3rd Former West Research Congress

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19—21 April 2012
The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Secession, Vienna (AT)

The 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress, Part One: Beyond What Was Contemporary Art takes place on 19 and 20 April 2012 at Secession, Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, respectively. Consequently, the Congress deliberations are reflected upon in an open session on 21 April 2012. The Congress is envisioned as a discursive platform aiming at offering a space to speculate about possibilities for art vis-à-vis the increasing forces of antagonism across the world and the emerging imaginaries that accompany them.


19 April 2012 (Thursday) 19.00–21.00, Secession, Friedrichstraße 12, Vienna

Beginning from the “Formerness” of Contemporary Art
Is it possible to think of so-called Contemporary Art as art—or an art historical period even—emerging from 1989 and developing in parallel to other hegemonic formations such as global neoliberalism? Could it then be argued that, in sync with the current seismic shifts in society, politics, and economy, it now also faces if not a dead end then a number of challenges that take it to task? Is Contemporary Art, as an iconographic source of the political architecture of the world of the last two decades on its way out so to speak, together with the system that made it possible? What kind of challenges and possibilities might then lie before us in the space of art in times like ours? Can we speculate collectively on how to move beyond the present confines of Contemporary Art’s practices, and begin articulating what can appear from its “formerness?” What are our responses to—and proposals for—the times ahead?

19.00–19.10 Welcome by András Pálffy (president, Secession, Vienna) and Eva Blimlinger (Rector, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
19.10–19.30 Opening Remarks by Maria Hlavajova (artistic director, BAK, Utrecht and FORMER WEST)
19.30–20.30 Keynote by Nancy Adajania (cultural theorist and curator, Mumbai)
20.30–21.00 Questions

Play Video 3rd Former West April 19th
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20 April 2012 (Friday) 10.00–20.00, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, Vienna

10.00–10.05 Welcome by Andrea Braidt (Vice-Rector, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
10.05–10.15 Welcome and Introduction by Maria Hlavajova (artistic director, BAK, Utrecht and FORMER WEST)
10.15–10.30 Introduction by Marion von Osten (artist and cultural researcher, Berlin/Vienna)

Organizing a Difference

In the context of a search beyond the confines of Contemporary Art, how does a difference get organized? What established and developing possibilities in the entangled field of artistic, intellectual, and activist practices are generating structures other than those that exist for research, production, and dissemination? How have the strategies of contemporary practitioners changed and how are new possibilities within and beyond the field of Contemporary Art constituted? Are new models of small translocal organizations already being created that are outside of the known forms of artistic self- organization, art institutions, and aesthetic disciplines?

10.30–11.15 CAMP (collaborative project and platform, Mumbai)
11.15–12.00 Respondent: Christian Höller (writer, Vienna)
12.00–12.30 Questions

Play Video 3rd Former West April 20th – part 1
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13.30–14.15 h.arta (artist collective, Timisoara)
14.15–15.00 Respondent: Ekaterina Degot (art historian and curator, Moscow)
15.00–15.30 Questions

Play Video 3rd Former West April 20th – part 2
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15.50–16.35 aaa/ Atelier d’architecture autogérée (urban research collective platform, Paris)
16.35–17.20 Respondent: Jesko Fezer (artist and architect, Berlin)
17.20–17.50 Questions

Play Video 3rd Former West April 20th – part 3
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Speculating Forward

The model of Contemporary Art has been taken to task not only for its complicity in the reality of the global neoliberal order, but by the serious challenges to it that come from within art. To what extent, for example, is the field still of relevance to the far-reaching practices of self-organized collectives? And how have these group initiatives changed the field themselves? What emerging propositions are being articulated in response to these modes of cultural production? How can we arrive at a deeper understanding of the possibilities at hand by looking at a set of concrete practices that function as meaningful interruptions of the business-as-usual model that has been established over the course of the last two decades?

18.10–18.30 Observations and Questions by Ruth Sonderegger (philosopher, Vienna)
18.30–19.30 Keynote by Irit Rogoff (theorist and curator, London)
19.30–20.00 Questions

Play Video 3rd Former West April 20th – part 4
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21 April 2012 (Saturday) 11.00 -12.30, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, Vienna

Open Forum: In Place of Conclusions

Led by Ruth Sonderegger (philosopher, Vienna), this open session includes both the contributors and participants to the 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress, Part One. The session revisits the positions, statements, conversations, questions, and doubts that stem from the speculations about what lies “beyond what was Contemporary Art” in order to attempt to map the concerns and urgencies ahead of us. Instead of summarizing a set of conclusions, it is offered as a site of anticipation, as well as of collective thinking and action.

Play Video 3rd Former West April 21st – Soon Online…

More info: FormerWest.org



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