Gardens: History, Reception, Scientific Analyses (Nagoya, 23-24 Feb 19) Nagoya University, Japan, February 23 – 24, 2019 Deadline: Dec 10, 2018

Gardens: History, Reception, and Scientific Analyses

The heat wave in Summer 2018 has revealed designs of historic gardens in the UK that have been lost and only known to us through prints and publications. Unlike these discoveries, finding historic gardens usually involves time, patience, as well as archaeological practice.

It is often difficult for modern visitors to visualize and understand historic gardens that have not survived. But researchers employ various approaches, techniques, and resources to understand gardens of the past. For example, Wilhelmina F. Jashemski commenced the excavation of Pompeian gardens in the 1960s and showed how people planted trees and embellished the garden area. She collaborated with natural scientists in order to determine what types of plants had been planted in Pompeian gardens. Around the same time in Japan, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties excavated an ancient palatial block in Nara and discovered a garden which was later reconstructed based on finds such as branches, leaves, seeds, and pollen.

The study of historic gardens requires an interdisciplinary approach: historians studying gardens via texts and inscriptions, archaeologists analysing gardens by excavation, archaeobotanists examining finds, and natural scientists scrutinizing samples provided by archaeologists. In addition, we should not disregard the influences and legacy of historic gardens. Without the collaboration of all these disciplines, our perceptions of such gardens will remain incomplete.

This conference aims to deepen our understanding of garden history by bringing together specialists working in various fields. Confirmed papers will cover areas including: gardens in Classical Antiquity (Y. Kawamoto, Marzano, Purcell, and Suto) and in the Renaissance (Higaya, Kuwakino), garden excavation in Pompeii and the Villa Arianna (Gleason), excavated (and reconstructed) gardens in Nara and Kyoto (Ono and S. Kawamoto), radiocarbon dating analysis of archaeological finds (Oda), and the latest survey of a garden in the villa in Somma Vesuviana (Italy) employing cosmic-ray Muons (Morishima).

Keynote speaker:

Nicholas Purcell (Roman History; Oxford)

Confirmed Speakers (alphabetically):

Kathryn L. Gleason (Roman Archaeology and Landscape; Cornell)

Jyunichiro Higaya (Renaissance Architectural History; Tohoku)

Shigeo Kawamoto (Japanese Architectural History; Kindai)

Yukiko Kawamoto (Roman History; Nagoya)

Koji Kuwakino (Renaissance Art and Architecture; Osaka)

Annalisa Marzano (Roman History; Reading)

Kunihiro Morishima (Astro Physics; Nagoya)

Hirotaka Oda (Radiocarbon Dating; Nagoya)

Kenkichi Ono (Japanese Garden History and Archaeology; Wakayama)

Yoshiyuki Suto (Greek Archaeology; Nagoya)

We invite submission of abstracts related to topics of discussion in this conference of no more than 300 words (excluding bibliography) for a 30-minutes paper. Please submit your abstract and a brief CV to Yukiko Kawamoto by email at: by 10th December 2018. Selections will be made and announced by the 31st December 2018.


Metaphysical Masterpieces (New York, 26-27 Apr 19) CIMA – Center for Italian Modern Art, 421 Broome Street, New York, April 26 – 27, 2019 Deadline: Jan 27, 2019

Metaphysical Masterpieces

Keynote speaker: Mia Fuller, University of California – Berkeley

The Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) presents for its 2018-2019 season a major exhibition devoted to masterpieces of metaphysical painting (pittura metafisica). Drawn primarily from the collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera, as well as from other public and private collections, the exhibition features a key work by Giorgio de Chirico, rarely seen early works by Giorgio Morandi, and important paintings by the lesser-known artists Carlo Carrà and Mario Sironi—together offering a richer and more nuanced view of this seminal chapter in the development of modern Italian art.

The term pittura metafisica refers to an artistic tendency closely associated with the art produced by Giorgio de Chirico between 1909 and 1920. It often featured disquieting images of eerie spaces and enigmatic objects, eliciting a sense of the mysterious. Although art historians have rejected the notion of metaphysical painting as a school or movement, when de Chirico moved back to Italy from Paris (1916), his peculiar art immediately began to influence the Italian cultural context of the time. The Carrà, Morandi, and Sironi works in CIMA’s exhibition clearly show how the encounter with de Chirico’s art was crucial to finding ways of expanding upon the visual languages they developed while involved in Futurism. However, many other artists, authors, and intellectuals engaged with the uncanny interpretation of reality offered by metaphysical painting. Thus, Zeno Birolli’s interpretation of the tendency as “a sort of research stronghold, a force vector able to give momentum to a number of different cultural enterprises” (1980) is still valid today, and may be considered a starting point for further original investigations.

Aiming to analyze the major themes suggested by the exhibition, as well as to offer new insights into the general debate about the creative practices inspired by metaphysical panting, the 2018-2019 CIMA Fellows invite proposals for papers for the Metaphysical Masterpieces Study Days, to be held on site in New York on April 26 and 27, 2019. The Study Days will be an occasion to gather scholars from different disciplines, illuminating metaphysical painting’s influence on Italian and foreign culture from the 1920s to the present.

Topics of consideration may include:

1. The relationship between metaphysical painting and Futurism.

2. Considerations of metaphysical painting as part of the avant-garde or as opposed to it.

3. The influence of metaphysical painting in different fields, such as: decorative arts, literature, music, architecture, cinema, photography, and theater.

4. The connections between metaphysical painting and other movements: i.e., Neue Sachlichkeit, Magic Realism, Surrealism, Regionalism, Precisionism.

5. New perspectives on metaphysical painting’s recurrent themes: mannequins, drafting implements, interior and public spaces, the ambiguity of time and space.

6. The dissemination and acquisition of metaphysical art: market and collecting practices, of both private individuals and public institutions.

7. Hubs of actors involved in pittura metafisica: Paris, Ferrara, Milan, Turin, Florence.

8. The critical assessment of metaphysical painting in the United States and abroad from the 1920s to the present.

9. Metaphysical painting and contemporary artistic movements.

10. Metaphysical painting’s response to ancient, medieval, and Renaissance traditions.

Please send an abstract (250-300 words), title, and a short biography (100-150 words) in English to with the subject line “Metaphysical Masterpieces CFP” by Sunday, January 27, 2019. Please send these materials in a single PDF document. Please do not send multiple attachments.

Presentations are not to exceed 20 minutes. No reading of papers in absentia is allowed. All speakers receive a $300 honorarium and participants may request additional financial assistance for travel and accommodation, which CIMA may award as appropriate.

The proceedings will be filmed for archiving on CIMA’s website, and the papers will be published in CIMA’s online journal Italian Modern Art.

Deadline: Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Outsiders (San Francisco, ‪13 Apr 19‬) SFMOMA, San Francisco, California, ‪April 13, 2019‬ Deadline: ‪Jan 11, 2019‬


The Outsiders

2019 Berkeley/Stanford Symposium

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Charlene Villaseñor Black, Professor of Art History

University of California, Los Angeles

Traditionally, the concept of “outsider,” “folk,” or “self-taught” art has sought to avail those art objects and their makers which emerged from outside the established boundaries of art’s historical and museological institutions. Though a crisis of identification continues to trouble the production, exhibition, and historicization of “outsider” art, the term sustains increasing relevance amid contemporary debates involving questions and accusations of (im)propriety. This symposium seeks papers that address not only our current moment but a wide range of cultures and time periods that utilize the analytic of “outsider” as a label that both defines and distorts art history’s disciplinary boundaries. What limits might be set, if any, in attempting to define the concept of the “outsider” and its shifting language and history?

In mapping the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion, we situate not only persons and objects but also institutions—their languages, materials, and temporalities notwithstanding—through which the “outsiders” fell “outside”: what might “outsiders” teach us about the taught and the un-taught, the visible and the invisible? What alternatives exist to models of education and museum exhibition? How might writings about art confront methods of valuation and canonization (let alone complete repudiation)? And how does art history continue to redefine exclusion in and of marginalized communities and disciplines constituted by, for instance, markers of race, gender, sexuality, and ability? These questions and more provide the foundation for reconsidering art’s vast chronological and cultural boundaries and the objects, individuals, and events which seemingly lie outside them.

Potential topics include but are not limited to: “Self-taught” and “outsider” artists; the ethics of historiography; “minor” histories of the overlooked and understudied; authorship and anonymity; “discovery” and artistic revival; objecthood and material culture; the archive; spirituality and enchantment; subaltern bodies; aesthetics of (dis)ability; craft and/as art; race and ethnicity; queer socialities; (alternative) arts education; communes, collectives, and self-marginalization; subcultural expression; non-visual arts, etc.

The Outsiders seeks contributions from emerging voices from within and outside of academic art history. We welcome proposals to present short talks, interviews, workshops, space-specific performance work, or gallery talks in dialogue with SFMOMA’s collection and exhibitions. Traditional academic conference presentations will be showcased alongside more experimental contributions. Applicants should be either current graduate students (in any field) or emerging young voices from the wider community of visual culture including artists, designers, writers, and museum professionals.

For more information please visit

Please submit:

● A 300 word abstract including a description of format

● A participant CV (for collaborative work please include CVs for all participants)

● A description of any necessary support and/or technical needs beyond a standard microphone

All materials can be submitted online at or via email to Jennie Yoon at Materials must be submitted no later than January 11, 2019.

Call – Simulation and Computer Experimentation in Music and Sound Art

Orpheus Research Seminar 2019

**21?22 March 2019, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, BE**


– ?Music, Thought and Technology? (Orpheus Institute, Ghent):

– ?Algorithms that Matter? (University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, FWF AR 403-GBL):

Proposals are invited that critically explore the space spanned by the different perspectives on simulation and experimental computation addressing their role in all areas of music, sound art and related research, in all its possible technical, technological, musicological or theoretical aspects.

Download call (.pdf):

Computational methods have made their way into most of scientific and artistic fields; simulation has become a paradigmatic mode in contemporary practices. In science, in design, in medicine and in art, simulations of natural, human, technological or abstract systems (or techniques derived from simulation) are ubiquitous. The development of new methods of computation and simulation in the natural sciences initiated an ongoing discussion about the relationship of _in silico_ experiments to empirical or theoretical modes of investigation.

The seminar aims to bring together practitioners and scholars to discuss the wide-reaching implications of the ?agential cut? (Barad) or ?ontic cut? (Rheinberger) ? the separation between operationalised model or abstract theory and perceived or experimentally verified ?reality?, the fissure already indicated by Husserl and realised in experimental computational systems. These introduce a new type of interface between the machinery and what is implemented, allowing for the ongoing production of new data and going beyond the traditional atemporal theoretical models; crucially, simulations also allow new and mobile perspectives onto the ?object? modelled by tracing contingent, situated, multiple paths through what DeLanda describes as ?a space of possibilities? ? alternative realities within a space that displays stability or consistency at another level. In Rheinberger?s words ?it becomes urgent to ask whether computer simulations represent a new category of epistemic object altogether.?

Computational models afford a way to test theoretical constructs or observe the consequences of non-physical or even imaginary hypotheses. One arrives at a critical conception of computation, situating it beyond the dualism of a deductive, representational approach and an inductive, empirical approach, acknowledging a speculative quality of algorithms that ?are not simply the computational version of mathematical axioms, but are to be conceived as actualities, self-constituting composites of data? and ?equipped with their own procedure for prehending data.? (Parisi) The very activity of experimentation and augmenting the language of artistic creation is exposed through the use of algorithms.

## Call for proposals

Proposals are invited that critically explore the space spanned by the different perspectives on simulation and experimental computation addressing their role in all areas of music, sound art and related research, in all its possible technical, technological, musicological or theoretical aspects. We invite proposals for presentations in the form of paper (20 minutes), demonstration or performance, or any hybrid thereof. We particularly welcome proposals for presentations that explore the role of simulation in innovative ways.

Proposals (200 words) should be sent to: to arrive no later than __1 December 2018__. We intend to send notification of acceptance by 15 January 2019.

A non-exhaustive list of possible questions and topics might include:

– Do computer simulations represent a new category of epistemic objects?

– The role of metaphor or verisimilitude in terms of the structure or behaviour under consideration. Of the brain in neural networks, of social or biological structures in A-life systems, for example. At what point can the metaphor be abandoned?

– Lines of enquiry suggested by Baudrillard?s distinction between simulation and simulacrum. Where, for instance, are the borders between reconstructions, interpretations and acts of ?pure? imagination? If an act of ?projected? or ?applied? imagination can be seen in this light, why not one of personal creativity?

– Is there a relationship of simulation between the performance of music and the abstract ?work?? Between the ?work? and its ineffable motivating impulse?

– Does the new state of science suggest that we rethink our entire model of the ways in which we understand the stages and ontologies of music production in general, including historical models?

– In which way does a system embody its author?s understanding of the phenomenon in question? That is, might it tell us as much about the context, the world-view of its own development as about its subject phenomenon?

– The way computation can merge with composition and performance opens to question our received understanding of the processes of contemporary musical/sonic creation.

– A major value of computation as a tool lies in the possibilities it offers for the development of instruments and apparatuses of enquiry or experience that would otherwise be impossible. What value do simulations of physically ?impossible? systems have? What relation is there to the tradition of ?thought experiment??

– Rather than remaining inert tools, computational processes tend to unfold a specific agency, retroacting on the research or creative process they are inserted into.

– What kind of materiality do computational experiments develop? If they lack the material resistance as part of the experimental arrangement (Gramelsberger), could there be a different kind materiality that comes into play?

– Computational methods enter in a ?co-generative? relationship with the entities they interact with: they co-determine the outcome of the research or artistic endeavours. Humans and computational processes are inextricably entangled in a network of relations, an ecosystem of interdependences devoid of hierarchies and separability.

– If there is always already an ?experimental intelligibility internal to computation? (Parisi) through which the premises of the input data are autonomously revised, what are the opportunities in this duality of experimentality (intrinsic to computation as well as introduced through an experimenter?s design)?

– What are the implications for artistic work if experimental computer systems are always the result of a collaborative writing process of several authors (Gramelsberger)?

## People

Convenors: Jonathan Impett, Hanns Holger Rutz, David Pirr? Invited Speakers: Luciana Parisi, N.N.

CFP: Research Programme 2018/19, Institut pour la Photographie

November 8 – 30, 2018

Deadline: Nov 30, 2018

The Institut pour la photographie is launching the first edition of its research and creation support programme on the theme ‘Photography, object of dissemination’.

The call for applications is open to doctoral students, university and independent researchers, exhibition curators and artists, regardless of age or nationality, proposing a new project – publication, exhibition or production of works – opening up new perspectives on the announced theme.

The Institut pour la photographie’s research and creation support programme aims to develop, share and compare diverse approaches to photography – the history of photography, image anthropology, visual studies and plastic arts research.

The Institut pour la photographie awards four annual grants of 15,000 euros for the time required to research, create and complete the selected projects. Symposia, workshops and events will be organised to enrich these exchanges during the year before the final works are presented at a public meeting organised by the Institut pour la photographie.


The theme chosen this year is: ‘Photography, object of dissemination’.

In response to this call, applicants must ensure that they develop a unique approach, whether in the form of theoretical or plastic research or an exhibition proposal.

The official languages for applications to the Institut pour la photographie’s research and creation support programme are French and English.

Applications must only be submitted digitally through our website:


– 18 October 2018: Call for applications with the theme announced

30 November 2018: Deadline for applications

– Mid-December 2018: Jury for the selection of the recipients

– January 2019: Public announcement of the recipients

– January 2020: Public presentation of the final works

Please carefully read the rules. Any incomplete application, or any application whose elements do not comply with the standards or formats stated in the rules, will automatically be rejected, without any further justification to the applicant concerned.

Translocations. Displacement of Cultural Assets (Berlin, 5-7 Dec 19) Berlin, 05. – 07.12.2019 Deadline: Jan 20, 2019 Translocations. Historical Enquiries into the Displacement of Cultural Assets (deutsche Version im Anschluss)

Discussions about historical appropriation practices for cultural assets, in the context of their associated relocation, are highly topical and widely reflected across different academic disciplines. Not only those seizures and sales of objects and collections are considered problematic which were forced by violence or under dictatorial government structures, as in times of war or under the National Socialist regime. For Germany, the delayed establishment of post-colonial approaches in academic cultural and historical research during the 1980s also brought into focus the colonial era’s displacement of cultural assets under conditions of asymmetric power relations. Widespread public criticism has since been directed towards the exhibition of artefacts with unclear provenance, amongst other issues. Who owns such cultural assets with a provenance in the so-called Global South, which were traded internationally and came to be part of western private collections and museums? Who has the right to interpret them? What could amicable solutions look like about dealing with them, independently of restitutions?

Increasingly, such questions concern those who work in the art market, museums, politics and the media, experts from diverse disciplines such as ethnology, archaeology, and law, as well as artists and writers. Yet the translocations as such rarely come into focus – with the people involved, the related traumas, discourses, gestures, techniques and representations. The project cluster translocations – Historical Enquiries into the Displacement of Cultural Assets at Technische Universität Berlin is dedicated to the systematic analysis of this barely recognised, let alone fully researched, field. Led by Bénédicte Savoy, it was established in autumn 2017.

The subject of translocations are large-scale displacements of cultural assets since antiquity. The focus is on state-organised art theft and looting in times of war and occupation, confiscations of cultural assets during the colonial era, for example in the course of partitioning excavations or during research expeditions, as well as the diaspora of material cultures as accelerated by the art trade, and finally, confiscations, nationalisations or en masse sales of private property for ideological reasons.

Independently of their legality or illegality, two aspects of translocations are the main focus of the project’s research: firstly, the manifold, cross-generational and wide-reaching cultural, intellectual and aesthetic cross-fertilisations that take place as cultural assets are moved into the holdings of public museums and libraries. In the course of this development, what was initially foreign prompts a narrative of ownership and familiarity. Secondly, the emotions triggered by injustice and loss which become apparent in societies when questions of ownership, identity and pride are tied to the material displacement of objects and their insertion into new contexts.

At the beginning of its third year, the project cluster would like to invite participants to an international conference to be held in December 2019 in Berlin. The above-mentioned research areas will form the primary focus of the conference, encouraging interdisciplinary exchange about the phenomenon of translocations. The discussion should cover its entire range, be it in terms of space, time or method. We particularly welcome contributions which

– reflect on translocations on a theoretical, methodical level

– deal with the displacement of objects during Antiquity and the Middle Ages

– address the displacement of cultural assets from South and Central America, as well as South and Southeast Asia

– address material traces left by transfer procedures from a conservational or art technological perspective, be it on the objects as such or in their places of origin or transit locations

– focus on the legal framework of translocations of cultural assets

The starting point for the analysis of translocations or their representation in writing, images or other media can be diverse object groups, ranging from archaeological, ethnological and artistic artefacts to manuscripts, archival documents or objects from natural history.

The conference will take place from 5 to 7 December 2019 in Berlin. Proposals for 20-minute papers should not exceed 300 words, and should be sent to by 20 January 2019, together with a brief CV. Submissions can be in German, English or French.

Diskussionen um historische Praktiken der Aneignung von Kulturgütern und ihren damit verbundenen räumlichen Verlagerungen sind über die Grenzen verschiedener Wissenschaftsdisziplinen hinweg hochaktuell und werden öffentlich breit rezipiert. Dabei gelten nicht allein die unter Anwendung von Gewalt erfolgten oder durch diktatorische Staatsstrukturen begünstigten Beschlagnahmungen und Veräußerungen von Objekten und Sammlungen, wie sie für Kriegszeiten oder das NS-Regime charakteristisch waren, als problematisch. Mit der in Deutschland verzögerten Etablierung postkolonialer Ansätze in den Kultur- und Geschichtswissenschaften während der 1980er Jahre ist vielmehr auch die Verbringung von Kulturgut unter Bedingungen asymmetrischer Machtverhältnisse ins Blickfeld geraten, wie sie in der Kolonialzeit herrschten. Weitverbreitete öffentliche Kritik richtet sich seither unter anderem gegen die Ausstellung von Artefakten mit ungeklärten Provenienzen. Wem gehören die aus dem sogenannten globalen Süden stammenden, international gehandelten, in westliche Privatsammlungen und Museen gelangten Kulturgüter? Wer hat ein Recht auf ihre Deutung? Wie könnten einvernehmliche Regelungen für den Umgang mit ihnen unabhängig von Restitutionen aussehen?

Immer stärker beschäftigen Fragen dieser Art Vertreter_innen des Kunstmarkts und Museumsbetriebs, der Politik und Presse wie auch Expert_innen diverser Fachrichtungen wie Ethnologie, Archäologie oder Rechtswissenschaft, Künstler_innen und Schriftsteller_innen. Selten jedoch werden die Translokationen an sich – mit all den beteiligten Akteur_innen, einhergehenden Traumata, Diskursen, Gesten, Techniken und Repräsentationen – thematisiert. Der systematischen Aufarbeitung dieses bisher kaum wahrgenommenen, geschweige denn erschlossenen Feldes widmet sich der Forschungscluster translocations – Historical Enquiries into the Displacement of Cultural Assets, der unter Leitung von Bénédicte Savoy im Herbst 2017 an der Technischen Universität seine Arbeit aufgenommen hat.

Gegenstand von translocations sind großangelegte Kulturgutverlagerungen seit der Antike. Die Aufmerksamkeit gilt staatlich-organisiertem Kunstraub und Beutekunst in Kriegs- und Okkupationszeiten, dem Entzug von Kulturgütern im Kolonialismus, wie er beispielsweise im Zuge von Fundteilungen oder wissenschaftlichen Expeditionen stattgefunden hat, sowie der durch den Kunsthandel forcierten Diaspora materieller Kulturen als auch ideologisch begründeten Beschlagnahmungen, Verstaatlichungen oder massiven Veräußerungen privaten Eigentums.

Vor allem zwei Aspekten von Translokationen, die unabhängig von ihrer Legalität oder Illegalität betrachtet werden, gilt das Forschungsinteresse: einerseits den vielfältigen, generationsübergreifenden, weitreichenden kulturellen, intellektuellen und ästhetischen Befruchtungen dort, wo das in Bewegung gesetzte Kulturgut zum Bestand öffentlicher Museen und Bibliotheken wird und die Inkorporation des zunächst Fremden zu einem Narrativ des Eigenen führt. Andererseits den durch Unrecht und Verlust hervorgerufenen Emotionen, die in Gesellschaften oder Interessengruppen manifest werden, wenn Fragen von Besitz, Identität und Stolz an die materielle Verbringung von Objekten und ihre Einfügung in neue Zusammenhänge geknüpft werden.

Zum Auftakt seines dritten Laufjahres lädt der Forschungscluster zu einer internationalen Tagung ein, die er im Dezember 2019 in Berlin veranstaltet. Die soeben beschriebenen Forschungsschwerpunkte in den Vordergrund rückend, will die Tagung zu einem dezidiert interdisziplinären Austausch über das Phänomen der Translokation anregen. Es soll in ganzer Breite – sowohl aus räumlicher, zeitlicher als auch methodischer Perspektive – diskutiert werden. Willkommen sind insbesondere Beiträge, die

– Translokationen auf theoretischer, methodischer Ebene reflektieren

– sich mit Objektwanderungen während der Antike und des Mittelalters auseinandersetzen

– Kulturgutverlagerungen aus/in Süd- und Mittelamerika sowie Süd- und Südostasien behandeln

– sich aus konservatorischer oder kunsttechnologischer Sicht mit den materiellen Spuren beschäftigen, die auf Transferprozesse zurückzuführen sind und an den Objekten selbst, aber auch an ihren Herkunfts- oder zwischenzeitlichen Aufenthaltsorten erfahrbar sind

– juristische Rahmenbedingungen von Kulturgutverlagerungen thematisieren

Ausgangspunkt für die Analysen von Translokationen oder ihrer Repräsentationen in Schrift, Bild und anderen Medien können diverse Objektgruppen sein und neben archäologischen, ethnologischen und künstlerischen Artefakten etwa Manuskripte, Archivalien oder naturkundliche Objekte umfassen.

Die Tagung findet vom 5. bis zum 7. Dezember 2019 in Berlin statt. Wir bitten um die Einsendung von Vorschlägen für 20minütige Vorträge in einem Umfang von 300 Worten sowie von Kurzangaben zum Lebenslauf bis zum 20. Januar 2019 an: Die Exposés können auf Deutsch, Englisch und Französisch eingereicht werden.

Excess between Materiality and Irrepresentability (Florence, 11-12 Apr 19) Florence, April 11 – 12, 2019 Deadline: Dec 3, 2018 Excess between Materiality and Irrepresentability Interdisciplinary Workshop at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut

In recent years, the concept of excess has been investigated more attentively not only in philosophy and sociology, but also in art history as well as in material and visual culture studies. Etymologically speaking excess simply means “to go beyond” and consequently implies a spatial and temporal movement towards the liminal, both in its concrete as well as in its metaphysical sense. Because of this liminality, excess has always been valuated as a complex and deeply ambivalent phenomenon that – depending on the cultural and historical context – possesses either positive or negative implications. Independently from these assessments excess is ‘in nuce’ a phenomenon that radically questions the norm: it is the disruptive, transformative, resistant and inexplicable par excellence. It is thus not surprising that ever since antiquity the phenomenon of excess has been at the centre of many aesthetic, epistemic and ethical reflections that cover a broad semantic field and a variety of materials, objects and ideas. For instance, the problem of an intrinsic excess of image and language was often analysed in connection to the philosophical concept of the sublime intended as an epistemic as well as an ethical category, closely connected to reflections on the limits of representation and knowledge (and not as a purely aesthetic-idealistic concept, as in deep-rooted, but reductive modernistic interpretations).  And indeed, recent studies dealing with images of violence and questions of irrepresentability, partially address not only the inherent resistance of materiality and the apparatus itself, but also nescience itself. Specifically, the question of excess has been considered in connection with the photographic apparatus: despite any control exerted on the production and dissemination of photographs, the camera – whether analogue or digital – is always potentially able to record an excess of “that-has-been” in front of it, and this excess can subvert the purposes of the photograph’s producers. This also links back excess to the question of intentionality: materials, techniques and the processes of (artistic) production often refuse to respond to the intention of the agents – that are not only artists or photographers, but for instance art dealers, museums, news agencies, archives, and societies. Excess can be understood also in quantitative terms: the huge masses of images and data already preserved in analogue archives and collections have been exceeded by the unprecedented numbers of the internet. To deal with these different forms and the intrinsic ambivalence of excess as a potentially disruptive practice means again to deal with aesthetic, epistemic and ethical questions, such as: How can excess be grasped and described, and how did concepts and conceptualizations of excess transform over time? Are there different uses of excess in different social and cultural contexts? Does excess question epistemic certainties? And what is its relationship to incommensurability? Is photographic excess different from other forms of excess in other media? What is its relationship to index, and, connected to this, can it help to deal with (problems of) intentionality? And last but not least, how does excess relate to the untamability of artistic processes?

In addressing these and other questions, the workshop seeks not only to investigate the complexity and ambivalence of the phenomenon itself, but also to shed light on the different scientific cultures dealing with and analysing it. Last but not least, it wishes to open up a space for common reflections that may help to remove some misunderstandings between academic disciplines.   

Please send a brief résumé (max. 400 words) and a short CV to the organizers Costanza Caraffa ( and Hana Gründler ( by 3 December 2018. The selection of contributions will be made by 1 January 2019.

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut can cover the travel and accommodation costs incurred by the participants in conformity with the guidelines of the Federal law on travelling expenses.







interested in infrastructural/ecological politics:

interested in infrastructural/ecological politics:

Inhabit: Instructions for Autonomy
(online: , español: , français: )

There are two paths: The end of the world or the beginning of the next.

The End of The World:

It’s over.

Bow your head and phone scroll through the apocalypse.

Watch as Silicon Valley replaces everything with robots. New fundamentalist deathcults make ISIS look like child’s play. The authorities release a geolocation app to real-time snitch on immigrants and political dissent while metafascists crowdfund the next concentration camps. Government services fail. Politicians turn to more draconian measures and the left continues to bark without teeth. Meanwhile glaciers melt, wildfires rage, Hurricane Whatever drowns another city. Ancient plagues reemerge from thawing permafrost. Endless work as the rich benefit from ruin. Finally, knowing we did nothing, we perish, sharing our tomb with all life on the planet.

The Beginning of The Next:

Take a breath, and get ready for a new world.

A multiplicity of people, spaces, and infrastructures lay the ground where powerful, autonomous territories take shape. Everything for everyone. Land is given over to common use. Technology is cracked open–everything a tool, anything a weapon. Autonomous supply lines break the economic strangle hold. Mesh networks provide real-time communication connecting those who sense that a different life must be built. While governments fail, the autonomous territories thrive with a new sense that to be free, we must be bound to this earth and life on it. Enclaves of techno-feudalism are plundered for their resources. We confront the dwindling forces of counter-revolution with the option: to hell or utopia?–either answer satisfies us. Finally, we reach the edge–we feel the danger of freedom, the embrace of living together, the miraculous and the unknown–and know: this is life.

Our time is tumultuous and potent.

Upheaval, polarization, politics as bankrupt as the financial markets–yet under crisis lies possibility. This epoch forces us to consider how each of us forms a kernel of potential, how individuals can follow their wildest inclinations to gather with others who feel the call. People learn lost skills and warriors return fire to the world. Farmers and gardeners experiment with organic agriculture while makers and hackers reconfigure machines. Models escape the vacant limelight and break bread with Kurdish radicals and military veterans taking a stand for communal life. Those with no use for politics find each other at a dinner table in Zuccotti park, Oscar Grant Plaza, or Tahrir Square, and the barista who can barely feed himself alone learns to cook for a thousand together. A retired welder and a web designer learn they are neighbors at an airport occupation and commit to read The Art of War together. An Instagram star whose anxiety usually confines them to their apartment meets a battle-scarred elder in Ferguson, where they are baptized in tear gas and collective strength, and begin to feel the weight lifted from their soul. People everywhere, living through the greatest isolation, rise together and find new modes of life. But when these kernels grow to the surface, they are stomped out in a frenzy of banality and fear. Openings are forcefully shuttered by riot police, private security forces, and public relation firms. Or worse, by the lonely ones–politically right or left–who have nothing to gain but another like on their crappy Twitter. All this while smug politicians and CEOs hover. The revolutionary character of our epoch cannot be denied, but we’ve yet to overcome the hurdle between us and freedom.

We come from somewhere broken, yet we stand.

Our epoch’s nihilism is topological. Everywhere is without foundation. We search for the organizational power to repair the world, and find only institutions full of weakness and cynicism. Well-meaning activists get digested through the spineless body of conventional politics, leaving depressed militants or mini-politicians. Those who speak out against abuse end up bearing witness to sad games of power playing out on social media. Movements erupt and then implode, devoured internally by parasites. Cities become unlivable as waters rise and governments scramble to maintain their legitimacy. Each disaster feels more and more intimate, whether we scroll through it or receive the dreaded text did you hear? Accidents feel like massacres. The names of the dead, an index of a civilization in decline. We’ve lost family and friends to addiction, poverty, and despair. We watched the police exercise their freedom to murder, at a loss for how to quench our rage. We held each other through it all, and remain standing. We sense the present that has been stolen from us, imagine the future we are fated. No one is coming to save us. We have to give ourselves the ground on which a revolution will grow.

We have the power to make an irreversible break.

We wake up day after day, generation after generation, going to work in order to recalibrate the same nightmare that forces us to work. We hustle to get by, feel the stress of the commute and the sleepless night, live paycheck to paycheck or one precarious gig to the next, all just to keep the water on. Our labor made this world and keeps it running, but not one of us feels at home. It’s not surprising that so many people throw themselves into anything that promises it could be better–movements, health trends, subcultures, militias, gangs, whatever. We want a dignified life. We desire the freedom to turn our calloused hands toward experimentation, to become so much more than our jobs. If the potency of our time is any indication, it’s that we’re capable of more than mere survival. The very labor we give–our strength, creativity, and intelligence–can be our weapon. The possibility to endure is in our capacity to strike, and in the seduction of our shared power. Our strike will be the immediate practice of reconfiguring how we live, without respect to our bosses, the rich, or the robots intended to replace us. Together we have the know-how and the drive to build a better life, a life on our own terms, and it’s up to us to create and inhabit new worlds to replace this one. Our ingenuity, our passion, our determination–we are the hinge on which every future rests.

Nothing is missing, Look around you. Give it form.

Piece by piece, we are assembling the foundation of a revolutionary force. We are building a life in common, combating the material and spiritual poverty imposed on us by our epoch, and opening up ourselves to immediate experimentation with different ways of living. Our goal is to establish autonomous territories–expanding ungovernable zones that run from sea to shining sea. Faultlines crossing North America leading us to providence. These autonomous territories will give way to new flows for travel and resources, waypoints during ecological crisis, and the ground to reclaim techniques and technology of which we’ve been disposed. We envision our task with serenity and severity. We want territories with infrastructure flexible to catastrophe, born of collective joy, inhabited by a courageous and dignified way of life. Our time is different from the past, and we will not wait for a senile radical nostalgia to catch up. We don’t have every answer, but we share what we know to be true. Now is the time to exit this untenable way of life.

We’ve begun.

1 Find Each Other

We’ve been raised in a culture of isolation and defeat, where our potential is reduced to meeting the economy’s demands. Buried beneath our own personal worries, our own bills, and our own fears, we are forced to look out only for ourselves. But we are capable of a different life.

To begin, eliminate isolation. Cut through the bullshit. Turn to those closest to you and say you need a life in common. Ask what it would be like to face the world together. What do you have? What do you need? Take an inventory of your collective skills, capacities, and connections. Make decisions that will increase your strength. Establish the basis for a life in common.

Imagine a life that reaches past your individual borders. You change the way you move through your environment to intentionally come in contact with others. Fleeting encounters become real relationships. You wander through your neighborhood, stopping by friends’ houses on your way to the cafe. You meet up nightly at the park to work out. You walk each other home. You share each other’s cars. You go camping and learn how to start a fire together. You pool money for a collective rainy day. The concept of private property gets blurred. You begin to understand yourselves as something more decisive than a group of friends.

2 Establish Hubs

Hubs are points of aggregation, centers of activity. Creating a hub is the logical next step to finding each other. We need dedicated spaces to get organized and to give ourselves time together. Hubs bring together the people, resources, and shared spirit necessary to create the foundation for a life in common.

Pool resources, target an area, and start a hub. Rent a space in the neighborhood. Build a structure in the forest. Take over an abandoned building or a vacant piece of land. No space is too small, or too ambitious. Start with what’s at hand and then multiply. Use the hub to ground all of your initiatives.

A repurposed storefront hosts weekly dinners that turn into planning sessions. A collectively-run cafe sets aside profits to incubate other spaces, like a woodshop where carpenters work together to build more than just bookshelves. In a forest outside town, a clearing serves as a gathering spot for weekly fires and martial arts training. Nearby, a permaculture farm slowly expands to feed those living in town.

3 Become Resilient

Our bodies are a mystery to us. Our health is out of our hands. If the lights went out, most of us would remain in the dark. We’ve been dispossessed of skills, passions, and knowledge. But we aren’t fragile. When we learn new skills or overcome harsh challenges, we wrest back the defining thresholds of our sense of possibility. We are capable of incredible and improbable feats.

Reclaim skills, master them through practice, and share their power. Reach out to people who have capabilities you want everyone to have. Use hubs to experiment. Prepare for the new normal. Learn to hunt, to code, to heal: increase your collective strength.

A hurricane tears through town–power’s out. FEMA is taking its sweet time. A group establishes a hub outside of the flood zone. Cooking large dinners together has given everyone the confidence to operate at scale. Teams move out to gather food in a lawless environment, fighting off racist opportunists who cling to an order of property which has been revoked. One gathers medical supplies from the hospitals and pharmacies while another opens up water tanks in apartment buildings. A park occupation brings even more people and resources together. Someone scales a building to place a router powered by kinetic energy. The router establishes a connection with a mesh network to call in reinforcements from other hubs across the territory.

4 Share A Future

The time of isolated life is over. We all share the catastrophe; we all share the challenges our epoch poses. We can protest the uneven distribution of medical resources all we want, but care will only be universal and dignified once it is rendered autonomous.

Create collective forms of care. Get organized with the next twenty years in mind. Ask each other how your needs will change as you age, have children, become disabled, begin to die. Make decisions based on desire. Imagine how spaces accommodate the dynamic nature of living and fighting. Address the most difficult questions: how to face madness, addiction, interpersonal violence, and traumatic loss. At all costs, protect each other from institutionalization.

An intergenerational network forms to address the whole of living. People think together about how to raise children, how to nurture their agency, how to help them cope with the world as it changes. Care for the aging is organized collectively and reverence for elders’ experiences affirms dignity at each stage of life. Health collectives learn ancestral methods of birth control and abortion to ensure autonomous choice. Shared emotional intelligence aids those needing a break from the fight and those returning to it. Partisan doctors, herbalists, and shaman make a pact to provide care for the network. Everyone rests easier knowing that the hospital does not have to be their first option. The need for the services of government lessens. With a new orientation to life and to death a historical weight is lifted. Without the anxieties and stress of this civilization, sicknesses begin to disappear. A new capacity for care becomes a common reservoir of strength to face the future together.

5 Bring The Fight

Our society slanders people who stand up for what’s right. We are told nothing can change, to keep to ourselves, and, above all, to not push back. To cultivate a fighting spirit in our time, we must follow an ethical compass in addition to developing strategic thought and building physical capacity.

Become stronger. Make yourself capable of force. Learn the art of striking, how anything can become a weapon. Learn to subvert the force of the enemy–how a single viral punch can check the egos of fascists everywhere, to how to collectively incapacitate the enemy by cutting off his communication system. What stands in the path of a new way of life? How can you overcome it, together? What strategic considerations will keep you out of the hands of the enemy?

A network of fight clubs connects every major city. Experienced members teach grappling and striking alongside basic fitness and stretching. Each club finds its space and builds ties with their community, especially those being cast off from this world. One chapter in the Midwest mobilizes with truckers to resist automation. Together they paralyze I-70 with the help of a geotracking app, block the self-driving trucks, and break open their cargo holds. What is useful is expropriated and the rest turned to ashes; smoke blinds police cruisers already lost amidst makeshift barricades. The cargo yields a batch of mini drones, which are sent into defensive flight patterns, controlled by a singular reconfigured app. The hacked drones infiltrate incoming police drones to transmit a virus that freezes their propellers, dropping them harmlessly to the ground. Acting with the chaos, the belligerent truckers and fight clubbers take the offensive and make their escape.

6 Expand The Network

We do not need another organization to bring us together to talk about problems, but ways to implement concrete practices to solve them. We need a network that amplifies the power of each project, widens the territory, and refuses to leave the future up to chance.

Find each other at an expanded scale. Look for the other people who are also getting organized. Scout out nascent intensities and communal forms and make contact. Reach out, establish communication, visit and meet. Exchange stories and strategies, so our network’s cultural memory and operational intelligence grows, building a greater power between us. Create material connections, share or trade resources. Multiply this gesture by thousands.

In one subversive territory, biohackers experimenting with new techniques make innovations in water purification, a group of indigenous families resists an energy company’s enclosure of their sacred land, and an autonomous hub redefines its neighborhood with a patchwork of urban farms. Regular communication between these three projects addresses their shared needs. Water treatment techniques spread between them while autonomous food infrastructure gives rise to abundance. The network is weaponized when the indigenous families call for reinforcements to defend their land. Using encrypted communication to coordinate logistics, thousands of people arrive with resources to aid the struggle.

7 Build Autonomy

We have been made to rely on paychecks and stores for our basic existence. We’re dependent on the capitalist system which forces us to either submit or starve. There’s no way around this fact: the material organization of the present world is the problem we must overcome.

Deepen the reach of autonomous initiatives. Build the infrastructure necessary to remove territory from the economy. Answer questions of collective, material power: how to feed each other, house each other, heal each other. Leverage data and design without falling into the trap that the internet will save us. Form collectives and cooperatives that achieve strategic goals without buying into a vacuous economy. Develop scalable solutions to the problems of energy, distribution, communication and logistics.

A local food distribution hub opens a cooperative grocery on the other side of town. Needing to expand capacity, the nearby farm that grows their vegetables integrates into a bioregional network looking to share a world as well as fresh food. A group of designers and engineers who hate their jobs team up to create an app that coordinates a flexible supply chain among the farms and distribution points. These efforts lead to an autonomous trade corridor. The growth of the network’s force, and the utter disregard for regulations leaves the authorities helpess, as food and people circulate freely along with the spirit of rebellion.

8 Destitute Infrastructure

We don’t want to improve life just for a select few–this is a mass exodus from this world. That means addressing the infrastructure that underpins this civilization and repurposing things as we see fit. Some systems will have to be dismantled, like oil pipelines and nuclear plants, while others can be broken open to serve autonomy.

Hack everything. Go from solving problems the current infrastructure cannot address to requisitioning existing institutions and radically changing their use. Occupy deadening spaces–city halls, schools, shopping malls–breathe new life into them. Anticipate and intensify strategic fractures. Redirect communications systems. Commandeer supply lines. Seize power without governing.

The proliferation of autonomous health clinics begins to influence the world of medicine on all fronts. Nurses, doctors, and administrators work together to clandestinely siphon hospital supplies to these clinics. When veterans’ hospitals are federally defunded, the autonomous clinics join up with patients and health care providers to occupy VA offices around the country. Brutal repression at one occupation sends dozens to a nearby state-run hospital, but when the police attempt to enter urgent care to arrest the injured veterans, they are repelled by the surgeons and nurses. Autonomous groups are joined by forces overflowing from the occupations and the hospital, and vital resources are seized for the unfolding insurgency.

9 Become Ungovernable

Revolution is a line we trace in the present. It means building autonomy here and now, making government and the economy superfluous. Breaking out of being governed will mean more than winning battle after battle, outmaneuvering political foes. It will rest on our ability to create the lasting foundation for life in common.

Spread secession to all areas of life. Go on permanent strike, slowly but surely, and take everyone with you. Refuse to be managed, or to manage anyone in turn. Drive a wedge down the center of society. Disavow a lifetime’s worth of cynicism and resentment. Believe that it is all possible.

Strikes persist, and the dull weight of debt disintegrates as finance capital collapses under growing hostility. Neighborhood assemblies decide how to act in the state of emergency, rebellious soldiers refuse to fire on their own neighborhoods, and “crime” is now relegated to raids on the governed zones. In cities, everyday is like a block party. Confiscated cookouts on crowded streets herald a time soon beyond these remnants of economic life, when shops are primed for a new use in common. At night, bonfires illuminate the distance and the stars in their wisdom reappear to protect us. In the suburbs, a Walmart is now a hub for goods and getting organized. Truckers and first responders meet to coordinate aid to a flooded territory. In the West, technologists outfit weather balloons with transceivers to amplify the autonomous internet. Labor freed from the economy increases the yield of autonomous farms, and children again learn how to be loyal to the earth.


There is no future emergency for which we must prepare.

We are already here–with every dystopian element, every means of revolution. The horrific consequences of our time and its beautiful potential are unfolding everywhere. We are resisting the end of the world by proliferating new worlds. We are becoming ungovernable–unbeholden to their merciless law, their crumbling infrastructure, their vile economy, and their spiritually broken culture.

We violently stake a claim in happiness– that life resides in our material power, in our refusal to be managed, in our ability to inhabit the earth, in our care for each other, and in our encounters with all forms of life that share these ethical truths.

We need fighters, makers, thinkers— creativity, and ingenuity.
We need builders, healers, farmers, designers, and engineers.

They tell us to wait as our lives
pass us by, hardly touching the
surface of what we could become.

They tell us to be peaceful while declaring
war on the earth, on our bodies, on
the very possibility of happiness.

They tell us heroism is dead, when
nothing is more disputed by our century.

Walzwerk Null, Düsseldorf 09.11.2018 > 01.12.2018 Opening Friday 9, 19h

Walzwerk Null, Düsseldorf

09.11.2018 > 01.12.2018 Opening Friday 9, 19h

In chess, “Zugzwang” is a situation where one player forces his opponent to move to a weaker position. All choices left to the opponent will inevitably lead him to a disadvantage. At the same time, Zugzwang is the perfect metaphor for the situation we are put in by the spread of the disruption economy and the generalization of the cybernetic management of labor.

In order to achieve the highest revenues and best tax cuts possible, Silicon Valley has developed cunning strategies that weaken the workers’ economic benefits to the lowest degree. This facade extends to the marketed “smart products” that have also been exposed as a fraud. The smart services powered by so-called artificial intelligence are operated by an army of underpaid offshore workers, who are put to work to maintain the illusion.

The exhibition Zugzwang proposes a journey behind the curtain of the forgery of complex algorithms and modern AIs. Virtual assistants, chat-bots and even self-driving cars reveal the contemporary conditions of work within the cybernetic regime of labor. The project opposes the Silicon Valley propaganda by documenting the history of this technological hoax as well as the actual fraudulence of Artificial Intelligence, Faux-AI and Pseudo-AI and paints a panorama of technologies that are governed by storytelling.

Just because you start a fire, does not mean you have to watch it burn.

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