Cultural perspectives on flesh from the 1980s to now., 19 November 2016

DRAF Studio | Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Cultural perspectives on flesh from the 1980s to now.

DRAF invites art historians, writers and activists to discuss the changing meaning of flesh from the 1980s to the present day. Their research encompasses the AIDs crisis, emergent technologies and concepts of ‘fluid identity’, and their impacts on flesh as cultural material.

This event coincides with Streams of Warm Impermanence, a group exhibition of contemporary artworks that articulate visions of informed flesh, and historical works that point to key moments of shift in artists’ engagement with the body. As they infect, pollinate or mutate through networks, all bodies have the potential to be “trans-” in its literal meaning: across, through, beyond. This event will be streamed live on this page, in partnership with This is Tomorrow.

PROGRAMME

2pm

Writer Matthew McLean responds to the premise of Streams of Warm Impermanence. Seeking to characterise models of corporeality in the practice of today’s
emerging artists, his talk incorporates perspectives from writers including Mark Greif, Marquand Smith and Paul Preciado.

3.30pm

Writer Tommaso Speretta and art historian and activist Simon Watney give a historical and theoretical overview of the AIDs crisis in the US and UK respectively, and discuss its cultural legacies. They are joined in conversation by writer Olivia Laing, whose forthcoming book Everybody asks “what it means to inhabit a body… that must necessarily age, sicken and die, that is subject to violence, and yet which remains a potent vehicle for both human connection and political liberation”.

5pm

Lecturer and Researcher Cadence Kinsey presents ‘Lo Fidelity’, a new paper exploring the exhibition theme of ‘fluid identity’ in terms of a challenge to representation. Focusing on the current wave of interest in the concept of ‘trans’ and its relationship to early debates in the 1990s, she looks at how emergent networked technologies reconfigured models of the subject and presented both new possibilities and new problems for the representation of the body.

The exhibition Streams of Warm Impermanence will be on display 12-6pm.

Dr Cadence Kinsey is a Lecturer in Recent & Contemporary Art at the University of York. Her research focuses on the relationships between art and technology, with a focus on questions of gender, sexuality and subjectivity.

Olivia Laing is a columnist for frieze and writes on art and culture for the Guardian, Observer and New York Times. Her most recent book is The Lonely City (2016, Canongate).

Matthew McLean is a writer and editor based in London. He is a regular contributor to frieze, and in 2016 co-edited the frieze A-Z of Contemporary Art.

Tommaso Speretta is an independent writer, editor and curator who has worked for the Venice Biennale and the Office for Contemporary Art Norway. He is the author of the book REBELS REBEL. AIDS, Art and Activism in New York, 1979–1989 (MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2014), and his articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Domus, Flash Art and 032c. With artist Bjarne Melgaard he co-organised the MA program ‘Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notion About AIDS’ at the IUAV University in Venice, as well as the exhibition Baton Sinister as part of Norway’s contribution to the 2011 Venice Biennale. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of the Arts London, focusing his research on the relationship between AIDS and video art in the 1980s.

Simon Watney is a British writer, art historian, and AIDS activist. He is author of the seminal 1987 article, ‘The Spectacle of AIDS’, and has published books including Policing Desire: Pornography, AIDS and the Media, 1987 and Imagine Hope: AIDS and the Gay Identity, 2002. He has been actively involved in AIDS education and service provision since the early 1980s, and has written widely about and been closely involved with questions of AIDS and representation in areas ranging from from the mass media to fine art practices.

Schedule

  • Thu 18 January 2018

    What We Talk About When We Talk About Work | ‘Conversation and Exchange: Talking with Children’.

    The next event in the series will take place at Bluecoat, Liverpool, on the 18th January 2018 and takes the theme of ‘Conversation and Exchange: Talking with Children’. Invited speakers include, Marie Anne McQuay, Bluecoat Head of Programme; Heather Jones, Exhibition Manager of Kunsthall Stavanger Norway; Polly Brannan, artist and curator; Mick Marston, illustrator; and Julian Woods, educator. Each present their recent projects and discuss the benefits of creating works with, for and in response to children.

  • Sat 20 January 2018

    Symposium: A New Ethics?  The evolving responsibilities of creative practices in a changing world

    A New Ethics? is a day-long symposium seeking to examine notions of ethics and responsibility within contemporary creative practices.

    The events of 2016 and 2017 highlighted a noticeable increase in authoritarianism, racism, sexism, environmental disasters and widespread economic hardship at local and global levels, as well as significant changes in the art market and art education. How are these factors influencing artists’ work? Are artists and cultural institutions now expected to respond to them by assuming new and evolving responsibilities within their communities?

    Questions asked during the day will include:

    How does a sense of responsibility figure in the way artists, designers, curators and institutions are responding to past, present and future issues, including local and global politics, human rights, economic injustice and cultural history?

    What might constitute an ethical curatorial or artistic practice today? How important is such a goal to creative practitioners?

    The question of ethics often comes up in relation to practices that are considered unethical or lacking ethics. In contrast to this: How are creative practitioners developing a positive sense of ethics through their work?

    The symposium will be structured around three panel discussions focusing on examples, each followed by Q&A. It will conclude with a final session for group discussion open to members of the audience.

  • Tue 20 February 2018

    RCA | Visual Cultures Lecture Series

    Ben Noys / Ash Sarkar / Mira Matter / Marina Vishmidt/ Sarat Maharaj (TBC) Organised by the Writing Research Group lead by Yve Lomax with Nicky Coutts, Jesse Ash, Jaspar Joseph-Lester

  • Tue 10 April 2018

    RCA | Visual Cultures Lecture Series | Dickie Beau

    Dickie Beau | Organised by the Methodas Fiction Research Group lead by Rebecca Fortnum