Talk

Reality Through Fiction

CONFERENCE

Friday 30. October, 19:00-21:30
Saturday 31. October, 14:30-20:00

Prevelaki Hall, Patission 42, Polytechneio/ASFA Building

The conference is bi-lingual and there will be live translation in English and Greek.

A two-day conference will examine the intrinsic interplay of fiction and reality in the fields of literature, visual arts and new technologies.

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS: Kostas Christopoulos (artist), Hans-Christian Dany (artist and writer), Anke Henning (theorist of literature and visual culture), Kostas Ioannidis (art historian), Ashkan Sepahvand (writer, translator and researcher), Kerstin Stakemeier (writer and educator).

 

Friday 30 OCT ´15

“REALITY THROUGH FICTION” CONFERENCE

19.00 – 21.30 Panel #1

KOSTAS CHRISTOPOULOS (artist)
Defeat, misery, despair, poverty, shame and resistance into Greek post-war Art: An Introduction

HANS-CHRISTIAN DANY (artist and writer)
Faster than the Sun

 

Saturday 31 OCT ´15

“REALITY THROUGH FICTION” CONFERENCE

14.30 – 17.00 Panel #2

ANKE HENNING (theorist of literature and visual culture)
Literary Fiction

KOSTAS IOANNIDIS (art historian)
Athenian writers in the late 19th century : inside the capsules of Michael Mitsakis and opposite the representations

 

Saturday 31 OCT ´15

“REALITY THROUGH FICTION” CONFERENCE

18.30 – 20.30 Panel #3

KERSTIN STAKEMEIER (educator and writer)
Catastrophic Reproduction: Science Fictions on the far side of the Subject

ASHKAN SEPAHVAND (writer, translator and researcher)
The Contemporary Leisure Platform – Notes Towards a Concept

 

———————- ABSTRACTS & BIOGRAPHIES ———————-

KOSTAS CHRISTOPOULOS (artist)

Defeat, misery, despair, poverty, shame and resistance into Greek post-war Art: An Introduction

ABSRACT: Post-war art in Greece has given us a plenty of dystopian representations that have turned the struggle, the resistance and the suffering caused by the war into their subject. Greek history is often brought out by connotations of personal and collective trauma, toil and humiliation. These representations often come from artists ideologically placed in the Left, in its diverse facets. For instance, the “rebellious character” of Nikos Svoronos, or , more widely, terms such as “rebellious realism” in art, sum up the way Greek history is being understood by broad social layers in Greece, in what we somehow abusively call “national and collective imaginary” until today.

BIOGRAPHY: Kostas Christopoulos studied painting and printmaking at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Since 2010 he is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Political Sciences at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. His work has been exhibited in Greece and abroad.  He regularly writes art and literature reviews and was part of the curatorial team of the 4th Athens Biennial. He is a member of the Filopappou Group, the platform Lo&Behold and a co- founder of The Symptom Projects. http://www.kostaschristopoulos.com

HANS-CHRISTIAN DANY (artist and writer)

Faster than the Sun

ABSTRACT: For a while I often went to the casino. While gambling and watching the circulation of the game, I realised: again and again an unknown future ist proposed, that never turns into reality. An machine produces random numbers that are unpredictable, but allways the same setting comes again into place. I loose my money. The situation is ultrastable since threehundred years. This will lead me to the question, if the fictions of prediction could be the reason, for a reality that nearly stands still, where future stopped to happen. (Excerpt from Faster Than The Sun, a novel by Hans-Christian Dany, Edition Nautilus, 2015)

Hans-Christian Dany will talk about gambling and draw a line from the models of early cybernetics to an analysis of the situation now: a society that is very slow and nearly doesn´t move anymore, because it constantly produces mathematical fictions of the future, that prevent a real future from coming into place. He will then look at some examples from art, that are more open to an unknown and non-human controlled future. 

BIOGRAPHY: Hans-Christian Dany is an artist on holidays from what he should do. He sometimes writes.

ANKE HENNING (theorist of literature and visual culture)

Literary Fiction

ABSTRACT: Fiction does not create a second world, but instead shifts our relation to this world.According to our definition, fiction can change our frames of reference. When reading fiction we associate ourselves with another subjectivity, another place and another time. Fiction systematically exploits the grammar of language in order to change our location of I-here-now in the world. Via immersion into fiction we are able to experience how language provides us with a world and meaning becomes perceptible. At its most extreme, fiction enables us to sense worldliness and can even change our understanding of the world. Metanoia – literally a change of mind, or conversion – occurs.

BIOGRAPHY: Anke Hennig is a theorist of literature and visual culture, currently teaching at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London and organising the international research group ‘Retro-Formalism’ (www.retroformalism.net). Previously she taught at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Free University Berlin and has been a Fulbright Fellow at the New York University. Her most recent book, ‘Present Tense: A Poetics’, co-authored with Armen Avanessian, was also published in German and Russian and her next, ‘Poetonomy’, is in progress. She is also a member of the editorial board of the online journal ‘Apparatus’ and of the advisory board of the Czech online publishing project ‘Sdvig’.

KOSTAS IOANNIDIS (art historian)

Athenian writers in the late 19th century : inside the capsules of Michael Mitsakis and opposite the representations

ABSTRACT: Kostas Ioannidis will attempt, at first, a close-up reading of a brief text by Mihail Mitsakis, from the last decade of the 19th century. Mitsakis is characterized usually as the most typical rover of Athens. In this particular text, however, the experience that is being described is not that of the open and labyrinthine urban space but that of the stay in a (dystopian) space that is being experienced by the narrator (as well as the reader) as a transparent capsule suffocating full of sounds, movement and smells. This space is the lounge of a ship anchored in the port (“Στο Βαπόρι”, 1985). Ioannidis will argue that Mitsakis is setting up a laboratory to observe modernity, where in completely controlled circumstances, he studies the coincidence, accordance, conflict of sensorial stimuli. Given the above, he will go on with some comments on painting and photography of the time and he will display a methodological questioning on how we can see the arts of the visual sphere under a more complex, multisensorial prism.    

BIOGRAPHY: Kostas Ioannidis studied archaeology and history of art in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He carried out his Ph.D. in the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and in the University of Chicago. Today he is assistant professor of Theory and Critique of Art in the department of Art Theory and History of Art, in the Athens School of Fine Arts and he teaches in the master’s program “ Visual Arts”  of the same school. He has been teaching theory and history of art at the University of  Ioannina and the Aegean University.  He has also carried out a research on the archives of MoMA in New York and on the Rockfeller Archive Center, in reference to Greek-American relations in the field of visual arts and he has given lectures at the University of Colorado. He has published studies on historiography and art critique, the book “Contemporary Greek Photography: A Century in Thirty Years” and he has curated artists’ shows. The last years he has been working at a project with the working title : «Viewing Technologies at the turning from the 19th to the 20th century.»

KERSTIN STAKEMEIER (educator and writer)

Catastrophic Reproduction: Science Fictions on the far side of the Subject

ABSTRACT: The difference between the notion of capitalism’s structural episodes of crisis and that of its current state of catastrophe is that in the latter case the perspective of a future resolution that is inherent to any crisis is post-poned infinitely and temporality thus slips into limbo. What we have encountered as the financialized crisis of capitalism in the years following 2007 today no longer is announced as a temporary crisis. But this is not because its conditions have been superseeded, quite on the contrary, they have deepened and were consolidated and acculturated.
We are living within a catastrophy. But if the system that was in crisis deserved its discontinuation, this moment of catastrophe may not only expose us to a normalcy of discontinuity, but also engender a reconstruction of who we were. A discontinuation of capitalism in ourselves. 
There have been countless attempts to seek out the bourgeois subject and the oedipal family it reproduces as the centre of an unliveable equation that thrives on the gendering of all sex and the habitual forms of oppression that it has instituted itself by. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Shulamith Firestone, Donna Haraway, Kathy Acker, Sadie Plant, Paul B. Preciado, Cosey Fanni Tutti, the list of those willfully catastrophizing this normalcy is potentially endless. So what happens if we re-imagine those willfull catastrophisms within the terms of that financialized catastrophe which we are forced to reproduce ourselves in today?

BIOGRAPHY: Kerstin Stakemeier (*1975) is a educator and writer. She is a junior professor of media theory at the cx centre for interdisciplinary studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich and researches the theories and histories of media in art and mass art and the role of labour herein. She published „Painting – The Implicit Horizon” (with Avigail Moss) in 2012 and „Power of Material/Politics of Materiality” and „Fragile Identities” (with Susanne Witzgall) in 2014/15. „A-Autonomy” co-written with Marina Vishmidt will come out with textem and Mute in 2015 and „(De)Artification. Kunst als Dramatisierung.” with b_books PoLYpeN in 2016.

ASHKAN SEPAHVAND (writer, translator and researcher)

ABSTRACT:  Mountgrove [:)]  is my ongoing artistic research project into what I term “celebration culture”. This presentation briefly introduces the project, its context and concerns, and a sample of its fragmentary narratives, in order to demonstrate the ways in which I use science-fiction and theory together to offer reflections on capitalism and its (possible) future. 

I want to specifically isolate a concept that is important to the project’s narrative and elaborate on it further. The “contemporary leisure platform” (CLEP) is presented in Mountgrove [:)] as “the future of the club experience”, an ambiguous environment (is it virtual? is it real?) where pleasure is technically supplemented, consciousness is disembodied, and the homogenising infrastructures constructed by today’s military-entertainment complex, those spaces within which “the good life” may officially be lived, all merge to conjure a smooth, spectacularly unified image of humanity. In the CLEP, a new kind of humanity emerges: Homo gaudens, the man of pleasure, the perfect advanced capitalist subject, celebrating his freedom to obey The Happiness Imperative and serve The Sameness Project to the fullest. The new figure of the laborer appears as the pleasure-seeker, the joy-rider, the techno-sensualist, whose leisure is work and whose work is leisure.

I want to examine the fiction-into-reality / reality-into-fiction dynamics of the CLEP, taking seriously the practice of “fun” and the affects associated with it (pleasure, intimacy, relaxation, love, joy) as a battleground for human subjectivity. The anarchist collective Tiqqun rightly calls this an “Aesthetic War”, a war on the senses that capitalism, through its figures of Youth, Beauty, Girls, Gays, and Bodies, is waging within a “militainment” apparatus that has hijacked our capacities to feel and to know happiness. We are promised that this pleasure can be bought, experienced elsewhere, supplemented, or is contingent on us working on “our selves” to become better, to be “our best”. Therefore, though the CLEP may exist in my project as a hypothetical sci-fi space within which the general narrative occurs, the CLEP is also a theoretical device to address contemporary zones of activity within which the future of Capital-Life is being experimented: the club, the museum, the gallery, the luxury resort, the shopping mall, the gated community, the park, the cruise ship, the beach, the duty free shop, the lounge, and so forth. These spaces merge together to reveal that their “differences” are merely a simulation, they are all one variation of the Same. Indeed, the End-Image they generate is that of the Total Frontier of a War that aims to “exterminate Beings capable of love.” 

I will share some in-progress notes on the concept, while showing a few selected works by the British artist Louisa Minkin, namely “Yes to Life” (2013) and “Nicetown” (2015), both of which visually present complimentary arguments to my own and have been influential on my imagination of the CLEP. I will also present some visual documentation I have gathered on various sites of leisure and entertainment that aggressively reproduce a very specific and very limited notion of the human as understood by capital. 

BIOGRAPHY: Ashkan Sepahvand is a writer, translator, and researcher. His practice traces associations from within the histories of the body, the sensory, sexuality, imagination, celebration, transformation, futurity, queerness, collectivity, ritual, and the self. From 2012-2014, he was a research fellow for “The Anthropocene Project” at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, where he co-edited the publication “Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray” (MIT Press: 2015). His work and writings have been presented at dOCUMENTA (13), Ashkal Alwan, Institute for Contemporary Arts London, Former West, Sharjah Biennial X, Al-Ma’mal Foundation, the Barber Shop, Kunstwerke, and Kunsthaus Bregenz. He lives and works in Berlin, where he organizes the technosexual reading circle.

 

 

 

 

Supported by DAAD Programme: Partnerships with Greek Institutions of Higher Education 2014 – 2016 / A Cooperation between the Academy of Fine Art Munich (ADBK) and the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)