Book Release Party: OTMA & LUNL
On Tour with Art & Language and Niklas Luhmann by Christian Matthiessen
Wed, October 31, 2012 8 pm CET, Celebration
The story of “OTMA & LUNL – On Tour with Art & Language and Niklas Luhmann” is one of multiple historical meetings of speech-analytical conceptual art with the theory of observing systems at the “Art & Language & Luhmann” symposiums organized by the author Christian Matthiessen, from Vienna to Barcelona through to Los Angeles, and mainly at ZKM | Karlsruhe (together with Peter Weibel); but it also offers the theoretical background for dissolution of such stable, first-order observation. The story gathers the team that plays the decisive role in today’s conference philosophy. Mainly, however, the text of this “theory novel” is, itself, a performance.
Performance is Harrison/Matthiessen’s métier: the text itself is a “theory-installation”; the dialogues are playbacks of the theories; the reflections work with theories and theorists as exhibits, like a curator works with art objects. In this way, the novel becomes the “apex” of a project that for years has analyzed and formally worked out art’s structural transformation: namely, the implosion of art in discourse.
“After all, artworks have become discursive and the discourse as work is the perfect post-modern artwork.” (Christian Matthiessen)

Christian Matthiessen is founder and head of Freiburg’s Jackson Pollock Bar. The performance enterprise, founded in 1993 for theory installations, specializes in playback performances of aesthetic discourses in art, and on system theory. The “Jackson Pollock Bar” has presented numerous reenactments of intellectual and artistic peak experiences in Europe and the U.S. in various art contexts and venues with great success.

With reference to prior symposia on systems theory by the sociologist Niklas Luhmann at ZKM, the linguist Christian Matthiessen presents his new theory-novel »OTMA & LUNL«. This event is a continuation of his series in which conceptual art, as second-order art, meets the theory of observing systems. The idea had its beginnings in 1995 at the Kunstraum Wien with Niklas Luhmann’s lecture »Art & Language & Luhmann I.«
In memory of the sociologist who died in 1998, ZKM initiated a second and third symposia together with Matthiessen on the theme »Art & Language & Luhmann (II and III)« in 2000 and 2005.

A live concert by the band Laura Bean and the Spanish Inquisition (Kentucky, Berlin) will follow the event, in the ZKM_Foyer at 9:30 p.m.

Further information at: and



Introduction by Peter Weibel, CEO of ZKM | Karlsruhe

Videos of lectures and panels from »Art & Language & Luhmann« at Kunstraum Wien (1995); with contributions by Niklas Luhmann, Catherine David, the artists’ group Art & Language and Peter Weibel

Presentation of the radio-essay »On Tour mit Art & Language und Niklas Luhmann« at SWR, read by Christian Berkel

Commentary and book presentation by Christian Matthiessen

Reading from the theory-novel “OTMA & LUNL” with Martin Horn, member of the performance group Jackson Pollock Bar

Live concert by the band Laura Bean and the Spanish Inquisition in the ZKM_Foyer
Organization / Institution