The final project will consist in a presentation, functioning at once as a speculative proposal for a future art project while being grounded in at least two of the assigned readings (and attendant associations which these will inevitably entail). Given that this project does not require (immediate) actualization, speculation can be allowed a wide berth.
These presentations will take place on a day-long Symposium on Art and Speculation (provisional title), which will be open to the public and will take place all day, December X.
This presentation will be distilled into a written document to be handed in a week after the public presentation.
grounded in 2 readings from this term (and any other references that help channel your speculating)
the speculative project should be connected to an aspect of your work which the readings help articulate / open up
guidelines / questions to ask of your practice in relation to the readings
look for the faint signals which need amplification, the invisible elements in your practice (Heraclitus)
i.e. what operates tacitly, what operates explicitly in your work
what does an unresolved practice look like?
any form is possible
can include a/v media / powerpoint etc.
can be a performance / written-out script
you can determine how you want the class to engage with / intervene within your presentation
30 minutes total which you can split up however you like (e.g. 20-25′ presentation with 5-10′ for questions)
PhD—5000 words (double-spaced)
MA/MFA—3500 words (double-spaced)
due date: TBD (1 week after the presentation)
I’m also open to any format for the written portion of the speculative project.
As soon as you have a grasp on a potential area of investigation, I’ll be happy to help orient you with other references and chat about possibles. Email turnaround is generally fast, face-to-face meetings tend to be really useful. (Wednesday afternoons are generally free.)
statement written after last year’s symposium
The glorious messiness of still uncoordinated, half-baked insights, shards of past practices seeping into uncomfortably adumbrated textures of unknowing; leaps of faith which cannot yet (and may never) find confirmation; hesitations, slippages, feints, digressions; none of this should be valenced in a manner which points to an absence of rigour. I realize that such a statement flies in the face of any neoliberalized institution, in which consolidation of a point-of-view, a style, a theorized totality, are to be valued for their capacities to function as shorthand calling cards in an oversaturated art market. Instead, to admit stupidity, unknowing, while seeking to overturn, challenge received orthodoxies at every turn is to admit the ultimately convulsive nature of thought, and the delusional nature of one’s attempt to arrest its divagatory, bifurcational movements.
I know that the challenges of being suddenly immersed in a world that was for some of you perfectly foreign were gigantic, and might at times have seemed utterly insurmountable. I appreciated the difficulties you all faced in coming to grips with the very idea of speculation, one rather out of fashion within the cybernetic world of negative feedback which captures any noise and refigures it to more elegantly capture. If I insisted on understanding the modalities of cybernetics, it was in order to specifically draw your collective attention to not only its insidiousness (and immanence qua invisibility), but also to means of potentially refiguring it, insinuating into it, withdrawing altogether from it. This is by no means an easy task, given the manner in which capitalism incorporates prodigious, unimaginable quantities of negativity in order to paradoxically continue its accumulation.
Being on the cusp of a barely adumbrated but intuitively promising world affords significant discomfort. Indeed, a feeling of cognitive and somatic strain permeated the room as the symposium wound down. One of the morning’s auditors noted the wondrousness of being in the presence of unconsolidated, in-process, future-tending speculation, which given the shock to thought this course induced, were welcome harbingers. The presence of airtight, hermetically controlled perspectives could only have signified failure in this context, a too-rapid reincorporation within the homeostatic folds permanently tasked with neutralizing challenge, domesticating discrepancy. My own post-symposium disposition was suffused with the kind of elation which autonomically arises when natural propensities to classify and dismiss as conform no longer function. Accordingly, I thank all of you for taking up the multiple challenges I set up, and for not jumping to essentialized conclusions too quickly, for daring to remain vulnerable and unknowing while bending the circuits of your own histories, practices, allegiances, fears into generously energetic relays in preemptive dialogue with an as-yet-unmapped futurity.
I’m expecting to have conversations with each and every one of you throughout the Winter term, to continue what we have begun together, to witness the flashes of insight which have been made possible by our concerted effort to grapple with our place in the world as artists, activists, sense-derangers, mètic thinkers.