Le Mouvement – Performing the City
The 12th edition of the Swiss Sculpture Exhibition in 2014, curated by Gianni Jetzer and Chris Sharp, continues the innovative spirit of the format by offering the most radical edition yet. True to its provocative legacy of 60 years, Le Mouvement will challenge the very definition of public art by creating no sculpture at all. The 12th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition in Biel/Bienne will be solely dedicated to performance.

Symposium with the participation of Jean-Luc Nancy, Bojana Cvejić, Gianni Jetzer, André Lepecki, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Hans Rudolf Reust, Peter J. Schneemann, Chris Sharp, Thomas Strässle, Jan Verwoert, as well as the artists Alex Cecchetti, Christian Jankowski, Marko Lulić, and Ariana Reines

Le Mouvement is a multipart exhibition, which investigates the nature of sculpture and public space by hosting multiple performances in the town of Biel/Bienne. The show touches upon a variety of inter-related topics and issues, which include:

–The nature and uses of public space
–Art in public space
–The individual and collective body in public space—both static and in movement
–The relationship between the fleeting materiality of the body and the more permanent materiality of sculpture

Rirkrit Tiravanija, "U.F.O. – NAUT JK (Július Koller)," 2012. Courtesy of kurimanzutto, Mexico City
Rirkrit Tiravanija, “U.F.O. – NAUT JK (Július Koller),” 2012. Courtesy of kurimanzutto, Mexico City

Uniting a heterogeneous group of art historians, theorists, curators and artists to discuss these points, the symposium intends to harness the knowledge of these different disciplines in hopes of gaining a greater and more nuanced understanding of performance in public space and the current nature of public space itself.

In co-operation with the Contemporary Art History Department of the University of Bern, Bern, and Y Institute of the Bern University of the Arts (BUA), Bern

Symposium in English
French translation provided / Admission is free / Limited seating, please reserve symposium@lemouvement.ch

Press contact
Patrick Steffen, patrick.steffen@ess-spa.ch

Upcoming programming:
Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31, all three movements in parallel

Mouvement I – Sculptures on the Move
July 4–August 31

With reconfigured sculptures by Olivier Mosset, Franz Eggenschwiler, Carl Burckhardt, Max Bill and performances by Alex Cecchetti, Christian Jankowski, Marko Lulić, Ariana Reines

Mouvement II – Performing the City
August 26–31

With performances in public space by luciana achugar, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Nina Beier, Trisha Brown, Pablo Bronstein, Eglè Budvytytè, Willi Dorner, Douglas Dunn, Simone Forti, Alicia Frankovich, Maria Hassabi, San Keller, Köppl/Začek, Jirí Kovanda, Germaine Kruip, Liz Magic Laser, Myriam Lefkowitz, Jérôme Leuba, Ieva Misevičiūtė, Alexandra Pirici, Prinz Gholam, Lin Yilin

Mouvement III – The City Performed
August 30–November 2
Opening: August 30, 5pm
Kunsthaus CentrePasquArt, Biel/Bienne

Vito Acconci, Francis Alÿs, Pablo Bronstein, Stanley Brouwn, Trisha Brown, Paulo Bruscky, Martin Creed, Felipe Ehrenberg, VALIE EXPORT, Dara Friedman, Gelitin, Tomislav Gotovac, Alberto Greco, Anna Halprin, Maria Hassabi, Noritoshi Hirakawa, Sanja Iveković, Christian Jankowski, Jirí Kovanda, Liz Magic Laser, Klara Lidén, Marko Lulić, Babette Mangolte, Rachel Mason, Dave McKenzie, Dieter Meier, Ocaña, Neša Paripović, Ewa Partum, Alexandra Pirici, Miervaldis Polis, Kim Sooja, Mladen Stilinović, Beat Streuli, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Ulla von Brandenburg, Ai Weiwei

For further information, please contact info@lemouvement.ch

National conference on socially engaged art
November 6–8, 2014

Call for participation
Proposal deadline: July 14, 2014

Cleveland Institute of Art
11141 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106


What does it mean in contemporary art and design to be socially engaged? Are we talking about art that resists the conventional structures of the art world and re-imagines a new, unwieldy public sphere of social activism in the face of media spectacle and profit motives? Or can social practices in art reconcile aesthetic focus with external forces or agencies with regard for communities, perhaps affecting a timely catalyst for change? The recent spate of publications on what has been variously called community-based art, participatory art, collaborative art, relational art, social practice or socially engaged art, indicates that such questions have provoked a variety of studies that intellectually tackle what Shannon Jackson has noted as the “social turn.”

This conference, “Unruly Engagements: On the Social Turn in Contemporary Art and Design,” proposes to examine various approaches to social practices in both art and design in an effort to understand the concepts, terms, and varieties of engagement of the past two decades or so. Among our primary objectives is to facilitate public discourse on the feasibility of interventionist projects in art and design in urban environments, with special attention to “rust-belt” cities like Cleveland.

We invite presentations of conventional and unorthodox forms from artists, designers, and scholars on the topic. Prospective participants may submit proposals for short papers or examine specific works or activities that address the questions as noted. Suggested related themes may include but are not limited to:

–Socially engaged art and the new public sphere
–Artists as activists: voices from the Great Lakes region
–Historical precedents and present strategies of social practice
–Urban design and design in the city as force for change
–Aesthetics, ethics and politics
–Student agency and society: 21st-century visions of the art school

Please submit PDF-formatted abstracts of no more than 650 words, along with letter of interest and CV to:
Gary Sampson and José Carlos Teixeira, unrulyengagements@cia.edu.

Conference schedule and registration details will be posted in early autumn.

“Unruly Engagements” is a key component of Community Works: Artist as Social Agent, CIA’s yearlong commitment to exploring social agency and the visual arts.

The deadline for proposals is July 14.

About Shannon Jackson
Shannon Jackson is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in the Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies. She is also the Director of the Arts Research Center. Professor Jackson was recently selected to receive a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for 2014–15. Her most recent book is Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics (Routledge, 2011), and she is working on a book about The Builders Association. Her previous books are Lines of Activity: Performance, Historiography, and Hull-House Domesticity (2000) and Professing Performance: Theatre in the Academy from Philology to Performativity (2004).

About Cleveland Institute of Art
Founded in 1882, the Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its programming to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film program. For more information visit cia.edu.

Pratt institute presents A Community Exchange: The Socially Engaged Artist and the Public Imagination

Thursday, April 24, 2014, 1:30–5pm

Pratt institute
Higgins Hall
1 St. James Place
Brooklyn, New York 11205


Pratt_InstituteJoin us as we explore the role of the public in socially engaged art. What is the public’s imagination in relationship to social engagement and its potential within the society we inhabit? What is the nature of the public’s commitment to space and place, and how is it related to a social engagement that formulates new social imaginaries? This conversation will explore these questions and discuss the place of socially engaged art in our many publics.

Introduction: Ann Messner, Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute
Artist and activist Ann Messner has consistently challenged the unresolved schisms between notions of private life/space and public/civic experience, focusing on the relationship between the individual and the larger social body within public discourse. Ann was a key player in The Real Estate Show, breaking ground as one of the first art shows to expose the inequities of real estate in New York. More recently she critically analyzed the “war on terror” through a series of tabloid and video works created with direct-action collective A.R.T. Meteor, her 1980 public intervention in Times Square, presaged our current age of technological reliance and interconnectedness.

Facilitator Shane Aslan Selzer
(artist, organizer and writer) develops micro-communities where visual artists can expand on larger social issues and deal with generosity, exchange, and failure. In each of these projects she assembles spaces where people can learn through interaction with others by provoking discourse that is informed by circumstances that are too often held “outside” of art. She is co-editor with Ted Purves of What We Want Is Free: Critical Exchanges in Recent Art (SUNY Press, 2014).

Jaret Vadera, an artist and cultural producer based in Brooklyn, explores the poetics of translation and the politics of vision through his interdisciplinary art practice. Jaret has concurrently worked as an organizer, programmer, curator, educator, editor, writer, and designer for socially engaged organizations that focus on using art as a catalyst for social change, including Community Arts Ontario, Rush Arts Gallery, and Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art.

May Joseph, Professor of Global Studies, Pratt Institute, teaches urbanism, global studies and visual culture. In her recently published book Fluid New York (Duke University Press, 2013), Joseph describes the many ways that New York, and New Yorkers, have begun to incorporate the city’s archipelago ecology into plans for a livable and sustainable future. Joseph suggests that New York’s future lies in the reclamation of its great water resourcesfor artistic creativity, civic engagement and ecological sustainability.

Rick Lowe, artist, activist, and founder of Project Row Houses, a neighborhood-based nonprofit art and cultural organization in Houston’s Northern Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American communities.

PRH began in 1993 as a result of discussions among African-American artists who wanted to establish a positive, creative presence in their own community. Among Rick’s honors are Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence; AIA Keystone Award; Heinz Award in the arts and humanities; Loeb Fellow at Harvard University; Mel King Fellow at MIT; Skowhegan Governor’s Award; Skandalaris Award for Art/Architecture; and USA Artists Booth Fellow. President Barack Obama appointed Rick to the National Council on the Arts in 2013.

Support for the event provided by the Deans of the School of Art and Design and School of Liberal Arts and Sciences to encourage cross-campus collaboration and sponsored by the Departments of Fine Arts, Art and Design Education, and the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies. Event coordinated by Heather Lewis, Associate Professor, Art and Design Education; Ann Messner, Adjunct Professor Fine Arts; and Uzma Rizvi, Assistant Professor Social Science & Cultural Studies.

CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid

How to do things with[out] words
March 22–September 21, 2014

The project, a laboratory situation including installations, workshops, and performances, will explore questions of how art deals with reality in a performative way.

Ulla Von Brandenburg, "Die Strasse" (still), 2013. Black-and-white film, sound, 11:20 minutes.
Ulla Von Brandenburg, “Die Strasse” (still), 2013. Black-and-white film, sound, 11:20 minutes.

CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo
Av. Constitución, 23
28931 Móstoles
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11–21h
Intensity days: March 22, May 10, and September 20

Curator: Chantal Pontbriand

With Mathieu Abonnenc, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Brad Butler & Karen Mirza, Geneviève Cadieux, Jean-Pierre Cometti, Adrian Dan, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, Carole Douillard, Cevdet Erek, Köken Ergun, Esther Ferrer, Chiara Fumai, Ryan Gander, Simon Fujiwara, Dora García, Camille Henrot, Sandra Johnston, Amelia Jones, Latifa Laâbissi, La Ribot, Ines Lechleitner, Franck Leibovici, Cristina Lucas, Haroon Mirza, Antonio Negri, Roman Ondák, Falke Pisano, Chantal Pontbriand, Chloé Quenum, Pedro Reyes, José Antonio Sánchez, Julião Sarmento, Ulla von Brandenburg, Carey Young and Héctor Zamora

Performance and performativity are centre stage at this time. The fact that we are living more and more in an “immaterial” world, dominated by mediatisation, the impact of globalization, the increasing tendency to think of politics as biopolitics, these different factors enhance performance over materiality, or object making. Performativity explores the space in-between, what happens when bodies or objects are left to perform. To perform is to enable oneself or things to work through form. And to let form speak for itself.

Performing and performance are concepts that activate reality. In this sense, performativity (what performing and performance activate) offers resistance against a homogenization of the world. It leads to renewal, change, and expands the potentiality of things and beings.

An exhibition/event
This exhibition, conceived as an event, will enhance performativity and the way it works, the way it performs itself. It will include objects, media as well as bodies. It will be “live” at all times, as installations, photography, films, performances, discussions, inhabit the space of the museum.

The subtitle of the exhibition, given by the concept “per / form,” is driven from John Langshaw Austin, the English philosopher who was one of the founders of analytical philosophy and pragmatics. In 1955, he gave a lecture called “How to do Things with Words” in which he explores the relationships between acts and language. The book published in 1962 is often quoted when discussing performance and art. This exhibition further explores that relationship through different situations proposed by the exhibition format itself and by the works presented and activated in its midst.

The project, a laboratory situation including installations, workshops, and performances, will explore these questions of how art deals with reality in a performative way. The project consists of different modes of “display”: the exhibition per se which brings together 16 installation works, some of which include live elements, others which can be activated live in different ways, in situ works, and performative situations which will be concentrated in three days throughout the project. These are the Intensity Days, March 22, May 10 and September 21. During these days, there will be further activation of some of the installations, workshops, talks, discussions, and performances. The Intensity Lab, a space included in the exhibition, will host some of the the later, and archival material corresponding to the whole project and its developments.

Chantal Pontbriand is art critic and curator. Her work is based on the exploration of questions of globalization and artistic heterogeneity. Since 1970, she has curated numerous international contemporary art events: exhibitions, international festivals and international conferences, mainly in photography, video, performance, dance and multimedia installation. She founded PARACHUTE contemporary art magazine in 1975 and acted as publisher/editor until 2007. In 1982 she was president and director of the FIND (Festival International de Nouvelle Danse), in Montreal. She was appointed Head of Exhibition Research and Development at Tate Modern in London in 2010 and since then lives in Paris and has founded PONTBRIAND W.O.R.K.S [We_Others and myself_Research_Knowledge_


Per/Form: the book
A book will be published including texts by Jean-Pierre Cometti, Amelia Jones, Antonio Negri, Chantal Pontbriand, and José Antonio Sanchez. The artists will contribute to the book in the form of visual essays. Editor: Chantal Pontbriand. Designer: Agnès Dahan. Publisher: CA2M / Sternberg Press.


Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), The University of Sydney, in partnership with The University of Northern Iowa and University of Auckland and in association with the Australia Council, the Ian Potter Foundation, the Goethe-Institut, Sydney University Press presents:

Camouflage Cultures: Surveillance, Communities, Aesthetics, Animals, an international conference and exhibition co-convened an co-curated by Ann Elias and Nicholas Tsoutas.

The conference and exhibition address two key principles of camouflage – concealment and deception – in relation to four themes: surveillance, communities, aesthetics, and animals. The theme of ‘surveillance’ includes war, defence, militaries, and conflict; ‘communities’ embraces society, the everyday, government, and identity; ‘aesthetics’ incorporates art, architecture, film, and popular culture; ‘animals’ includes human and non-human beings, nature, evolution, pattern, and optics.

CAMOUFLAGE CULTURES conference runs from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th August. The conference and exhibition offer an exciting range of interpretations and understandings, research and investigation into the subject of camouflage and in relation to visual representation and the contemporary world. The event showcases the work of staff from the SCA and other leading national and international artists, academics and writers.

Conference Keynote Speakers:
Roy R. Behrens, Professor of Art and Distinguished Scholar at University of Northern Iowa
Hsuan Hsu, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Davis

Paul Brock & Jack Hasenpusch, Donna West Brett, Edward Colless, Ann Elias, Ross Gibson, Pam Hansford, Ian Howard, Bernd Hüppauf, Ian McLean, Jacqueline Millner, Jonnie Morris, Nikos Papastergiadis, Tanya Peterson, Linda Tyler, Ben Wadham

Exhibition Artists:
Robyn Backen, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Debra Dawes, Alex Gawronski, Sarah Goffman, Shaun Gladwell, Emma Hack, Ian Howard, Jan Howlin, Jonnie Morris, Justene Williams

Camouflage Cultures Conference

When: 8 August – 11 August 2013
Where: Sydney College of the Arts
Rozelle Campus
Balmain Road, Rozelle

Camouflage Cultures Exhibition

When: 8 August – 31 August 2013
Where: SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts
Rozelle Campus
Balmain Road, Rozelle

Location & Getting to SCA. Wheelchair access: The SCA Galleries are fully accessible venues. Public transport and limited accessible visitor parking is available. Bookings are essential.

This open development of ideas and discussion is just one of the many reasons to love James Elkins. One of the most relevant and engaging cultural theory practitioners in existence, his work is operating on a whole other level – and it’s a joy to be part of the audience for his writing and ideas. The discussion about Artists with PhDs offers compelling and thoughtful explorations into the challenges and benefits of engaging in higher research as a creative practice, while the updated essay  Fourteen Reasons to Mistrust the PhD in Studio Art gives an extremely thorough run-down of the vagaries and misgivings round the artist-as-academic enterprise.

“Reason 2. It is not clear what kinds of art, exactly, are potentially improved by serious research.

PhD-granting programs still lack any extended analysis of what sorts of practices can benefit from the PhD dissertation. A satisfactory answer to that should also include an account of what kinds of art would not benefit….

Aren’t there art practices that benefit from a lack of clarity about their objectives, or a lack of understanding of historical precedents?

Here are some examples, just to indicate the kind of thing I have in mind. Any number of twentieth-century artists wrote manifestos that have little to do with the reasons their work is valued; if those manifestos has been written in contemporary academia, they would have been thoroughly criticized for overreaching rhetoric, lack of system, lack of argument, and lack of evidence…. Some kinds of art practice can benefit from the kinds of discipline involved in producing research proposals and working systematically: many others might not.

E. Questioning whether art research should be defined at all

Research in art is characterized by interaction with artistic practice: it is an inseparable part of the work of the artist. With research in art (as opposed to research about art, such as art history, for instance) there is no set goal or expected result, any more than there are predetermined general procedures. The outcome of the research is completely open. This openness is a condition for conducting research in art and design.”

Although I am in favour of artistic research and knowledge transfer in structured and informal means, as Elkins notes, this may or may not be beneficial to the artists practice when taken under the aegis of the academy. In my own experience, the newly – and forcibly – amalgamated Melbourne Uni Media Arts Department was far less forgiving of experimentation and liberties being taken by their students in formal writing than other disciplines, such as Geography, History or Social Studies. I am in the process of exploring other forms that will allow me to deepen my own research practice within a more flexible framework that can still provide rigorous critique and discipline. JR

These are his notes on the course material he is developing on critical and experimental writing on art.

via @jameselkins.com

Image from "How to Write an Essay in 10 Easy Steps" http://www1.aucegypt.edu/academic/writers/
Image from “How to Write an Essay in 10 Easy Steps” http://www1.aucegypt.edu/academic/writers/

What is an Essay?

This is a topic from the course “Experimental Writing on Art.” It is a draft; please post comments, additions, questions, etc. The image here (and in other posts) is only there for the sake of the internet: when files like this are posted on Facebook, Google+, Academia, etc., they look better if the software can find a thumbnail image.

The problematic

To raise the question of experimental writing on art, it is necessary to have a notion of what kind of writing is involved. Writing in the humanities is nominally nonfiction, although that term itself has long been problematic. Creative writing programs tend to use the expressions “creative nonfiction,” “literary nonfiction,” or “narrative nonfiction,” all of which imply that techniques are borrowed from fiction.

There are two problems with these expressions. First, many scholars who attempt unusual narrative forms borrow from fiction, but not all do: some are interested in developing the forms of writing they find in historical sources. And second, designating the kinds of writing that are involved here as “nonfiction” defines them by a negative, which limits the kinds of questions that can be asked and defers the question of what the subject is in itself.

David Lazar prefers the term “transgeneric,” which avoids the problem of assuming that something from literature is being imported; but it also defers the question of what genre is being transgressed or enlarged.

Of the candidates for defining “nonfiction” without a qualifier, and without a negative, the most prominent is the essay. The difficult here is that the term has been widely contested, and tends to be used as a placeholder for “nonfiction.”

What counts as conceptualizing the essay? Before the mid-twentieth century (I hope to make that date more exact) there were many texts offering to explain the concept of the essay. Essay writing, expository nonfiction, and academic scholarly writing were subjects of anthologies and textbooks. The advent of poststructuralism changed that, because—to condense a large subject into a phrase—it made scholars aware that all “philosophy” was “literature,” that all writing has voice, that it does not make sense to divide fiction from nonfiction as the academy had done. Books explaining how to write academic, nonfiction essays largely disappeared.

As a result there is little conceptual work done on what constitutes a viable, institutionally acceptable essay in a given field, and more generally there is little work on what a piece of nonfiction might be considered to be, in relation to writing more generally.

A preliminary bibliography

These are some sources for the theorization of the essay, in no particular order. They are intended as preliminary bookmarks; eventually I hope to rearrange them as patterns become more apparent.

(a) John D’Agata’s Lost Origins of the Essay, which is an idiosyncratic book; d’Agata’s recent debates about objectivity (and that book’s many negative reviews) make it even more problematic as a representative of contemporary thinking on fiction and nonfiction.

(b) Philip Lopate’s Art of the Personal Essay, which traces a particular trajectory of the essay. Again, Lopate’s subsequent books help to read this book, but also make it difficult to see how it could be an exemplar for contemporary thinking about the essay.

(c) Adorno’s essay on the essay is from a previous generation (1984, first published in New German Critique), and has a different critical trajectory, leading mainly through academic writing, sometimes identified as “critical theory.” David Lazar (see the entry below) is among the theorists of the essay who would like to merge some qualities of the Adornian sense of the essay with some North American nonfiction. Among the stakes here are what an author reads in preparation for writing her own essay: is there full bibliographic research on the subject? An awareness of the history of the essay? A sense of community with Barthes, Benjamin, Adorno, Lukács, and others?

(d) Max Bense, “Über den Essay und seine Prosa,” Merkur 1 no. 3 (1947): 414-24.

(e) Alexander Butrym,  ed., Essays on the Essay: Redefining the Genre (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989).

(f) Réda Bensmaïa, The Barthes Effect: The Essay as Reflective Text, translated by Pat Fedkiew (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).

(g) Graham Good, The Observing Self: Rediscovering the Essay (London: Routledge, 1988).

(h) György Lukács, “On the Nature and Form of the Essay,”  translated by Anna Bostock, in Soul and Form (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1974).

(i) David Lazar, Essaying the Essay


(α) Truth in Nonfiction: Essays, edited by David Lazar (University of Iowa Press, 2008).

(β) Understanding The Essay, edited by Patricia Foster and Jeff Porter (Broadview Press, 2012).

(γ) Metawritings: Toward the Theory of Nonfiction, edited by Jill Talbot (University of Iowa Press, 2012).

(δ) Constructive Nonfiction, a series of interviews conducted by Andy Fitch, on Bookslut, 2012–.


Experimental Writing on Art

[Note to readers: this is a sketch for a syllabus for a course I will teach in autumn 2013. The full syllabus, with assignments, paper assignments, and all that, will be posted on the School of the Art Institute site, where syllabi are password-protected. This is the conceptual outline and material for the course. This was originally posted here.

I will be adding examples and links, and expanding the description, up until September 2013, when the final version will be posted on the password-protected site.

This is the first in a pair of course; the second will be held in winter and spring 2014, on the more general (and I think more fundamental) theme Writing with Images, meaning any narrative, nominally fictional, that incorporates images without captions. The topic Writing with Images includes the case where the images are art as a special case, and the narrative includes nonfiction as a special case within fiction. But more on that later. All comments and additions are welcome! Add comments here, or write me via the website.]


This is a writing workshop for art historians, critics, visual studies scholars, and art theorists. The motive for the course is that the three principal disciplines or fields that involve writing about visual art—art history, visual studies, and art criticism—are not centrally concerned with writing.A. Art history doesn’t teach writing beyond the basic criteria of clarity, institutional protocols, and a functional style. There is no theorization or critique of writing in art history. Innovative writers on art tend to be excluded from mainstream art history (Didi-Huberman, Damisch, Cixous, etc.). What counts as interesting writing in art history is belletristic (as in Alex Nemerov’s work) or otherwise disconnected from contemporary writing in other fields (as in Leo Steinberg’s writing). Conversations about writing in art history are impoverished and don’t benefit from conversations in literary criticism; there is no close reading in the literary sense; no discussion of voice beyond the choice of first person or confessional modes; no sense of art history’s places in the history of modernist and pre-modernist literature.B. The same is true in visual studies, despite its more intense rhetoric about the involvement of writing, observing, description, and history. Just as art history’s principal interest is fine art, and not writing, so visual studies’ interest is visuality and visual practices, gender, identity, politics, hybridity, visual regimes, and other subjects, not the medium of writing. There is no discourse in visual studies on writing: no one engages the last four decades of literary criticism, the idea of close reading, of voice, of the lyric, of the essay.C. Art criticism is much more variegated than art history or visual studies, and it doesn’t lend itself to a single description. Some art critics are interested in reviving consideration of the essay form, and a number are also poets or fiction writers. In addition there is a large and heterogeneous group of writers who are influenced by French poststructuralism, and write in experimental amalgams of philosophy and art criticism. There isn’t a way to characterize all these together, except perhaps by the rarity or absence of literary criticism in the reception or teaching of art criticism, and a concomitant lack of attention to writing per se.

The strategy of this course is to read innovative, experimental texts from each of these three fields as a literary theorist might read them, paying attention to literary precedents (in nonfiction and fiction), voice, belatedness, the effect of anachronistic styles, the effects of the assumption that writing isn’t important (or is transparent, or simply a vehicle, or simply needs to be logical and clear).

In this class writing is central, rather than peripheral: what matters is the quality of historical and critical attention we can bring to bear on the writing, and the expressive properties of the writing itself, rather than whatever we may learn about the visual art that the authors describe.


Case Pyhäjoki – Artistic reflections on nuclear influence
Transdisciplinary expedition, production workshop and events

Location: Pyhäjoki, Finland
Time: 31.7. – 12.8.2013
For: artists, activists, scientists, thinkers and doers + everything and opinion in-between.

Deadline to apply: 5.5.2013 (e-mail letter of motivation to mkk[-at-]katastro.fi)

Initiated by artist Mari Keski-Korsu, now a collaboration between artist-organiser and researcher Andrew Paterson/Pixelache, musician and artist Antye Greie-Ripatti/Hai Art, Finnish Bioart Society and Pro Hanhikivi.

‘Case Pyhäjoki – Artistic reflections on nuclear influence’ is a transdisciplinary artistic expedition, production workshop and presentation events in Pyhäjoki, North Ostrobothnia, Finland 31st of July to 12th of August 2013. The sixth nuclear power plant of Finland is planned to be built at Hanhikivi Cape in Pyhäjoki.

The aim of the project is to explore artistic perspectives on the vast changes planned in Pyhäjoki, through the planning of a nuclear power plant at the site, and this way of considering energy production and consuming in the world. Artists can not only reflect upon and depict social phenomena and socio-economical relations, but can also situate themselves in between politics, activism and science. Can art make changes? If so, what would be the creative tools of activism? Life itself has become increasingly politicised in the new millennium and obviously this reflects on us all. There are plenty of art works that comment on issues seen unethical or wrong, revealing different kinds of world views. Also, there are community art projects that comment for example social condition that involve participants from different fields. But can the border in between art and activism be blurred more? Could it be involving yet aesthetical? Aren’t we all activists? What are other ways of activism in addition what we are used to think? And what is the change we are after? The nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki is a concrete project that connects many aspects from NGO-activity, politics, local and global economical situation to energy production and consumption expectations as well as decreasing natural resources.

No to 6. nuclear power plant, sign at Parhalahti village in Pyhäjoki, 2012.

The local situation in Pyhäjoki, and the planned nuclear power plant, is a case example for the workshop. People have formed strong opinions about the plant. The small community in the area has divided into those who are for and those who are against the power plant project. The aim of the expedition is to familiarise well with the current conditions in Pyhäjoki and try to collaborate with the local community, although many questions may be raised with are not easy. Could art work in between the two polarised opinions about the power plant? What kind of political process leads to the power plant plan? What does it mean to a small, agricultural community like Pyhäjoki or Ostrobothnia area? What does it mean at the national and global level? Can nuclear power mitigate climate change? Does nuclear power make Finland energy independent? What are the alternatives to nuclear power i.e. zero growth or new means of renewable energy production etc? Pyhäjoki is an excellent case study during the times of continuing ecological, social and economical crisis of the different path choices which humankind can take in order to flourish.

The first days of the expedition are for discussions, presentations (both local, national and international researchers, activists and artists), getting to know the area and its’ people with trips and excursions. The rest of the days are dedicated for independent or group work that can lead to e.g. a project demo, plan, performance, artistic action tools, discussion event, intervention etc. locally or creating overall action structures that can be implemented elsewhere. There will be a final public presentation and if needed a small exhibition for demos, ideas and documentations in the end of this production workshop. The aim is to have something concrete in our hands in the end to continue the work in the future.

The presentations by different experts during the workshop are open to public.


Please send your letter of motivation to Mari Keski-Korsu mkk[-at-]katastro.fi by 5th of May 2013.

Case Pyhäjoki -project covers the participants travel, accommodation and per diems. There is also a possibility for documentation fee in the end. We will accommodate in a cozy Holiday Village Kielosaari / www.kielosaari.fi and utilise some other spaces in Pyhäjoki.

The travel dates are 31st of July and 12th of August.

The selected participants will be contacted in the beginning of May 2013.


Case Pyhäjoki was initiated by artist Mari Keski-Korsu and is now a collaboration in between artist-organiser and researcher Andrew Paterson/Pixelache, musician and artist Antye Greie-Ripatti/Hai Art, Finnish Bioart Society and Pro Hanhikivi. Please read more about the organisers in the end of this e-mail.

Case Pyhäjoki is funded by Kone Foundation / www.koneensaatio.fi and Arts Promotion Centre of Finland / www.taike.fi.


The actual building location of the nuclear power plant is Hanhikivi Cape. 65% of the area is nature preservation with rich marine flora and fauna. It is also a rare land lifting shore where the land is still rising up from the sea due to processes of the last Ice age. There is no industry or energy production at the cape. The infrastructure for the nuclear power plant will be build as new in a so called greenfield location. Even thought the building of the plant will last for years, we are living the last moments to experience Hanhikivi as it is now. More information at http://www.hanhikivi.net

The nuclear power plant is hoped to bring prosperity to the local community but there are still many people against the building plan. People are scared to loose their land, homes and all the risks the nuclear power production brings. Recently, the company responsible of the project Fennovoima Oy announced the plan to store the nuclear waste materials also at the Pyhäjoki plant, as the Finnish long-term nuclear waste material storage ‘Olkiluoto/Onkalo’ may not be able to store all the country’s nuclear waste. In autumn 2012, the German energy company E-on resigned from the Pyhäjoki Nuclear Power Plant project. It was the biggest investor in the project and was considered to have the best know-how of the building process. Other international nuclear energy partners have been approached to replace E-on.

The biggest town close to Pyhäjoki is Raahe and the neighbouring municipalities including Pyhäjoki have been very much dependent on one big employer, steel factory Rautaruukki Oy, established in Raahe in 1960. It was seen as an answer to economical despair after the local shipping companies declined, and now that Rautaruukki has been laying off people. Hence, the nuclear power plant is seen to bring new jobs and basically repeat the economic promise that Rautaruukki brought to the area previously. Another point of view is also that the plant can produce energy for the needs of the steel factory.


Mari Keski-Korsu (Artist, initiator of the project, organiser, born in Raahe)
Mari Keski-Korsu (mkk) is an transdisciplinary artist. She explores how ecological and socio-economical changes manifest in people’s everyday life. Her works have a political nature with a humorous twist. The basis of the work is in location, a place and people’s relations to it. Keski-Korsu started her artistic career with photography and then started to work with internet live streaming in the mid 1990′. This lead her to work with live video visualisations as well as net and video art, interventions, documentary, installations and location based art. She is interested in relations in between art, politics and science. The works has been exhibited in Europe and in several other countries around the world. She collaborates with artist groups, scientists as well as organises and curates different types of projects.

Pixelache (Contact person and participating artist Andrew Paterson)
Pixelache, based in Helsinki, is a transdisciplinary platform for experimental art, design, research and activism. Amongst our fields of interest are: experimental interaction and electronics; renewable energy production/use; bioarts and art-science culture; grassroot organising and networks; politics and economics of media/technology; alternative economy cultures; VJ culture and audiovisual performances; media literacy and engaging environmental issues. Pixelversity, its outreach and education programme since 2010, aims to be a ‘learning bridge’ between practitioners, cultural and non-profit organisations, interested individuals and larger institutions, and an outreach programme extending beyond Helsinki. Consideration is given to the relationships between the different activities, and how they may build up accumulative knowledge and skills towards future Pixelache events. The Case Pyhäjoki project is part of the Pixelversity 2013 programme’s ‘Techno-ecologies’ theme.

Hai Art (Contact person and participating artist Antye Greie-Ripatti, director of Hai Art)
Hai Art is an artist ran international art platform with focus on contemporary art forms such as new media, sound art, environmental, ecological and participatory arts with crossover to science and education to intertwine international and local programs in Hailuoto/ Finland. The main activities of Hai Art include public sound choir KAIKU, international The Wilderness Art Conference, national and international artist residencies as well as courses and workshops for children and youth. Hai Art occupies unused spaces, beaches, a ferry, forests, fields and public spaces etc. in Hailuoto.

The Finnish Bioart Society (Contact person Erich Berger)
The Finnish Bioart Society, established May 2008 in Kilpisjärvi, is an organisation supporting, producing and creating activities around art and natural sciences, especially biology. The Finnish Bioart Society is creating public discussions about biosciences, biotechnologies and bioethics. Additionally it is the Finnish contact node in international networks of bioart and art&science. The Finnish Bioart Society has currently 60 members, representing different art and research fields and other expertise – bioart, theatre, film, music, video, performance art, art&science, fine arts, media art, sculpture, environmental art, design, zoology, botany, ecology, environmental sciences, animal physiology, genetics, philosophy, cultural production, art history, engineering, etc.

Pro Hanhikivi Ry (Contact person Hanna Halmeenpää)
Pro Hanhikivi is a non-governmental organisation found in 2007 at Parhalahti village to preserve Hanhikivi Bay as a nuclear power free nature and amenity area. The organisation has 300 members (autumn 2012). Pro Hanhikivi activists collaborate with the officials both in Finland and in EU, organise Hanhikivi Days festival and other smaller event as well as try to affect in many ways to stop the nuclear power plant plan in Pyhäjoki.

via @miga.eu

Andrey Smirnov, Moscow, 2011

Graphical (drawn) Sound is a technology for synthesizing sound from light that was invented in Soviet Russia in 1929 as a consequence of the newly invented sound-on-film technology which made possible access to the sound as a trace in a form that could be studied and manipulatedIt also opened up the way for a systematic analysis of these traces such that they could be used to produce any sound at will…

The first practical sound-on-film systems were created almost simultaneously in the USSR, USA and Germany. In Soviet Russia Pavel Tager initiated developments in 1926 in Moscow. Just a few months later in 1927, Alexander Shorin started his research in Leningrad.


Tager’s system, the Tagephon, was based on intensive variable density optical recording on film while in Shorin’s Kinap system the method of transversal variable area optical recording on film was realized.

By 1936 there were several main, relatively comparable trends of Graphical Sound in Russia:
– Hand-drawn Ornamental Sound, achieved by means of shooting still images of drawn sound waves on an animation stand, with final soundtracks produced in a transversal form (Arseny Avraamov, early Boris Yankovsky);
– Hand-made Paper Sound with final transversal soundtracks (Nikolai Voinov);
– The Variophone or Automated Paper Sound with soundtracks in both transversal and intensive form (Evgeny Sholpo, Georgy Rimsky-Korsakov);
– The Syntones method, based on the idea of spectral analysis, decomposition and resynthesis, developed in 1932-1935 by a pupil of Arseny Avraamov, the young painter and acoustician Boris Yankovsky.

At exactly the same time very similar efforts were being undertaken in Germany by Rudolf Pfenninger in Munich and, somewhat later, by the animator and filmmaker Oskar Fischinger in Berlin. Among the researchers working with Graphical Sound after World War II were the famous filmmaker Norman McLaren (Canada) and the composer and inventor Daphne Oram (UK).

Ornamental Sound

The ornamental sound technique, developed in 1929-1930 by Arseny Avraamov, was similar to German animator and filmmaker Oscar Fischinger’s sounding ornaments first presented in 1932. In 1930, however, Avraamov was the first to demonstrate experimental sound pieces – based on geometric profiles and ornaments – produced purely through drawing methods. This was achieved by means of shooting still images of drawn sound waves on an animation stand.


In December 1930 Mikhail Tsekhanovsky wrote in his article About the Drawn Sound Film: “with the invention of new drawn sound techniques (developed by Arseny Avraamov in Moscow, Sholpo and [Georgy] Rimsky-Korsakov in Leningrad) we are achieving a real possibility of gaining a new level of perfection: both sound and the visual canvas will be developing completely in parallel from the first to the last frame […] Thus the drawn sound film is a new artistic trend in which for the first time in our history music and art meet each other.” [2]

In autumn 1930 Avraamov founded the Multzvuk group at Mosfilm Productions Company in Moscow. To produce his first drawn ornamental sound tracks he had on staff a special draughtsman, cameraman Nikolai Zhelynsky, animator Nikolai Voinov and acoustician Boris Yankovsky who was responsible for the translation of musical scores into Avraamov’s microtonal Welttonsystem as well as Samoilov’s Ober-Unter-Tone Harmony system. The final scores were coded in Yankovsky’s 72- step ultrachromatic scale with the dynamics and speed variations indicated by the number of  frames. Yankovsky was also involved in the production of

acoustic experimental studies, developing methods for the synthesis of sounds with glissando, timbre crossfades, timbre variations and polyphony by means of multiple shooting on the same optical soundtrack (alternative to multi-track recording which was not available yet).

From 1930-34 more than 2000 meters of sound track were produced by Avraamov’s Multzvuk group, including the experimental films Ornamental Animation, Marusia Otravilas, Chinese Tune, Organ Cords, Untertonikum, Prelude, Piruet, Staccato Studies, Dancing Etude and Flute Study. In autumn 1931 the Multzvuk group moved to NIKFI (Scientific Research Institute for Cinema and Photography) and was renamed Syntonfilm Laboratory. In December 1932 NIKFI stopped supporting Syntonfilm and the group moved to Mezhrabpomfilm where in 1934 it was closed as it was unable to justify itself economically. The whole archive was kept for many years at Avraamov’s apartment, where in 1936-37, during Avraamov’s trip to the Caucasus, it was burned by his own sons, making rockets and smoke screens with the old nitro-film tapes, which were highly flammable.

Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of the new technique, people involved in it had to be skilled not only in music, but in acoustics, mathematics, sound-on-film technology and engineering. As a result even skilled journalists often could not understand the physical meaning of the phenomena under consideration or specific technological ideas. Having no developed terminology, many mistakes and unexpected “puzzles” appeared in their writings. Moreover, there were several known research groups – competitors in Russia and Germany working in parallel. It led to a very specific problem – encryption of the information. For instance, in the well-known photograph Oscar Fischinger holds ‘fake’ rolls made by his Studio for publicity purposes as he did not want his competitors to learn his actual techniques. He never used rolls as large as this – they were fakes. [3] Yankovsky had a very special way of making notes on his ideas. It is impossible to understand the construction of his tools from reading one description without referring to several other manuscripts that offer important keys for understanding it.

Syntones and Audio Computing

In 1931-32 Boris Yankovsky (1904-1973) was on the staff of the Multzvuk group. In 1932, however, disappointed with its Ornamental Sound approach, he left the group. Unlike most of his colleagues he understood that the waveform does not represent the tone colour uniformly and that only the spectrum of sound developed in time with all the nuances of its temporal transitions can give a complete picture. Of all the early graphical sound pioneers, Yankovsky alone pursued the approach of spectral analysis, decomposition and re-synthesis. His concept was based on the belief that it is possible to develop a universal library of sounds similar to Mendeleev’s table of chemical elements. His curves were spectral templates, semiotic entities that could be combined to produce sound hybrids. As an option he developed several sound processing techniques including pitch shifting and time stretching based on the separation of spectral content and formants, resembling recent computer music techniques of cross synthesis and the phase vocoder. To realize these ideas he invented a special instrument, the Vibroexponator – the most paradigm-shifting proposition of the mid-1930s.

In 1935 in one of his manuscripts Yankovsky wrote: ‘It is important now to conquer and increase the smoothness of tone colours, flowing rainbows of spectral colours in sound, instead of monotonous colouring of stationary sounding fixed geometric figures [wave shapes], although the nature of these phenomena is not yet clear. The premises leading to the expansion of these phenomena – life inside the sound spectrum – give us the nature of the musical instruments themselves, but “nature is the best mentor” (Leonardo da Vinci) […] The new technology is moving towards the trends of musical renovation, helping us to define new ways for the Art of Music. This new technology is able to help liberate us from the cacophony of the well-tempered scale and related noises. Its name is Electro-Acoustics and it is the basis for Electro-Music and Graphical Sound’.


Read the full text by Andrey Smirnov here – and more in his book with Jeremy Deller, Sound in Z Experiments in sound and electronic music in early 20th-century Russia, published May 2013:

“Russia, 1917 – inspired by revolutionary ideas, artists and enthusiasts developed innumerable musical inventions, instruments and ideas often long ahead of their time – a culture that was to be cut off in its prime as it collided with the totalitarian state of the 1930s.

Andrey Smirnov’s account of the period offers an engaging introduction to some of the key figures and their work, including Arseny Avraamov’s open-air performance of 1922 featuring the Caspian flotilla, artillery guns, hydroplanes and all the town’s factory sirens, and Alexei Gastev, the polymath who coined the term ‘bio-mechanics’.

Shedding new light on better-known figures such as Leon Theremin (inventor of the world’s first electronic musical instrument, the Theremin), the publication also investigates the work of a number of pioneers of electronic sound tracks using ‘graphical sound’ techniques.

Sound in Z documents an extraordinary and largely forgotten chapter in the history of music and audio technology.” 

The cutting edge of contemporary creative industry met in Belgrade for RESONATE 2013, three days of intensive networking, information, knowledge sharing and education. Live coding, sensing touch, audio reactive mapping, digital kaleidoscope, augment anything, motors and music, open frameworks & asymmetric game design are just some of the workshops. Resonate brings artists together into a forward-looking debate on the position of technology in art and culture, from software engineering to visual arts theory, and aims to create a bridge between culturally separated segments of the artistic and intellectual scene.

We want to show that future is in the hands of those willing to experiment, individuals with simple desire to feed their inquisitive nature for knowledge and experience. We do not know what the future holds but the only way to find out is to create a platform where the most inspiring individuals can meet and share their ideas. Whereas internet has given us power to communicate to many, we need more events like Resonate where these ideas can flourish and “resonate”.

Excellent online archive where you can watch all the talks from last year and the latest as they happen.


A collaboration between Magnetic Field B, Dom Omladine in Belgrade and CreativeApplications.Net, Resonate 2013 Festival took place in Belgrade and with over 1200 visitors from all over the world, over 75 artists, thinkers, writers and performers in 16 workshopsover 40 talksscreenings and performances.

Participants include Casey ReasJoachim Sauter (ART+COM), ZimounKlaus ObermaierMoritz StefanerZach GageTale of TalesGolan LevinIvan PoupyrevRaquel MeyersAnthony Dunne (RCA), Cohen van BalenKarsten SchmidtSpaces of PlayMemo AktenAndreas Müller (Nanikawa), James BridleLiam YoungKyle McDonaldPeter KirnStudio NAND, & onedotzero. Likewise the CAN/HOLO team will be at resonate too including Greg J Smith, Alexander Scholz and Sherry Kennedy.

Talk about generative design to manufacturing, Plask and WebGL, Unity as a Tool for Non-Games, Generative Design, Datatainment, Large Scale Projection Mapping, Urban Prototyping and discussion panels about Tools or Instruments, Surveillance and Transparency, Coding Narratives, Interaction and Performance and Design Fiction: Provocations & Pedagogy. onedotzero screened a special version of their programme/selection for Resonate festival and participating artists panel discussion.

The night programme featured Pantha du PrinceMouse on MarsDj DinkyValensMonosaccharideMarko NasticJan Nemecek and we’ve also teamed up with a number of bars and clubs in Belgrade to celebrate the opening of the festival meaning not one party but many.

If you are not able to come to resonate this year, follow updates on our Twitter or Facebook. All talks are being recorded so the same as last year you will have a chance to watch to them later.

CAN is back next week so in the meantime, check:

resonate.io | resonate on Facebook | resonate on Twitter | Full Programme of Resonate 2013

Resonate is supported by MailChimp, Ministry of Culture and Information in Serbia, Hi-ReS!, AudiovisualAcademy, Dom Omladine Belgrade, RedBull, Macola, Orion Telekom, The Studio for Creative Inquiry, Nexus Productions and Antipod.

These are prints made on paper that are actual sound recordings. One, from 1806 is the “oldest known inscription of audio ‘waveforms,’ not recorded automatically but drawn by hand”. I have a project on hold with artkillart who first told me about the possibilities of printing an audio record onto paper/card, and finding this today reminded me that we still need to make that work. For now, listen and marvel at this extraordinary archive of audio preserved in book form.

Extracting Audio from Pictures

Patrick Feaster
POSTED BY  ⋅ 06/20/2012 ⋅ 9 COMMENTS


This isn’t just a pretty picture.  It’s a bona fide sound recording—a “record.”  In fact, it might arguably be the oldest “record” in the world that you can listen to today!

Let me clarify—I don’t mean it’s the world’s oldest sound recording.  But nowadays when people use the word “record” colloquially to refer to sound media, they typically mean the specific format that includes LPs, 45s, and 78s—that is, the kinds of grooved disc you’d play on a “record player.” Technically, these “records” are based not on the phonograph Thomas Edison unveiled in 1877, but on the gramophone invented by Emile Berliner in 1887.  The gramophone disc dominated the worldwide recording industry for much of the twentieth century and still has currency in the twenty-first, for instance in the art of turntabling.  The distinctive crackle of its surface noise is stamped in the popular imagination as the quintessential “old recording” sound.

So what are the oldest known “records” in this sense—that is, the oldest known gramophone recordings, as opposed to the oldest sound recordings in general?  The first commercially available gramophone discs were manufactured and released in Europe in the summer of 1890, and numerous examples are available for listening (here, for example).  In addition to these, a few experimental gramophone discs from 1887 and 1888 survive at the Smithsonian Institution and elsewhere, but attempts to play these haven’t been very successful, and no intelligible or identifiable content has been recovered from them to date.  Finally, some other very old gramophone recordings have come down to us only in the form of prints made on paper,like the one on the fourth floor of Wells Library.  This isn’t a unique situation.  Many important early motion pictures that didn’t survive in the form of actual films were nevertheless preserved as paper prints deposited for copyright registration purposes with the Library of Congress and later retransferred to film for projection and preservation.  Similarly, I’ve found that paper prints of “lost” gramophone recordings can be digitally converted back into playable, audible form.

Some Other Early “Recordings” at IU – Listen to these on their website
Here are a few other snippets of audio obtained from high-resolution scans of books in the IU Bloomington Libraries.


Year: 1806

Lilly Library: Q113 .Y77 (two copies, one previously owned by Ian Fleming)
Thomas Young, A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts(London: Joseph Johnson, 1807), Volume 1, Plate XXV, Fig. 353.
Significance: Oldest known inscription of audio “waveforms,” not recorded automatically but drawn by hand.  (The book is dated 1807, but the engraving itself is dated 1806.)

Year: 1877

Wells Library (oversized): Q1 .S45 n.s.,v.37 1877
“The Talking Phonograph,” Scientific American 37 (December 22, 1877), 384-5, on page 384.
Significance: Print made from a plaster cast of a fragment cut from the sample tinfoil recording Thomas Edison used to demonstrate his phonograph for an audience outside his laboratory for the first time.  I’ve inserted silences to represent the missing content (which is a majority of it).  The direction of recording is anybody’s guess, so what you hear might be played backwards.


Year: 1878
ALF (Geosciences): Q1 .A5 ser.3,v.16
E. W. Blake, Jr., “A method of recording Articulate Vibrations by means of Photography,” American Journal of Science and Arts 116 (July 1878), 54-59, on page 57.
Significance: Oldest known publication of a recording of recognizable phrases in the English language (“Brown University”; “How do you do?”); also the oldest known publication of a photographic recording of airborne sounds (Image above)