Tom Holert: Contemporary Art's Epistemic Politics

January 24 | 10:00

Mit: Tom Holert (Harun Farocki Institut, Berlin)
Kommentar: Étienne Jollet (Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne/Centre Marc Bloch)

In the wake of an ongoing, often disruptive reassessment of received ideas about epistemology, truth and science, I want to use the occasion of this seminar to work towards an understanding of contemporary art’s peculiar role as providing, processing, and promulgating “knowledge.” Drawing on my book Knowledge Beside Itself. Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2020), I attend to the claims to knowledge and research that in the past decades have been increasingly made by artist-practitioners, curators, educators, art institutions, self-organized spaces, etc. Furthermore, I look into the symbolic and economic valorisations such claims supposedly imply and ask what the field of contemporary art is able to contribute to the multiplicity of epistemic crises that mark the current historical moment. Thus, rendered in a somewhat different nomenclature, I speculate about the extent to which contemporary art informs and co-constitutes the General Intellect of the present.         

Tom Holert is a Berlin-based cultural theorist, art historian, curator and occasional visual practitioner. In 2015 he co-founded the Harun Farocki Institut, an archive, research and facilitating platform on visual politics, documentary image making, and education in Berlin. Recent book publications include: Neolithic Childhood. Art in a False Present, c. 1930 (a catalog/reader supplementing the 2018 exhibition of the same title at HKW, Berlin. ed., with Anselm Franke, Diaphanes, 2018); Knowledge Beside Itself: Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics (Sternberg Press, 2020); Bildungsschock. Lernen, Politik und Architektur in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren (a reader accompanying the 2021 exhibition Education Shock. Learning, Politics, and Architecture in the 1960s and 1970s at HKW, Berlin; ed., De Gruyter, 2020); Politics of Learning, Politics of Space. Architecture and the Education Shock of the 1960s and 1970s (De Gruyter, 2021); Harun Farocki, Unregelmäßig, nicht regellos. Texte 1986–2000 (Harun Farocki. Schriften, vol. 5) (ed., König, 2021); ca. 1972. Gewalt – Identität – Methode (Spector Books, 2022).