad’. It is authority not subject to challenge and critique – when it is not answerable to others – which is most troubling. Of course, someone who says they have shed their authority is not so easily challenged for their exercise of that authority. The disavowal of authority is a classic strategy of authority. Think about what the national governments are doing in the domain of higher education. They say, you know what you’re doing, you’re the experts, we’ll just sit back, and say go on, as long as you do it within this framework. The problem with this particular mode of accountability we are being asked to adopt is precisely the technocratic mode which is determined at a central governmental and European level. What we need to do is to revisit the possibility of resisting this, of another type of accountability. Accountability to each other – to our peer networks and our colleagues less fully embedded in the art academies – or those who are not there at all. Part of that accountability is mutual disclosure: what we ( believe we) do; how we ( believe we ) do it; and why ( we believe ) we do it. The other part is listening to others when they suggest to us that we might be mistaken –that we mis-recognize ourselves as the ‘subject presumed to know (themselves ).’ Part of this is to reflect upon our desire to be loved by our students and to be respected by our peers. This will bring us not to pure positions but to messy human situations with complex agendas; with conflict and competition for resources; with

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troubled workplaces where institutionalized behaviors already cause

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many ‘closures’ of dialogue. Why is it that the art world – the market, the a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

magazines, the festivals– opened the question of the academy? Were ‘we’ a little reluctant to do so? 2

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The ‘academy’ debates are troubled by the possibility of the educator’s ‘bad faith.’

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

Consider Luis Camnitzer’s ‘Fraud and Education’ in the recent issue of ArteContexto. “The [...] mistake is promising by implication that

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

a degree in art will lead to economic survival after graduation. [...] Basically, what we have here is a pyramid scheme.” Camnitzer presents

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

an extreme position on this question of ‘bad faith’ – that we already know that what we actually do as artist educators is not what we say

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

we do. Remember the general suspicion of art school teachers: Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach. Those who cannot teach, write

simon sheikh

criticism. The question of ‘bad faith’ was referenced earlier in the

mick wilson

discussion. Jan Verwoert said that ‘we’ promise ‘it makes sense to make

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art’; but it is a promise that we may not fully be able to redeem or honor.

bart verschaffel

The question of ‘bad faith’ is, I would suggest, the inevitable corollary of seeking ‘pure’ positions for ourselves. 3

The ‘academy’ projects and debates too often fail to address the

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general condition of higher education in favor of a narrow focus on the specificity of art education. This is perhaps the trickiest issue to tackle. There are some general points to adduce first. The ‘university’ and the entire field of ‘higher education’ – post, secondary, tertiary etc. – have undergone a series of profound transformations in the last two centuries. The latest of these transformations is the reconditioning of the university as a fully and explicitly instrumentalized space of economic, cultural, and social reproduction attuned to the flows of global capital. In the face of these instrumental and technocratic imperatives, the rhetoric of the university – the ‘idea’ of the university – simply fails to be persuasive. It will not work. For some time now, ‘we’ have recognized a need for a new way to speak of the university which can challenge the un-challenged authority of the neo-liberal specification of the university as factor of industry and nothing more. Calhoun says about these challenges, ‘Without a dramatic change in institutional and sectoral size, it is unlikely that some of the other changes would have taken place. The issues, in a nutshell, are ( a ) the universities got much larger; ( b ) that more or less full-time scientific and engineering research components of universities got much larger; (c ) that the higher education sector got much larger; and ( d ) that partly as a consequence, the relationship of higher education to elite formation changed.” ( Calhoun 2006:3 ). The serious elite will no longer look to the university as the primary space to construct and to reproduce their elite status. They will find some other means. The independent art academies have a different history. Those academies arising outside the university setting came into being because of imperial, nationalist, mercantilist and other vested interest arguments. So these institutions were founded on instrumental logics, on means-ends rationale. They generated spaces of experimentation and openness after the market outside had enabled a non-statemandated private/public-cultural sphere. It is the market that emerged

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on the fringes of entrepreneurial capitalism that generated the

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spaces for avant-garde experiments which later became the paradigm for the open academies. That is where it originated, not within the

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

academies. For these academies, the rhetoric of the ‘open’ – just as

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the universities’ rhetoric of the ‘idea’ – has now exhausted itself. We need some new rhetorics of becoming to negotiate and challenge the

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

dominance of the technocratic way of speaking in the world. Where is this rhetoric to be found?

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

Contemporary art practice – as it has emerged in the post-conceptual, post-pop, post-minimalist era – has the characteristic of wishing

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

– or at least appearing to be willing – to thematize everything given in experience. All aspects of the life-world are taken as its legitimate

jan verwoert

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3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

concerns, focus, and areas of action: a standing reserve of metaphors, materials, and discourses.

simon sheikh

It would be unfortunate for us under these circumstances to then shout hands off while we take every other discipline, profession and

mick wilson

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occupation as grist for our mill. We’re pure, we’re different. You can’t

bart verschaffel

include us in your conversation about ba’s and ma’s and phds. We could not possibly be comprehended – even partially – within someone else’s discourse of means-ends or ‘learning outcomes’ or `the sociology

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of professions or ‘knowledge’, and so on. We seem to have come along way off track on our question of the ma curriculum and appropriate teaching practices. My presentation may seem far too generalized to be of any real value in helping to frame a particular ma program or deal with ‘urgencies’. I would argue, though, we should not be incensed simply by the fact that there is a bureaucratic imperative to adhere to a framework of ba , ma , and phd. I think here is a lot more. We should examine how it is that we

came to this, that we were not already in a position to be the bearers of the public disclosure of what art educators do. How we were not the bearers of that conversation into the public domain. How it has been left to the policy-makers and ceded to practitioners on the margins of the academy or outside the academy altogether, to actually bring that into the public domain. I think this is a very urgent matter for us. So not Bologna, not 2010, but what we are already doing. What I have presented is precisely the kind of presentation that I would make to ma students in the first few weeks of their studies. I would say “Welcome to ‘our’ uncertain world – the world of art educators. It’s a little bit yours now if you want to join...maybe change it a little, maybe not...or find a better, more interesting problem or pre-occupation and tell us about it, show it to us, let us to see it...my [institutional] horizon is not yours...”. If we are really asking today whether we can we make a clear distinction in the education of artists among these levels, and still retain some unsquandered potential. The answer, I suggest, is a conditional ‘yes’. But ‘we’ are always negotiating some kind of balance between the requirements of ‘regulatory’ ‘instruments’ and the embedded human situation of our contingent practices

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references

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a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Ca m n it zer, Lu is ( 200 7 )

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Frau d an d E du c at i on, A r teConte x to16 Mad r id: A r tehoy, pp.15-20.

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

Ga rber, Ma r jor ie ( 2001 ) A c a d emi c Ins t in c ts, P r i nceton

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

nj : P r inceton Un iversit y P ress.

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

Glazer, Jud it h S. ( 1988 ) T h e Mas t er’s D e g re e. ER IC D igest

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Wash in g ton: ER IC C lea r i n g house on Hig her Educ at ion

simon sheikh

Spu r r, Stephen H. ( 1970 ) A c a d emi c D e g re e Str u c ture s: Inn ovat ive Approa ch e s .

mick wilson

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P r inc iples of Refor m in Deg ree St r uc t u res in t he Un ited St ates.

bart verschaffel

Berkeley : Ca r neg ie Fou nd at ion for Adva ncement of Teac h i n g. research report

Ver woer t , Ja n ( 200 6 )

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L essons in Mod es t y: T h e O pe n A c a d emy as Mod e l, in Met ropol is M: E x pa nd in g Ac ademy, n . 4 ., pp. 94- 96. L ipsit z, George( 2000 ) “Ac adem ic Pol it ics a nd Soc ia l C ha n ge”, in Jod i Dea n ( ed . ) Cultural Stu di e s / Polit i c al T h e or y, pp. 80 - 94 . It hac a: Cor nel l Un iversit y P ress.

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a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l ab o r ator y

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b a r t v er s c h a ffel

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

In thinking about art, education and the research environment, the two polarities of creativity and reflection need to be involved.

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

I understand creativity as the pleasure of invention, the sense of possibility per se, and the desire for the new as inherent components

u t e m e ta b a u e r

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of art and artistic production. Reflection, then, is connected to the phenomenon of art as research and the project of transforming

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

institutions of art education into research institutions. I would like to distinguish between two different reflective practices.

jan verwoert

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3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

One is criticism, implying an overview of a range of positions while identifying conflicts, problems, and questions. Reflection as criticism

simon sheikh

is a tool for discovering how one can make a move in an artistic or creative project, similar to playing chess. Artists need to understand

mick wilson

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the artistic field, assess the positions, and then decide what is relevant

bart verschaffel

to make. The other form of reflection is connected with art working on meanings and images. That form of reflection could be called reflection in the mode of an anthropological laboratory, since it is

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connected with meanings and images as phenomena guiding people to an understanding of what it means to be here and now. Clearly, over the last fifty years, the major accent has been on reflective art practice as criticism. Both the social function and the cultural function of art have been identified with being critical where being critical refers both to the institutional and the traditional. In this context, art should to be free, independent, critical, autonomous, and also radically new. Stating criticism is the first move, whereupon artists then evaluate what is needed to build on their position. The critical mode of reflection is different from reflection linked to formulation, articulation, and description, i.e., reflection in the mode of an anthropological laboratory. In this mode, art is working on all aspects of life, implying a continuous reservoir of metaphors, thoughts, meanings, and images. Rather than being merely critical, reflection is now connected with curiosity and the sense of finding the gesture, the statement, the metaphor, the work, and the image that captures life. In this sense, reflection is a form of applied thought. Art as artistic research seems to be the major cultural value and the major relevance of art today. However, art as reflective criticism or art as an avant-garde logic of negativity has ended in a free-floating game. Conversely, art as a reflective research practice, connected with working on meanings and images capturing life, is very much alive. In fact, current art is relevant and important only because it is connected to the anthropological laboratory as a space for reflection. Let me elaborate on the concept of anthropological laboratory. Art asks for a certain environment in which to establish an artistic production and to organize that production. From this perspective, the process is very important, since isolating works of art is rather unproductive. Conversely, it is interesting for most artworks to demonstrate the stages, the variations, and how the final form has been chosen. During the process of production, feedback, i.e. a critical confrontation with other voices, is crucial so that making art

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itself becomes part of a complex process. Therefore, communication is

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immensely important. The work of art has to be addressed somehow a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

in the community of people working on meanings, belonging to the culture in an anthropological sense. As a criterium for this,

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there is what I would call the degree of condensation in the work of art. The miracle of an art work is precisely that the artist spends

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

a year creating it, whereas the spectator can experience it in just a few minutes. The great gift of cultural production is that the entire

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

process of creation is condensed in a transmittable form. Thus, in a few minutes you can understand what the artist intends from a year of

clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

concentration and production. When art is research in the sense of working on meanings and

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

images as a form of reflection in an anthropological laboratory, art is of course a public matter. Here art addresses both art production

simon sheikh

and an audience interested in working on meanings and images a society could adopt. That is the importance of topical art. However,

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y

it is disturbing that this type of artistic research fails institutional

bart verschaffel

frameworks. Indeed, the universities are transformed into industries of knowledge, so they do not assume the responsibility of organizing work on the visual culture. In fact, during the 20th century, the

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universities worked with a 19th century cultural map. That led to ignorance of film and photography. Therefore, universities are guilty of neglecting both cultural production at large and focusing on a living culture, be it visual or not. Of course, there is interest in cultural production in commercial, private, and ideological realms. Fortunately, there are places that do not belong to academia and, therefore, seem to be free of its constraints. However, the problem is that reflection in the mode of the anthropological laboratory seems to be hidden in the art world, since the discourse produced for the outside world and the image the art world creates of itself are not about reflection. Currently, the art world’s favorite discourse is about trends and the art market. The need for reflection, the need for a laboratory, is shunted onto art education. Yet instead of developing into an institution where art could be deployed as an instrument to reflect upon culture, academic research in the universities fails to transform and, thus, makes reflection a goal of art education. The question arises as to how one could introduce the idea of reflection in the mode of an anthropological laboratory into art education. Derrida once claimed during one of the famous Any Conferences on Architecture, that what we need is more preparation and more improvisation. I indeed think we need more preparation and more improvisation not just in art education, but even more so in university education. In other words, we need an organization and an academic management of freedom. In Belgium, universities are at least 90 percent self-governed. Thus, all the management positions and decisions involve people with an academic background rather than professional managers. It is the responsibility of the academic staff to include more preparation and more improvisation while creating a managed freedom and liberated space for artistic research. What is the danger of introducing a research curriculum into art school environments? That danger is connected to the issue of

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unresolved art-related research problems. Those problems mainly

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emerge in the beginning and at the end of an artistic process a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

considered research. At the start of research trajectories, one should be able to manage a variety of issues. What will be the focus? What

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will be the subject of reflection? What is relevant? How does one define research programs? How does one formulate decision and

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

evaluation procedures? What will be the goal of the outcome of the research process?

u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ?

In an academic structure, research areas are defined. In the academic realm, it is clearly understood how to articulate, document, evaluate,

clementine dellis

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and discuss the end product and how to connect it to the academic discourse. However, a research program in an art institution – let’s

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

say about Lacan’s gaze – will result in two interventions, a statement and an exhibition called Lacan’s Gaze. Then what? The research

simon sheikh

might be a document to be sent out into the world. But how many

mick wilson

responses will there be? How many people really read that type of

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research report?

bart verschaffel

I believe that continuity in artistic research is a problem, since artistic research fails to connect with institutional frameworks. In addition, content-wise, the only topic for artistic research to work on is art itself.

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That is the only context, and content, artistic research could possibly have. Thus, art as reflection in the mode of the anthropological laboratory clearly necessitates new forms of collaboration with various disciplines and institutions outside the art world and outside art education

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research report

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a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Today, the situation of art institutions is rapidly changing all over the world. Institutions participate in international discussions on the

willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

repositioning of academies and cultural institutions as started by the exhibition Academy in the Museum for Contemporary Art ( Muhka ) in

u t e m e ta b a u e r

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Antwerp and the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven; by Manifesta 5’s focus on the academy in 2006; and by Documenta 12’s educational

clementine dellis

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program in 2007. In these international discussions, one talks in a rather abstract way about art as a form of knowledge production. Yet the

jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

institutional consequences of this debate have been subject to extensive reflection. What does it mean for an exhibition space in 2008 to

simon sheikh

develop a policy directed towards knowledge production? After all, the exhibition models are still based on “alternative” ( non-museological)

mick wilson

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models from the 1980s. This was a period where reflection and theory

bart verschaffel

did not play a major role in the world of visual art. Conversely, today’s artistic research attitudes have brought reflection and theory to the center of attention. This novel situation has immense consequences for

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how one approaches competencies in the profession of art. Until now, the paradigm of art education has been rooted in the artistic situation of the 1980s. That situation made the Utrecht Consortium ( a research collaboration as of January 2008 with MaHKU/Professorship Artistic Research and Utrecht art institutions ) decide to map out the current practical and theoretical issues and developments in further detail. One of the significant problems the Utrecht Consortium has found is that today artists are expected to be able to ( theoretically ) contextualize and present their work in addition to expanding their artistic profession. That expectation seems to relate to the most recent debate in the world of visual art, i.e., the debate on artistic knowledge production mentioned above. In this debate, the artistic practice is considered a researching activity whose outcome, similar to that of scientific research, is able to contribute to our knowledge about the world. However, in contrast to scientific knowledge production, artistic knowledge production does not have a ready methodological model. In principle, such a model would be impossible to create. Each artistic research project, one argues, requires its own methodology; a methodology manifesting itself in artists’ texts and exhibition forms focused on knowledge production. These two activities used to be considered part of professional domains such as art criticism and curating. Today, however, in light of the emancipation of artistic research, artists are expected to fulfill the role of art critic and curator themselves. In order to deal adequately with this novel situation, the Utrecht organizations intend to establish an enduring network comprising the art institutions and the Utrecht School of Art while focusing on dynamic exchanges of views and expertise in the context of knowledge production, i.e., the Utrecht Consortium as a network of research activities mapping out the outcome of presentations based on the production of artistic knowledge. The establishment of the Utrecht Consortium is inspired by the

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so-called London Consortium, a collaboration among four institutions

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for education and art – the University of London, ica , the Science a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

Museum, and the tate – offering joint artistic research programs. Unique to the London Consortium is the establishment of a “virtual”

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organization depending on the knowledge and ( limited ) input of the Consortium partners. With that, a platform has been created without

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the need for offices and staff with minimum overhead costs. Additionally, the Utrecht Consortium intends to be flexible, but still

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a structural collaboration exploring issues in the context of artistic knowledge production from the exhibition programs and their young

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artists at the art institutions. Those issues could easily be expanded to local, regional, and international levels while sharing networks.

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At the core of the Utrecht Consortium is practice-based research; i.e. exploration of methods of presentation specific to today’s visual art

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as a form of knowledge production. The results of this research will

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be published as a series of “best practices”, models of presentation

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enabling both artists and exhibition spaces to adequately deal with

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topical situations regarding the position of visual art while clearly communicating with the audience. In addition to the Consortium partners and professionals in the field,

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Fine Art graduate students and young artists in the area will also be able to distill tools for critical reflection from the research and its results. The Consortium activities will offer them possibilities to develop reflective capacities ( competencies ) crucial for presenting their own practice. In developing adequate presentation models in the form of both exhibitions and texts, young artists will be able to enhance their communication with a variety of audiences. Another core issue of the Utrecht Consortium implies the issue of the significance and position of an art academy in the context of the topical knowledge debate and its implications for didactic perspectives. The professorship in Artistic Research seeks to employ the Utrecht Consortium project and its outcome to spark an urgently required discussion in the Netherlands on how art academies could prepare students for a knowledge-based practice. The professorship will also hopefully be able to contribute to an international debate about the specificity of artistic knowledge production and its relationship with more traditional forms in the academic distinction of alpha, beta, and gamma sciences. That research will also focus on creating a more natural collaboration of the Utrecht School of Arts and various departments at Utrecht University. An initial example of such collaboration is artist Irene Kopelman’s phd research study within the context of the Utrecht Consortium. Using the historical collection of the Utrecht University Museum, Kopelman explores whether the University Museum might be presented as the optimum location for exchange of knowledge between art and science. (More about that research will be reported in greater depth in MaHKUzine 6 ). Through this first case study, occurring in a location

alien to visual art, the Utrecht Consortium intends to expand its views on the strategy of artistic presentations and exchange of knowledge as such. Thus, the production of artistic knowledge is the theme of various programs and projects to be initiated in 2008 and 2009 through the

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unique collaboration of the Consortium partners. The survey of “best

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practices” and its relevant models of presentation will be realized a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

and published. These models and their context of artistic knowledge production will be discussed in professional master classes and

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workshops producing a broad spectrum of knowledge and insight. The professorship Artistic Research will also organize a yearly cycle

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of Utrecht Research Lectures. Internationally known artists will give lectures in the context of the theme of Artistic Knowledge Production

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based on their own research-based practice. Topics will deal with reflective methodologies and presentation strategies. Each invited

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speaker will also give a master class at the Utrecht School of Arts for MA Fine Art students and/or be involved in an expert meeting with

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lecturers the day following the public lecture. ( hs )

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The Utrecht Consortium is also made possible by the financial support of the Ministry of Education and Culture ( Sia-Raak )

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y bart verschaffel

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a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s 5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s willem de greef

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e u t e m e ta b a u e r

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ? clementine dellis

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y jan verwoert

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

simon sheikh

mick wilson

41 – 4 3 a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l l a b o r at o r y bart verschaffel

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m a h k u zin e

5

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journal of artistic research summer 2008

a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

m a h k u zin e

5 – 6 o p e n i n g : a c e r ta i n m a - n e s s willem de greef

journal of artistic research h o s t e d b y t h e u t r e c h t g r a d u at e s c h o o l o f v i s u a l a r t a n d d e s i g n

7 – 13 u n d e r p r e s s u r e

( mahku )

u t e m e ta b a u e r

i s s n : 18 8 2 - 4 7 2 8

14 – 22 i s i t p o s s i b l e t o m a p … ? clementine dellis

c o n ta c t

23 – 27 p o s i n g s i n g u l a r i t y

mahkuzine

jan verwoert

u t r e c h t g r a d u at e s c h o o l o f v i s u a l a r t a n d d e s i g n

28 – 3 2 r o o m f o r t h o u g h t

3 3 – 4 0 u n c e r ta i n m a - n e s s

ina boudier - bakkerl a an 50

3 5 8 2 va u t r e c ht

simon sheikh

the netherl ands

mick wilson

mahkuzine@mahku.nl

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website w w w.m a hku.n l

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editorial board henk sl ager

(gener al

editor)

a n ne t t e w. ba lk em a arjen mulder b i b i s t r a at m a n

final editing a n ne t t e w. ba lk em a l anguage editing jennifer nol an t r a n s l at i o n s global vernunf t design chris t i a a n va n dok kum, m ahku /m a edi tori a l design

earn mahku is part of the european artistic research network , together with the helsinki school of art, malmo school of art, gradcam ( dublin ), slade school of art, london and vienna school of art.

pa r t i c i pa n t s ute meta bauer, director visual arts program, mit, cambridge ma willem de greef, director sint- lukas academy, brussels clementine deliss, director future academy, edinburgh simon sheikh, lecturer critical studies, malmo school of art bart verschaffel, professor of philosopy, university ghent jan verwoert, professor piet zwart institute, rotterdam mick wilson, dean gradcam, dublin

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MaHKUzine #5  

MaHKUzine #5, Summer 2008. Published by maHKU, Utrecht Graduate School of Visal Art and Design.Report on the conference "A Certain Ma-ness"....

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