Extracurricular  /  Seminars

Emancipating Spectators: The Contradictions of Politicized Art

Friday, ampoule 30 July, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

At the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania
118 South 36th Street Philadelphia, PA

This Machete group meeting will be held  at ICA as a part of Summer Studio with Anthony Campuzano.

In an era in which the critical condemnation of consumer culture has become a trite commonplace and institutional critique has become part of the institution, it might seem that political art is destined to repeat rote strategies whose failure is inscribed in their very logic. Have we finally arrived at a point at which political art can only revel in its own impotence? Are spectators simply indifferent “zero-points of visibility” who take in the institution and its critique without recognizing any real distinction, who digest the culture industry as comfortably and quiescently as the artistic attempts to criticize the culture industry? Or is there still a pedagogy of art, a paideia of spectators, and possibilities for taking aesthetics outside of the vicious circle between institution and critique, complacent consumerism and the rejection of the spectacle? These and related issues will be presented and debated in the next Machete Group meeting through the use of three pioneering texts by Jacques Rancière, Andrea Fraser and Claire Bishop.


Download Jacques Ranciere_Emancipated Spectator1

Download Jacques Ranciere_Emancipated Spectator2

Download Claire Bishop_Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics

Download Andrea Fraser_From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique

The Machete Group organizes workshops, mini-seminars, reading groups, screenings and other events open to the public that have as their general focus the intersection between artistic practice and its theoretical articulation. The guiding proposition of the Machete Group is the claim that practice without theory is empty and theory without practice is blind. The goal of the center is to engender a rigorous and open atmosphere outside a strictly academic context that encourages autodidacticism, a willingness to question all forms of mastery and specialization, and the desire to think critically about artistic practice in an historically, socially and politically astute manner.

Monthly workshops run by Alexi Kukuljevic and Gabriel Rockhill with invited artists and intellectuals organized around select writings and works of art.