Art & Language & Luhmann III (Symposium)
What Work does the Artwork do?
Sat, November 05, 2005 – Sun, November 06, 2005, Symposium

This symposium is the continuation of a series in which concept art as a second-order art encounters the theory of observing systems. The series was launched in 1995 at the Kunstraum Vienna; it was attended by Niklas Luhmann and called Art & Language & Luhmann I. The second symposium, Art & Language & Luhmann II, followed five years later at the ZKM. Initiated by the Jackson Pollock Bar in Freiburg, both symposia involved close cooperation with the artists’ group, Art & Language, which is also involved in designing this year’s symposium and will be present at it.

Trading with intelligence derivatives in the art system?
The confrontation between the artists’ group Art & Language and the theories of the system theorist, Niklas Luhmann, derives from the assumption of a certain degree of correspondence between Luhmann’s theory of the autopoietic system and the practical artistic reflection of the group of artists. The focus at this year’s symposium is on shifts in meaning and changes in structure in contemporary art. The theory of second-order observation as a set of theoretical instruments appropriate to the structure of society is brought to bear. This throws light on the authenticity and contingency problem and the disappearance of criticism and representation. The artwork turns into a self-reproduction of the art system while at the same time emancipating itself and turning into an instance of resistance. This is readily apparent in the practice of Art & Language who, by emphasising indexicality, internal complexity and internal group conversation, have established the moments of resistance in an artwork as well as the ontological difference between communication and work. “[...] But how are things to proceed if the work of art itself has become the real philosophy of art? Must we now assume that in the art system most of the trading will be in intelligence derivatives, as is the case with financial derivatives in the financial markets?” (Niklas Luhmann).

A symposium staged by the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media and the Institute for Contemporary Social Issues in Freiburg


Sat, November 5, 2005

2:30pm Welcome / Introduction: Peter Weibel, Christian Matthiessen
3:00pm Bazon Brock »action teaching: Worshipping with the chancellor, working with the artist: The Duchamp breakfast«
4:00pm»The Concept of the New«. The Philadelphia Conference with Ad Reinhardt, Jack Tworkow, Robert Motherwell from 1960. A theory installation at the Jackson Pollock Bar
4:45pmArt & Language »Now They Are Surrounded« (1)
5:15pmArt & Language »Now They Are Surrounded« (2)
6:00pmOpening of the exhibition
7:00pmPanel discussion with Bazon Brock, Art & Language, Matthew Jackson, Chris Smith and Peter Weibel

Sun, November 6, 2005

10:15am»Theses on Feuerbach« by Art & Language, installed in the style of the Jackson Pollock Bar
11:00amArt & Language: »Now They Are Surrounded« (3)
11:30amChris Gilbert: »A Discontinuous History: the 'Jetztzeit' of Art & Language in the mid-1970s«
- 12:30 pm Break -
2:00pmMatthew Jackson »Para-Performative Practices and Late Modernism«
3:00pmCharles Harrison »The discourse and the object«
Organization / Institution

Institut für soziale Gegenwartsfragen Freiburg