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Title: Thinking with conditions : from public programming to radical pedagogy in and beyond contemporary art
Author: Graham, Janna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 4805
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Thinking with Conditions: from Public Programming to Radical Pedagogy in and Beyond Contemporary Art is a study of the contradictions and possibilities of public programming within and beyond contemporary arts institutions. Charting a rise in discursive events in galleries since the 1990s that take place under the heading ‘public programming’, the thesis analyses claims made for these events as moments in which to address urgent contemporary issues, to create alternative enactments of the public sphere, to open up spaces for dialogue and debate and to generate practices of time-based experimentation. It posits that in our current moment such claims are overshadowed by a mode of post-Fordist production that propels individual, virtuosic and communicative performances, regularly detaching a political kind of speech from meaningful political action. I argue that this tendency, described by Paulo Virno as ‘publicness without a sphere’. joins a suite of other ‘public’ practices to enact rather a public pedagogy in which its agents learn to detach passionate and politicised speech from practices in theie life worlds. I call this tendency thinking without conditions. Part I of the thesis examines this tendency to think without conditions in public programming in the arts and as it can be found in fields like Education and the Law. Part II of the thesis argues for a move away from thinking without conditions and towards radical education practices that forge stronger links between the world and the word. Drawing from the work of Paulo Freire, archives of popular education in Latin America and genealogies of Institutional Pedagogy in France, including the writings of Ferdnand Oury, Aida Vazquez and others, Part II of the thesis argues for thinking with conditions, praxes that more meaningfully connect what is said and what can be acted upon. Each chapter is structured around anecdotes drawn from 20 years of experience working in the fields of public programming through which I have attempted to chart the intersection of micro and macro political concerns as they manifest in everyday working practices. Throughout the thesis it is suggested that practices of organisation — though often eclipsed by more heroic narratives and the content concerns of public programmes - are crucial to understanding how radical change can and does take place. By emphasising thinking with conditions, the thesis suggests an alternative to the conception of the public sphere, which in a post-democratic landscape has arguably been hollowed out. It suggests rather a discipline of working through practices of thought, speech, affect, care and organization, questions of the so-called private and public spheres, questions of space and time, of questions of the material and the immaterial to manifest changes in infrastructures that support increasingly precarious lives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral