August 29, 2019

MaHKUscript Journal of Fine Art Research: upcoming publications and activities

MaHKU, Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design

Book design: Tomáš Celizna.

Today, our globalized world is characterized by the horizontal nature of result-driven cultures accompanied by an instrumentalized understanding of knowledge. Consequently, thinking beyond those homogenizing perspectives appears to be more than necessary. Therefore, in its current issue, MaHKUscript presents research from practices of art with a strong focus on topical and urgent forms of vertical thinking. A good starting point for such a focus is to re-situate the concept of speculation that currently seems to be slipping away into a one-dimensional economic connotation. Speculative thought about future forms of knowledge and about solutions to existential problems, so extremely needed today, appear to become substituted by an almost self-evident resignation into both the present moment and the status quo thus leaving behind a blurred view of complex issues in the here and now.

In MaHKUscript #4, "Whatever Speculation," several authors deploy different conceptions of speculation and speculative thought while inciting new forms of imagination and reflection that could furnish novel perspectives on the social and planetary urgencies currently harassing humanity. Contributions from the following authors are now online: James Charlton, Tyler Coburn, Andrea Eckersley and Terri Bird, Azadeh Fatehrad, Sanne Oorthuizen and Natasha Tontey, Joshua Simon, and Marina Vishmidt.

As a continuation of "Whatever Speculation" a final presentation will take place later this year at the OnCurating Project Space (Zurich), including the curatorial workshop Re-imagining Futures (November 29–30) and a screening program (November 29–December 7) with works by Ursula Biemann, Tyler Coburn, Cristina Garrido, Falke Pisano, Oliver Ressler, and Natasha Tontey.

The previous edition of MaHKUscript, guest-edited by Lucy Cotter, previewed selected contents of her book, Reclaiming Artistic Research, which has just been published by Hatje Cantz. Twenty conversations with leading artists and curators explore the dynamic nature of artistic thinking, tracing how ideas and forms co-emerge through material, conceptual and embodied ways of working. Seeking to reclaim artistic research from academic definitions and institutionally focused debates, this book highlights its artistic significance. Foregrounding art’s engagement with diverse fields, it manifests how artists produce new paradigms and questions, rather than supplementing existing knowledge.

The book’s contributors include Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Katayoun Arian, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Sher Doruff, Em'kal Eyongakpa, Ryan Gander, Mario García Torres, Liam Gillick, Natasha Ginwala, Sky Hopinka, Manuela Infante, Euridice Zaituna Kala, Grada Kilomba, Sarat Maharaj, Emma Moore, Rabih Mroué, Christian Nyampeta, Yuri Pattison, Falke Pisano, Sarah Rifky, Samson Young, and Katarina Zdjelar. Designed by Tomáš Celizna. More information about the publication here.

The first international launch of the publication took place on August 24 in the context of the Assembly of Journals, organized by the Research Pavilion in Venice. Further launches will take place in Amsterdam (Looiersgracht 60, in collaboration with De Appel: August 29, 7pm; Portland, Oregon (Pacific Northwest College of Art: October 9, 6:30pm); and New York (School of Visual Art: October, 24, 7pm).

In 2020, MaHKUscript will redeploy the discussion about the situation and position of Artistic Research. Not only as a critical examination of the findings of the present “Research Decade,” but specifically as a quest for future scenarios and associated parameters and definitions.

Various activities are planned for this purpose. Thus MaHKUscript will collaborate with the 9th Bucharest Biennale in the spring of 2020. Similarly to how Paul Feyerabend once questioned the dominance of rational knowledge in Farewell to Reason, the pioneering Bucharest Biennale will in turn question the dominant trend of academisized research that has reigned now for at least ten years. Could a farewell to such research produce novel forms of articulation while proceeding from the perspective of visual art? That question will be addressed in collaboration with a number of significant partners.

Later that year, the EARN conference "The Post-research Condition" (September 17–19, 2020, in collaboration with BAK, Utrecht) will pose that same question differently: are we currently facing a post-research situation or a post-research condition? Could this be compared with how post-structuralism relates to structuralism as the philosophical understanding and elaboration of its consequences? And how could a possible post-research condition encounter contemporary art practices?

Further details of the above projects will be communicated later this fall through the appropriate channels.

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