“Art World Systems: Network, Medium, Platform,” Francis Halsall, Kris Cohen, and Johanna Gosse in Conversation

In this public exchange, art historians Francis Halsall (National College of Art and Design, Dublin), Kris Cohen (Reed College) and Johanna Gosse (Columbia University) will discuss the art world in terms of systems. They take as their starting point three recent books on the state of the contemporary art world: Pamela Lee’s Forgetting the Art World (2012), David Joselit’s After Art (2012), and Lane Relyea’s Your Everyday Art World (2013).

After brief introductions of each text, the speakers will embark on a conversation tackling issues such as the art world’s embeddedness in a networked, global system and shifting conceptions of the artistic medium, from specific materiality to technical support to platform.

Questions they consider will include: what specific forms of knowledge does art continue to offer as its historical definitions, categories, and criteria have transformed, and often, faded into obsolescence, much like the technologies it would critique? To what extent should art and art discourse, as resources for getting our bearings in the present, mesh with and respond to technological change? How are the interconnections between art and technology inevitable within networked life, part of the very structure of destablizing change; and if they are inevitable, and if art and technology are not opposed but forced together in the medium of history, where does critique begin and what shapes should it take?

Friday, November 6th, 5:30 PM
Smith Hall 102
The University of Washington, Seattle

This event is sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and hosted by the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington.

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