Classroom: memeclassworldwide: Bernhard Garnicnig

Classroom: memeclassworldwide: Bernhard Garnicnig

e-flux Education

August 25, 2021
Classroom: memeclassworldwide: Bernhard Garnicnig
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Curated by Bernhard Garnicnig

“Has art school missed out on the internet?”

When we first posed this question, we did so somewhat provocatively, to articulate the feeling of witnessing an institution overlook and not engage with a body of knowledge, a style, and an experience of learning and sharing that is dear to us. We felt that including the internet in discussions about art school was critically necessary, and this question has circulated within memeclassworldwide for several years. Since it was first raised, we have become rather tired of it.

Recently, we have felt it necessary to problematize this question from several perspectives: Which, and therefore whose, art school do we mean? Does the internet really exist on a linear timeline of progress where a single opportunity could be missed? As the question imposes a static nature on the constitutive properties of art school—even though our research has taught us that art school always changes with the external and institutional political environment—has the concept of a singular art school ever existed? Aren’t memeclassworldwide and other self-directed emancipatory initiatives, such as the discursive space opened by this very publication, a clear sign that there hasn’t ever been just one art school, and that we should no longer believe anyone who attempts to write it into being?

memeclassworldwide emerged in a time and space not claimed by art school bureaucracy, and the question of missing out was posed because these ungoverned moments offered an indication of an answer and a frame of discussion. However, by now, we as initiators, members, students, and guests of memeclassworldwide have all in our own ways moved on from art school as a place we go to regularly, as an institution we accept as immutable and static, and as a time in our lives that we connect to a feeling of longing for change. We are more interested in the perpetual becoming of art school and the importance of continuously reinstituting it through creative, political, and thoughtful practices.

For this Classroom, we have assembled a set of material used in previous moments of instituting memeclassworldwide in seminars and workshops in Kiel, Linz, Bogotá, Basel, and online. The series of videos is a sample of this material and its contextualization.

At various points, we have thought of this material and the ideas it engages with as missing from art school. This sense of absence is what Davina Cooper describes as a defining feature of practices that act as if a desired future is already realized in a fragment of what a community considers reality. These “prefigurative as-if practices” then establish a desired future reality in the present in order to show how this gesture affects the immediate political surroundings. Rather than re-presenting art school’s transformation from its reality to its imagined future in the form of plans and proposals, memeclassworldwide was founded in an effort to perform as if art school adopted the themes and modes we perceived as missing.

—Bernhard Garnicnig

Featuring memeclassworldwideJennifer Merlyn ScherlerDieter Lesage, Memes: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism? conferenceOlia Lialina, Threaducation, and Fine Arts Reading Room at Concordia University.

View the full series on Classroom.

Classroom is a series of video programs curated by art schools, educators, artists, and writers. Each program assembles films, interviews, lectures, panel discussions, and documentaries from a variety of sources to engage with themes relevant to contemporary art and cultural production.

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August 25, 2021

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