Introduction to Contemporary Arts and Politics
A distance course introducing key political themes and questions in contemporary art practices, theories and institutions. The 2022 course is delivered with particular focus on (i) this year’s documenta fifteen (Kassel, Germany) and the animating idea of “lumbung”; (ii) curatorial research, the question of exhibition and claims upon the political imaginary; and (iii) the political economy of contemporary art. Contributors include: Nkule Mabaso, Thiago de Paula Souza, Mick Wilson and invited guests.
There is a long tradition of interaction between questions of politics and questions of art. However, arguably in the last decade this dialogue between art and politics has intensified, leading to a fundamental interrogation: What is at stake now in the different intersections of art and the political? How are the terms ‘politics’ and ‘the political’ articulated within contemporary art? What, if any, are the specific political affordances of the contemporary art field?
These questions have acquired ever greater urgency in the wider political context of ascendant national populisms and renewals of white supremacism(s); mass displacement and anti-migrant mobilizations; the failure of governance structures to respond effectively to climate change, ecological collapse and pandemic; the illiberal populist appeal to strategies of ‘culture war’; and changing formations of political mobilization from the Arab ‘spring’ to renewed indigenous resistance movements; from Extinction Rebellion to Black Lives Matter; from Rhodes-Must-Fall to #MeToo; from Anonymous to Qanon. Through taking this course you will have an opportunity to build your own map of the multiple intersections of contemporary art and the political.
We will also explore together how the intersections of contemporary art and the political are re-constellated by recent changes in the wider political field and the recalibration of the international relations after the latest waves of globalization. For more information, including the an indicative reading lis from previous iterations of the course, go to the Course Public Portfolio.
There are 23 online lecture, seminar and workshop events.
The online presentation and seminar sessions are scheduled at 4 pm (Swedish time, CET) on the following days:
June [6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17, 23, 28, 29, 30]; July [1, 18, 19, 21, 22]; August [15, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25].
You will require reliable internet access and headphones with mic. Presentations will typically be recorded and posted online for students to access during the course. Participation in the course means that your contributions to discussion in response to the formal presentations may be recorded for this purpose.
The formal presentations can be attended live and also accessed via recordings published online, at whatever time suits your personal timetable needs. However, it is strongly recommended that you attend the ‘live’ online the discussion sessions, as these will not always be recorded and these offer the best opportunity to interact with the other participants on the course
There will be an open information session on Zoom on Monday 21 February 18:00-18:30 (CET – Swedish Time) to discuss the content of this year’s course. To the session in Zoom.
The updated reading lists for this year’s course will be published Monday 11 April 2022 in Canvas.
Submit compulsory letter of intent
To apply for this course, it is mandatory to submit a letter of intent. Submit your letter of intent in SlideRoom.
Information on what your letter of intent should contain can be found further down on this page.
Letter of intent for applications for the summer semester 2022 needs to be submitted between February 18 - March 22, 2022.