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Tag Archives: Contemporary art

Cultural Marxism


Friday 06 May
On Life in Marx
Stewart Martin (Middlesex University)

Friday 20 May
Capitalism and capital letters: the politics of typographic case
Gavin Edwards (Institute of English Studies)

Friday 03 June
Beyond Propaganda: Notes on Contemporary Cuban Art
Stephanie Schwartz (University College London)

Friday 17 June
Art and Value: An Economic Analysis of Contemporary Art
Dave Beech (Chelsea College of Art & Design)

All seminars start at 5.30pm, and are held in the Wolfson Room (unless otherwise indicated) at the Institute of Historical Research in Senate House, Malet St, London. The seminar closes at 7.30pm and retires to the bar.

Organisers: Matthew Beaumont, Alan Bradshaw, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Larne Abse Gogarty, Owen Hatherley, Esther Leslie, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Nina Power, Dominic Rhatz, Pete Smith & Alberto Toscano.

For further information, contact Warren Carter, at: or Esther Leslie at:


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub,Bangor, northWales)  

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The Battle in Seattle


The Ethics of Encounter – Research Workshop

Thursday 3 & Friday 4 March 2011

The University of Edinburgh and Stills Gallery

Call for Papers

Deadline: 28 January 2011

As an increasing number of artists site their practice within the social fabric of everyday life, the encounter has been placed at the heart of a newly defined aesthetic experience.  Participatory, collaborative, community-based and documentary methodologies which engage directly with interpersonal relations and social realities now proliferate both within and beyond the institution.  This move away from traditional forms of representation into the territories of use and action has endowed art’s latest ‘social turn’ with a renewed and expanded ethical significance.  In parallel with these developments, it is claimed that ethics has triumphed in the public debate to reign over culture and displace politics.

This workshop will examine the complex interfaces which have emerged between aesthetics, politics and ethics in the 21st century. Taking into account their historical imbrications in art discourse together with the so-called ‘ethical turn’ of contemporary politics, we aim to develop a critical understanding of their most recent forms and configurations across the diverse terrains of socially-engaged art. The ethical valence of artworks has dominated debates to date – whether interventions into the social fabric can be considered productively ‘good’ or transgressive, ‘bad’ and yet, ultimately, revealing.  If the ethical is now a common route for artists seeking to broach the political and provide a site for critique, is it possible to move beyond this dichotomy and map the potential and limits of ethical engagements in art?

While we are primarily interested in exploring these issues and debates from an art historical perspective, the theoretical tools framing these developments are, of course, not held solely within this territory.  We therefore welcome papers from across disciplinary boundaries.   The following questions are indicative of the types of themes that might be addressed through the workshop:

•   To what extent has ethics emerged as a site for political engagement in contemporary art and beyond?  Does this shift ultimately augment or displace politics?

•   What are the implications of this ethical turn for the processes of reception and interpretation?

•   What is the role of aesthetics in relation to the ethical and the political?

•   Can ‘good’, ethically sound, artistic practices be subjected to critique and, if so, what methodologies and frameworks should be employed?

•   As artworks increasingly resemble other knowledge producing activities such as ethnographic mapping, investigative journalism and even community work, should the artist be subject to the same ethical codes and responsibilities as practitioners from other disciplines? Is the viewer’s relationship with an artwork ethically different from our other encounters with objects, knowledge, individuals and communities?

•   How do today’s transgressive artistic strategies differ from those of the latter half of the 20th century?

•   Questions on the image remain as tenacious as ever in current debates: when considered in relation to art’s broader re-emergence as a social practice (for example in terms of the documentation of social relations) what new concerns arise?

Following an informal public round-table discussion on the evening of Thursday 3 March the workshop will take place on Friday 4 March 2011 at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh.  Selected workshop papers will be organised into themed panels, each led by two participants.  Following two 20 minute papers there will be an opportunity for further debate and discussion.  At the conclusion of the day a paper will be given by the keynote speaker, Anthony Downey.

Anthony Downey is a writer and art critic. He sits on the editorial board of Third Text and is the Programme Director of the M.A. course in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. He has published essays, criticism and interviews in numerous international journals on the politics of aesthetics, collaborative art practices, civil society and community-based art practices, bio-politics and migration, and the potential for an ethics of artistic practice.

Please send a 300 word abstract accompanied by a brief biography (including your name, institution, phone number and e-mail) to by Friday 28 January 2011.  We will acknowledge receipt.  Final decisions will be made and responses circulated by Monday 31 January 2011.  Five bursaries covering workshop fees and the evening meal are available to post-graduate contributors. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please note your interest on your proposal.

There will be 15 places for workshop participants who will not be presenting a paper.  If you would like to be considered for one of these places please send a note of interest with a brief biography

This workshop has been organised in parallel with The Ethics of Encounter exhibition at Stills Gallery in Edinburgh ( It is supported by the AHRC, Stills and The University of Edinburgh’s History of Art Department.

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Art: What’s the Use?

Friday 14 January, 2011. 11am-6pm
Zilkha Auditorium, Whitechapel Gallery (£15/£10 conc.)

How subversive really is the social uselessness of art?  Could art play a more directly functional role in culture? Dean Kenning and Gavin Grindon challenge the idea that art should be allowed to take critical positions safe from any real intervention. Participants include Artur Zmijewski, Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat), James Marriott &Jane Trowell (PLATFORM), John Roberts, Stephen Wright, Marina Vishmidt, Peter Osborne and Gail Day.

In association with Stanley Picker Gallery Public Lectures on Art & The Visual and Material Culture and Contemporary Art Research Centres at Kingston University of London.

The increasing visibility of contemporary art, together with the shift in art discourse towards the social dimension, not to mention the sheer number of people now practicing as artists, all make the use value of art a vital issue. At a local and national level contemporary art has clearly taken on a role as instigator of local regeneration/gentrification and city branding. Such projects usually involve star artists, while activist, community and socially engaged practices often take place off the art world radar, or else adopt conventional art spaces as leverage for their work. How do organisations and institutions with their resources and networks influence this equation of art and use? In light of the radical changes to higher education which are currently being pushed through alongside simultaneous cuts in the arts budget, can we develop a language beyond the business-model discourse of ‘creative industries’ in which to defend and promote the value of art to a wide public?

This symposium aims to ask: What is the use-value of art today, how is it useful, and for whom? What are the particular imaginative and cognitive skills, competences and approaches that could take effect as part of the general symbolic economy beyond the artworld? What are the lessons and influences of movements which sought an unambiguously social and political function for their experiments? And finally, what are the conditions that enable artists not simply to reflect upon the world, but to act within and change it?

Tickets are available here:

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Friday 6th May 2011


Journeys Across Media (JAM) 2011 is the 9th annual international conference for postgraduate students, organized by postgraduates working in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading. It provides a discussion forum for current and developing research in film, theatre, television and new media. Previous delegates have welcomed the opportunity to gain experience of presenting their work at different stages of development in the active, friendly and supportive research environment of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading. This year JAM will be guest-editing the Autumn issue of Intellect’s Journal of Media Practice and in 2012 an associated journal to the conference will be launched, providing further opportunities for new researchers to publish their work and interact with established scholars.

Non-presenting delegates are also very welcome.

The 9th JAM conference seeks to address issues of space in performance, media and wider society and instigate discussions about space across disciplines, practices and fields of research.

Space in performance and media is constantly shifting. Emerging technologies and new models of physical spaces have radically shaped our conceptions and experiences of performing, the world and our performing within that world. Artistic experimentation in live performance tests and contests space as a neutral/political/liminal/active zone.

Through innovative spatial delineations and/or site specific work, contemporary theatre and performance challenge conventions of text and space, performance and institution and performance and audience. Issues of space are increasingly central to performance studies and the experience of live performance. The growing popularity of companies such as Secret Cinema reflect the importance of the exhibition site for cinema and possibilities for cross-media events. The organisation and handling of space on screen can reveal the conceptual reality of a time, rather than just function as background. Studies of the cinematic screen continue to focus on ideological articulations through oppositions, such as on-screen/off-screen space, interior/exterior, centre/periphery, inclusion/exclusion in space. Meanwhile, televisual spaces continue to change both in terms of on-screen representation and how the television as an object inhabits space, particularly in relation to its online dissemination and the proliferation of products which facilitate its access.

This is a call for postgraduates engaging in contemporary discourses around space to submit papers for the JAM 2011 conference; topics may include, but are not restricted to:
Cross-disciplinary/inter-disciplinary spaces
National/International space; Globalisation
Centrality – Marginality of/in space
Gendered spaces
Space and memory
Critical masses (people in space)
Space as a character
Time and Space in performance
Architecture and performance
Immersion and illusion in contemporary performance spaces
Space in Contemporary art
Ownership and accountability
Ontology of space

CALL FOR PAPERS deadline: Friday 30th January 2011

Please send a 250-word abstract and a 50-word biographical note for a fifteen-minute paper to Amanda Beauchamp, Becki Hillman, Tonia Kazakopoulou, Martin O’Brien and James Rattee, at Proposals for practice-as-research presentations/performances are warmly invited; these have to conform to the 15-minute format.

We would appreciate the distribution of this call for papers and wider promotion of this conference through your networks. Journeys Across Media is supported by the Standing Committee of University Drama Departments (SCUDD) and the Graduate School in Arts and Humanities, University of Reading.

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The 2009 World Picture Conference
October 23-24, 2009
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Keynote Speakers:
Edward Branigan (University of California, Santa Barbara) & Alexander García Düttmann (Goldsmiths College)

We believe the question of style is in need of new thinking, across media, disciplines and modes of thought. We hope, therefore, to receive abstracts that reflect or extend out of any number of approaches to the question of style (theoretical, philosophical, historical, formal, generic, etc.). Our conference (like our journal) is inflected by a strong interest in the intersection of political and aesthetic questions concerning cinema, visual art, and visual theory, but we encourage the submission of abstracts that do not necessarily occupy themselves with the cinema and/or the visual.

Proposals (250 words), including a brief bio, should be sent to Brian Price at  by June 1.

World Picture is edited by Brian Price, Meghan Sutherland and John David Rhodes. It is devoted to philosophical and theoretical inquiry, with a strong emphasis on the visual, the cinematic, the televisual, and contemporary art. It appears twice annually and is online and open access.

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