Elke van Campenhout Debunking the Myth
9-13 November 2020 / a.pass
or The Emperor’s New Clothes Revisited
To be a contemporary artist comes with a lot of prerequisites these days: unspoken discourse rules, critical norms, and a general salonfähig consensus about values like fluidity, horizontality, collaboration, etcetera… Often these values are taken for granted while a strong discourse is ruling the artist’s world, zooming in on any hint of postcolonial insensitivity, patriarchal blindness, gender observations, and faintly non-consensual power use. This attitude stems from the bountiful history of feminist and queer studies, cultural studies insights, and a general growing awareness of her-stories and the damage done by biased educations and cultural misgivings. But at the same time there are also a lot of other untouched territories underlying these value markers: 19th century romanticism, liberalism, humanism, … Each one carrying within it a very specific view of what it means to be a human being in this world, how we are connected and what we are able to convey.
In the current climate it seems to me a lot of these values are not questioned thoroughly on how they influence our capacity to open up to the choices in the work that want to manifest. Often the research is blocked by the embodied discourse, warning against any infractions on the presupposed shared value system. Which often seems to stop the experimentation at the point where it dips into uncertainty, risk and the danger of losing the stamp of approval of the community. In this workshop I would like to look into these presuppositions, both on a discursive and body level: to see what are the desires that are being thwarted by the powers-that-are-being-accepted, and how we can reclaim the ones that aren’t and activate them in a thinking and body practice out of a normative context, but within the expansive limits of an experimental research practice.
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