Tom Holert on Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics. An Update
In this lecture, Tom Holert (Harun Farocki Institut, Berlin) will discuss contemporary art's peculiar role as a provider and processor of knowledge and research.
Photo: Octavian Trauttmansdorff & Jasmin Trabichler
Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics. An Update In the wake of an ongoing, often disruptive reassessment of received ideas about epistemology, truth and science, I want to use the occasion of this talk to work towards an understanding of contemporary art’s peculiar role as providing, processing, and promulgating “knowledge.” Drawing on my book Knowledge Beside Itself. Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2020), I attend to the claims to knowledge and research that in the past decades have been increasingly made by artist-practitioners, curators, educators, art institutions, self-organized spaces, etc. Furthermore, I look into the symbolic and economic valorisations such claims supposedly imply and ask what the field of contemporary art is able to contribute to the multiplicity of epistemic crises that mark the current historical moment. Rendered in a somewhat different nomenclature, my talk speculates about the extent to which contemporary art informs the General Intellect of the present.
Tom Holert is a Berlin-based cultural theorist, art historian, curator and occasional visual practitioner. In 2015 he co-founded the Harun Farocki Institut, an archive, research and facilitating platform on visual politics, documentary, education and moving images in Berlin. Recent book publications include: Neolithic Childhood. Art in a False Present, c. 1930 (a catalog/reader supplementing the 2018 exhibition of the same title at HKW, Berlin. ed., with Anselm Franke, Diaphanes, 2018); Knowledge Beside Itself: Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics (Sternberg Press, 2020); Bildungsschock. Lernen, Politik und Architektur in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren (a reader accompanying the 2021 exhibition Education Shock. Learning, Politics, and Architecture in the 1960s and 1970s at HKW, Berlin; ed., De Gruyter, 2020) and Politics of Learning, Politics of Space. Architecture and the Education Shock of the 1960s and 1970s (De Gruyter, 2021); Harun Farocki, Unregelmäßig, nicht regellos. Texte 1986–2000 (Harun Farocki. Schriften, vol. 5) (ed., König, 2021, forthcoming). Currently, Holert is working on a book on the year 1972 (to be published with Spector Books, 2022).