Lecture

25 November 2006

Processing “Knowledge Production” in Art

It could be argued that the term “knowledge production,” used in relation to contemporary art, has gained unprecedented prominence over the course of the last decade. Parallel to this advance of theoretical reflection on artistic practice, there has also been a marked increase in discursive activities (symposia, lectures, discussions, platforms, forums, panel discussions, artists’ talks, etc.) in museums, galleries, and alternative spaces—locations that were once almost exclusively used for the exhibition and display of visual art. These developments can be understood, at least in part, in view of the expanding “intellectualization” of the field of contemporary art itself, as well as a reflection of social and artistic shifts that occurred in the 1960s–1970s, such as the dematerialization of the art object and the rise of research and text-based artistic practice.

To speak about art as a generator of knowledge requires us to critically analyze what we mean by “knowledge” in this context, especially if we are not simply referring to “knowledge on display.” Throughout the twentieth century, the singular status of “knowledge,” “objectivity,” and “truth” were critiqued and dismantled by thinkers from many fields who have argued for the inclusion of marginalized voices and nontraditional systems of knowing. More recently, globalization and the information age have turned knowledge itself into a commodity like never before. Already in 1979, Jean-François Lyotard noted that the very definition of knowledge would be inevitably changed by the development of the postmodern economy, where knowledge is a commodity to be bought and sold. Is it possible to reformulate the term “production” (a central imperative of the global market) to wrest it from its association with the neoliberal economics and politics so dominant today? In the context of contemporary art, how might we maintain the crucial distinction between “information” and “knowledge,” preserving the potential for critical artistic and intellectual work and “spaces for thinking” (Simon Sheikh)? How does the conceptual and mediating role of curating contribute to connecting art and “knowledge production?”

Program

Processing “Knowledge Production” in Art considers the adoption of the term “knowledge production” in the contemporary art field, and interrogates the process of its emergence from art historical, social, and political perspectives.

14.00 hrs
Discussion group

16.00 hrs
Lectures by and discussion with:
Clémentine Deliss, curator and writer, Edinburgh
Vincent Meessen, artist, Brussels
Simon Sheikh, art critic and curator, Berlin/Copenhagen

19.00 hrs
Break (with optional light meal)

20.00 hrs
Screening program by Vincent Meessen.

Suggestions from the archive

Education Program

15 March–01 April 2021

Course: Art as Politics [rerun]

Due to popular demand, BAK Public Studies offers yet another rerun of the online course Art as Politics, taking place on the following dates: 15, 18, 22, 25, 29 March & 1 April 2021. This digital extension of BAK Public Studies, taught by Maria Hlavajova, is prompted by the urgency to continue collective thinking through, learning about, and imagining critical, politically-informed artistic practices that grasp—and intervene into—the present.
Deadline applications: 3 March. Deadline feewaivers: 23 February.

Assembly and Public Forum

Collaboration and Open call

03 December 2020–30 January 2021

Manifesting Systemic Change through Creative Waves

A collaborative open call by Stichting Nederland Wordt Beter, The Black Archives/New Urban Collective, Black Queer & Trans Resistance NL, Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, for artists and writers to manifest the Manifesting Systemic Change Through Creative Waves manifesto.

Conversation

16 December 2020, 19.00-21.00

Practicing Tactical Solidarities II: A Roundtable on Mutual Aid, Emergency, and Continuous Care

This locally-focused second edition of Practicing Tactical Solidarities: A Roundtable on Mutual Aid, Emergency, and Continuous Care features artists, organizers, and activists working in Utrecht, many of whom are current BAK Fellows. While addressing changing needs and urgencies in the protracted pandemic reality and its overlapping and related crises, the conversation contends with tactics and lessons in creating mutual aid networks, lasting support systems, and emergency care.