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Goethe Institut host Appropriation and Dedication seminar

On 20 January 2013, If I Can’t Dance marks its transition from Edition IV – Affect (2010–2012) into Edition V – Appropriation and Dedication (2012–2014) with a one day seminar at the Goethe Institut in Amsterdam. The seminar will explore the relations between affect and appropriation in artistic practice, with contributions that consider how an understanding of reciprocal investment reconfigures the artistic strategy of appropriation as an act that is based in connecting, acknowledging and being porous to material.

In collaboration with guests Gerry Bibby, Gregg Bordowitz, Jacob Korczynski, Sven Lütticken, Helen Molesworth, and Grant Watson, a series of presentations will unfold that each depart from an interest in affect and appropriation as they are at work in the current projects and research of the guests. The day is orchestrated to include lectures, conversations, screenings, performances, music, and an intervention in the period rooms of the Goethe Institut. In our midst will be a work by Louise Lawler, as a conversation piece, inspiration and anchor throughout the day. Radio Dedication will be streaming the programme live on our website during the seminar.

In addition, the new publication Reading / Feeling will be presented. Reading / Feeling is a reader that collects a selection of the texts that have been read in If I Can’t Dance’s reading groups on affect the past two years, including authors such as Andrea Fraser, Brian Massumi, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. The reader also includes artist pages by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and short statements by members of If I Can’t Dance’s reading groups from Amsterdam, Sheffield and Toronto. The book is edited by Tanja Baudoin, Frédérique Bergholtz and Vivian Ziherl and is designed by Joris Kritis and Julie Peeters.

The past two years the notion of affect formed a shared interest that bound together If I Can’t Dance’s programme of New Commissions and Performance in Residence projects. In reading groups and workshops with students of the Dutch Art Institute/MFA ArtEZ, we studied theories of affect as a pre-emotional state that is formative to our relationships with others as it moves between bodies and gives shape to subjectivities.

This impetus has since extended into readings that move via theories of affect to an understanding of appropriation as an act of dedication. In the next two years, we will explore the productive friction between the notion of ‘making something your own’ as a potential subversive strategy and the inverse availability to be transformed by the objects we would attempt to possess. We will depart from discussions of appropriation as they first arose around artistic practices in the 1980s as part of a discourse that questioned the modernist hegemony of originality and autonomy in art. These were firmly rooted in a Marxist critique of appropriation in resistance to capitalist dispossession. We strive to interrogate the connections between that moment in the 1980s and today, and to think about appropriation in relation to current artistic practice, more specifically performance practice.

The seminar is curated by Tanja Baudoin, Frédérique Bergholtz and Vivian Ziherl.

Goethe Institut, Amsterdam
Herengracht 470,
1017 CA Amsterdam, Netherlands

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