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VI Topologies of Art in Relationship to Life. Transcultural Negotiations of Art’s Social and Critical Function

Conceived and conducted by: Birgit Hopfener (Freie Universität Berlin)

Contemporary discourses of how art and life relate to each other are predominantly constituted by a critical discussion of an assumed dualistic structure between art and life and its genealogy. This structural presumption has been formulated by Western Avant-gardes and in relation to epistemological structures rooted in the thinking of modern Western post-Enlightenment.  Focusing on art in it’s broadest sense (encompassing fine arts, performance/dance, literature/writing, music etc.) it is the starting point of this workshop to de-center this narrative and to re-think reified epistemological models of how to describe and analyze art’s relationship to life and related discourses of art’s social and critical function. Situated within the discursive context of a critical contemporaneity that acknowledges different genealogies and provincializes a Western temporal logic of contemporaneity after modernity the workshop seeks to unpack how and under what transcultural and socio-political conditions artists, curators and art critics have been appropriating, negotiating and contesting a dualistic structure between art and life on the one hand. On the other hand it seeks to examine if, how and why artists, curators and art critics have been critically examining historically and culturally different genealogies of art’s relationship with life. It is in this respect that it also scrutinizes concepts of art that have not been constituted by a “superficial” separation from life in the first place.

In transcultural perspective the workshops hopes to discuss and shed new light on the following recurrent questions:

What is socially engaged art? Is socially engaged art still art? What are aesthetics of socially engaged art? How can art effectively intervene into life? What is critical art?

What other modes of critical art beyond an assumed dualistic structure is negotiated? How to re-think the relationship between critical, affirmative and transformational art?

Contact: birgit.hopfener@fu-berlin.de

The selected participants are:

Lisa Bauer-Zhao

Eva Bentcheva

Cathrine Bublatzky

Nanne Buurman

Isabel Ching

Sarah Dornhof

Berit Fischer

Rania Gaafar

Mona Schieren

Lydia Schmuck

Minna Valjakka

Mi You