A Proposal for Research at Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen

- The Academy and The Corporate Public
- Art Production in a Dramatised Field






_Researching inherited problems
_A large task in front of us.
_Identity and diversity in a global age


_Claiming the 'Litientia Poetica'
_Research and investigation.
_Two-some-ness as a dialogue form.
_Evaluation and its context.


Public <--> Academy
_Art, knowledge and communities.
_Communities constitute value.
_Critical thought needs condensation points!

Artist <--> Academy
_How do the changes interfere with the traditional roles?

Institution <--> Academy
_Questioning the image that an academy represents and that it reproduces.

Artist <--> Public

_Fields to be ploughed.
_Change changes.





_Global changes
_The Academy and the public
_Corporate Rokoko
_The problem and a counter-strategy.



_A global economy...
_...and the Norwegian public?
_Status Questionis.
_First step: Overview on an international debate.
_The second step is to apply this knowledge in order to trigger for a (national) debate



_Investigation leads to research
_The stage as a device for reflection
_A new game with different rules
_To alter the script.
_Two experiments.

White Cube Bergen, the theatre and its proliferation (within the world).
American Fine Arts, the theatre and its representation (in the theatre)

_This research is geared towards an international acknowledgement

What could be the new horizons for this project?





Preliminary remarks.
In the following I will propose a research project to be implemented at the Kunstakademi, Bergen, department of Kunsthogskolen i Bergen.
Due to renewed focus on research at Kunsthogskolen in Bergen, I was compelled to elaborate on some preliminary ideas about artistic research, its methodology, and where to locate research projects within the Kunstakademi, Bergen, as part of Kunsthogskolen in Bergen.

Research and investigation have always been fundamental to artistic practice.
It was about ten years ago, in the early nineties, that a new generation of artists re-inserted the idea of research into contemporary art practice. This art was distinguished by its use of quasi-scientific methods for the investigation of its subject matter, and 'scientific' aesthetics for the visualisation of their results.
But we may go back in time as long as we like. Artists have always researched their subject matter, historically, sociologically, politically, religiously and philosophically. They have researched their materials and working methods; they have researched their professional contexts and their own role as artists and as members of a social organism. Examples may range from Giotto to Jackson Pollock, from Leonardo da Vinci to Marcel Broodthaers, from Giorgio Vasari to Hans Haacke, from Gustav Courbet to Andrea Fraser and from Angelika Kauffmann to Mark Dion.

Researching inherited problems.
The exaggerated advent of the new millennium may have created an artificial distance to a century that has brought us the most incredible expansion of technology, knowledge, information etc. This distance may enable us to view, to record, to analyse, to investigate, to study, to compare... to research the historical conditions of the twentieth century, including changes in the arts and around the arts.

A large task in front of us.
Culturally, the 20th century has left us with both an enormous heritage and a large task in front of us. The last two decades in particular have confronted us with a process named 'globalisation' which brings vast shifts in the visual representation of economy, politics, culture and entertainment. Art practice and the theory of the fine arts have been fundamental to those fields of visual culture.

Identity and diversity in a global age.
The unifying (or homogenising) tendencies of globalisation could be seen as creating a common language on the road to a global culture, but they are necessarily opposed to, or rather escorted by, an increasing range of diversity resulting from the break-up of the simple construction of identity through nation, race and sex alone. Migration in a post-colonial age comes hand in hand with an incredible mobility of exchange, trade and travel, all of which break down boundaries and definitions: hybrid-cultures, multi-ethnic with multiple identities and cross cultural codes, trans gendered, cross genred.

Examining established definitions.
Under the aforementioned circumstances, we have to question established definitions; we have to see their form as consisting of mixtures, overlappings, relations and contexts.

> How can we speak of one identity for the artist within the scale of this discussion? An art academy has to offer and question different roles, motivations and meanings.

> How can we continue to speak of one (national) public sphere for the arts? An art academy has to research into different publics, and one aim for this research is to induce new publics, audiences and communities around its knowledge, around the awareness and the sensitivity that a discussion of the fine arts creates.

> And of course we have to question our own roles, as teachers, as an institution, as an art academy and as the Kunsthogskolen in Bergen. Who are we? What is our policy towards different publics? Who are our partners, supporters and friends?

I will return to look closer at these three fields for research later. The artist, the institution and the public are three corners that interlink to make a triangle. The communication between them shapes what lies in their centre: a definition of art in time.


Artists' research and methodology

Artistic education and rhizomatic[1] growth.
My education as a visual artist did not teach me how to execute scientific research. Artists' thinking and methodology are not, for the most part, shaped through scholastic experience and scientific dissertation. Most artists are educated in a more visual intelligence, in ways to make use of a more chaotic, a rhizomatic kind of thinking. Methodology may therefor meander or grow rhizomatically, the process might well turn out to be a more interesting result than the outcome. (This remark is also of course to be borne in mind regarding the following research project!)

Claiming the 'Litientia Poetica'.
'Fine Arts' are traditionally related to the scholastic fields 'Art History', 'Art Theory' and, in the Anglo-American context 'Cultural Studies'. These can be used as helpful devices, as partners on research projects, but by definition they do not constitute the field of the Fine Arts themselves.
As an artist I have to work with and against the definitions of my profession and the field that it claims. I might therefore use methods that are elsewhere regarded as imprecise. What might, through the eyes of a scientist, look to be 'amateurish' is in fact a highly skilled dilettantism; what might look like a 'pseudo scientific' approach may in fact be an artistic cognitive process.
To do research in my very own field I have to rely on my expertise as a visual artist. I will use the chance here to apologise to any critic (with a background in the field of sciences) for using sometimes a somewhat subjective point of view. I claim the 'Litientia Poetica'.

Taking this kind of 'artistic freedom' may be a privilege but it does however come with obligations. It should not repel criticism but invite it. And if we would claim that the artistic battle for a growing awareness has no rules, does that then turn all artistic exploration into research? How can we avoid the redundant simplification that converts any research into good research?

Rules and sets of relations.
Perhaps the term research could be seen as a helpful device to give one's own experiments a structural framework. And, like any other research, it is probably important to what extent it defines its field and its subject, as well as how far it can create for itself a set of its very own rules.

Research and investigation.
Also, one has to differentiate the term research from 'investigation' (German/ French: Recherche). Artists often (mis-)understand the investigation of their subject matter's historical, political, sociological or other backgrounds as research. As long as this does not in itself provide innovations in the field of arts, I would suggest that one regard this kind of investigation as a necessary first step for providing grounds for artistic research. To be consistent, research could be seen as an artistic and creative transformation of the investigated matter in order to (hopefully) create an innovation in the field of fine arts.

Two-some-ness as a dialogue form.
One will notice when reading this exposition that I often used two-some-ness for the set-up of its inner structure. This should already have become apparent from the title, 'The Academy and The Corporate Public' - 'Art Production in a Dramatised Field' which is actually the title for one project which has several parts. Each of these two main parts may consist of at least another two different elements.
In order to make this method clear I would not use the word 'dialectic', because it implies the necessity of an 'other' as the missing part of a whole. Instead of using the terms of dualistic opposition, I would prefer juxtaposition in dialogue form, so that we are still forced to think in terms of relations and differences.
The 'second' is the first of different possibilities; it introduces a plural as a dialogue of singulars. This is a necessary condition to discuss definitions, fields and relations, which again is a prerequisite for the discussion about art.

Environment and difference.
Artists' research is not competitive with, nor comparable to, scientific research in the way it is carried out. This means that artistic experiments will not have to be based on equal premises, systematics or classification. But they will have to correspond to the co-ordinates of the particular circumstances in order to make a difference to those circumstances. In other words: experiments should be kept simple and according to the possibilities, but they should be carried out with an energy that is directed against the framing conditions.

Evaluation and its context.
It seems that in the arts, progress cannot be objectively evaluated through knowledge. As with any other research, it has to be evaluated on the extent of the increase of knowledge within one's own field , and whether this might, as a 'side effect', shape, influence or in any way 'improve' our society. But success is a relative thing and there is certainly more that one way to success. That is another reason why we have to introduce dialogue, two-some-ness, into the evaluation. .

Relations - revelations.
That is why evaluation depends not only on what the research may reveal, but in what context it does so , and to what role it wants to deploy its results. The fields for investigation exist in relation to each other as do the fields where the results are displayed. This is how research matters.

The fields of research

A field is always made up of a set of relations.
I have already mentioned in the preface that art is not a defined entity but temporarily constructed by a discussion of relations.

Three fields set the relations for a definition of art in time.
I consider the three fields and their relations -the artist, the institution and the public sphere- to be of fundamental importance to all our Kunstakademi research projects. The following is intended as a short mapping. I want to provide some examples for possible research in order to show the complexity of relations. Then I will move on to both of my more specified proposals, both of them researching the relationship of the Kunstakademi in Bergen towards a corporate public.


Fig 1: The fields of research.

Public <> Art Academy

Research into the set of relations between the Art Academy and the public.
The relationship between institutions and the public has changed drastically in the 20th century. Some current parameters for organising the changes are: media society, culturalisation, privatisation, sponsorship, funding, and diversification of 'the public sphere' into various special-interest groups, the corporate public.

The university and three steps of development.
We see the institutions discussing communities not without given reason. It appears that one of the latest debates in the world of academia identifies three historical phases of the university. If its earliest function was to archive knowledge ('scholastic university') and subsequently, after Humboldt, to produce knowledge, then recent discussions seem to suggest a new function for the university; that is, to see the growth of a community and the expansion of knowledge as an interlinked project.[2]

Art, knowledge and communities.
The interdependence of art and its public comes as no surprise for an institution like the Kunstakademi. We have to consider that 'AKADEMEIA' represents a different model of teaching/learning than universities do. Named after the Plato school's favourite classroom, a little grove near Athens, the idea of the "Akadhmeia" was reintroduced into Italy[3] around 1450. At that time the scholastic universities had already been archiving knowledge for 300 years, but now they were confronted with a different kind of learning: 'AKADEMEIA' was the name for a new social quality of learning, for informal meetings of interdisciplinary character, for discussion and exchange of information, for reciprocal teaching and learning.

The many names of an institutionalised grove.
When I speak here of 'academy' or 'AKADEMIE', then I am speaking in reference to this concept, one to which I will soon return. When I talk about 'Kunstakademi', then I talk about the institution in Norway that educates artists. When I mention 'KHIB', then I am talking about an institution for fine and specialised arts and design in Bergen. The words 'academic', 'academical' and 'academia' are signifiers that point towards the field of scholastic (university) education.

Communities constitute value.
When I return to my topic, which is the fragmentation of the public sphere and the 'making of publics', we have to notice that it is not only the university and the academy that are concerned with the constitution of their products[4] through relationships with communities.
This has also been fundamental to ideological developments that we can observe around and about. It is, for example, one of the main goals of advanced capitalism to create communities around commodities, to constitute the consumers through the consumed, to make them 'love it all'.
Equally booming are 'communities' as projection screens in the arts. Along with 'networks' they became a value in themselves, a promise of social surplus, which is essential for marketing. So along with the 'making of communities' comes the exploitation of the value that they seem to represent.[5]

Critical thought needs condensation points!
But it is the analysis and the critique of these contemporary inclinations that bring us back to the research of art and communities.
I see the development of communities around critical thought, reciprocated by the development of critical thought in communities, as counter-strategies against the exploitation, or rather, capitalisation of fragmented publics. It means to create a public by criticising the commodified making of publics.
However, the proposed projects have not been developed in defence of any idea of the public, be it fragmented, corporate or granted by whatever state, though as my work continues, it cannot but alter conceptions of what the public sphere is and how it could operate.

As an art academy we have to be aware that the idea of the public sphere is changing. The relationships to different publics should to be reconsidered and designed anew. The Kunstakademi can create and educate its own public that moves towards a critical analysis and engagement.

Two suggested areas for research:

> The Kunstakademi's public relations: how can it reach out, create a public? How can the publics get involved with the Kunstakademi? How can the Kunstakademi induce public debates? (Methods at our disposal include: a mailing list, networks, editions, publications, the White Cube, the open house, public events, our invitation policy)

> Corporate infiltration of a general public and the field of arts generally.
(Areas for research include: corporate collecting, corporate identity, sponsorship, branding, image transfer, censorship in the arts)


Research into writing the role of the artist and educating artist's skills.
The image of the artist and the artist's role in society has changed through the processes of cognition in art and sciences, in technology and philosophy.

How do the changes interfere with the traditional roles?

> Which roles have been traditionally written? Why are these roles reproduced in institutions?

> What knowledge and what role do we teach, what roles do we produce for the artist in this society?

> What are the contents and methods of education? What ideologies do we represent?

> Are there any other pedagogic models? What possible forms are there for collective production and project oriented work?

> What would be an appropriate basic training for 1st year students?

An art academy is made up of artists as teachers and artists as students. The art academy's role is also to invite and relate to artists and teachers/learners outside the institution.

> How can they be attracted by an art academy ?

It is not only that an art academy educates or breeds artists.

> What models of 'the artist' exist in other fields, like those of music, literature and film? How can we use them?

Institution <> Art Academy

What is an art academy , its education and methodology?

I have done research in this field already, when I set up an experimental 'Sommerakademie' in the framework of the Münchener Kunstverein (1994, Germany). Also, as a result of my research and continuing work on the reproduction of the image of the artist, I edited a publication on art academies entitled AKADEMIE[6]. Intended as a 'reader' and 'academy guide', it gives an insight into the historical development of academies. This includes reference to Plato and the idea of the 'AKADEMEIA' as I have mentioned above: the academy as a forum for non-hierarchical debate and interdisciplinary exchange of information. This academy is, as a do-it-yourself organisation, based on reciprocal teaching and learning. The quality of this exchange constitutes its value.

Questioning the image that an academy represents and that it reproduces.

An art academy does not need to have a defined, immutable identity in order to enable this communication. It could distinguish itself from all other institutions by being an interface through its set of debates inside and outside, where institutes of universities, museums, libraries and galleries could become part of the body of a discussion.

My project AKADEMIE questioned the reproduction of the image of the artist by institutions and social conditions and suggested the academy as a forum for a discussion of the function of the arts, as a way to connect research, teaching and exhibition making. This makes the academy a test site as much as an interface to create and communicate a public discussion.

'Making academy' is not only a process of learning; it is also a method of production.

Artist <> Public

Is the relation between the artist and the public long since disturbed?

The renowned art historian Nikolaus Pevsner begins the foreword of his research[7] on the history of art academies:

"Slowly I developed the idea that a history of art could be based as much on the observation of the relations between the artist and the world around him, as on the description of the ever-changing historic styles.
The question, that has to alarm every art historian in view of the ruling conditions, is why and how it could happen that the artist was so painfully separated from its audience."

Well, Pevsner could not give an essential answer to that question through researching the history of the art academies, but he saw the crucial problems there: in the fields of relation between the artist and the public, their organisation and their education.

> How is the artist's role in society defined? Who defines it? Who reproduces it?

> Who shapes the signs in this society? For whom are they shaped?

> The masses are producing the images by consuming them.

> How can artistic inventions and intellectual capital be protected? Who controls the controllers?

> What are the needs of the publics? Who questions confidence?

> How are audiences structured, how are they qualified and what role do they play for the artist?

> How do artists build up relationships and publics?

> What is the educational result of this relationship?

> Are there specialised roles of the artist for diversified communities?

> How is an artist's relation to a public different to the relation between an art institution and a public?


Fields to be ploughed.
I have dwelled on these relations a little, because I felt it was necessary to give an overview of the territory in which further research may be carried out.
But let us not get muddled with the vast range of questions, let us rather go back to my diagram again and imagine the fields and their relations changing, and changing the discourse that is spiralling through the confusing meshwork of relations and around art.

Change changes.
We have seen how the fields are not defined, that they often overlap. Necessary relations, differences and definitions have to be negotiated and discussed. The communication between these fields and inside of them determines what is in the middle. But this is not a stable system in an equilibrium, it is always in a state of change. An alternation of one component will change all the others. As we know, art has a different function in a different society, in a different economy. And here we are proceeding towards the point of departure for this research...

Is something changing?
What are the changes, at the turn of the millennium, in our 'western' societies?

Fig 2: The fields of research, we see that they are not clear defined territories. They define each other through relations. We have to see these relations as constituting elements and we have to examine their mutual conditions.




An introduction to Corporate Rokoko

Global changes

It is only in the last decade of the 20th century that a greater public has become increasingly aware of the path that advanced capitalism has taken over the last 100 years: a triumphal procession of economic liberalism around the globe, a process referred to as 'globalisation' or 'privatisation of the public'.
The analysis of this development, the consequences for the aforementioned categories (the institution, the artist, the public) and the relationship strategies within the corporate world are the issues for this research.

The former public sphere...

The so-called 'public sphere' was formerly guaranteed by the state (for about 250 years the idea of a nation was a principle for organisation of most of the western democracies) but is now increasingly handed over to the interests of the ever merging international corporations.
As though imperialism and colonialism had been reversed, the weakened nation states are nowadays afraid of the withdrawal or pullout of the capital forces. Submitting themselves to a new order and global competition, they cut wages and dismantle social security, just to attract those who were traditionally called 'exploiters' to 'invest'.
We catch ourselves as couch potatoes within the spectacles before us: the corporate mega mergers that take over the national state's self-proclaimed autonomy, the global player that claims the democratically organised public sphere as his playground. The new expansion of power, economically and thus politically, is signalled visually with the use of signs, images and logos. The occupation of the public sphere goes along with an appropriation of sign, image and language.

...and the role of the arts...

Art in this game plays an important role to transmit the message and to mould attractive sites for speculation and investment. Culture offers lifestyle, symbolic value, image transfer, commodity, and tourist attraction. It would appear that culture became the pyrotechnics in the big spectacle: 'The West Taking The Rest'.
This scenario of a changing public that I have mapped out very generally here has various impacts on the significance of art in our (western) society and the role of the artist and his professional life.
You may find all this something of an exaggeration, but I want to make two things clear.

...in transformation.

First: The public is in the process of changing...
Second: ...art and its relation to the public will also change . In a society that is more and more shaped through reliance on corporate mega structures, art will have a different function.
But to look at it in reverse: can art make changes to the public sphere or can it create its very own (critical) audience?
The basic two pronged question then becomes: What will the art work be and what will be its function?

The Academy and the public

After researching the possibilities of an institution with AKADEMIE, in 1994, I am now more concerned with the artist's and the art academy's relation to the public, and how the global changes in economy start shaping the public sphere and the art differently.

The corporate public and its dramatisation.

More specifically, I want to research an art academy's relation to a fragmented public, the biggest chunks of which are defined, refined and/or influenced by the interests of Corporations. The smallest pieces are then those who are involved in a thorough discussion of art production.
If the relation 'The Academy and the Corporate Public' constitutes the mapping of a problem faced by art production today , then the second part of my project 'Art Production in a Dramatised Field' deals with an artistic counter strategy towards (or, dramatising of) the manner in which discussion of the artist's production is creating a new public.
Here again: How can we relate to the corporate public, to what extent can we dramatise it? To what extent can we create a public around the discussion of art?

Corporate Rokoko

In 1998, under the pen name 'Werner von Delmont', I published a book[8] that could be called a pre-research of these questions. My investigation into the subject of the function of the arts in a corporate public led me to use the romantic novel as a model for the book, which is loosely constructed out of three parts, including some semi-documentary material.

A novel in three parts.

The plot of 'Corporate Rokoko' is set in 2033, from which special viewpoint it talks about the changes leading towards the development of a 'corporate public' in the 1990's.
The first part of the book could be called a 'Chamber piece' in which the protagonist, an ageing painter at the Court of the Corporate Rokoko, comments on the art movements in the 1990's as heralding the idea of a corporate public, leading finally to a new absolutism in 2033.
The second part is an essay by a courtier and art critic defending the ideas of 'Corporate Culture' against criticism, whereas the third part pretends to publish an 'original document' of the 1990's. This is in fact an actual interview that I had previously conducted with Dr. Erhard Schüttpelz and Prof. Jürgen Fohrman (Germanic Studies, University Bonn).
In this interview, we attempted to discuss the development of the public sphere from the late absolutism until now. We focused in particular on the importance of the organisation of critical consciousness in small circles and the necessity for differentiation and de-differentiation of these debates; in other words, to continue to modify the discussion whilst at the same time trying to draw more people into joining it.

The problem and a counter-strategy.

This is what I intend with the following proposals. To try and map the new problem, the origin of a corporate public. And to experiment with dramatising a counter strategy, to start a differentiated debate about 'the art work of the future' in relation to the corporate publics and to try and draw more people into this debate. That means creating a public and a field of knowledge at the same time.

In the following, I want to outline my two approaches, I want to locate them within the set of relations that I have briefly mapped out above, the public, the artist and the art academy, and I want to stage them in front of the public, the backdrop in the global theatre.


The Academy (Akademi) and the Corporate Public.

   I N T R O

A global economy...
The changes in the idea of a public sphere are easily detected in the economy of the arts.
Corporate collecting, corporate museums, foundations and sponsorship mean that the artist, the art institutions, and finally most of cultural life depend increasingly on corporate money, taste and influence. As indicated in 'Corporate Rokoko' I see the tendency towards a new and courtly function for the arts: as spectacle for the masses, connoisseurship for the few.

...and the Norwegian public?
One of the major conditions for the research is in my opinion the particular condition of Norwegian economics, arts and politics. Compared to the USA, Great Britain or Germany, Norway is a very young national state, with a tendency to cut itself off from extra-Scandinavian contexts and developments. Thanks to the exploitation of its natural resources, it seems to be a self-sufficient and provident welfare state, but it is very questionable if it either wants or is able to resist the effects of global economy. Due to its reliance on export and because of its investments into the international stock market, Norway seems already heavily entangled within a global economy.
Norway's national art scene is reasonably well subsidised by the state, whilst the artists seem to be reaching out to be connected to international debates.

"Status Questionis".
It is therefore a concern of this investigation to provide grounds for a scientific and artistic discussion, to create an overview of the status questionis...

> First of all, to investigate what has been happening internationally, looking particularly at Germany, Great Britain and the USA, with an additional focus on altered teaching and research conditions in the European countries. (This part is almost completed with the use of the pre-research grant.)

> The second step is to apply this knowledge in order to start a debate ourselves, on a national level, about the changing public. Although the idea of a nation state is fading it still provides a territory with a certain set of characteristics that determine our environment. One of the main goals is to establish contacts and relations that are based on responsibility and criticality between the art academy and the developing corporate public. Here it is not only about involving those who are shaping a corporate public, but also representatives of artists unions and state-funded programming. Potential tools would be conducting interviews and to establish a seminar for students that would accompany the research. (This part would be finished by the end of 2000).

The investigation into the relation between 'The Academy and the Corporate Public' would then result in a symposium (open to the public) and finally in a book.

   P L A N N I N G

First step: Overview of an international debate.

With regards to this , I have already started commissioning and acquiring texts, some of which will provide us with an introduction into the problematic relation of a corporate public and the field of the arts, whilst others will try to supply an overview of the specific problems with a corporate public in the USA, Great Britain and Germany.
It is not by coincidence that most of the writers I have contacted are practising visual artists. I see it as necessary to show how artists themselves cope with the problem of a corporate public and I want to point out different ways in which research can accompany art practice.

The authors assembled so far:

> The internationally renowned artist Hans Haacke has written a text entitled 'Symbolic Capital Management or what to do with the Good, the True, and the Beautiful'. This will be one of the two introductory texts to the subject. It further shows how research can manifest itself as text production alongside artistic and visual production

> The art historian Hubertus Butin has written the text 'When Attitudes Become Form Philip Morris Becomes Sponsor'. This is the second text that will give us a general outline of the subject matter against the backdrop of American developments.

> Andrea Fraser coined the idea of art production as 'Services' in the early 90's. Her text is taken from the 'Inaugural Speech (for inSITE97)', Fraser's contribution to a bi-national exhibition of public artworks commissioned for the San Diego/Tijuana area. The speech was delivered at the opening ceremony of that event which was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. Fraser took the podium after the United States Attorney for Southern California had read a letter from President Clinton, and the Under-secretary for Foreign Relations for Mexico had read a letter from President Zedillo. Fraser applied her researched material strategically and artistically to this event - the speech is given as a performance and yet remains a speech.

> The artist Nils Norman works with models and diagrams in order to propose ecological, political and economic forms of resistance. He will contribute three diagrams depicting the organisation of the corporate public and suggest some dis-orderly counter strategies.

> Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann are both artists who have initiated 'Messe2ok', an artist-run art-fair. The money that Siemens offered as sponsorship was turned down in order to create a collective economy.
Their analysis of the documentary 'Bild Leipzig' (1992-1995) by Karl Hofmann sees the neo-liberal Corporate Identity of the West as a parallel to the language of the Agit-Prop of the former East German State. They understand the promotion of the arts as a marketing device for Berlin, a tool with which to brand the new capital.

> Dierck Schmidt's work was recently affected by censorship when his paintings were taken out of an exhibition about 'critical painting', a show 'initiated' by the Siemens Kulturstiftung in Germany.
Schmidt finished his postgraduate studies at the Rijksakadmie in Amsterdam. There, he observed, as is also the case in many other European Institutions of Education, structural and organisational changes linked with business re-engineering; a process leading towards neo-liberal privatisation of education.

> Anthony Davies and Simon Ford are a British team of artist/writers who have successfully branded the name 'culturepreneur'. They will summarise their essays over the last few years (Art Capital, Art Futures, Art Networks) and they will show how artists' work and their communities are used by international corporations to devise visual, symbolic and cultural strategies.

The second step is to apply this knowledge in order to trigger for a (national) debate

This is in order to examine the different models for corporate interaction with the arts in Norway.

> I have already, in the context of a seminar and in preparation for this proposal, made a field trip with students in order to see Statoil's collection of art in Stavanger and to talk to Wenche Falkenhaug, the curator. This excursion was interesting in so far as we realised that the company, which gains most of Norway's gross national product, has very little ambition setting up a bright contemporary collection or other programs of support and artistic benefaction. Most of the art was bought under the aspect of interior decoration and of derivative neo-expressionistic origin. The curator Mrs Falkenhaug was assisted by Joffe Urnes, a young educationalist who, with the support of Statoil, has written his thesis about corporate collecting. It could be considered to involve Mr Urnes in the process of this research.

But in order to reach out and get Kunsthogskolen and the Kunstakademi better connected to a democratic public and a corporate public, I want to conduct interviews, visit significant members of these publics and/or invite them to Bergen:

> Contact has already been established with Jacob Brun when he was the curator of the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo.
The Astrup Fearnley Family represents a patronage involved with the arts for generations, but on the other hand, it is also an important corporate player on the Norwegian national scene for arts and economics. Unlike the slow decision-making and low budgets of public spaces, the corporate patrons could, with the help of a curator, graciously dig around and import internationally renowned art. This again brought international attention to the Astrup Fearnley Museum and nationally provided it with the status of benefactor. Astrup Fearnley has recently hired the former attendant of Kunstneres Hus in Oslo, Åsmund Thorkildsen, who is allegedly interested in establishing better contact between the museum and the Norwegian art scene, as well as with other institutions. I am curious how this will effect the relation to the various publics to whom they have obligations as a collection.

> Further, I would like to investigate the collection and sponsoring policies of 'Den Norske Bank' with Jacob Lund, 'Norsk Hydro' with curator Peder Lund, who formerly worked for Christie's Auction House, and the collection of Telenor which was curated by Åse Kleveland, a former MP and minister of culture.

These Norwegian models of corporate infiltration of the arts should be seen in international competition with examples from Germany - e.g. Siemens Kulturstiftung and Deutsche Bank - and Britain - e.g. Saatchi, whilst North American collecting and funding models could be considered more as prototypes for the developments in Europe.

The interviews will be directed towards elaborating the different structures and intentions of those corporate models. They should try to critically question the corporate infiltration of the public and work towards engendering a statement in favour of the sustenance of the public sphere.

I want to counter the interrogation of corporate interest by questioning representatives from the organisations that originated from the idea of a democratically organised public sphere:

> Anders Eiebakke is a representative of UKS (Unge Kunstneres Samfunn). He has recently stirred some turmoil by criticising Norwegian art politics heavily in front of an international art public.

> Jonas Ekeberg is the editor of 'Billedkunst', an art magazine owned by the Artists' Union.

> Finally I want to frame these interviews with a short history of the idea of a public sphere in Norway. I am thinking of talking with Thomas Hylland Eriksen who, as an anthropologist, has worked extensively on the development of the 'Norwegian Self'. I would also like to include Dag Solhjell and his project 'The Norwegian Institution of Art - its origin and development 1700 - 2000'.

A seminar, a symposium and a book.

This second part of my investigation into the idea of a Corporate Public should go hand in hand with a seminar and would be concluded by the end of 2000. A symposium will then be held on the basis of the investigated material which would try to assemble the eventually most interesting positions around one table, thus forming a nucleus for a public debate.

A documentation including both international and national debates would further distribute the results of this seminar.

C o n t r o l  &  O u t l o o k

Control is provided by the seminar that follows the research, by the different people involved through contributing their texts, providing opinions and involving their institutions .

'Creating an overview' should be finished by the end of May 2000. 'Creating a discussion' should be finished by December 2000. The publication should be finished in May 2001.

I hope that this publication will be a thorough documentation of how artists experience and analyse the state of the discussion encircling the public sphere and its fragmentation, its capitalisation and its globalisation at the turn of the century. I hope it will provide a solid ground for all further discussion investigation and research of the subject matter, artistically or otherwise.

Public profile.
I also hope that 'Kunsthogskolen i Bergen' will profit within its public profile from the connections and discussions that shall follow this research and finally, I hope that we will educate artists who are able to criticise and to create publics around the discussion of their work.


Art Production in a dramatised field.

I n t r o

Have we now researched the 'Corporate Public'?
We might sit in circles, we might come together and discuss important matters, we might make contacts and produce symposia and books, but all of this - and I also refer ironically to myself (as well) - is artistic homework!
This is something that an intelligent academy has to investigate anyway, because it is the responsibility of a 'public institution' to create public relation(s)!

Investigation leads to research.
According to what I've already said about research and investigation, 'The Academy and The Corporate Public' may be called a pre-scientific stage of enquiry, an encircling of the subject matter, a process of mapping and connecting.
It is here that I want to talk about the second part of my research project 'Art Production in a Dramatised Field' which we can see as the process of artistic transformation, or dramatisation, of the knowledge gained by investigating different publics and their subjection to corporate interest (The Academy and the Corporate Public).

Privatisation in an artificial set-up.
Again, the starting points for my considerations are the privatisation of the public sphere, the changes in political and economic structures - all of which make our life at the beginning of the 21st century so exciting.
In order to use research centred around the 'art work of the future', and investigate its aesthetic, its corporate public and its social function, I have to set up an experimental model.
To research into the very heart of capitalism's lair, we must be able to see its relativisms and uncertainties as a game in order to be able to begin our work. I have to turn the situation into an artificial set-up in order to at least be able to see it.

The stage as a device for reflection.
This is why I want to introduce the device of the stage as an experimental location (or as another name for 'the exhibition'). The words 'theatre', 'stage' and 'dramatisation' are primarily metaphors that hint towards a certain point of view from (under) which we can see that 'All the world's a stage, And all the men and women are merely players'[9]. Artistic production in this case is not necessarily theatre production (even though theatre could be used as an artistic device). Rather, artistic production is encouraged to see itself positioned on a (social) stage.

"The point is rather that such an exemplification, such a mise-en-scène of theoretical motifs renders visible aspects that would otherwise remain unnoticed. Such a procedure already has a respectable line of philosophical predecessors, from late Wittgenstein to Hegel. Is not the basic strategy of Hegel's 'Phenomenology of Spirit' to undermine a given theoretical position by 'staging' it as an existential subjective attitude (that of asceticism, that of the 'beautiful soul', etc.) and thus to reveal its otherwise hidden inconsistencies, that is, to exhibit the way its very subjective position of enunciation undermines its 'enunciated', its positive contents?"[10]

Questions that inform the nature of the stage-model.
To what extent is the work of art a trigger for behaviour and cognition? To what extent is art just a social construction? What quality does an art-object have to make a social construction attractive?
And, most importantly, how might those qualities inherently influence each other within a public debate growing around the art?

A new game with different rules.
The stage enters as an analogy drawn not only in order to see late capitalism as a game but also, and very importantly, in order to found the attempt to stage a new game with different rules. In this new game, we have to see ourselves not only as viewers, or as powerless participants in some kind of pre-ordained reality scenario, but also as part of the game itself. The chance is that perhaps then we can begin to act out our own participation.

To alter the script.
With the (artificial) device of a stage in place, we can see ourselves as artists appearing in a dramatised environment where we can try to alter the script and the props, and then see if this helps us to shape a different audience. With a different audience in place, perhaps we can effect an exit from the aforementioned 'game' and thenceforth continue our work as artists outside of its strictures.


Two experiments.
I am currently working on launching two 'stages' as experimental set-ups for my research. One is a 'White Cube'-space in a forlorn spot for art (Bergen), where I am working with students to create an exhibition space within a former storage garage in the school. The other is a kind of 'Cabaret Voltaire'-clandestine basement theatre in a major art centre (New York), where I am planning an exhibition in the gallery American Fine Arts.

White Cube Bergen, the theatre and its proliferation (within the world).
The exhibition space 'Ekko' that was shared amongst all the departments of Kunsthogskolen in Bergen closed its doors recently. This is on one hand a loss, because 'Ekko' was a truly needed showcase for a highly diversified school. On the other hand and due to a lack of stringency and coherence, this space could not attract a scene of regulars and/or induce a differentiated artistic discussion.

Attracted publics.
With regard to what has so often been said in this exposition about creating a discursive public around artistic production, an art academy needs to make itself the centre of such a process. That is the main reason for installing a White Cube Space in one of Kunsthogskolen's storage rooms. This location has the advantage of an entrance on street level, promising on the one hand unrestricted access, whilst on the other hand the entrance, slightly hidden at the side of the building, almost plays a game of secrecy.

Run by students.
This space should be used as a 'gallery' or rather, used to find out what a gallery could be. Exhibitions and other events should be planned, organised and supervised by two groups of students. A model for operating the 'White Cube' could be a way (how) for non-profit spaces to organise their structure . One group is an executing curatorial organ (board of directors), the other one a supervising and advisory committee. Each of these groups could constitute a seminar, but both of them should be obliged to render public account to the Kunsthogskolen.

Bergen, the scene is now.
The use of theatrical devices is also known from sociological and behavioural studies. They seem to make sense in areas where the relationship between art and its public is either distorted through corporate interest, or hardly existent in the first place. Although Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, it seems to be difficult to maintain a significant young art scene. Although there have been some innovative activities over the last few years in Bergen, it looks as though the migration to Oslo can't be stopped. Every so often, the Kunstakademi's students are involved in some youth-cultural events, like the recent 'feber' student festival, but none of these activities seem to create a 'scene'[11] or a statement which is influential in other cities or publics.

A modern classic.
The idea of a 'White Cube' is a classic in modern art. Since the 1960's, it was often criticised as an esoteric sentiment, as l'art pour l'art, as an ivory tower for the arts. However, I want to re- introduce it as a format that represents a clean-cut challenge to work against or along with it. Here the White Cube's formalistic image may be set against a particular practice of the 1990's which has increasingly assessed communication, structural and organisational work, networks and communities as values in themselves. I want to discuss the simultaneous commodification and the erosion of these terms through re-introducing the 'White Cube' in order to focus more on the work itself and its construction as a work of art. Further, a device like the 'White Cube' which is charged with importance, could introduce a higher awareness of a dramatised field into the production and the display of the art object, into the community that creates a debate around those objects and which expands the discussion onto the scenery of Bergen.

Step by step, what are the stages?
Can we discuss paintings, sculptures and videos as stages or as stage devices?[12] What happens on those stages, what kinds of plays are initiated on them? How do they relate to an audience and to the ideologies that constitute it? How can they change something?
And if we can see the work of art as a stage or a prop, and also see ourselves in relation to it, then where is the theatre for this relation? What might constitute its parameters? How is an audience drawn into it?
So, we can ask: Is the work of art a stage which is placed in a theatre called the 'White Cube'? And is this theatre not in fact just a model of a theatre which is shaping its own social stage, called Bergen, in a theatre called Norway for an audience called 'The International Art World?'

American Fine Arts, the theatre and its representation (in the theatre)
The second experimental set-up is planned to happen in one of the main centres of this very heterogeneous construction of a so-called 'international art world'. I was asked to make an exhibition at the gallery 'American Fine Arts' in New York and I have agreed under the condition that this show will open at the beginning of the gallery-season, in September 2000.
Due to my teaching obligations I can not afford to stay away from Bergen for longer periods. I will not use my extra research time for this project, which saves money and compensation. Planning the project for September also makes it possible to concentrate on the preparations over the summer holidays, in June, July and August 2000.

A different set-up.
I want to use this invitation to install another view onto the idea of a stage.
Whereas the set-up in Bergen is rather simply defined through a relatively empty field (the lack of an art scene or other theatrical devices) on which the experiment is carried out, in New York the world is not merely a stage, but the stage is also full of worlds.

Reflection of the reflected.
Since the gallery "American Fine Arts" has already reflected on its position in this environment, and has dramatised and strategised its appearances and audiences in various ways, then the gallery could be seen as a theatre already. Yet it also represents what could be achieved in Bergen. In order to introduce the discussion of 'the art work of the future' (see above), I have to create a disruption in this 'living theatre'. This only seems to be possible by making it artificial. That is to say, I will set-up a 'real' theatre in the gallery.

The production will not only include painting, sculpting, the making of stage designs, costumes and props, script-writing and acting, but also collaborating and integrating other artists, groups and students.

Historical models.
If we see this theatre as an experimental and artificial set-up for reflection upon the gallery and its context, i.e. the making of an avant-garde, then we should investigate and test historical models for our purpose. With regards to 'mise en scene' and the 'creating communities' I find the following 'research laboratories' of interest: Marie Antoinette's Village, Futurists, Cabaret Voltaire, the 'workers theatre' 1860-1914, the 'revue' in the Weimar Republic, (Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet), Jack Smith and the Yippies, the Situationist International, Kommune I, Punk, Fassbinder's Antitheater, Agit Prop.

Two layers.
Representing the theatre (that is, the art activity in and around the gallery) on its own stage (that is, the gallery's theatre) means that we have two layers of discussion.

> One is happening in the theatre and on the stage, as a reflection on itself and its relation to the outside. That means, it sees itself as an artificial device that speaks and reflects.
> The other discussion is happening between the audience and the work of art (the discussion on the artificial theatre), to cause the audience to reflect upon themselves as being part of the work of art as much as they are part of its dramatisation.

Art as a social construction is confronted with its constructed-ness.
One might say that this is what happens in theatres anyway. The difference here is that the theatre's reflection upon itself, (we might know this from 'absurdist' theatre, Dario Fo, Ludwig Tieck) is thrown onto the field of the fine arts as an analogy for the construction of the work, i.e. the art object and its relation to the constituting fields, the public, the institution and the artist. This is what the play is about.

C o n t r o l  &  P e r s p e c t i v e s

It is important to see both experimental stages together.
The idea of a proliferated theatrical set-up in Bergen is introduced on to the stage of a gallery in one of the worlds largest art capitals, and the theatre in New York becomes a model to dramatise the discussion around the work of art (in Bergen). The experimental set-ups, due to their contrasting environments, are differently structured, nevertheless I expect some synergy to happen between them. They can reflect each other critically. The presence of students from Bergen in New York would, therefore, be crucial to this process.

This research is geared towards an international acknowledgement
It has to be tested in this context. The relations between both experiments are equally important for Kunsthogskolen's public relation and image inside and outside of Bergen.

One sure way of evaluating the research is to see if the project receives any press from journals specific to the art field. But knowing that we have a very fast moving market which often focuses on seasonable trends and sensations, I would hope that this project will create a discourse and be influential on artists, scenes and communities at the level of the base structure. A growing influence on discussions inside artists' communities, and in their often cheaply made (underground)-organs, would be of more value than a fashionable burn-out in the mainstream publications. In general, evaluation has to be seen in the long term.

Finally, the different steps and stages of the experimental set-up should be well documented. I am thinking of photography, video and a collection of texts, scripts and promotional material/ articles. The documentation should also follow the changes in the contexts and the publics that the work is aimed at.


What could be the new horizons
for this project?

I have written about the relatively recent changes in conditions that global capitalism has caused within the arts, the cultural sector and in the idea of a public sphere. Whilst this newness clearly requires research, there is no guarantee that the research can be important or effective simply because the subject area can also be called new.

New approaches?
One of this research project's first issues is to survey these effects on the cultural field from the artists' point of view and then attempt a compilation of this artists' overview. To my knowledge, this is a fresh approach to this rapidly changing area.
Moreover, this overview will be presented within the Norwegian context , where it will be used to try and stimulate a debate around the changes connected to the developing corporate publics. In this instance, investigating the question of status will create something new: a debate, and eventually, a community around this debate. Hopefully, this will contribute to changing attitudes and relations towards the various art publics.

No research can promise innovation, and my projects are no different in this regard. But I can from the outset consider what might be triggered through the different phases, or through different aspects, of the research project.

Expectations and questions.
What, for example, could be anticipated under the aspect of 'growing communities' around the different stages of this project? Where might the discussion of 'the art work of the future' lead us? To a point where we could definitely say what it is? What help can this be towards an artistic strategy within a corporate public? What help can it be within an interdisciplinary debate, or a debate about artistic research and methodologies?

Reflection of the fine arts context.
Theatrical strategies in the fine arts are not in themselves new. There are various collaborations and cross-border activities throughout the history of fine art and theatre which lead to the new genre 'performance'. To contribute to the historical development of this genre is of minor importance for my proposals.
But it is important that, through this research project, the introduction of 'theatre' into the fine arts context can lead to a new possibility for reflection upon the fine arts context itself. You could compare this idea of theatre with a switch in the brain, that, when flipped, switches on recognition of one's own role in this stage play and, hopefully, to the rules of this game in general.

Theatre equals artistic research.
So theatre becomes the main device in this research; it becomes almost synonymous with the artistic research because it enables us to cast (throw) a reserved and critical view onto our objective. On top of this, it can even assist us to catch sight of the action of this view being cast .

As with all the arts we will not deny an entertaining effect, but use it.


Here's to an 'Academy That Grows From Bottoms Up'!

Back to the fields.
I hope that my project can clarify how much the Kunsthogskolen's research would relate to the above mentioned categories, i.e. to the academy's relation to the public, to the artist and to the work of art. Clearly, the latter stands in the centre of our efforts, but is wrapped and determined by the two other concerns of our educative efforts: the roles of the artist and the public sphere. Our research can focus on, or nest inside one of these areas, but they are definitively all connected, and under the roof of this Kunstakademi as much as outside of it.
To conclude , I would like to return to some ideas on art and the academy that have a bearing, not only as far as my research is concerned but which are also pertinent to a daily teaching situation.

Learning by sitting in the same boat.
The idea that 'art' and 'artist' are notions which can always be changed or extended leads straight back to the question of whether we can learn how to break away from patterns that we already know.
We do not learn from each other as a result of one of us being stupid and the other one being smart. That would establish a hierarchy simply through the flow of information. Rather, we learn from each other because we are joined together in a position of powerlessness, with different areas of knowledge to exchange. This is a process of self-empowerment, or self-assertion, which can not be taught from a position of power (e.g. from a Professor), but which can be supported from a position of power (e.g. a Professor).

Inside a power structure.
Structures or meshworks[13] cannot be achieved by top-to-bottom management, they have to grow from the roots; from the desire of the base structure (to use a Marxist term). That is why students have to try and 'make academy' themselves, probably within the formations of groups of people who may have similar problems but different knowledge. The exchanges that result are definitive for production within the academy.
However academies are never just self-sufficient islands. They are always situated in relation to power - and then the questions become: in which configuration of power does this new-found freedom place itself? To which purposes can it be used? What difference to the ruling aesthetics and politics does it make?

Allies to seek.
That is why the academy needs to be a synapse or an interface to the public - as a laboratory for artistic research, a platform where the different threads can come together, a stage for teaching, a studio for the making of objects, the 'mise en scene' for a theatre that we call 'the making of a public'.

But of course, what always matters the most is how we act, what the play is about, and, naturally, that the whole thing never gets too boring!





[1] The French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari use a structural image for the organisation of growth, the 'rhizome' (growing like ginger or potatoes), for a chaotic and wild thinking (in computer terms 'fuzzy' logic) as opposed to the logical 'tree-thinking', which follows hierarchical yes/no ramifications.

[2] Compare to the old ideas of a 'Gelehrtenrepublik' as a state run by intellectuals. See: Karl Gutzkow 'Die Ritter vom Geiste' or Arno Schmidt 'Die Gelehrten Republik'

[3] Nikolaus Pevsner, 'Die Geschichte der Kunstakademien', page 23, ISBN 3-88219-285-2

[4] knowledge and art

[5] One can easily see the capitalisation of communities in the internet, where value of shares is equivalent to number of members/users. In January 2000, Microsoft paid $400 to everyone who subscribed to its own News- and Internet Provider MSN for a minimum period of 2 years.

[6] Stephan Dillemuth Hg. / ISBN 3-931184-00-5 / Köln 1995.

[7] Nikolaus Pevsner, 'Die Geschichte der Kunstakademien' ISBN 3-88219-285-2, page 13

[8] Currently in translation for imminent publication in English. Published in German ISBN 3-931184-04-8, Permanent Press Verlag, Köln/ Berlin 1998

[9] William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii, lines 140-141.

[10] Slavoy Zizek, Looking Awry, MIT Press, 1991, ISBN 0-262-74015-x , page 3

[11] This used to mean a community which is constituted through discussion.

[12] This question could be linked to research in art history. Are paintings stages? Are sculptures stage props?

[13] See Meshworks, Manuel de Landa, 1997, publisher Benteli Verlag, Wabern, ISBN: 3716510092

NOTE: This text was written as a proposal for a research project by Prof Stephan Dillemuth for Kunsthogskolen i Bergen, dept Kunstakademiet in the year 1999. The text was published as a grey publication for Kunsthogskolen i Bergen ISBN 82-8013-002