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Sculpture Unlimited II

Materiality in Times of Immateriality



MI 26.11.2014, 10.00 bis 21.00 Uhr

Kunstuniversität Linz

Department of Sculpture – Transmedial Space

Kollegiumgasse 2, 4010 Linz | Austria

 organised by

While the first symposium Sculpture Unlimited in 2010 dealt with the question of how the contemporary field of sculpture can be defined in a useful and stimulating manner against its long history, the second edition looks at the present and future. Organised and introduced by Professor and Head of Department Eva Grubinger and Visiting Professor Jörg Heiser, with contributions by internationally reputed artists and scholars, the symposium asks the following question: If we assume that computers and algorithms increasingly control our lives, that they not only regulate social and communicative traffic but also produce new materials and things, does this increase or decrease the space for artistic imagination and innovation? Where is the place of art in general and sculpture in particular, provided that we don't want art to resort to merely maintaining aesthetic traditions? With sculpture as a leading reference, the contributions will address theory, aesthetics, and technology, asking: Do current philosophical movements such as new materialism and object-oriented ontology affect our notion of the art object? Does so-called post-Internet art have a future? And how does the Internet of Things relate to objects and things in art?

As with the first Sculpture Unlimited symposium, a reader featuring the contributions of all participants will be published with Sternberg Press Berlin in 2015.



Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher is the author of
Capitalist Realism (2009) and Ghosts Of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (2014). His writing has appeared in many publications, including The Wire, Frieze, The Guardian and New Humanist. He is Programme Leader of the MA in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has also produced two acclaimed audio-essays in collaboration with Justin Barton: londonunderlondon (2005) and On Vanishing Land (2013).
4.45 p.m.

Relics of Lost Futures‬

The current era of capitalist realism is haunted by a ghost of lost futures – other virtual worlds that we were led to expect, but which were never actualised. The contemporary moment, in fact, is marked by a strange absence of futurity: a sense of living in a present that is almost entirely constructed from the past. In what ways do these lost futures impinge on our present? What material traces of these futures can we find in contemporary culture – and how, if at all, might they contribute to the delayed arrival of these other possibilities?

Eva Grubinger
is an artist and since 2008 has been professor of Sculpture – Transmedial Space at Kunstuniversität Linz. She has had solo shows, among others, at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead UK (2003); Berlinische Galerie (2004); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2007); Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (2009); Belvedere Palace and Museum, Vienna (2012); and Kerstin Engholm Gallery, Vienna (2014). Group shows include Taipei Fine Art Museum (2008); Marrakech Biennale (2012); Galeria Vermelho, Sao Paulo (2013); and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2014).

10.15 a.m.
5.30 p.m.
Panel discussion

Nathalie Heinich
a French sociologist, is a research director at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). Besides numerous articles in academic and cultural journals, she has published more than thirty books, dealing with the status of the artist and the notion of the author, contemporary art, the issue of identity, the history of sociology and values.
4 p.m.

Les Immateriaux 30 Years Later: Memories of a Sociological Survey

In 1985, I was working as a sociologist for the Centre Georges Pompidou, conducting surveys on the audience of the Center itself and on their exhibitions. Having been given the opportunity to study »Les Immatériaux«, I chose to focus on the audience's perceptions and reactions. I discovered how deep the misunderstandings between the conceptors' innovative aims and their actual reception could be. More important for me, I also discovered new methods of investigation into exhibitions' audiences. Almost thirty years later, this symposium offers me the opportunity to come back to these exciting moments.

Jörg Heiser
is co-editor of
frieze, co-publisher of frieze d/e, and is an art critic writing, amongst others, for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He is a visiting professor at Kunstuniversität Linz, Austria, and teaches at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg. All of a Sudden: Things that Matter in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press) was published in 2008, and his next book Double Lives between Art and Pop Music will also be published with Sternberg in 2015. Heiser curated, amongst numerous others, the exhibition Romantic Conceptualism (2007, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, BAWAG Foundation Vienna, catalogue). He lives in Berlin.
10.15 a.m.
5.30 p.m.
Panel discussion

Mark Leckey
is an artist living and working in London. Leckey has had solo shows at, among others, Wiels Contemporary Art Center, Brussels (2014); Serpentine Gallery, London (2011); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2009). His work has been included in numerous important international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (2013); Istanbul Biennial (2005) and Manifesta 5 (2004). Leckey recently organized the traveling exhibition
The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things. In 2008 he received the Turner Prize.
10.45 a.m.

Senses of the Rearrangement

Times of immateriality suggests that things have become more intangible; mere phantoms that your doubtful fingers slip right through. But you know what? It doesn’t feel like that. So how does it ›feel‹? That’s what I’m trying to understand. Psychically, physically, phenomenologically, somatically,
things feels very different to me now, the digital has created a rearrangement of the senses. I can somehow get more involved with things when I encounter them on screen, they seem closer to me, and an object modelled or recorded from the real world is intensified, it’s presence amplified. I am led by this thinking to the autistic spectrum and how sympathetic it is to the world of programming and coding but also a different kind of empathy with non-living things.

Christiane Sauer
is an architect and a material expert. Her focus lies in innovative applications of materials and developments of materials in architecture. She is the founder of Formade – Office for Architecture and Material, as well as of LülingSauer Architects, both based in Berlin. She has taught internationally, most recently as visiting critic at Cornell University New York. Since 2013 she has held a Professorship for Textile and Surface Design at Weissensee Art Academy Berlin.
2.30 p.m.

Soft Matter

today are becoming true performers. Their field is expanding far beyond the obvious nature of substances like wood, metal, concrete or glass. Emergent matter can assume different physical states, change shape, generate electricity or form hybrids. Materials are transforming from a static substance into a flexible system of components. The talk will focus on performance-driven »soft skills« of material with special attention to flexible surfaces and textile technologies. Crafts like weaving or braiding are not only ancient technologies but become new means of fabrication for structural and functional material systems.

Timotheus Vermeulen
is assistant professor in Cultural Theory at Radboud University Nijmegen, where he also directs the Centre for New Aesthetics. He is the founding editor of the academic arts and culture webzine Notes on Metamodernism and contributing editor to Feedback Blog, a new critical theory startup by Open Humanities Press. He has written on contemporary aesthetics, art, film and television for, amongst others,
The Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, Screen, Monu, Frieze, Texte Zur Kunst and various essay collections and catalogues. His latest book is Scenes from the Suburbs (EUP, 2014).
2 p.m.

Stringing Along
– On Sculpture, Metamodernism, and String Theory, sort of

After years in which artists valued the art of deconstruction, a new generation of artists – necessitated by the ecological, geopolitical and financial crises, enabled by technological innovations and seemingly spurred on by a generational desire to create their own discourse – have recently taken upon themselves the task of reconstruction. In this talk I review a number of these reconstructive practices within the context of metamodernism through the lens of string theory – or at least a particular theory of strings.



Sculpture Unlimited II
Aleksandra Domanovic
Christiane Sauer
Eva Grubinger
Jörg Heiser
Mark Fischer
Nathalie Henich
Timotheus Vermeulen
Mark Leckey, Foto © Sven Laurent