Learning

05 February–30 April 2015

Learning Place: Human-Inhuman-Posthuman

During the spring semester 2015, from the beginning of February till the end of April, BAK’s key platform of learning and talent development, Learning Place (LP), unfolds within the series of explorations into the notions of “human,” “inhuman,” and “posthuman.” Part of BAK’s research series Future Vocabularies and its semester-long inquiry Human -Inhuman -Posthuman, this spring course attempts to bring into conversations on present-day artistic practice key terms such as the Anthropocene and posthumanity, while familiarizing participants with the theories of new materialism and Object-Oriented Ontology.

If art, science, and the humanities have shared one thing, it was their common engagement with constructions and representations of the human at the center of their respective realms, as well as their mutual exploration into how people process, document, and analyze their human experiences. Under the pressure of new contemporary concerns, however—the neoliberal economics of global capitalism, migration, advanced technological developments, environmental destruction on a mass scale, the perpetual war on terror and pervasive security systems, to name but a few significant markers of our time—the concept of the human as we had previously known it has undergone dramatic transformations. While swift advances in information, bio- and nanotechnologies, robotics, brain research, and neural sciences have extended the depth and range of our understanding of what may constitute the basic scientific unit of reference for the human, they also bear the ability to dispossess the human subject of the autonomy and agency s/he had grown accustomed to in modernity. Technological mediation has reached such high levels of intrusion into our lives that it makes sense to speak of a decentering not only of individual agency, but also of anthropocentrism as an entrenched practice and habit of thought.

The issue of the centrality of our species is up for discussion in the age that is also becoming known as the Anthropocene. Advanced capitalism has a strong biogenetic thrust, which results not only in the control over what we used to call “nature,” but also in the generation of new life-forms. The politics of life as informational system lies at the core of the present knowledge economy and alters in unprecedented ways our sense of being members of this culture and this species. We take this development to mark a “posthuman condition” that combines exciting new developments with a troublesome reiteration of old, unresolved problems such as war, poverty, social injustices, and growing disparities in the access to the very technologies that our system proudly displays. The climate change issue and the environmental crisis are perhaps the most salient examples of the contradictory nature of the posthuman condition and its potentially negative consequences. New and all too familiar forms of inhumanity are emerging within the conflictual landscape of the posthuman condition. What are the potential artistic, intellectual, and activist itineraries of working through this complex reality? How might we understand the altered meanings of art—and of its practice—vis-à-vis such critical present-day developments?

Learning Place brings together students from two master programs in the Netherlands for a period of intensive study around these questions. The core group of students come from the Master program at the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU), Utrecht and the Master in Artistic Research (MAR) program at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK), the Hague. They are intermittently joined by students from other art academies and universities from both the Netherlands and abroad.

Learning Place consists of 10 full-day sessions spread across the spring 2015 semester, from 5 February till 30 April 2015. The sessions take place on the following dates: 29 January (MaHKU participants only), 5 February, 12 February, 19 February, (25 February, extracurricular), 12 March, 19 March, 26 March, 9 April, 16 April, 23 April, and 30 April.

The morning sessions are taught by BAK’s artistic director Maria Hlavajova, and are followed by co-taught afternoon sessions with artists, theorists, and activists who collaborate with BAK on various public programs and beyond.

Guest speakers during the spring 2015 LP include, among others: Matthijs de Bruijne (artist, Amsterdam); Rick Dolphijn (Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Senior Fellow of the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University, Utrecht); Ine Gevers (curator, writer, activist, Utrecht), Graham Harman(Professor of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo, Cairo); Hans van Houwelingen (artist, Amsterdam); Armin Linke (artist, Berlin); Territorial Agency (architects and urbanists John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, London); Iris van der Tuin (Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Philosophy of Science in the Graduate Gender Programme, Utrecht University, Utrecht); and Lucas van der Velden (curator and director of Sonic Acts, Amsterdam).

In collaboration with

Suggestions from the archive

Exhibition

12 September–28 November 2010

Vectors of the Possible

The exhibition examines the notion of the horizon in art and politics and explores the ways in which art works can be said to set up certain horizons of possibility and impossibility, how art partakes in specific imaginaries, and how it can produce new ones, thus suggesting other ways of imagining the world.

Congress

Event

Screening

Conversation

Lecture

18 March 2011, 20.00

Lecture by David Riff on Olga Chernysheva

On Tuesday, 15 March 2011 at 20.00 hrs, Moscow-based art critic and writer David Riff delivers a lecture on Olga Chernysheva’s practice in which he considers the artist’s repurposing and reinvention of realism in her work, as well as the critical and political implications of this approach, particularly in the context of today’s Russia.

Exhibition

Exhibition

22 May–24 July 2011

Call the Witness

group exhibition curated by Suzana Milevska

The exhibition Call the Witness includes works by seven extraordinary artists who actively work from within and beyond their Roma identities. The works take up the role of “testimonies,” which in their own languages bear witness to past sufferings (such as the Holocaust) and of present and future anxieties, which seem to so intimately relate to the very existence of the Roma in our world. Each of these artists actively speculates about another possibility, and from within the Roma subjectivity proposes that we imagine how things could be otherwise.

Exhibition

01 June–09 October 2011

Call the Witness, Roma Pavilion

Call the Witness is a project of the Roma Pavilion, which takes place as a collateral event in the framework of the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2011. A makeshift exhibition evolving over the course of the Venice Biennale preview days through the flux of live “testimonies”— works of art, performances, talks, and conversations by and with artists, thinkers, and politicians—Call the Witness considers the situation of the Roma and Roma art as emblematic of a world filled with inequality and oppression today, and in solidarity with the largest minority in Europe speculates about another, hopeful future.

Screening

08 October–03 December 2011

Cinematic Narratives from Elsewhere public program: film screenings and discussions curated by Christina Li

Cinematic Narratives from Elsewhere is a film-based public program of screenings and discussions that accompanies the exhibition Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere at BAK. The program presents alternative accounts of the impact of sociopolitical changes brought about by western-driven discourses of progress and modernity in the so-called “Third World.”

Exhibition

09 October–23 December 2011

Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere

exhibition curated by Cosmin Costinas

The exhibition Spacecraft Icarus 13: Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere presents a number of artistic positions by international artists from different generations that reflect upon alternative visions for the future and models for political and cultural change that have emerged in response to the new conditions of the post-Cold War era.

Screening

Exhibition

05 February–29 April 2012

Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things

Christoph Schlingensief (1960–2010) was one of the most seminal if controversial theater, film, and contemporary art figures of his generation. The exhibition Christoph Schlingensief: Fear at the Core of Things attests to his striving towards Lebenskunstwerk—a work of life-art.

Education Program

23 October–27 November 2018

Course Art and Politics

“Art and Politics” is an inaugural course of a new public school for art and politics organized by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht. In six weekly sessions, the participants learn about how contemporary art relates to the political in an accessible way.

Congress

29 September 2012

3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress, Part Two

Following the deliberations during Part One titled Beyond What Was Contemporary Art (April 2012, Vienna), Part Two of the 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress takes place on 29 September 2012 and bases its discussions on a question ushered in—somewhat unexpectedly—by theorist and curator Irit Rogoff in her closing keynote address for Part One: “What on earth do they mean when they say art?”

Exhibition

29 September–23 December 2012

How Much Fascism?

exhibition curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW

Group exhibition with works by Burak Delier, Etcétera…, Avi Mograbi, Marina Naprushkina, Trevor Paglen, Cesare Pietroiusti, Jonas Staal, Mladen Stilinovic, SUPERFLEX, Milica Tomic, and Lidwien van de Ven.

Congress

18-24 March 2013

FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects

Artworks, talks, discussions, rehearsals, and performances in various constellations of documents and prospects offer a multitude of encounters with the public for negotiating the way of the world from 1989 to today, and thinking beyond.

Learning

18-24 March 2013

FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects—Learning Place

a week-long educational performance with around 200 students from educational institutes around the world

During a week-long educational performance, around 200 students from educational institutes around the world engage on topics such as the commodification of knowledge, critique of creativity, and functioning of edu-industries in today’s cognitive capitalism.

Exhibition

11 April–01 June 2013

After History: Alexandre Kojève as a Photographer

The James Gallery at The Graduate Center, CUNY announces the conceptual and experimental exhibition guest curated by Boris Groys, After History: Alexandre Kojève as a Photographer, on view from 11 April till 1 June 2013. The exhibition presents the photographs, collected postcards, and hand-drawn itineraries of the French-Russian philosopher Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968) to compose a visual exposition of his philosophy. Made in collaboration with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, The James Gallery is the only US venue for the exhibition.

Exhibition

Education Program

Education Program