[rohrpost] Armin Medosch | Automation, Cybernation and the Art of New Tendencies (1961-1973): Art as Visual Research

Armin Medosch armin at easynet.co.uk
Die Mai 10 11:46:38 CEST 2011

Armin Medosch | Automation, Cybernation and the Art of New Tendencies
(1961-1973): Art as Visual Research

Lecture, Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 7 p.m.
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, A-1010 Vienna
DG14/Turm 4 (top floor, then go up the staircase by room 214)

Armin Medosch’s lecture, organised by the WWTF Art(s) and Sciences
research project “Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the Arts”,
will be based on his PhD thesis-in-progress “Automation, Cybernation and
the Art of New Tendencies (1961-1973)” (Arts and Computational
Technology, Goldsmiths, University of London, Digital Studios). The
thesis interrogates the project and international art movement New
Tendencies (NT) which originated in Zagreb, former Yugoslavia, in
1961and lasted until 1973. The basic methodological assumption behind
Medosch’s research is that new insights are gained by questioning the
various interdependencies between an art movement such as NT and the
concrete historic development – in this case the struggle for hegemony
during the Cold War and the techno-economic paradigm of
Fordism-Keynesianism. NT can be divided into two phases, an initial
phase between 1961 and 1965 when NT first emerged as a movement and
produced ‘programmed art’ without using computers and a second phase
from 1968-1973 dedicated to ‘computers and visual research’. Medosch’s
presentation for “Troubling Research” will exclusively focus on the
first phase.

In a very dynamic period of rapid discoveries between 1961 and 1963 NT
found and defined itself as an international movement. It is crucial to
understand that this could only happen on the territory of former
Yugoslavia which as a non-aligned nation drove a wedge into the binary
logic of the Cold War and provided a space and an institutional
environment where a specific synthesis between unorthodox socialist
ideas and aesthetic Modernism became possible, and where artists from
East and West could meet. NT was one of the first postwar art movements
which exclusively strove to replace the notion of art with the notion of
‘visual research’. This important step arose from a questioning of the
dominant mode of the art market and a desire to redefine the role of the
artist in society. The redefinition of art as visual research had a
number of direct consequences which were for the artists of NT of a
strict logical necessity. It implied the exclusion of subjective
psychological aspects, the designation of working processes based on
‘rules of play’ which, once those rules had been decided, could be
carried out in a perfunctory manner, and a more strictly defined notion
of the artistic experiment. The objectification of the creative process
also enabled the working in groups and the exchange of ideas and
methodologies so that groups functioned like micro-universities of
artistic research.

Armin Medosch is a writer, artist and curator whose work explores
relationships between social change, technology and art. Recent work
includes the project Hidden Histories / Street Radio, a participatory
public art project for Southampton, UK, realised in collaboration with
Hive Networks; initiating and co-curating of the international
exhibition “Waves – electromagnetism as material and medium of art”,
Riga 2006 and Dortmund 2008; co-host of the conference track on
‘networks and sustainability’ together with Rasa Smite, Riga 2010;
conference editor and chair for “Creative Cities”, Vienna 2009, and
“Goodbye Privacy”, the theme conference in 2007 of Ars Electronica.
Currently, he is working on a PhD thesis on paradigm changes in art,
technology and society, based on a case study of New Tendencies
(1961-1973) at Goldsmiths, Digital Studios, University of London. Main
webspace: The Next Layer – http://www.thenextlayer.org

"Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the
Arts" (http://troublingresearch.net) is a research project that responds
to the 2009 WWTF Art(s) & Sciences call by interrogating the very
conditions of the current upsurge of the art/research articulation. The
project shifts attention from defining (and eventually solving) a
problem to that of rendering a 'problematic.'

A core feature of this problematic concerns the fact that place, status,
and function of any claim to 'research' are discursively and socially
produced and therefore ultimately contestable. The insight in the
"ubiquitous, taken-for-granted, and axiomatic quality of
research" (Arjun Appadurai) enables to question the "strange and
wonderful practice" known as research, its "cultural presumptions" and
its "ethic". Following on this track of reasoning and aligning with the
Institutional Critique tradition in the arts, "Troubling Research" aims
to unsettle any existing consensus concerning the nature of arts-based
research and the art/science relationship. It achieves this through
establishing a - deliberately - diversified cluster of artistic and
research practices (represented by the participating researchers) the
commonality of which will be constituted by working through the
potential of the problematic to be excavated and/or developed in the
course of the project.

Accounting for a multiplicity of diverging perspectives, the
participating researchers will work, independently and as a
collaborative entity, towards a reconsideration of an alleged
interdependence of the categories of art and research assumed by the
current politics and economy-driven research orientation within the
European system of higher education in the arts.

"Troubling Research" is based at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and
funded by the WWTF - Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und
Technologiefonds (Vienna Science and Technology Fund). During a period
of 18 months (March 1, 2010 - August 31, 2011), the transdisciplinary
project team, comprised of artists, curators, theoreticians, will
generate and stage various kinds of discussions around the issue of the
very (im)possibility of research and its particular performativity in
the arts. Participating researchers of "Troubling Research" are Gangart
(Simonetta Ferfoglia, Heinrich Pichler), Johanna Schaffer, Johannes
Porsch, Tom Holert, Stefanie Seibold, Carola Dertnig, Axel Stockburger
and Diedrich Diederichsen.