Expolitiques. Two shows in discussion: Utopia station and Making things public.

Expolitiques. Two shows in discussion: Utopia station and Making things public.

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

March 15, 2007
Expolitiques. Two shows in discussion: Utopia station and Making things public.
Utopia station

in discussion with Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige, Eric Alliez, Claire Fontaine, Yona Friedman, Jacques Rancière, Nasrine Seradji, Immanuel Wallerstein, Yan Thomas, Corinne Diserens, Anton Vidokle, Claire Bishop, Bernard Blistène, Jean-Luc Moulène and others to be announced.

Saturday, March 17, 10h – 17h.

Over the last years two super-size shows have proposed a new approach to the “public thing” or res publica: Utopia Station, created by Molly Nesbit, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija whose first station appeared at the Venice Biennial 2003, and Making things public – Atmospheres of Democracy conceived by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel for the ZKM in Karlsruhe in 2005. Their size, the unusual number of their participants, and their dedication to the long term, not to mention the range of their preoccupations, give these « huge machines » the ambition of reworking not only the exhibition display itself, but the very idea of representation.

Did utopia slipped out of our sight? Beginning with Ernst Bloch’s statement that “Utopia, the word has been discredited, but utopian thinking had not”, Nesbit, Obrist and Tiravanija created Utopia Station as a way–station, a conceptual structure involving by now more than 300 artists, architects and theoreticians from all generations : an experiment in creating a collective process of creativity around a word.

Making things public, displayed all through the ZKM, has been among the most intellectually far-reaching shows since 1985, when a new benchmark was set by Les Immatériaux at the Centre Pompidou by French philosopher Jean François Lyotard in 1985. Now philosopher Bruno Latour has chosen a resolutely high tech mix of works by artists and theoreticians coming from a whole range of intellectual backgrounds, from science and sociology to political theory. They have proposed an “assembly of assemblies” so that, much like a fair, visitors can compare the “different types of representation”. This “installation of installations” wants to be a contribution to a new constitution for Europe and a “store of aids for the invalids who have been repatriated from the political frontlines”.

Today time has come to take stock of these two controversial shows. This discussion in an institution dedicated to the social and political sciences, the EHESS, will combine forces to debate the topics of utopia and representation in the very moment “political frontlines” are being drawn afresh.

About us:

The seminar “Something you should know. Artistes et producteurs aujourd’hui” was founded in 2006 by Patricia Falguières, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Elisabeth Lebovici and Natasa Petresin to welcome artists, critics and curators at the EHESS, Paris. Among recent guests: Yona Friedman, Jimmie Durham, Deimantas Narkevicius, Tania Bruguera, Irwin, Cerith Wyn Evans.

The conference Expolitiques is part of a collaboration with the program

“Contemporary Art and Globalisation” curated by Zahia Rahmani at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris.

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Amphitheatre, 105 bd Raspail, 75006, Paris

T : (00.33) (0)1 53 63 51 38



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March 15, 2007

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