Postgraduate Program in Curating ICS, ZHdK presents at White Space:
- Curatorial Theory - Friday 24. September 2010. - 7pm
Lecture by Marcus Steinweg:
Art is the opening up toward incommensurability. Its aim is forever to render the incommensurable commensurable, to lend form to the formless; and that makes art a paradoxical praxis. The resistance art offers to the commensurable has nothing to do with escapism. Rather, it seeks to define the relation to reality (to what already exists) with greater precision by being resistant to it, an act that helps the subject make contact with what marks reality's boundary and its inconsistency. The demystification of the world has led to the mystification of the demystified reality. Enlightenment has engendered its own obscurantism. Facts are the new religion. Facts are essentially consistent and reliable. That is the meaning of the word and its function: to ensure familiarity. The opening toward the incommensurable, by contrast, is an opening toward unfamiliarity as a value of the world, an opening toward its inconsistency, which encompasses its contingency and its becoming, its invisibility and its slippage, its indisponibility and its insignificance.
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It is more then for sure that Philosophy and Art are in conflict with their history. The only works of art that count are those that, rather than inscribing themselves upon an instituted conception of art, generate a conception to oppose it. The task is always to open up, in the dynamism of production, toward an as yet indeterminate conception of art; it is never the execution of a program that takes its orientation from fixed norms. "In truth," Adorno says, works of art are "force fields that enact the conflict between the norm imposed upon them and that which seeks expression in them. The higher they rank, the more energetically do they fight this conflict out, often renouncing affirmative accomplishment."1 The work of art articulates the conflict between what already exists and the new such that the work appears as the stage of an enactment of difference in which the established conception of art encounters an objection.
1 Theodor W. Adorno, Ohne Leitbild. Parva Aesthetica, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp 1967, 11.
Regarding the definition of the philosophical text, as much as the work of art, as a force field, cf. Adorno's 1954 theses in "Zum
Studium der Philosophie": "Philosophical writings do not have meanings that are fixed like things; instead they
are, and in this they resemble the works of art, force fields and fundamentally inexhaustible; the better we know
them, the more they yield, and it is indispensable that we read them again and again." In: Wolfgang Schütte (ed).,
Adorno in Frankfurt. Ein Kaleidoskop mit Texten und Bildern, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp 2003, 226-31. Adorno
himself noted that the idea of regarding "each codified philosophy as a force field" was inspired by Kracauer; see
Theodor W. Adorno, Noten zur LiteraturIII, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp 1965, 84.
White Space // Office for Curating / Art / Theory
Programming: Dorothee Richter, Siri Peyer
Zugang über Kanonengasse neben Restaurant Hot Pasta
CH - 8004 Zürich
Postgraduate Program in Curating
Institute Cultural Studies in the Arts
Zuricher Hochschule der Kunste