Lars Bang Larsen // The Digital Condition and the Transvaluation of the Aesthetic

fall 2015

26-27-28 october 2015

3 ou 6 selon convention semestrielle
Universität / Haute École
Lars Bang Larsen
Contact email
for student applications
Content description

Art and the Nervous System In the 1980s Gilles Deleuze (writing on Francis Bacon) called for an aesthetic of sensation that is ‘inseparable from its direct action on the nervous system’. This sounded like a bio-utopia in which art would uncouple its dependency on form and traditional media: Here the aesthetic production of subjectivity would be inherent or immediate – intravenous.  In this seminar we will trace histories of art and artists who in a radical sense have taken the nervous system as their site of production. In contrast to Expressionism and other conventional forms of authorship that cultivate the individualized, human author and beholder, there are forms of art that refer to the de-individualized, non-human nervous system. The latter art forms are often inspired by science and related to social struggles, and as such defy the limits of the art concept. Verging towards the para-cultural, they have typically ended up in an art historical limbo. From the pre-post-humanism of occult art, artistic engagement with psychedelic experiences, to cyberfeminist textilepunk, the seminar invites to speculate about art forms that engage with a world connected by machines that humanity has dreamt.   Bio: Lars Bang Larsen is a writer, curator and art historian based in Copenhagen, Lars Bang Larsen is professeur invité at HEAD, and a research fellow at the University of Copenhagen, where he also received his PhD in art history. Lars has (co-)curated many group shows, most recently Believe Not Every Spirit, But Try the Spirits (MUMA, Melbourne 2015). His books include Networks (MIT Press, 2014) and Arte y norma (Cruce Casa, 2015). Lars is a co-curator of the 32nd São Paulo Biennial in 2016.How does the digital condition change and transform aesthetic concepts? Traditional markers of the art work and of aesthetic experience – originality, mimesis, aura, the ludic, and so on - are today saturated and informed by new technologies and media. According to Bruno Latour aesthetic concepts such as the aura ‘migrate’, as their significations are thus re-appropriated and their values displaced. 

At the same time, we can assume that the digital realm offers experiences, procedures, machines, perceptions, and temporalities that have been made available as a kind of raw material from which artists can create new aesthetic tropes relevant to contemporary life. This is obviously true for new strategies for image processing and digital animation, but also for the artistic use of the rhizomatic, for instance. 

The artists and lecturers invited in the POOL:CH (October 26-27-28) and in the Master.symposium (November 27) will in this way engage our digital condition as a historical and conceptual negotiation, a highly dynamic push and pull with the aesthetic concepts of yesterday and tomorrow.



meeting monday 11am / room 11



boulevard helvétique 9

1205 Genève