A critical inquiry into project culture

Autumn 2019

25.9. 10-13.30 Movimax, salle polyvalente, movimax, route de l’Ancien Sierre 9, Sierre

4.10. 10-13.30 édhéa main building, rez-ouest, route de la Bonne-Eau 16, Sierre

7.11. 10-13.30 édhéa main building

21.11. 10-13.30 Movimax

27.11. 10-13.30 Movimax

13.12. 10-13.30 Movimax

Universität / Haute École
Benoît Antille
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Content description

This class takes as a premise that a true project culture has arisen within the artistic field from the 1960 onwards, reaching a critical point in Western countries in the 1990s, in the context of globalization, neoliberalism, post-fordism, post-modernism and post-colonialism. This culture—a characteristic of which is its resilience—encapsulates antagonistic extremes, ranging from the most radical positions on the one side, to the most instrumental situations on the other. This culture must be related to the development of critical artistic practices, which were meant to undermine Modernism (most notably the genealogy of site-specific practices), but it also embodies the absorbtion of the logic of project management by the art world. This managerial turn took the form of a project economy, within which artists operate as experts, often commissioned by the public and private sectors to achieve quantifiable outcomes on the economic, social or touristic level.

Relying on theoretical contents and case studies, this class aims at better understanding the development of a project culture, its main features and its context of elaboration.

Ultimately, the goals of the class are to propose a critique of nowadays project economy and to find strategies to bypass it. This class will tackle with topics such as art in the public sphere, site-specific practices, art commissioning, the professionalization of the art world, the rise of a creative economy and the development of managerial cultural policies, through a cross-disciplinary approach resorting to anthropology, sociology, history of art and art criticism.

Benoît Antille holds a Master of Arts degree in classical archaeology (University of Fribourg, 2001) and a Master of Arts in curatorial practice (California College of the Arts, San Francisco, 2011). He works mainly as a researcher and independent curator based in Switzerland. He is a researcher and assistant professor at the Valais Cantonal School of Art, teaches at the High School of Art and Design Geneva (HEAD) and is working on a doctorate at the University of Amsterdam.