Art and society

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Art and Society describes an interdisciplinary field of research on art and its social relations.

The focus is on the public-discursive, scientific-reflexive, linguistic-communicative and aesthetic examination of contemporary art as well as on questions of social expectations of art in the context of exhibitions. The field is especially dedicated to those aesthetic practices as well as curatorial and artistic processes that reflect social upheavals and continuities. It examines theoretical paradigms and the associated cultural production in their socio-historical and epistemic contexts and questions established canons that testify to negotiation processes of past and present, institutions and policies, societies and knowledge.

Aesthetic forms, formats and practices will be used to examine the relationships between culture as identification and culture as a process of global interconnectedness. The focus is therefore not only on the documenta archive, the world art exhibitionsand their respective processes of reception, circulation and production, but also on the formation of theory and the associated terms and concepts of global and local art debates. The field deals specifically with the role of art in demanding human rights, as well as with aesthetic dimensions of normative claims in general. This concerns, for example, the relationship between art and law as well as art in resistance. Further focal points are the history of the documenta, theory and history of the present and modernity and their globality, as well as aesthetic ecologies in art and literature.

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Akram Zaateri: The Desert Panorama (2007)

The department is part of the documenta institute

Events 2024

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Liliana Gómez | Liquid Turn: New Approaches from Environmental Aesthetics, Friday 26.04.2024 13-14h.

Liliana Gómez:"'Who's Afraid of Representation?': Dissonant Archives and the Aesthetics of Dissent in Art," January 26-27, 2024, University of Regensburg


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Liliana Gómez, "Critical ecologies. Aesthetic réconfigurations of the agrarian past of the landscapes in the Middle East," 24.-25. October 2023, Tunis                                                               https://extractivism.en/en/activities/workshops-conferences-en/extractivism-flying-academy-tunisia-2023-international-conference-2/

4-15.09.2023 | ART AND SOCIETY

Bogotá, Colombia
The University of Kassel, in cooperation with Universidad del Rosario, Escuela de Ciencias Humanas, and documenta Institut Kassel, invites Master and doctoral students, artists, and engaged members of the diverse fields of the humanities and the arts to apply for an international summer school held from September 4 to 15, 2023, in the city of Bogotá, Colombia.
The summer school is supported by CAPAZ - German-Colombian Peace Institute -, CELA - Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos of the University of Kassel, and the DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service.

Further Information

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15.03.2023  | ART AND SOCIETY

Orient-Institut Beirut together wirth Peace and Conflict Culture Network

In the workshop "Contested (in)visibilities and memorial cultures" at the Orient Institut Beirut, on March 15, 2023, we will explore memorial cultures and consider critical readings of heritage and the impact of conflict on arts and cultural production. We will conduct an interdisciplinary exchange with local scholars and artists about landscape, architecture and industrial ruins in order to understand sites of tangible and intangible heritage and engage with visual arts and design practice. We plan to unpack in/visibility, un/official narratives, in/formal memorial practices as reference points for conflict captured in Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Colombia. Demarcated by its diversity and complexity, contested heritage is a global issue for tourism, politics, urbanization and education and we will approach it from the lens of philosophy, cultural history, archaeology, museology, design and the arts. It is supported and organized by the Peace and Conflict Culture Network, Orient-Institut Beirut (LAWHA) and the documenta Institut Kassel. Speakers are Gregory Buchakjian, Yasmine Nachabe Taan, Nadia von Maltzahn, Cigdem Ivrem, Liliana Gómez, Paul Lowe and Nela Milic.

02/22-25/23 | ARTAND SOCIETY

Keynote lecture Section: "Environments of the Colonial and Coloniality: Measurement, Profitability, Distancing"

Liliana Gómez:  "The Commons, Not the Past". Archives, Capitalism and the Camera.

XXIII German Hispanist Day Graz, Feb. 22-25.23

Lecture Series Global Modernities

Global Modernities

Prof. Dr. Liliana Gómez, Dr. Charlotte Bank, Lada Nakonechna

Since the turn of the century and the so-called "global turn" in cultural history, the notion of modernity as a purely Western phenomenon has been widely critiqued and the importance of re-thinking modernity as global and interconnected stressed by numerous authors. This has included debates about appropriate terminology.[1] Whether we chose to talk about "other", "global", "multiple", "alternative" or "non-Western" modernities, the need to redefine this phenomenon that has left no region untouched and studying its historical connections to colonialism and imperialism remains as important as ever. In the field of art history more specifically, this has led to numerous research projects and publications that have centered on artistic production outside the art centres of the West, while still keeping the interdependent nature of the international and global art scene and market in mind. As Piotr Piotrowski has argued, art history must be horizontal and open to all peripheries as well as to the former centres.[2 ] This approach is discerned in the work of numerous art historians, who have examined the rise of local artistic movements and theoretical approaches of locations outside of the Western centers, as well as educational endeavours, with each study adding to our understanding of the history of modern art as a rich and diverse global field of scholarship.


With this lecture series, we will examine art historiography as part of global modernization processes and invite scholars focusing on different regions in the Global South and Eastern Europe whose work is and has been seminal to these debates in order to discuss how notions of modernity were shaping art practices throughout the twentieth century.


[1 ] E.g. Appadurai, A., Modernity at Large, Cultural Dimension of Globalization, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010 (1996); Chakrabarty, D., Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000; Gaonkar, D. P. (ed.), Alternative Modernities, Durham & London, Duke University Press, 2001; Mitchell, T. (ed.), Questions of Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

[2] Piotrowski, Piotr: In the Shadow of Yalta. Art and the Avant-garde in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989, trans. Anna Brzyski, London: Reaktion Books, 2009



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