Knowledge Exchange 5 — The Site of Inquiry

Join us on the 5th of April at 6pm in Križanićeva 6a on Andrei Siclodi’s presentation The Site of Inquiry: On Investigative Art Practices and Critical Knowledge Production within the Institutional Setting of a Precarious Residency organised by From the Citizens to their City.

As a part of the fifth edition of Knowledge Exchange, From the Citizens to Their City is hosting Austrian curator Andrei Siclodi. His lecture, which is based on both theoretical research and years of practical experience, will provide a critical review of both the practices and the theory of “artistic research“ – an art practice which should produce specialized knowledge. Within the context of Croatia, where the academic path to “the maturing“ of the artistic research is a fledgling process*, Siclodi’s lecture raises the issue of the necessity of introducing Art PhDs, as well as structuring non-institutional approaches to such practice which should not depend upon creation of a solid academic structure for facilitating and evaluation of such research.

For some time now, one aspect of contemporary art has been en vogue—not only in theoretical discussions: art as a field of, and medium for, the production of specific knowledge. Especially in relation to the discipline that the academic establishment calls “artistic research,” the persistent need for a stable basis for artistic knowledge production has been continually emphasized—above all in academia; knowledge production in art, so the mantra goes, must go hand in hand with a socially critical (self-)reflexive approach toward art and its producers.

In the globalized knowledge-based society of the twenty-first century, we are told, art must position itself quickly in order to assert its own social relevance and insure itself in the long run.

With such arguments, the academic standardization of artistic criticality is aided and “tenured” by national educational policy. Yet can this top-down criticality, standardized through academic curricula, have any real impact outside a self-referential framework? Despite all its good intentions, does this not rather serve to entrench existing hegemonies and (distribution) economies of knowledge? And what alternative strategies might be applied to counter an increasingly dominant discourse on the theory and practice of “artistic research?”

Fortunately, there are alternatives. At Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck/Austria for instance, an institution affiliated with the Tyrolean Artists‘ Association, a residency based Fellowship Program for Art and Theory generates and maintains since more than 15 years a context for production and discussion, in which artists and theoreticians can connect and reflect on international art and societal discourses in relation to regional topics and issues. Here we are running a laboratory of investigative art practices that fathoms capabilities of emancipatory social criticism through art and theory. The presentation will introduce such practices that paradigmatically emerge withtin the institutional setting of a precarious residency like the one in Büchsenhausen, with a special focus on projects engaged with non-artistic communities, and will discuss the resistive potential of such practices against dominant discourses and economies of knowledge.

* The Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb offers several Postgraduate Specialist Study courses

Andrei Siclodi is a curator, writer, editor, and cultural worker based in Innsbruck, Austria. He is founding director of the Fellowship Program for Art and Theory at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck, and editor of the publication series ‘Büchs’n’Books—Art and Knowledge Production in Context’. His previous publications include Subjectivation in Theory and Contemporary Practices (ed with Andreas Oberprantacher) (2016), ‘Out of the Commodity!’ (guest ed), Open Systems Online Journal (2013), and Private Investigations—Paths to Critical Knowledge Production in Contemporary Art (ed) (2011). Recent exhibitions include On the Natures of Things: Contingency—Resistiveness—Invisibility—Desire, Büchsenhausen (2017–18) and Looking at the Present Through Rear-View Mirrors, Kunstpavillon of the Tyrolean Artists‘ Association (2017). He is also producer of the monthly broadcast ‘Büchs’n’Radio’ on Freirad—The Free Radio Innsbruck.

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