October 29-31 2019
Universität / Haute École
for student applications
Episode 1. After The Ends (a workshop)
She grew up with a story of the ends. The end of history, the end of art, the end of grand narratives, the end of any possible story of universal emancipation. Post-history they said. She grew up after the ends.
There is something peculiar to our times.
Well, two things.
First, the direction of time changed, they say. Time comes from the future. Preemptive, that’s the word. Infrastructures, networks, platforms – these are the spatial entities governing our current orientation in time. Second, the encounter between the time of the human and geological time: the Anthropocene. Our present is shaped by those two peculiarities. Time.
And Space. As we all know, a standard framework for artistic production now demands to act ‘locally’ and to operate within ‘specific’ situations while at the same time being more and more complicit with the generic dynamics that makes art an ideal laboratory for neoliberalism and hypercapital. The historical concept of “site-specificity” developed in the 1960s - as a foregrounding of the background becoming the real artistic figure - has been of great importance and carried a true emancipatory virtue. But practical and conceptual tools that once aspired to artistic emancipation now seem to work towards its alienation. Escaping this deadlock demands to work towards a radically enlarged conception of space, the precise mapping of the space of the present, and the invention of new tools for orientation and navigation.
So, when trying to orientate within a site: where do we begin? The landscape. It starts with a border. Or from a border. Then, figures. And navigation tools. Or all of them at once.
This workshop will attempt at providing a platform for collectively mapping « the site of the present » and inventing tools for its navigation. How can and should we design the Now? Can the site of the present be hacked? Which new strategies and interventions can come to inflect this fluid confrontation with unspecific enemies and unmanned technologies?
Participants should come with a question, a conceptual object, or a concrete object, to be unfolded in a short presentation. Those individual “specific objects” will serve as the basis for the unfolding of the workshop.
Episode 2. Deserted Horizons (A summer School)
After the end of the workshop, 6 students will be selected upon a letter of intent to participate to a two-weeks summer school in Marfa, TX (May 13-May 26 2019).
A community of two thousand situated amidst the desert plains of west Texas, Marfa is best known as a site for the permanent installation of large-scale artworks. Marfa was built as a railroad waterstop at the end of the 19th century, became headquarter of the border patrols, a training site for the air force during the second world war, and in the 70s, Donald Judd, the minimalist artist installed his permanent collection as well as works by many of his peers -Roni Horn, John Chamberlain, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, today considered as iconic. After Judd’s death, in the 1990s, art galleries, film festivals and artist-in residence programs flourished in Marfa and transformed the town in a must place for international contemporary artists and curators. It is a unique place for investigative research where art, architecture and design questions meet environmental and geopolitical border issues.
The desert appears as a space of possibility. It has been and still is a laboratory space for human and environmental experiments: from utopian projects to military test-sites, as an archetypal mythic and psychopolitical space, as a zone of emergency and crisis, as border and buffer, and as a staging-ground for experimental or subcultural acts. The desert beyond its sole geographic position embodies a generic projection surface, a space for simulation, where new models are to be invented and new geometries and tools for orientation can be explored and engineered.
One specific aspect that will be addressed during this summer school is the construction of communities, commune, collective spaces present in the South of the United States since the mid 19th century: from Fourierist communities to Quakers and Qhakers, from the long history of anarchist, autonomist, and libertarian communities and literature to the emergence of counter-cultural practices and experimental artistic propositions such as the one Donald Judd attempted in the desert of Marfa.
What is a community? What are the new conceptions of love, intimacies, and sex mediated by the platform age? May simulation and speculation be strategic tools? What are the new social, political and aesthetic forms at stake? What would the communities of the future be?
During this first summer school students will work on individual projects as well as a collective proposition. They will be in Marfa together with a group of 6 students from the University of Houston, and a group from les beaux-arts de Nantes Saint Nazaire.
Guests (to be confirmed): Roberto Tejada (art historian, curator and editor), Zoe Leonard (artist), Oscar Tuazon (artist), Tim Johnson (poet and co-owner of the Marfa Bookstore), Caitlin Murray (Judd Archivist, researcher, and co-owner of the Marfa Bookstore), Jillian Conrad (artist), Rick Lowe (artist, founder of Project Row Houses). With Abinadi Meza (artist, the University of Houston), and Bruno Persat (artist, les beaux-arts de Nantes Saint Nazaire).
The first Episode will take place at bd. helvétique 9, 1205 Geneva