Time: 09:00 - 17:00 o'clock
CW 49: 30 November, 01 / 02 / 03 / 04 December
Deadline enrollment: 21 September 2020
Universität / Haute École
for student applications
The term "autonomy" has a difficult position in contemporary art. After the Second World War and during the Cold War, art autonomy was held high in the West. As an antidote against instrumentalisation as it was practiced in the totalitarian regimes, as a memento of freedom. And today? "Autonomy" – that sounds like reverie, escapism, bourgeois elitism and uselessness. Autonomous art has become art that could be called "embedded art". Like the "embedded journalist", it does not look at the world from an imaginary or actual outside position, but sees itself as an integral, productive part of it. Today's leading artistic practice as well as art politics push performatively into – supposedly – non-artistic life. Art "engages" itself, be it through exhibitions in "unusual places", be it through collaborative projects with other professions, be it by upgrading entire cities and regions. Art is accordingly heteronomously legitimized – as research, as quasipolitics, as investment, as a source of creativity, as therapy. In these contexts, art and culture are often no longer distinguishable. The artist Hito Steyerl argued in 2011 that art has meanwhile integrated so much of non-artistic life that one should actually protect life from art: life autonomy instead of art autonomy. Against this background, this seminar traces the history and theory of "autonomous" art from the late 19th century onward ('lart pour l'art) and discusses the potentialities of art autonomy in our highly networked, heteronomous present. After all, the image of society cannot be the society itself. A mirror which lies on the object to be reflected remains dark for us.
About the teacher:
Jörg Scheller (*1979 in Stuttgart) is Professor of Art History at the Zurich University of the Arts. Guest lectureships have taken him to the University of Art Poznań and the Taipei National University of the Arts, among others. He regularly writes articles for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, DIE ZEIT, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others. He is also Contributing Editor of the London frieze magazine for Switzerland and columnist for the Stuttgarter Zeitung. Besides, he is the singer and bassist of the metal duo Malmzeit, with whom he has been running a heavy metal delivery service since 2003. Most recent book publications: Metalmorphosen. Die unwahrscheinlichen Wandlungen des Heavy Metal, Stuttgart 2020; Appetite for the Magnificent. On Aquaria, Zurich 2017 (with photographs by David & Tania Willen). www.joergscheller.de