Foundation Lecture Series, Philip Glahn Lecture, Tuesday, 9/22

Technology, Labor, and Reproduction: The Liberation of Art as Social Technique

10:55-11:55am,Tyler B004


For the better part of the 20th century, modernist art discourse has lamented the phenomena of photography and the readymade as irreparable attacks on artisanal skill and handicraft, replacing artistic sensuousness with the leveling and mechanized banalization of mass production. But, as art historian John Roberts has recently suggested, the inclusion of technology and mechanical reproduction in art has in fact liberated artistic labor from traditionally restrictive notions of authorship and skill, enabling collaboration with other forms and purveyors of creation and creativity, other techniques of sensual and ideological production. Looking at practices ranging from historical avant-garde movements such as Constructivism and Dada to more recent examples of Conceptual Art and Institutional Critique, digital art and Relational Aesthetics, this talk will examine the benefits of the “liberation of the hand”—technology’s potential to transform art into an arena of communicative action and democratic participation in the creation of intellectual and cultural skills—as well as its limits and dangers, as positions of aesthetic criticality are absorbed by institutional networks of profitability and symbolic integration.

Glahn Image

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