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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  May 2010

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING May 2010

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Subject:

AW: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] hello

From:

Dorothee Richter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Dorothee Richter <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 27 May 2010 10:37:21 +0200

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text/plain

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Dear All, after the inspiring contributions by Danny and Tom I am thinking
about a next step, could this be a meeting of people working in this field?
We are all involved in pedagogy and institution which are interlinked to
techno-capitalist structures and goals, our positions make possible a kind
of resistance while at the same time they are part of the structure,
precarious, bound to hegemonic, hierarchical infrastructures in which we are
involved as much as our students/ visitors / public. (Even the way I was
tempted to set these different positions side by side is clearly a symptom.)
So it would be interesting if we could not make our voice more clearly heard
in the university system or in other institutions of cultural production. So
it can be interesting to formulate a catalogue of demands and postulations
of an international group. I do know that this is very much on the side of
action but reflection and action should come together more closely,
especially in this discussion. Dorothee


----

Dorothee Richter 
Studienleitung Postgraduate Program in Curating MAS

----
Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK 

Institute Cultural Studies in the Arts

Hafnerstrasse 31

Institut für Theorie
Hafnerstrasse 39 
CH-8031 Zürich 
---- 
www.curating.org 

www.on-curating.org

www.curatingdegreezero.org

---- 
[log in to unmask] 
[log in to unmask] 
---- 
Info Weiterbildung: 0041 43 446 4020 
mobil CH: 0041 (0) 76 2345 372 
mobil D: 0049 (0)177 766 9187 
phone D: 0049 (0) 7141 907009


-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Danny Butt
Gesendet: Dienstag, 25. Mai 2010 06:52
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] hello

Dear all,

Many thanks to everyone for a rich and dynamic discussion.

Despite the substantial degree to which my thoughts have been sharpened by
Tom Holert's writing about the politics of knowledge production on other
platforms, I would like to push back or evade somewhat the dichotomy
established in his message, where discussion of complicity and ambivalence
in relation to the educational setting is characterised as a "given",
perhaps of less importance than the "larger" political-economic concerns he
then goes on to accurately outline. There is a more subtle repetition of
Edgar's previous diagnosis of two kinds of discourse - one "productive",
about new movements and opportunities for dissent; versus a more "sclerotic"
account of the torque applied by the institution to the individual
practitioner.

These strike me as being firstly and foremostly, a kind of "unhappy
performative", a move to characterise certain kinds of discourse as
"productive" and a certain kind not; in other words, an attempt to suppress
some kinds of discourse in the name of "action", which is still, in the end,
only talk. It seems to me that whatever ethics we might bring to this
remarkable forum for dialogue and reflection, it should first of all seek to
recognise plurality of participation if we seek to enable space for diverse
practices against bureaucratisation and institutionalisation.

Secondly, the terms put into the "unhelpful" side of the debate (complicity,
entanglement, ambivalence: the politics of the subject) are, from my
perspective, quite clearly those deeply explored in a Western feminist
intellectual tradition that seems pertinent if we are to understand the
mechanisms by which the "subjectivizing logic" of capital gains a hold on
our practices. As a good Marxist, I certainly would not deny that there is a
logic; that crisis in that logic is endemic; and that we must seek to evade
the logic where possible. However, given the quite radically diverse
relationship to institutions shared by participants on the list, I do
believe that the nature of our subjective entanglement is not only important
to surface, it might also be the mechanism by which we come to understand
the possibilities for action in the places where we are.

Finally, I am  slightly uncomfortable with the way accurate, if limited,
political-economic analyses of the contemporary University and museum take
on a teleological character that sees in the past only the beginnings of
corporatisation and accumulation. A more thorough political economy of, for
example, 1950s cold war US education discourse, would from my pov open up
some significant questions about the colonial basis of European
self-knowledge; the gendered division of labour in the West; and the
radically expanded nature of the German research university as a "European
idea." 

In this terrain, the Bologna process (for example) can be situated as less
of an unproblematic marker of a logic to be resisted, but rather the most
visible instantiation of the Protestant Humboldtian bargain of linking
science and research to state goals of modernisation in attempts to break
the monopoly of the clerisy. Along these lines, we can certainly see an
ambivalent function for the incorporation of the visual arts into the
university system, enabling a break in specific racist, patriarchal, and
class-bound modes of accumulation in art worlds, but at the cost of
incorporation into the techno-state-capitalist schemes that Holert diagnoses
accurately.

Sorry if these notes don't lead anywhere, all I am really saying is that I
would like our subjectivities to be a field for discussion rather than a
given.

Regards,

Danny

--
http://www.dannybutt.net
+64 21 456 379



On 25/05/2010, at 5:52 AM, Tom Holert wrote:

> Dear all,
> 
> As much as I would like to understand the various proposals made with
relation to the alleged educational/pedagogical turn in contemporary art
(curating, teaching, ‘producing’ etc.), this “turn” should be less of an
occasion to confessing one’s own entanglement in educational processes and
institutional politics that have led to differing degrees of formalization
and format-alization, or to presenting one’s ambivalent stance towards the
peculiar push and pull experiences that are engendered by a critical stance
vis-à-vis the disciplining forces that govern the institution of art.
Instead, I sense the necessity of exploring the specifics of the current
“shift” which, I think, is to be considered in the very context of Edgar’s
“crisis as default backdrop from and within which to work”; the delusion of
the Bologna process, the budget cuts due to the financial collapses, the
re-discovery of authoritarianism and bureaucracy in neoliberal
administration etc. have sat the stage. This exploration should be based
from the start on the predicament that it is pursued by more or less active
proponents of (art) education as well as ‘production’ and its current
reconfigurations and dispersions. For a certain critical awareness of the
There-is-no-outside-of-the-institution/the ISAs-A priori may be expected
from participants in this debate. 
> 
> The socially and culturally expanded education (mentioned by David at the
beginning) and the increasing spill-overs of pedagogy in the art field are
tendencies which are closely intertwined with the systemic production of
uncertainty and insecurity in the frameworks of neoliberal governmentality
and the more specific need to compensate for the de-skilling (i.e.
re-skilling) in contemporary art c. since the inception of the
neo-avantgarde. The normativity of the lifelong learning (LL) conceit
doesn’t need much legitimation as every citizen in the neoliberal West and
beyond has been instructed early on to stay interested in increasing her/his
knowledge and skills; the LL paradigm, introduced in the 1950s by cold war
ideologues of the ‘knowledge industry’ such as UC Berkeley’s Clark Kerr,
counted on the national economy’s demand for a workforce that constantly
updates itself in terms of human and intellectual capital. 
> 
> I’d argue that the current educational turns are effectuated, more or less
directly, by organization and knowledge management to optimize the
development and usability of human capital. While Tate Modern and similar
sites of public-corporate cultural neo-education are buying advice from
managerial consulting firms to improve their economical performance, the
more ‘alternative’ urge to transform traditional institutions of archive and
display, of education and interpretation into networked spaces of knowledge
production and the distributed academy of LL follows a comparable logic, a
subjectivizing logic of capitalizing on the command/desire to push the
limits of each individual’s cultural competence.  
> 
> To speak of the educational “as an embryonic force, a kind of
prerequisite, which enables the emergence of and adaptation to practices of
knowledge production and dissemination” (Axel), is the less deterministic
version of the idea of an underlying (or all-encompassing) logic of LL which
entails the administrative and industrial logistics and technologies of
education that has become so blatantly dominant. 
> 
> At the same time, and quite fittingly, digital communication has
enormously enhanced the speed in which ‘advanced’ models and programs of
education are becoming critically outmoded. The very reflexivity and
criticality - intensified by an increased exchange between practitioners
e.g. on mailing lists such as this one –, and that has led to the expansion
of ideas and concepts of reconfiguring the production of and encounter with
art, from participation to collaboration, also entails the ongoing
contestation of every ‘fresh’ proposal to re-structure the field. Time not
only is an issue when it comes to the temporariness of “performed dissent”
(Edgar) or the precariousness of project-based teaching, learning and
research; it also figures as an important factor regarding the
ever-shortened life-time of commonly accepted models of going about the
acquisition and transmission of knowledge, as well as of modes of un-knowing
or of the “refinement of ignorance” (Shudda Sengupta, with a hint to
theories of mathematics, during last Thursday’s discussion on “knowledge
production” at MMK in Frankfurt).
> 
> As much as I understand that strong and justified claims for
interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity, such as Maria’s, are far from
being supported (or even demanded) everywhere, at different institutional
localities (and while rather old-school ideas of how knowledge and education
are supposed to be ordered, keep flourishing across the entire spectrum), I
would nevertheless suggest to strategically and polemically widen the gap
between the rhetoric of education/research policy that advises the use of
interdisciplinary/collaborative modalities on the one hand and the (micro)
politics of the “productive matrix” (Edgar) of educational dissent – a
dissent which angrily and inappropriately appropriate the once
disappropriated concepts of empowerment through education. 
> 
> All best,
> Tom

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