Archive for June, 2010

Art & Desire Seminars, 17-20 June 2010, Istanbul

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Art & Desire Seminars, 17-20 June 2010, Istanbul

In organizing this seminar series on Art and Desire, our aim is to conduct an exchange between contemporary creative practices and contemporary critical theories.  We found it necessary to produce this encounter because we wanted to be able to critically reflect upon Istanbul’s specific conditions as it is becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2010. In its process of becoming a “global city”, Istanbul has been the stage of rapid urban transformation in the past two decades. Not surprisingly, the growth and concentration of artistic and creative practices in the city became one of the markers of such transformation, along the regional scale concentration of finance capital, media industries, and service economy. The selection of Istanbul as the European Capital of Culture of 2010 (while Turkey’s membership to EU remains to be a contested and complicated issue) crystalizes the meaning of such transformations. The driving force behind such urban transformations has been the global expansion of the capital; what happens in Istanbul also takes place in other global border posts, and what takes place is not simply the development of existing social conditions beyond certain thresholds but a neoliberal transgression that is directed towards the consolidation of a new social order, new social subjectivities, and  new representation regimes. Istanbul’s rapidly developing artistic and culture scene has to be evaluated in this critical context.

As a part of the Istanbul 2010 program, by organizing this seminar series, we aim to provide a critical contribution –perhaps, even an intervention, to what we see as the expansion of global capital and its accompanying neoliberal governmentality beyond geographical borders, into the creative practices and social imaginaries. In this context, with Art and Desire Seminars, we aim to facilitate encounters between contemporary creative practices and contemporary critical theory, between what we practice and what we think, between here and there, now and then, from each to each.

The seminar series is inspired by Ulus Baker’s similar seminars conducted in Middle East Technical University’s (METU) Media Research Center (GISAM) in 1998 with the same title. Baker’s work traced the relations and passages between the regimes of technological representation and modern social subjectivities, examined contemporary social dynamics and visual representation techniques, and through such interrogations, provided valuable leads for creative minds to explore in aesthetic forms. By departing from Baker’s work, we seek to facilitate critical discussions on four interrelated lines of inquiry:

Forms of Affect: A framework for evaluating the contemporary theoretical explorations regarding social subjectivities, affective regimes, and creative practices.

Art and Biopolitics: A framework for the discussion of artistic and cultural production vis-a-vis contemporary modes of governmentality.

Art and Autonomy: A framework for exploring creative production practices and circulation channels that take place outside of the mainstream artistic and cultural production.

Regimes of Image: A framework for the discussion of new, post-photographic and post-cinematic representation regimes that develop under the ontological conditions of digital media technologies.

Art and Desire Seminars seek to explore these themes and problematics through a series of lectures, performances, workshops, presentations, screenings and shows. These events will bring together cross-disciplinary participants who produce theoretical and practical works in philosophy, social sciences and the arts. Each seminar session will be a 4 days event and two sessions will be held on 17th – 20th of June, and 18th – 21st of November of 2010. Our desire in these seminars is to establish a truly communicative environment by encouraging in depth exposition of ideas and works and lengthy discussions. Therefore, we will encourage each presenter to make a “lecture-like” (40-45 mins. long) presentation of her/his work. The works presented at the seminars will be published as an edition in December 2010.

Art and Desire Seminars aim to be a platform for the discussion of contemporary artistic and cultural practices in a social and political context, and in this respect, will continue as an annual event independently and collectively organized by artists, art collectives, publishers and scholars in the following years.

You can find the detailed program of the June 2010 session of seminar series hereand contact us for more information on Art and Desire Seminars.