Thematic Currents

Former West. Documents, Constellations, Prospects

Former West: Documents, Constellations, Prospects is organized into five currents. Each day, students are involved in Learning Place realized in collaboration with international cultural institutes, universities, and art academies - folded into contemporary negotiations on Art Production, Infrastructure, and Insurgent Cosmopolitanism. In addition, Dissident Knowledges contributions propose dynamic interventions into the ongoing program with artworks, performances, and statements.

Art Production
The gap that has traditionally existed between artistic and non-artistic labor is increasingly narrowing, with artistic labor becoming more representative of society’s functioning as a whole. As the Internet has become the main worksite for art production and thus has become controllable in ways it never was before, this current raises new questions concerning the political dimensions of art and the role of the artist in contemporary society.
Conceptualized by Boris Groys

When we in the West, or in the industrialized, technologized societies, congratulate ourselves on having a well-functioning infrastructure, we forget the degree to which these have become protocols that bind and confine us in their demand to be conserved and resisted. In recognition of the need to think far beyond the models of organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or institution, this current offers a starting point from which to develop new pathways to understand infrastructure.
Conceptualized by Irit Rogoff

Insurgent Cosmopolitanism
Our comprehension of the polity has long been centered on the assumption of a consensual political contract between citizen and state. Recent insurgent upheavals, however, have unmasked this consensus as fiction, retrieving the ideal of cosmopolitanism as an active and critical strategy that sets itself against the grain of national(ist) restrictions. This current explores the continuing presence of a revolutionary hope of achieving solidarity through identifying points of affinity, shared criticality, and common affirmation.
Conceptualized by Ranjit Hoskote

Dissident Knowledges
Defying conventional fictions and their established doctrines and institutions requires tapping into knowledges that offer new archives from which to read our contemporary moment. Often kept hidden in the cracks of our attention economy, this current uncovers and formulates knowledges that, by being at once embedded and excluded, have the power to both resist the known and propose new imaginaries of how things could be otherwise.
Conceptualized by Maria Hlavajova und Kathrin Rhomberg

Learning Place
During a week-long educational performance around 150 students from institutes around the world engage on topics such as the commodification of knowledge, critique of creativity, and functioning of edu-industries in today’s cognitive capitalism. Learning Place sets out to strip the dominant educational practice of its self-evident normality and so foster its critique and necessary transformation. more...
Conceptualized by Boris Buden