COURSE: Art & Theory (2015/16)

Semester I: 8–16 October, 2015

with Stephen Wright

Practising Theory: retooling our conceptual vocabulary.

Specifically, I would like theory to be put to use – useful use! – by each of the students with respect to their own practices. The premise is that art is in the throes of a profound paradigm shift – one of the many signs of which is the creation of the Art & Public Space programme – and the work of emerging practitioners is often poorly served by a conceptual vocabulary inherited from the past century. It’s not that the lexicon is lacking words and concepts – indeed, it seems to have a word for absolutely everything – but rather that the terminology was developed and honed to described practices utterly different than those that are being developed today. It is incumbent on us, individually and collectively, to rethink the hegemonic vocabulary, retiring certain terms that do violence to emergent intuitions, proposing new terms – perhaps repurposed from other public times and spaces – better adapted to the new tasks and desires at hand. Over the course of the workshop, participants will be encouraged to take a closer look at terms often taken as self-evident, examining their history and assessing their compatibility with their practices; more importantly, participants will be invited to take some preliminary steps toward developing a glossary of keywords to grasp their practices on their own terms. SW

Public lecture: October 8, 2015, 10.00 am–12.30 pm, auditorium

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