[artinfo] Post-Autonomy on-line

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Wed Jul 5 14:31:13 CEST 2006

>From: "David Goldenberg" <dged03 at hotmail.com>
>Post-Autonomy on-line
> From David Goldenberg  http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog
>Please download, print and distribute
>An invitation for you to participate in a project looking at the 
>relationship of an audience to the space of art, and the future of 
>art by answering some questions and/or taking part in a discussion.
>0. Introduction
>1. Participating in the project
>2. Introduction to the questions
>3. Questions
>4. Options for extending a debate
>0. Introduction
>Currently my project, "Move into the domain of Post-Autonomy" is 
>being exhibited in the group show "Jump into Cold Water", curated by 
>Sonke Gau and Katharina Schlieben, at the Shedhalle, Zurich, 
>Switzerland until the 30th July 2006.
>"Move into the domain of Post-Autonomy" is an on-line project 
>located on the Post-Autonomy web site; comprising text, questions, a 
>schedule of daily on-line discussions, which will be updated and 
>changed throughout the exhibition.
>I have proposed to the Shedhalle that the next phase of this 
>project, which is planned to take place during July, will take the 
>form of a collaborative debate. A debate that proposes to focus on 
>issues that start by examining what is commonly understood as an 
>"Audience for art", the relationship between an audience and Art, 
>extending an Audience's Autonomy in Art, leading onto a discussion 
>looking at developing an Art for the future. For this to take place 
>I am asking a selection of people for their views on these topics.
>1. Participating in the project if you want to take part.
>I have devised a series of questions and would very much appreciate 
>you taking the time to answer them. These questions and subsequent 
>answers will be made available to the public on the Post-Autonomy 
>website and will remain online for the duration of the "Jump into 
>Cold Water" exhibition. Below I have made a few suggestions of the 
>form your responses may take, but if you have any other ideas or 
>suggestions please feel free to use them.
>a)       If you agree to take part please make sure to include your 
>name so that you will be fully credited.
>b)       You can email your responses to david at postautonomy.co.uk
>c)       Locate material on the PA website yourself.
>d)       Or you can book time to talk about your answers and any 
>other issues in the PA chat room.
>To locate material on the website will only take a few minutes. To 
>do this you will need to go to the PA homepage, 
>http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog enter a user name and apply for a 
>password, which will be sent back to your email automatically. Once 
>you have this, enter both your user name and password and you will 
>be able to add your material to the site. A space for your content 
>will be clearly visible on the homepage.
>If you want to discuss issues raised by this information sheet in 
>more depth or open up a discussion topic of your own, you can book a 
>time to talk about these in the PA website chat room with myself or 
>anyone else who enters the chat room. I can usually be found in the 
>chat room from Monday-Friday between 6-7 BST.
>English language version
>Post-Autonomy on-line
> From David Goldenberg  http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog
>2) Introduction to Questions
>Expanding the role of an audience in Art as a point of departure for 
>making changes in Art
>Examining the role of an audience in Art is much more than a 
>question of how to reach new or untapped consumers, it is also much 
>more than the fashionable cynical use of an audience as free labour. 
>Nevertheless how is it possible to address and rethink the issue of 
>an Audience in Art in its complexity, in a manner that allows the 
>possibility to break through the current dead end, and that over 
>comes the suggestion that the problem of an audience for Art is 
>already solved? In the quest to develop ideas for making changes in 
>Art it is, I think, important to start by looking at ungluing and 
>renegotiating these existing positions in Art. By "positions" I 
>understand this to mean recognition of those persons who want to 
>take part in Art, as opposed to those persons who ought to take 
>part, and who is and who is not allowed entrance into Art to take 
>part.  This is what is understood as the Politics of Art. And when I 
>discuss ideas for change I specifically refer to the possibility for 
>making alterations or improvements to a Euro-centric Art tradition, 
>and when I refer to an end of Art, or an end or development of 
>aesthetic Autonomy, again it is in specific reference to the 
>construction of this Euro-centric Art tradition. We can take that 
>further by looking at breaking the link between this model of Art 
>and its symbolic role in promoting the expansion of Western values.
>Entry points into the questions
>A point of departure for the project must start by looking at 
>whether there is a realistic possibility for freeing up and 
>renegotiating the space of what is recognised as the space of the 
>Audience, in order for the audience to acquire an extended  role.
>I therefore want to start with the following preliminary questions 
>as a guide for you to enter the project.
>How should any audiences contribution to a project be acknowledged?
>What is an audience in Art?
>What constitutes an audience for Art?
>Why should an audience engage with Art?
>What is the role an audience plays in shaping an Art event?
>How does an audience acquire information about Art?
>Should an audience be interested in expanding their role? And if 
>they do in what way do you think this is possible and how do they do 
>this effectively?
>What system requires to be put in place to assist an audience to be 
>able to do this?
>(If you want to address any of these questions specifically please do)
>These concerns, I think you will agree, are of interest to many of us.
>For a non specialised audience to begin to engage with these issues 
>and go onto make an informed decision within the space of Art, a 
>system of acquiring a body of specialist knowledge and  concepts, 
>and learning about art through a working channel for communicating 
>is obviously necessary, and this is what I want to look at putting 
>into practice during this project. But having said, please note, 
>that I have out of necessity tried to cut out as much specialist 
>language as I can, by falling back to familiar terms that a general 
>audience understands, but they are not necessarily the terms I would 
>employ in describing the field of Post Autonomy, which I hope 
>doesn't lead to further misunderstandings!
>Changing a Euro-centric tradition of art
>An audience's Autonomy
>What I would like to ask you next are a number of questions about 
>what you think about Art today; whether you think there is a 
>realistic possibility for its development or change, including the 
>expansion of the role of the audience and the space for an audience 
>to make decisions about the shape of any Art practice. This can be 
>described as an audience's "Autonomy in Art". Development of an 
>audience's Autonomy in Art can also be understood as its 
>"Post-Autonomy", through expanding beyond a standard or normalised 
>idea of Autonomy.
>English language version
>Post-Autonomy on-line
> From David Goldenberg  http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog
>Bureau for research into Post-Autonomy, Post-Autonomy on-line, and 
>the Post-Autonomy website, established 2006
>What is Post-Autonomy?
>The debate and understanding of Post-Autonomy, which is in its 
>infancy, is proposed as another way of thinking and staging 
>contemporary culture. A debate that taps into and builds on recent 
>research carried out by the theorists and philosophers Luhmann, 
>Lingner and Ranciere, into the history of the invention of 
>contemporary Art, or what is more correctly understood as a 
>Euro-centric art tradition. This research examines the physical make 
>up that embodies this tradition, in order to then go onto staging a 
>fundamental rethinking into how that tradition has been translated 
>and transmitted. All agree that our current understanding of this 
>tradition is seriously flawed and that a complete rethinking is 
>required. Key to this revision and rethinking revolves around the 
>notion of Aesthetic Autonomy, and here these authors can be seen to 
>belong to the tradition that opens up and expands any closed or 
>restricted reading of Aesthetic Autonomy, including how and where it 
>is applied. This process of how we rethink, reinvent, expand or go 
>beyond Autonomy is what we understand as Post-Autonomy; this reading 
>of Post-Autonomy feeds into Political Sciences concrete example and 
>understanding of Post-Autonomy as the completion or conclusion of a 
>Nation States Autonomy. Since this moment allows for the fundamental 
>revision of all aspects of how we rethink and stage a contemporary 
>cultural practice, it can also be seen as a moment that coincides 
>with developing a new model for the future of art, a new model, 
>which we have termed Post-Autonomy.
>Recently 16 Beaver Group described Post Autonomy as follows:
>"Post-Autonomous art describes a mode of making art at a time when 
>the artist's presumed autonomy has become rather problematic. A 
>post-autonomous mode of production is no longer concerned with 
>creating singular works of art attributable to a particular artist 
>or author. Instead, a post-autonomous art practice employs a 
>collaborative or dialogical mode of production, for example, via 
>face-to face or on-line dialogues, conversations or events, wiki's, 
>salons, bulletin boards, chat rooms, or collaborative visual editing 
>The aim of post-autonomous artistic production is not (or not 
>primarily) to create objects (electronic or physical) or to document 
>the traces of the productive process. Rather, it is to support and 
>embody a political transformation whereby the human participants 
>subscribes to an open ended mutual learning process and define and 
>activate a productive space outside capitalism and its competitive 
>mode of production."
>Ola Stahl of Ccred has written:
>In relation to the post-autonomy project, the comment was made that 
>the project raises a significant question: What is a concept? How 
>does a concept operate? Referring specifically to the notion of 
>post-autonomy, for instance, is it meant to be an art historical 
>concept (used to group together and define a number of practices as 
>being post-autonomous), or is it an 'inventive' concept (i.e. is it 
>used to crack open habitual practices of thought (and practice in 
>itself) to open up to different parameters of cultural production/practice)?
>English language version
>Post-Autonomy on-line
> From David Goldenberg  http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog
>An Audiences role in taking responsibility for shaping an Art of the 
>future by building a new model that we understand as Post Autonomy.
>Your contribution to this project can be seen to extend and test out 
>how we understand Autonomy in Art, and in that respect develops a 
>debate into understanding a notion of "Post-Autonomy". Through 
>expanding the Autonomy of your role relocates you into a central 
>position where you have the responsibility, if you wish to take up 
>the challenge, for discussing how you can contribute to making 
>fundamental changes to a normalised model of Art.
>How do we understand this use of language in art?
>I now want to make a number of tentative observations, concerning 
>the form this language and questioning has taken so far, and where I 
>think it is leading. And these have to be tentative since I want to 
>see whether it is at last feasible to begin to pin down the 
>characteristics of a recognisable language and inherent logic that 
>allow us to understand this new and unexplored terrain of Post-Autonomy.
>How can we characterise the logic of using language in art, the use 
>of this form of questioning, the process of rethinking through all 
>aspects of what we understand as a Euro-centric tradition of art, 
>and how do we go onto understand this or a similar methodology 
>transferred into the space of PA?
>So far it is possible to make the following observations:
>.  Use of language and questioning as a continuation of PA projects 
>exploring the stripping down or away of formal and conceptual trappings of a
>    Euro-centric tradition. (I do of course that this continues a 
> reductive rather than additive form of developing a practice and 
> system of building
>    thinking, with all of its inherent  problems, art historical 
> ideologies  and mythologies.)
>.  Working in a "gap" that bares no resemblance to any existing 
>means of presenting, staging and thinking within  the tradition of a 
>    tradition, but nevertheless allows the possibility of moving forward.
>.  Recognising the end, or suspension, of this Euro-centric tradition.
>.  Recognising a space where a language doesn't have to rely on the 
>resources and logic of this Euro-centric tradition.
>.  Use of a type of language and questioning that allows for the 
>possibility for rebuilding and navigating around the space of Post Autonomy. I
>    understand this use of language inside PA, dislocated from its 
> context and comprehension within a Euro centric tradition, to full 
> fill another role
>    and function inside the space of PA, where language can be seen 
> as more or less than language.
>1) What is Autonomy?
>In discussions looking into the future of art, in talks and texts 
>into "Post-Autonomy" on the Post-Autonomy website, we start by 
>asking ourselves what is Autonomy? In most people's thinking the 
>idea of Autonomy is linked to Democracy, freedom and Art. But when 
>we try to put our thoughts into words it proves notoriously illusive 
>and difficult to pin down exactly what Autonomy is. However, given 
>that the issue of Autonomy is so significant, particularly it's 
>central role in any understanding of Contemporary Art, I would like to ask you:
>1a) How, would you put into words and define your own idea of Autonomy?
>1b) If you cannot do this maybe you can provide visual examples?
>1c) But how useful is the continued application of the notion of 
>Autonomy to our daily lives? Is there an alternative notion we can point too?
>1d) Do you think an understanding of Autonomy in Art and Politics is 
>equivalent? If it is, I now want to ask the following. If the notion 
>of Autonomy is such a distant notion, and it is necessary to 
>remember or recall what Autonomy is in order to think about 
>Autonomy; and, if a recent reading of Autonomy can be linked to 
>Western expansionism, Neo-Liberalism, and Neo-Liberalism's reading 
>of freedom and Democracy, how useful is it to continue to apply this 
>template of Autonomy to a changing, advanced understanding of 
>contemporary culture?
>English language version
>Post-Autonomy on-line
> From David Goldenberg  http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog
>2) Art and Computers
>Recently the debate into issues of Autonomy, freedom, open society, 
>break down of positions and authorship etc has migrated to the web.
>2a) Where do you think we can locate clear examples or evidence of 
>Aesthetic Autonomy today, is it in a normalised art practice or the 
>mythical open space of net art?
>2b) Can you say something about how you think Autonomy works in net 
>art or the web, and if possible show examples.
>3) Rethinking how we understand art, developing a new model of Art, 
>and an Art of the future.
>By rethinking Autonomy and expanding the role of an audience's 
>Autonomy in Art, we start to think about new possibilities for Art, 
>which is equivalent to thinking about an "Art of the future". An 
>"Art of the Future" is another method we can use to disengage from 
>existing thinking and examples of normalised notion of Art by 
>projecting outside or beyond this existing framework.
>3a) In your opinion is this method of breaking, disrupting and 
>forgetting how we think and stage Art now a useful way to start to 
>look at developing a new idea of Art? If not what other process 
>would you suggest?
>3b) Again in your opinion is there a need, and is it realistic to 
>rethink our understanding of art and develop a new model within 
>today's economic and cultural climate?
>3c) If you have an opportunity of rethinking and reinventing Art 
>what would you want in Art in the future?
>4) How do we position this thinking about an Art of the future?
>4a) Through developing a new model of Art, which we call 
>"Post-Autonomy", how do you think we can make sense of this thinking 
>and research?
>4b) If the project looks at developing a new model of Art, or a 
>model of Art for the future, does it make sense to continue to 
>recognise this thinking in relationship to a tradition of Art that 
>the thinking is seeking to disengage from?
>4c) Or, does it make sense to look at developing a different context 
>for this thinking, in relationship to different debates, for 
>instance debates into Globalisation, Post Colonial thinking, New 
>Media and Net art, or none of these?
>5) A language for a future Art practice.
>5a) If this thinking and practice can be seen to break with the 
>tradition of a Euro-centric practice en-route to establishing an Art 
>of the future, what language do you suggest we tap into to 
>articulate to make sense and open up this Art of the future?
>6) The term Post-Autonomy
>6a) How useful is the term or image of "Post-Autonomy" in signalling 
>a new model of Art?
>6b) The use of the term "Post-Autonomy" often triggers debate into 
>the lack or loss of Autonomy in art (and peoples daily lives), so 
>that the use of Post-Autonomy can be seen to define the actual 
>existing conditions of un freedom  in contemporary art . But the 
>term can also be seen to suggest a moment and opportunity for 
>setting out a set of ideas that could better embody the specificity 
>of today's cultural practice. In that respect the debate generated 
>by PA can be seen as an opportunity to replace a weak notion with a 
>notion generated by living, engaged practitioners that is specific 
>to today's conditions. In your view is this use of PA worth while, 
>and if it is how do we go onto construct a better set of ideas for a 
>contemporary cultural practice?
>6c)  Possibly Post Autonomy doesn't hint at a new model, but instead 
>could  be seen to picture a new stage in the development of 
>Capitalism, of the nation State, and even the virtual space of the 
>web, new technologies, net art, which is sometimes recognised to 
>embody notions of Capitalist space. Due you think this a better 
>understanding of PA, and if it is can you place say why.
>7) Please include here any other issues you think are useful to 
>raise or you would like to discuss on the PA website.
>If you require any further information to do with this project, or 
>have constructive ideas on how to clarify any statements I have 
>made, please feel free to contact me.
>English language version
>Post-Autonomy on-line
> From David Goldenberg  http://www.postautonomy.co.uk/blog
>4) Options for extending the debate
>If you don't want to respond to the questions or statements in the 
>form of a questionnaire then please feel free to use this space to 
>develop or sketch out an alternative idea
>For example this could take the form of:
>A programme of discussions on the PA chat room
>Talks using skype
>A web caste debate
>Rewrite any part of the text in your own language and wording
>Or any other form you think would be more appropriate

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