Is there a world beyond media? Art as a rewriting program
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Listen to a 72 minute recording, or download the file
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, is pleased to announce a public seminar by artist and Professor Peter Weibel, Chairman and CEO of the ZKM/Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, on Thursday, February 7, 2008 from 6:30-8:30pm. This seminar will be introduced by Aaron Levy and Osvaldo Romberg, Senior Curators at Slought Foundation, and has been organized in conjunction with "SWITCHER SEX: Video works and Photography from the Teutloff Collection," an exhibition concurrently on display in the Slought Foundation galleries from December 12, 2007 to February 9, 2008 that features video work by Peter Weibel (here for more information).
Click here to download Peter Weibel's Visual Presentation (PDF; 14 mb)
This lecture has been made possible through the generous support of the Department of English and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
In a famous 1961 lecture in Philadelphia, Marcel Duchamp asked, "Where do we go from here?" The last sentence of the lecture was, "On the fringe of a world blinded by economic fire works, the great artists of tomorrow will go underground." This sentence is now more relevant than ever in a time when contemporary art is getting prizes at auctions more than ever before. But I think there is no underground exit anymore. So the question is again, "Where do we go from here?"
My first answer is to ask, how did we get here? In a series of examples, I will explore in my presentation if a real science of art history is possible and if it was ever attempted, or if art history has always been written by groups with special interest, and therefore has become a lottery? As Duchamp described it, "Artists of all times are like the gamblers of Monte Carlo, and this blind lottery allows some to succeed and ruins others. In my opinion neither the winners nor the losers are worth worrying about. It is a good personal deal for the winner and a bad one for the loser. And even posterity is a real bitch who cheats some, reinstates others (El Greco), and is also free to change its mind every 50 years." (Marcel Duchamp, 1952). Art history is a collective fiction, not written, always rewritten, written wrongly, but always attempted to be rewritten correctly.
In my presentation, I will open a new field of questions and sketch some methods on how the art of the future, in relationship to Utopia and the political, might develop. I will demonstrate these questions and methods with my own artworks, in conjunction with affiliated organizational projects.
Read the full curatorial essay
Peter Weibel was born in 1944 in Odessa, and lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany and Vienna, Austria. Since 1966, Weibel has created conceptual photo-literature as well as audio pieces, - texts, -objects and -actions. At the end of the 1960s, he worked in the field of Expanded Cinema, action art, performances and film together with his partner Valie Export. His interdisciplinary activities comprise scientific, artistic as well as literary, photographic, graphic, plastic, and digital works. As theoretician and curator, he was Chief Curator of the Neue Galerie, Graz, Professor at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, as well as the curator/commissioner for the Austrian pavillon of the Venice Biennale, and director of the Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt (1989–94). He has also been the artistic director of Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. Since 1999, he has been chairman of the ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe (for more information: http://on1.zkm.de/zkm/e/). His many exhibitions curated and publications edited include "Making Things Public" (with Bruno Latour, 2005) and "Future Cinema" (with Jeffrey Shaw, 2002).
Beginning with work in the tradition of visual poetry, Weibel produced «media-based literature» in the form of paper, photographic and object poems, body texts and material poetry, text objects and video texts. Conceptual works and actions followed, together with media analyses employing the media under scrutiny, initial TV experiments on Austria's ORF, and later numerous installations deploying film and video. The publication of candid sexual representations in a black book on Viennese Actionism led to a lawsuit against its publishers Valie Export and Peter Weibel in 1970. Both artists continued to support each other's projects into the late 1970s, with Weibel writing the screenplays for Export's films «Unsichtbare Gegner» («Invisible Opponents»), 1977, and «Menschenfrauen» («Humanwomen»), 1979. His subjects are less body-oriented, however, and deliver from a media-specific and semiological viewpoint socially critical analyses of systems and machines like film, television, and the visual arts. Weibel was an early and eloquent champion of a theory of media and communication, which he repeatedly applied in investigating the inherent laws and mechanisms of the various media.
Osvaldo Romberg, Aaron Levy
Media files on the Slought.org website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
Peter Weibel. "Is there a world beyond media? Art as a rewriting program." Slought Foundation Online Content. [07 February 2008;
Accessed 21 May 2013]. <http://slought.org/content/11368/>.