The Curatorial

Curatorial Politics
M1/M2
English/French (texts)

Doreen Mende
Start: 12 October 2020, 10am

“And we cannot assume that we will accomplish that in our lifetime.” (Angela Davis) –– The seminar curatorial/politics in 2020/21 is called Modernity’s Grandchildren. Who are modernity’s grandchildren? The seminar claims that the participants of the curatorial/politics seminar are.

We will continue to engage with practices of relationality by the means of art this year. We will aim at engaging with curatorial methods and artistic forms that speak to the relationality between generations and geographies. Our point of entry into the space-time between generations are transgenerational problems or gaps or threads as the lubricant for living the life of modernity’s grandchildren. We may understand modernity as a complex worldmaking project that has been built on the “differential principle” (Ariella Aïsha Azoulay) in respect to race, gender, sexuality and knowledge as value-making systems. This principle operates the violent split between exclusion and inclusion by political, structural, psychological and technological means of transacting value into faculties of power.

The seminar takes place in a moment of important movements departing from Black Lives Matter, the SARS-Covid2-pandemic condition, the call for the abolition of the university or “the university: last words” (Fred Moten/Stefano Harney), abolitionist feminism and the end of the world as we know it. In this transformative moment, I found it necessary to re-engage with practices of relationality in respect to transgenerational problems as a creative source. The transgenerational shall not be dominated by a hereditary concern. Because the generational is different to the dynastical or the biological family. Yet, the generational appears in cultural, social or political bodies of knowledge that seem specific for a particular generation as well as geography: What can we learn from previous generations? And what better not? Where or when do we detect the absence of a previous generation? What does it mean to think beyond lifetime?

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies
M1 et M2: Anne-Julie Raccoursier (en français et anglais)

Les Cultural Studies 2015/16 ouvrent un champ d’étude transdisciplinaire et critique qui prend pour objet les institutions, les pratiques et les formes culturelles dans leurs relations aux structures politiques dominantes, aux hiérarchies sociales et aux minorités marginalisées. L’enseignement met en relation les théories et les méthodes qui fondent ce champ d’étude avec des pratiques artistiques situées, discursives, interventionnistes. Le séminaire alternera exposés, lectures et travaux pratiques.

Theory Fiction

Theory Fiction
M1/M2
English

Kodwo Eshun
Start : 21 September 2020, 10am

In Learning from the Virus, which was published in Artforum May/ June 2020, Paul B Preciado writes “Epidemics, through the declaration of a state of exception, are great laboratories of social innovation, the occasion for the large-scale reconfiguration of body procedures and technologies of power.”’ The implications of such a reconfiguration, argues Preciado, suggests that in order “to stay alive, to maintain life as a planet, in the face of the virus, but also in the face of the effects of centuries of ecological and cultural destruction, means implementing new structural forms of global cooperation.”

It is this imperative to implement “new structural forms of global cooperation”’ that informs the Theory-Fiction Seminar of 2020 to 2021. The relation between theory-fiction is not a question of the opposition between theory and fiction. Nor is it a matter of the common-sense distinction between the reason of theory and the imagination of fiction. Nor can it be formulated as the antagonism of the actuality of the object of theory that situates itself against the method of fiction as a project of the imaginary. It is more a matter of the excitation of the hyphen or the dash between theory-fiction. A question of the intensification of the copula between theory-fiction. It is located in the passage or the bridge or the movement of the hyphen that is barely perceptible when it is spoken or when it is typed.

This year’s Theory-Fiction Seminar continues its engagement with the writings of the African American science fiction novelist Octavia Estelle Butler. Last year’s Project Earthseed Seminar departed from a reading of Octavia Butler’s 1993 novel Parable of the Sower. This year’s Seminar––which we will call The Earthseed Project rather than Project Earthseed––engages with Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler’s 1998 sequel to Parable of the Sower. The ambition of the Seminar is to approach Parable of the Talent as a method and an object for analysing the balance of forces between the start of this Seminar in September of 2020 and the end of this Seminar in June 2021. Think of the Seminar as an “interscalar vehicle” (Gabrielle Hecht) for measuring the volatile, complex, perilous, instability of what Langston Hughes called “our native fascisms”. The seminar will mobilize the novel as a fabric to think with: In the novel on 2nd November 2032, the Texan senator Andrew Steele Jarrett wins the US election. On 20 January 2033, he is inaugurated as President. The actual US election will be on 3rd November 2020. The actual inauguration will be 20 January 2021. It is not only a matter of Butler’s prescience in anatomising of “accidentally coinciding climactic, economic and sociological crises”. The aim of the Seminar is not to diagnose the prophetic dimension of Parable of The Sower. Butler’s vision of electric collar slavery and Christian American Crusades is painful and distressing and pitiless. And any person that does not wish to expose themselves to its pitiless wisdom should seriously reflect on whether the Seminar is for them. In all seriousness, Butler’s text will confront each of its readers with a thought experiment whose unsparing will to pursue its process towards its conclusion will appear excessive and exorbitant and pitiless in ways that leaves the majority of science fiction appearing to be merely fictional.

Each participant of the Seminar will keep a fictional diary that is set in the year 2032 that will be used to analyse the year 2020. The aim is to assemble a documentation of the present from the perspective of the future that exists in the form of a fiction. Each diary will act as a documentary of the actuality of reading the text of Parable of the Talent which in turn will provide the vantage point from which to analyse the actual horrors of 2021. Each candidate’s diary can be maintained online in any medium or in a notebook or in a digital file of any kind.

Études Politiques « Comment juger »

Études Politiques
M1/M2
French/English

Pierre Hazan
Début: Octobre 9, 2017, 10.00

Faisons table rase du passé ?
Les révolutionnaires français rêvaient de faire table rase du passé. Mais force est de constater que le passé n’est pas encore passé, il a même un très grand avenir. La constitution de l’identité aussi bien personnelle que collective, le système de valeurs, la projection d’une société dans l’avenir dépend largement de la représentation qu’elle se fait de son passé. Le démantèlement des statues du général Lee à Charlottesville et de Christophe Colomb à New York, la destruction des œuvres d’art par Daech en Irak ou l’érection de monuments à Genève le montrent de manière saisissante. Comment se construit et se modifie le lien au passé et à quel passé ? Quel regard porter aujourd’hui sur le colonialisme et la traite esclavagiste ? Selon quelle lecture historique ? Selon quelle vision de la culture, de la vérité et de la justice ? L’enjeu de ce cours vise à mieux appréhender les ressorts de la représentation du passé dans l’espace public.
Publication : les étudiants seront amenés à travailler sur des œuvres en construction ou faisant l’objet d’une discussion sur leur destruction/démantèlement, ou qu’ils souhaiteraient détruire. Dans leur texte, les étudiants devront analyser les enjeux idéologiques et esthétiques, les dynamiques politiques, le rôle de l’artiste et des pouvoirs publics. L’ensemble de leurs contributions, éventuellement enrichies de contributions extérieures, feront l’objet d’une publication.

Critical studies

Critical Studies
M1/M2
English

Gene Ray

Start : 28 September 2020, 10am

As our social worlds are convulsed by multiple crises (pandemic, economic, political, ecological), “normality” and indeed “the future” have been called into question and put in doubt. Uprisings in response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May, and of more young Black men and women gunned down after him, have not been deterred either by the horrendous Covid-19 pandemic or by the terror of the racist paramilitary right. This November, fascism and white supremacism are on the ballot in the USA. The results will certainly have planetary repercussions.

One conspicuous feature of the anti-racist uprisings has been the iconoclastic attacks on monuments to Confederate generals and settler-colonial slavers. Iconoclastic resistance quickly spread to the UK and Europe, and indeed was already ongoing in Chile and Mexico, among other places. Such iconoclasm has a long history in the cultural politics of memory.

In this context of planetary crises and uprisings, the critical studies seminar this year will focus on arts and practices of cultural memory and memorial cultures. Acknowledging the vitality and power of iconoclasm “from below” in public spaces and streets in the present struggles for social and ecological justice, the seminar will begin with the attack on monumental dominators, with attention to some select precursors: the toppling of the Vendôme column during the Paris Commune; the Place Clichy action carried out in Paris in March 1969 by students and faculty of the École des Beaux Arts in collaboration with the Situationist International; the attacks on monuments to Christopher Columbus beginning on the 500th anniversary of the transatlantic European invasion; the dismemberment of an equestrian statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate y Salazar in Alcade, New Mexico in 1998; and the movement to remove statues and symbols commemorating the Confederacy, including an equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, controversy around which provided a pretext for the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017. We’ll reconsider current iconoclasm in light of this history and try to draw some conclusions.

From actions in the streets and public spaces, we’ll turn to the art world and its gallery spaces. Key debates about the representation of traumatic history in art, namely the challenge to traditional representational norms – or indeed the crisis of representation – provoked by the scale of the Nazi genocide and the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, will be surveyed. Divergent strategies of artistic representation will be reviewed and studied through some films and visual material. Consideration of both the streets and squares and the galleries as differentiated fields of action should lead us to an appreciation for Walter Benjamin’s claim that the dead fight on both sides in the class war and that, if the fascists win, “not even [our] dead will be safe.”

Requirements: Students are asked to locate and investigate official monuments to “the victors of history” in the cityscape of Geneva, as well as memorials “from below” and visible/legible traces of past social struggle (iconoclastic, graffiti, & ???). In order to work up some profiles and maps and to clarify what is at stake in each case, students should visit as many of these as possible in situ, either individually or collectively, and record your responses and reflections. If I can be with you, we will plan and realize some dérives together. If I cannot, you can still hone your drifting skills. We will share this research and your responses to it, first with each other and then with a larger public in some fitting form at the end of the term.

Pratiques artistiques situées

Pratiques artistiques situées
Situated Art Practices

M1/M2
French/English

Anne-Julie Raccoursier, Tarek Lakhrissi

Début : 5 octobre 2020

Le Programme Master de recherche CCC promeut la recherche artistique. Il transforme la conception des pratiques artistiques et développe l’information indépendante par l’étude de sources et de formats critiques. Il explore le rôle de l’art dans la société et considère la pratique artistique comme la production d’un savoir organique au contexte de production. Le séminaire, enseigné sur toute la durée du curriculum est mené en étroite collaboration avec le séminaire Writing Research Practice. Il offre une formation aux méthodologies de la recherche par les moyens de l’art et permet aux étudiant·e·x·s, à partir de discussions autour de leurs projets, de construire des dispositifs pour rendre leur recherche publique. Il promeut une conception de la recherche mutualisée et par étapes. Il se fonde sur une conception de la pratique artistique consciente des différences de cultures et de langages et concernée par les dispositifs économiques de la société et leur dimension politique. Il développe des stratégies critiques, analytiques et visionnaires et encourage les interventions – individuelles et collectives – signifiantes multiformes dans un large éventail de formats et de situations. Les recherches sont réalisées dans des médias de la reproduction technique et des formats expérimentaux. La pratique artistique est située, discursive, interventionniste, politiquement engagée et transdisciplinaire. Le Programme soutient l’art engagé dans la sphère publique ou dans la société civile, entendue comme le théâtre du débat et de la délibération, comme un lieu intermédiaire entre l’espace privé et les institutions.

Writing Research Practice

Writing Research Practice
M1/M2
French/English

Çağla E. Aykaç

Début: 30 Septembre 2020, 10h

Le séminaire Writing Research Practice est un espace où vous pouvez affiner votre projet de recherche et votre conception individuelle, constituer vos archives personnelles et travailler votre voix. C’est également un espace d’auto-réflexion et de compréhension de votre position par rapport à votre propre recherche et, plus généralement, par rapport à l’éthique de la recherche et à la pratique de la recherche artistique.

Ce séminaire travaille en collaboration avec le séminaire Pratiques Artistiques Situées. Alors que vous aurez l’occasion de discuter ponctuellement de vos recherches individuelles dans le cadre de tutorats et avec vos directeurs·trices de thèse (2ème année), le séminaire Writing Research Practice est un espace de partage de vos recherches avec d’autres étudiant·e·x·s et de retour d’information sur vos écrits tout au long de vos deux années au CCC.

Chaque session du séminaire est construite autour d’un thème choisi (archive, critique, méthode, voix, point de vue, parenté, pouvoir, temps & espace,…) avec des lectures communes assignées. Pour chaque rencontre, il vous est demandé d’apporter des lectures supplémentaires liées à vos propres recherches et une partie de l’avancée de votre recherche. L’Acte de recherche que vous écrirez au cours de ce séminaire sera publié à la fin de l’année et servira de présentation de votre recherche.