Institutional Ruination and Catastrophe

Authors: White, N.

Start date: 22 February 2012

In this presentation, Office of Experiments will outline our contemporary arts practice that starts in a critical, situational reflection on experimental knowledge and the positioning of institutional critique from contemporary arts discourse. Working from this position we will explore our own relationships as an immaterial pseudo-institutional form with our interest in the experiment and the phenomena of the subject in art. In particular, we will be tracing projects that explore experimental ruins as the remainders of progress with the inalienable and uncomfortable material evidence of catastrophic events. In doing so we ask whether this critical trajectory results in an inevitable counter-institutional impulse - the fantasy of the institution in ruins.

Within this presentation we will cross a territory that outlines how in recent and forthcoming projects, Dark Places and the Department of Catastrophe, we attempt to put the experimental subject, the viewer or audience, in positions that question the value of primary knowledge against the verbal, visual, informational representations of social and techno-scientific complex. Speculating on the role of what critical art can do for the emancipated spectator in terms of the 'sensible' and the 'political' (Rancierre, Serres), we ask whether there is a further role for the experimental subject in interrupting or extending the representation of fantasies of ruination, violence and catastrophe.


Art, Ruins, Experiments, Catastrophe

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