Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies invites to a workshop on
Søren Andreasen, Jan Bäcklund, Jakob Jakobsen and Jørgen Michaelsen
Organised by Lars Bang Larsen
Thursday May 15, 2008
10:00am – 18:00pm
Copenhagen University, Amager
Lecture hall: 27.1.49 (Building 27, Njalsgade 124-126)
(For registration please send a mail to Kirsten Zeuthen at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The workshop seeks to discuss networked or group-based forms of art, and related strategies for infiltrating and taking over the means of art’s production and mediation.
During the last decade or so it has become a staple of contemporary art that artists produce work under collective or corporate identities. However already in the 1960s practitioners of Mail Art, Conceptual Art and Fluxus mimicked corporate and institutional structures or used the visuality of a mass bureaucratised culture (stamps, forms, diagrams, the academic textbook, etc.).
In his book Networked Art (2001), Craig Saper develops the term intimate bureaucracies to describe networked artistic strategies in which bureaucratic forms and types of organisation are used to open up a field across media. Thereby the art work is constituted in a social situation of many senders and receivers. The concept of the intimate bureaucracy thereby takes the idea of the network beyond the internet, but also departs from networking as a superficial and exclusive form of socialization. In terms of artistic results, the intimate bureaucracy often takes the form of secret codes, idiosyncratic works, and hermetic poetry that are shared in gift economies and through low-key media such as fanzines. In this way, the artistic network tends to become a conspiracy whose preferred mode of address is a form of narrowcast (rather than broadcast). This opens up to unheard-of symbolic systems in which the line between authoring and receiving is blurred in the transmission to many, minor audiences. In so doing, the intimate bureaucracy obviously undermines cultures of publicity and the way these calibrate experience to mass audiences.
Collective authorship in visual art is usually addressed in non-intimate terms: The artists group is explained by way of pop cultural ‘packaging’ (the rock band), or in terms of avant-garde myth with its ethos of mobilisation. The concept of intimate bureaucracies clearly makes for a different angle on this discussion, and at the same time articulates a critical ethos that differs from for example institutional critique and art activism.
The speakers will cover themes and subjects ranging from the neo-avantgardes of the 1960s up to today’s Internet art and alternative publishing scenes.
10.00 – 10.15 Coffee and registration
10.15 - 10.30 Welcome / Lars Bang Larsen (Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of Art History, University of Copenhagen)
10.30 - 11.00 Craig Saper (Professor, Dept. of English, University of Central Florida)
Intimate Bureaucracies: From Art to Urban Planning and a neo bolo' bolo
What does this oxymoron mean? How does it relate to art practices? How does art become a vehicle for community building and social experiments?
11.00 – 12.00 Ina Blom (Associate Professor, Institute for Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo)
Inventing sociality with Ray Johnson
If any one tendency could be said to have marked art of the last decade, it would surely be the return of the notion of “the social” as the master trope for critical art practices. An increasing number of works are conceived, performed and received within a framework that describes artworks primarily in terms of the social relations they engender or operate within. The essence of this shift is a certain literalist impulse that somehow guarantees that this perspective does not remain at the level of conceptual analysis only (a sociological form of analysis encircling an object already defined as “aesthetic”) but is performed as the very content of works themselves. In a very real sense such works may provide a reflexive methodology in that they serve to objectify the relations between the persons, groups or institutions that get involved in them, deploying social rather than primarily visual technologies, and engendering social rather than primarily visual scenarios or projections. However, a different approach emerges once one pays attention to the idiosyncratic postal performance of american artist Ray Johnson: an approach centered less on objectifying social relations than on inventing sociality.
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch
13.00 – 14.45 Søren Andreasen, Jan Bäcklund, Jakob Jakobsen, Jørgen Michaelsen (visual artists)
Extra Subject: Koncern° Revisited
Initiated by the artists Søren Andreasen, Jan Bäcklund, Jakob Jakobsen and Jørgen Michaelsen, the Copenhagen-based artists group Koncern° existed betweeen 1989 and 1993. Conceived as a common subject or an extra subject Koncern° focused on discursive and organisational agency, disseminated through the publication Koncern˚– Skrift for kunstnerisk-filosofisk grundforskning (Koncern° - Publication for Artistic-Philosophical Basic Research). Beyond this, the extra subject realised projects and exhibitions under the name Koncern° – Netværk for kreativ kommunikation (K°NKK) (Koncern° - Network for Creative Communication), and engendered yet another version of itself for purposes of propaganda and mobilisation, called Koncern° Communiqué/Collection Koncern° Copenhagen (K°C/CK°C).
A sort of cliffhanger on the 1980s, Koncern° went against the grain of the decade’s slant towards traditional media and individual authors, and in this way anticipated collaborative strategies on the 1990s Copenhagen art scene. In four short presentations, Andreasen, Bäcklund, Jakobsen and Michaelsen will discuss and contextualise Koncern°.
14.45 – 15.05 Coffee
15.05 – 15.45 Craig Saper
“Thinking is preeminently an art; knowledge and propositions, which are
the products of thinking, are works of art, as much so as statuary and
symphonies.” (John Dewey)
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Revised (WISC-R), was developed and designed by David Weschler. It was developed in 1949, revised in 1974, and is still in use today, this intelligence test for children, 6 through 16, does not depend on the ability to read or write to complete the test, and, therefore, depends on visual and conceptual comprehension often associated with the arts. It could be that the IQ test is also a test of sociopoetic ability.
15.45 – 16.30 Jacob Lillemose (Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of Art History, University of Copenhagen)
Make Your Own System! The Network Aesthetics of Heath Bunting
Since 2004 the artist Heath Bunting has been working on a complete [sic] map of the “institutional status system” in the UK in order to make it visible and facilitate movement within it. So far the project entitled The Status Project has manifested itself in a constructed identity that has voted at local elections. Furthermore as a result of charges of terrorism against him, Bunting has integrated the map of the status system with a map of anti-terror laws. In 2001 Bunting crossed most of Europe’s internal borders outside the official border post and published the information online, but it was only accessible to people with an IP address outside Europe and North America. These and a number of other projects from Heath Bunting’s oeuvre involving system mapping and making will be the topic of this talk. The general focus will be the relation between human activity and system logic that the various projects construct. And the general question asked will be, how this relation can be used as a means of subversion, empowerment and play.
16.30 – 16.45 Coffee and beer
16.45 – 17.30 Mathias Kokholm (MA candidate, Nordic Languages, Aarhus University)
Extravagant Little Magazines
The new experimental/conceptual literature and art have in recent history developed in smaller scenes and within modest publicity frames – in artistic, social and political systems and networks beyond the dominant culture. These scenes have created alternative infrastructures – intimate bureaucracies – for the publishing and distribution of artistic material, based on certain relational and organisational conditions; conditions that have generated new aesthetic options. With a view to introducing the contemporary Danish experimental publishing scene of artists books, printed matter and small magazines, this talk will focus on art publications using or inhabiting conceptual or formal strategies of periodicals, such as ARK, * (asterisk), Pist Protta, Referat and Extravaganter.
17.30 – 18.00 Evaluation