Workshops / Lectures

Workshop with Ayesha Hammed
Landscapes and Power
Thursday, January 24th, 12-5pm
Ayesah Hameed will provide a workshop on Landscape and Power: This workshop investigates how landscape forms what WJT Mitchell calls a process or a site of action that catalyses the social and political to unfold. From this perspective landscape is used in this workshop to take stock of the image and representation of three interconnected terrains: mountains, seas, and cities.  It considers what landscape as a process could possibly mean in the face of climate change, migration and rapid industrial expansion, and asks how that process is mobilized in moving images and in literature. This workshop considers methods of narrating the landscape when the optics of what constitutes the landscape are rapidly changing. Boundaries between human impact and nature are increasingly eroded as are the boundaries between land and sea, future and past. This destabilizes the relationship between figure and ground so central to the discourse on landscape, as it provides other possible relationships between the human and landscape that erode the distinctions between them, challenge whether the human or the terrain is the figure, and whether the landscape can continue to take on the role of the ground.
LECTURE by Nikita Dhawan
The Non-Performativity of Protest Politics and the Erotics of Resistance
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien / Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Donnerstag, 7. Juni, 18 Uhr / Thursday, June 7, 6pm
Augasse 2-6, 1090 Wien, 4. Stock, 4th Floor
Room: A4.18.6
In the past decades there has been a proliferation of protest movements that seek to reconfigure international politics by way of interpellating a global demos that has been wronged by the neoliberal beast. Street politics seem to have transformed the way power, agency and resistance are being perceived and performed. Protest movements in different parts of the world evoke promises of political change through shaming powerful states and international institutions into good behavior. However, the question remains, how effective are these fantasies of radical change through “hashtag activism” in fundamentally transforming social, political and economic relations in the era of postcolonial late capitalism? In my talk I will examine the romantic enthusiasm evoked by these movements and how they erase the exploitative and exclusionary material conditions that make possible the exercise of agency of the protesters. In my view, this erotics of resistance is marked by a new international division of labor which sustains the discontinuities between those who resist and those who cannot. Spaces of resistance themselves produce exclusions thereby complicating any easy understanding of power, agency and vulnerability.
Nikita Dhawan is Professor of Political Science (Political Theory and Gender Studies) and Director of the Research Platform Gender Studies: “Identities – Discourses – Transformations” at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her publications include: Impossible Speech: On the Politics of Silence and Violence (2007); Decolonizing Enlightenment: Transnational Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in a Postcolonial World (ed., 2014); Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy (co-ed., 2015); Negotiating Normativity: Postcolonial Appropriations, Contestations and Transformations (co-ed., 2016), Difference that makes no Difference: The Non-Performativity of Intersectionality and Diversity (ed., 2017). She received the Käthe Leichter Award in 2017 for outstanding achievements in the pursuit of women’s and gender studies and in support of the women’s movement and the achievement of gender equality.
Workshop with Jumoke Sanwo
The Revolving Art Incubator (RAI), Lagos
May 2018
Soundworkshop with Karen Werner, Berlin
March 2018
Workshop with Lauren Berlant: Affect of the Commons
Thursday, March 17th 2016, 2pm, Dg12b
“The commons” is currently a prestige concept for redescribing and rebooting democracy. In political theory after Kant it points to an unbounded, universally sensed space for the political. There’s a romantic story about the commons too, a pastoral story of nature and human creativity. Both of these are unconflicted spaces. At the same time, the concept points to an anti-pastoral process, involving rage at exploitation, theft, loss, mourning, the prospects of resistance to the state and capital, and the need to protect people from each other’s possessiveness. This register constructs the encounter with the commons as an ambivalent one, in which relations of property and intimacy encounter each other frictionally. This segment of a longer work focuses on Ralph Waldo Emerson, Juliana Spahr, and Liza Johnson, and engages the propertied and affective resonances of the commons concept. But rather than cast it as an aspirational achievement, it values the commons specifically for its negative pedagogy, its pedagogy of unlearning normative infrastructures as such.
And what and how is ‘the modern’ in Ethiopia?
Lecture  By Elizabeth Giorgis
Date: Monday, November 9th, 7pm
Place: DG 12 / PhD in Practice, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3
Moderation: Sabeth Buchmann
Modernism initially came to Africa through colonial contact but Ethiopia had never been colonized except for a brief period of Italian occupation from 1936-1941. So when and what was modernism in Ethiopia? Moreover, the experiences of decolonization in Africa also inspired the best of African creativity, addressing the viewpoints of colonizer/colonized on two categories. On the one hand, it reacted to Western modernism in a nativist approach that desired to explore the potentials of Africa’s rich heritage. On the other side, it insisted on a nuanced and localized version of African modernism that envisioned a relationship with European modernism. African modernism subsequently emerged from the experiences of decolonization. Since Ethiopia was never colonized and since the encounter with decolonization had been distant from the Ethiopian experience, what then was the body of knowledge that incited the ranges of Ethiopian modernism? Certainly, Ethiopia’s modern history was also unlike other African countries where the larger implication of colonizer/colonized relations created a fundamental rupture in the history of the colonized and where colonial imagination defined the colonized as incorrigibly ‘Other.’ The inner working of this type of ‘Otherness’ was not the ideology of Ethiopian formal social and political thought. The historical questioning of modernism in Ethiopia subsequently requires the investigation of a series of genealogies and that this lecture attempts to approach.
Elizabeth W Giorgis studied History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University and Museum Studies at New York University. She served as Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art at Addis Ababa University. She is currently professor of theory and criticism at the College of Performing and Visual Art and the Director of the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Deta Center at Addis Ababa University. She is the editor and author of several publications among which are; Perspectives on Ethiopian Modernity and Modernism, a special issue guest edited by her in North East African Studies, published by Michigan Sate University; “Charting Ethiopian Modernity and Modernism”, a special issue on Ethiopian art and literature in “Callaloo, Journal of the African Diaspora,” co-edited by her and published by Johns Hopkins University Press; and the only catalogue of contemporary art published in Ethiopia; “Gebre Kristos Desta: The Painter Poet.” She has curated several exhibitions, more recently, an exhibition of Olafur Eliasson’s works titled “Time Sensitive Activity.” She is currently finalizing a book project on Ethiopian modern art history.
Photo Credits: Battle of Adwa painting by Belachew Yimer
PhD in Practice
Aula of the Academy of Fine Arts
Oct.19th-23rd 2015
daily 10am – open end
Lecture by
Stefano Harney: The Undercommon Study
Thursday, December 11th, 2014, 6pm
M13a, Mezzanin, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3
This lecture and public discussion will consider the possibility and potential of study in contemporary academies and universities in global perspective and focus on the interstitial spaces and pauses of autonomist practices.
Stefano Harney teaches in Singapore and is author with Fred Moten of ‘The Undercommons: fugitive planning and black study’ and of the forthcoming ‘The A to Z of Management’.
Workshop and public Lecture
Trinh T. Minh-ha:
The Politics of Forms and Forces
Tuesday, October 182011, 8 pm
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Aula
Introduction | Renate Lorenz, Professor for Art and Research
Q & A | Trinh T. Minh-ha with Marina Grzinic, Professor for Conceptual Art
Power relations lay at the core of normative representations. In the tuning in with the forces of a life event, one can say that form is attained only to address the formless. Reality in its social and historical dimension is not a material for artistic reflection or political commitment; it is what powerfully draws one to cinema and yet cannot be captured without dissolving itself in its fragile essence when one approaches it without subtlety and vulnerability. (Trinh T. Minh-ha)
Photo: Jean-Paul Bourdier, © MOONGIFT FILMS
Matts Leiderstam | After the Dissertation
20.10.2010, 8 p.m.
M13a, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
Lecture held in english language, presented in cooperation with the PhD in Practice, introduced and moderated by Tom Holert
Matts Leiderstam, Von hier aus gesehen (Seen from here) 2010, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010
In 2006 Leiderstam was one of the first artists to obtain a PhD in Fine Arts under Sarat Maharaj at Malmö Art Academy. In his lecture Leiderstam will present some of his work. He will also talk about his doctoral research, the process and what implications it had on his artistic practice in some of his later projects. He will also give some of his thoughts about artistic research as such and what it may mean for the art education.
Matts Leiderstam (born in 1956) has repeatedly developed new perspectives on historical picture motifs and compositions in his installations. Two of his installations for Attitude and Canon refer directly to the works of Count Anton Lamberg-Sprinzenstein’s (1740-1822) collection presented in the Gallery of Paintings.
In the context of the exhibition Attitude and Canon
Cecilia Pavón | Poetry Is Not a Project
06.10.2010, 7 p.m.
M13a, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
Cecilia Pavón: Poetry is not a project
“Tu Rito”, Buenos Aires, calle Santa Fé
Cecilia Pavón is a writer, artist, translator and activist from Buenos Aires. In her talk she will speak about how the self-organized scene and collectivities in which she has been active since the 1990s, responds to a commercial art hype which has become increasingly prevalent throughout the city. The look of off-spaces and the entrepreneurial discourse of project-making emerge as a surface of a new art market. In her new space “Tu Rito”, Pavón (who founded, ten years ago, the gallery/bookshop/venue “Belleza Y Felicidad”) puts an emphasis on performances and literature, on processes that do not generate physical objects but contaminations. “We believe in literature as a virus that engenders communities.”
Lecture, organized as part of Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the Arts, a research project based at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and funded by the WWTF Art(s) & Sciences 2009 program.
Michelle Kuo | Research and Development. Experiments in Art and Technology, 1966ff.
22.06.2010, 7 p.m.
M20, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
Michelle Kuo | Research and Development. Experiments in Art and Technology, 1966ff.E.A.T.
“Art” and “research” have, throughout modernity, been divided—one aesthetic, the other technological; one autonomous, the other applied.  But in the 1960s, this binary was fundamentally challenged.  My talk focuses on one epicenter of that irruption:  Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), an organization formed by Bell Laboratories engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman in 1966.  E.A.T. aimed to facilitate collaborations between artists and engineers.  It posed art as a specific type of research, a model of experimentation and construction parallel to engineering, invention, and nonlinear systems.  Engineers, the group hoped, could grant artists access to new media and materials, while artists could simultaneously alter the methodologies of instrumentalized, industrial research.  Participants ranged from John Cage and Andy Warhol to Mel Bochner, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Breer.Indeed, E.A.T. upset teleologies of modernist invention and technical innovation alike.  The projects I discuss demonstrate that the contact between disciplines of engineering and of art production were to shift the terms of aesthetic process itself.  Models of postwar industrial research and development actually provided the possibility of alternate, unforeseen paths:  ludic and non-functionalist modes of production that resulted in unstable objects or technological failure; organizational networks that did not follow conventional kinds of collectivity.  I view E.A.T. as an attempt to grapple with, on the one hand, the increasing foreclosure of key aesthetic strategies in the postwar period; and on the other, the extraordinary systems in place for technocratic expansion and control. Out of this impasse, this crucible, would develop the conditions of possibility for contemporary modes of artistic research and knowledge production.
Michelle Kuo is editor-in-chief of Artforum.  She is also a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University in the History of Art and Architecture, writing a dissertation titled “To Avoid the Waste of a Cultural Revolution”:  Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), 1966-1974.  Kuo has written extensively for publications including Artforum, Bookforum, October, The Art Bulletin, and TDR/The Drama Review and is the author of “9 Evenings in Reverse,” in the exhibition catalogue 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering for the MIT List Visual Arts Center in 2006.  Forthcoming essays will appear in exhibition catalogues for MuMOK, Vienna, and the Hayward Gallery, London this year.
Lecture (English), invited in the context of the WWTF/Art(s) & Sciences research project Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the Arts […]
Regime | How Dominance Is Organized and Expression Is Formalized
28.05.2010 – 29.05.2010
Aktsaal, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
An interfacultative working group–Eva Egermann (IKL), Petja Dimitrova (IBK), Maren Grimm (IBK), Tom Holert (IKW), Jens Kastner (IKW) and Johanna Schaffer (IKW)–is developing concepts and formats focussing on “regime”. Next to seminars and lecture classes on the topic there will be a workshop taking place at the academy end of May 2009.
For the (German) exposé
For the (German) program
Simon Sheikh | A Conceptual History of Exhibition-Making
06.05.2010, 7.00 p.m.
M20, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
Since 1989, we have not only seen (geo)political and cultural changes in Europe, former west and east alike, but also a renewed interest in the exhibition as the main vehicle for contemporary art, not only in terms of presentation, but also production: the exhibition as medium. We have also seen the specialization of exhibitions, into what can be characterized as instituted genres of exhibitions. We must therefore ask ourselves not only what a history of exhibitions will tell us about art, but also about history, and about how it is written and read, rewritten and re-read. And whether such histories are necessarily always written by the victors – short term as long term, internationally as nationally?
This talk will look at a few examples, both canonical and non-canonical, in order to sketch out how a typology of exhibitions must be established, but also to ask what makes exhibitionary articulations readable and translatable, and indeed successful and unsuccessful within their parameters and strategies…In other words, the question is whether it possible to predetermine the effects and affects of exhibitions within their chosen type and/or efforts to not conform to type? And what are its relation to histories and counter-histories, i.e. what sort of horizon is set up by a given exhibition in its types, forms and articulations? In other words, how does exhibitions produce and reproduce bodies of knowledge, and how can the activity itself be a field of research?
Simon Sheikh is a freelance curator and critic. He is a correspondent for Springerin, Vienna, and a columnist for e-flux Journal, New York. He is a researcher for the on-going Former West project, initiated by BAK in Utrecht. He was Coordinator of the Critical Studies Program, Malmö Art Academy in Sweden, 2002-2009. He was director of Overgaden – Institute for Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, 1999-2002 and Curator at NIFCA, Helsinki, 2003-2004. Editor of the magazine Øjeblikket 1996-2000, and a member of the project group GLOBE 1993-2000.
Curatorial work includes exhibitions such as Exclusion, Consul, Århus, 1993, I Confess, Nikolaj – Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, 1995, Escape Attempts in Christiania, Copenhagen, 1996 (with GLOBE), Do-It-Yourself – Mappings and Instructions, Bricks+Kicks, Vienna, 1997, In My Room, Nordic Video, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1998, Models of Resistance, Overgaden, Copenhagen 2000 (with GLOBE), Naust Øygarden, Bergen, Norway 2000, Circa Berlin, Nikolaj – Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, 2005, Capital (It Fails Us Now) at UKS, Oslo, 2005 and Kunstihoone, Tallinn, 2006, and Vectors of Possibility, BAK, Utrecht, 2010.
Recent publications include the anthologies We are all Normal (with Katya Sander), Black Dog Publishing, London 2001, Knut Åsdam (monograph), Fine Arts Unternehmen, Zug, 2004, In the Place of the Public Sphere?, b_books, Berlin, 2005 and Capital (It Fails Us Now), b_books, Berlin, 2006. A collection of his essays is forthcoming from b_books. His writings can also be found in such periodicals as Afterall, AnArchitectur, Open, Springerin and Texte zur Kunst. Lives in Berlin and Copenhagen.
Lecture (English) in the context of the WWTF/Art(s) & Sciences research project Troubling Research. Performing Knowledge in the Arts […]
Manoa Free University, “W…WirWissen”, and Others: Omniscient Garbage Dumps
14.01.2010, 8.00 p.m. – 9.30 p.m.
M20, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
In April and May 2005 Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna was the site of “W…WirWissen. kennenlernen emanzipatorischer selbstinstitutionen, socialised research und verlernen lernen” (“W…WeKnow. Getting to know emancipatory self-institutions, socialised research and learning to unlearn“). The event went on for six weeks and was conceived and organised in the context of Manoa Free University (Vienna) in cooperation with APA (Hamburg), Copenhagen Free University, Free Floating Faculty (Copenhagen), Freie Klasse (Berlin), Informelle Universität in Gründung (Berlin), University of Openness (London) and numerous individuals. Deliberately, the concept of knowledge was deployed as a somewhat blurry centre. Knowledge was considered by the participants as a cluster created by post-Fordist economy, strategies of education, and artistic practice, and it was to be approached by the project in circular movements. These movements were statements and stutterings at the same time. “Time and again we met and discussed the public representability of informal processes of knowledge. The current commodification of informal knowledge in a post-Fordist environment, the economisation of education and the role of artistic research will be the focus of the experiment. The participating groups work on a wide array of different aspects of knowledge production. Some of them bear ‘university’ in their name, their practices and forms of organisations, however, are as diverse as the contexts in which they have been originating. Founding a university is a speech act.” (from “opening speeches”, W…WirWissen, 2005).
Since October 2009, a protest movement has emerged in opposition to the economisation of the educational sector in Vienna as well as in many other places in Europe. Among other things it calls for free and unrestricted access to education and knowledge and claims self-organised spaces of student activity. Similar discussions were constitutive of the self-understanding of projects such as “W…WirWissen”, Manoa Free University and other groups that took part in the 2005 Exnergasse event.
As part of the Frames of Reference, Sites of Research series participants will speak about “W…WirWissen”, presenting documentations, texts, websites and images, in order to start a discussion on projects of artistic knowledge production in the context of the current protests and the ongoing institutionalisation of artistic research.
Frames of References, Sites of Research: A Series of Talks on Institutional and Self-Organized Knowledge Production in the Arts.
Maria Hlavajova | A Space for Thinking
17.12.2009, 8.00 p.m. – 9.30 p.m.
M20, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
Maria Hlavajova will talk on the institution of art as a space for thinking about, with and through art. She will base her presentation on the example of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht, which she founded in 2003 and for which she has been acting as artistic director ever since.
Collaborating with artists and cultural producers, BAK realizes projects — exhibitions, presentations, publications and artistic productions — that oscillate between art, academia and lobbying.
Maria Hlavajova (born 1971) is founding artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht ( since 2000. She is also currently leading the project Former West (2008–2013), which she initiated and developed as a research, education, publication, and exhibition undertaking, realized through an international collaborative effort involving a dense network of researchers and art institutions. In 2008 Hlavajova co-curated Once is Nothing (with Charles Esche), the joint contribution of BAK and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven to the Brussels Biennale 1, Brussels, 2008. She curated the three-part project Citizens and Subjects, the Dutch contribution to the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, which included a new video installation by Aernout Mik in the Dutch Pavilion, a critical reader (Citizens and Subjects: The Netherlands, for example, co-edited with Rosi Braidotti and Charles Esche), and a series of lectures, workshops, residencies, and master classes (Citizens and Subjects: Practices and Debates). Hlavajova has organized numerous exhibitions and projects at BAK including: Lawrence Weiner: Dicht Bij, 2010; Sanja Iveković: Urgent Matters, 2009 (a two-part exhibition at BAK and the Van Abbemuseum); The Return of Religion and Other Myths, 2008–2009; Arthur Zmijewski: Social Studio, 2008; Roman Ondák: The Day After Yesterday, 2007; Kutluğ Ataman: Küba/Paradise, 2007; Concerning “Knowledge Production”: Practices in Contemporary Art, 2006; Aernout Mik: Raw Footage/Scapegoats, 2006; Adrian Paci, 2006; Concerning War, 2005; Gerrit Dekker: About no below, no above, no sides, 2005; Cordially Invited, episode 3, Who if not we…?, 2004, and Now What? Dreaming a better world in six parts, 2003. She also regularly edits and contributes to numerous critical readers and catalogs internationally. In 2004, Hlavajova curated Who if not we should at least try to imagine the future of all this?, an international collaborative project across Europe. She is a founding board member of the Július Koller Society, and founding director of the tranzit network (together with Kathrin Rhomberg), a foundation that supports exchange and contemporary art practices in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Hlavajova also is a fellow of the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University, and teaches at Utrecht University and Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. Previously she was a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York (1998–2002), co-curator of Manifesta 3, Ljubljana (2000), and director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts in Bratislava (1994–1999). Hlavajova lives and works in Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Frames of Reference, Sites of Research. A Series of Talks on Institutional and Self-Organized Knowledge Production in the Arts
Anton Vidokle | Exhibition as School…
26.11.2009, 8.00 p.m.
M20, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
A talk about models and scenarios for recuperating critical agency of art in the absence of an effective public. Organized by CAK as part of Frames of Reference, Sites of Research: A Series of Talks on Institutional and Self-Organized Knowledge Production in the Arts
Anton Vidokle is an artist, based in New York and Berlin. As founding director of e-flux (video rental, mailing list, journal etc.), he has produced projects such asNext Documenta Should Be Curated By An Artist, Do it, Utopia Station poster project, and organized An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life and Martha Rosler Library. Vidokle initiated research into education as site for artistic practice as co-curator for Manifesta 6, which was canceled. In response to the cancellation, Vidokle set up Unitednationsplaza—a twelve-month independent project in Berlin, involving more than a hundred artists, writers, philosophers, and diverse audiences. In 2008-2009 Vidokle organized, at the New Museum in New York,Night School as an artist commission in the form of a temporary school.
Sean Snyder | Disobedience in Byelorussia
16.06.2009, 8.00 p.m.
M20, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
Lecture (in English) presented by CAK
Sean Snyder | Disobedience in Byelorussia
Sean Snyder, Exhibition, 2008, Courtesy the artist; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Lisson Gallery, London; Galerie Neu, Berlin.
“I have often placed myself in precarious situations in order to access information and images for my work. I have been thrown out of places, been arrested, had cameras confiscated, have faked journalist credentials, paid bribes, and so on. A compulsion? A ‘research-based art practice’? Well, more the former, supported by the notion of the latter.”
US artist Sean Snyder (* 1972) investigates in his work the technological and institutional conditions of Modernist and contemporary visual cultures: how images are created, put into circulation and withdrawn from the public view, how the production of visual documents is structured, stimulated and suppressed, discursively and politically, how visual propaganda is organised. Earlier this year, Snyder exhibited four video and photo installations in the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. On analytical display were a cultural film from a Soviet-Ukrainian archive, footage shot during the soviet occupation of Afghanistan, a video about the current blurring of the boundaries between professional and amateur photo journalism in Iraq and Afghanistan and a reflection on the digitization of his own archive. Snyder prominently partakes in a younger, research-based art practice and will continue in his talk a “self-interrogation on ‘research-based art’” that he started recently with an article in e-flux journal (, speaking about how artistic research may be considered as a methodology and a problematic.