Workshop: Organization as a Medium of Contemporary Art
Convened by Timon Beyes, Christoph Chwatal, and Sven Lütticken
In artistic and activist practices since the 1990s, we can grasp a search for alternative modes of organizing within and against corporate capitalism. In turn, the challenges of organizing beyond spontaneist networks began to be thought and worked through more systematically in the wake of the alter-globalization movements in the 2000s. Today, biennials, museums, and galleries seem busy dissolving the distinction of aesthetic production and reception, thus understanding processes of organizing towards social change as the work of art itself: art initiatives and new forms of collective-collaborative and participatory-emancipatory organizing become interchangeable.
In reimagining and practicing how social relations can be organized otherwise, organization as a material and medium has become a point of departure for contemporary artistic-aesthetic practices. To engage in the contemporary arts’ organizational complex can entail conceptualizing and co-initiating, negotiating for, and sustaining organizational forms. This ranges from artist-founded archives tethered to nongovernmental organizations, museums as artworks operated by artists and collectives, artist-initiated learning platforms, artistic research agencies working across various disciplines and fields, local co-ops co-initiated by artists, to ersatz parliaments and tribunals hosted by performing arts institutions.
The idea of organization as material and medium––the contemporary arts’ organizational aesthetics or organizational turn––has also sparked the interest of a group of scholars from art theory, organization studies, sociology, and political theory. This two-day workshop brings together artists and scholars to discuss and reflect on the nexus of art and organization. It comprises five interdisciplinary roundtables with brief input presentations followed by moderated discussions:
The first roundtable, “Institutions and Other Infrastructures,” discusses how an art of organization relates to institutional critique and infrastructural critique. “Ecologies” investigates how entanglements of human and non-human life are translated into artistic forms and processes of organizing differently. “Politics” takes artistic practices in the context of (party) politics as its point of departure, and expands to mapping the relationship of art, organization, and politics more generally. This will be expanded by a lecture by Rodrigo Nunes. “Economies” looks into the artistic reconsideration of the oikos and its relations of exchange, transaction, and value generation. “Technologies” inquires into the nexus of art and organization through a genealogy of tactical media, platforms, and recent discussions of Distributed Autonomous Organizations in the arts.
“Organization as a Medium of Contemporary Art” takes place at Kunstraum der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, itself a prominent site of early discussions of art and organization.
Participation is by invitation only.
This project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.