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Installation view Exhausted Academies at SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016, Image courtesy of Seoul Museum of Art. On screen Isabella Gresser, Byung Chul Han, Fatigue Society (2015).

Installation view Exhausted Academies at SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016, Image courtesy of Seoul Museum of Art.

Events - Talks

Exhausted Academies


30 Jun 2017 - 05 Jul 2017

Curated by Nottingham Trent University Visiting Professor Henk Slager, Exhausted Academies is a multi-screen exhibition that asks how the relation between artistic research and the art academy can be rethought.

The project Exhausted Academies asks how might we rethink the relation between artistic research and the art academy, specifically through a critique of the ‘exhausting’ achievement-oriented and instrumentalised tendencies of the contemporary neoliberal institution, and a return to a ‘verticalist’ perspective that ‘makes space’ for attention and concentration; for experiment, novel questions and speculation; for reflexivity, new modes of imagination; for an open-ended form of differential thinking that values not-knowing, the singular, the affective, the transgressive, and the unforeseen. 

Opening hours:

Fri 30 - Sat 1: 10am-6pm
Sun 2: 11am-5pm
Mon 3: Closed
Tue 4 - Wed 5: 10am-6pm

Free. The Space. No booking required

Artists of the exhibition are: Isabella Gresser and Byung-Chul Han, Antoni Muntadas, Tiong Ang, Ane Hjort Guttu, Rene Francisco, Inci Eviner.

Isabella Gresser: Mudigkeitsgesellchaft (Fatigue Society), video in collaboration with philosopher Byung Chul Han, 2015: 60 minutes

This video articulates the philosophical starting points of the project: philosospher Han argues that the current, globalised world universally presents itself as an achievement-oriented society characterised by an abundance of positivity that is expressed in ubiquitous overproduction, overperformance, and overcommunication. As a consequence, an increasingly shallow form of attention emerges whereas culture is specifically in need of an intense, contemplative attention. Han stresses, therefore, that a retraining of the eye for intense and contemplative attention is urgently needed restoring cautious hesitation, the negation of interruption, and experience of “in-between time.” The current task for the academy?


Muntadas, About Academia, 2010 – 2017

About Academy presents an opportunity to critically engage with the structure and function of the university system. It does so by exploring topics of privatisation, corporatisation, gentrification and globalisation, as well as the complex relationship between the production of knowledge and the economic interests it generates.

Muntadas video consists of two of six channels from Activating Artifacts, About Academia, an exhibition produced by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in partnership with De Appel, Amsterdam

After this introduction of the conceptual framework, we move to the ‘real life’ situation of the art academy and the current dominance of the seminar-based paradigm. We will observe this educational environment from two, critical, mediated (using the language of contemporary visual culture) perspectives:


Tiong Ang, As the Academy Turns (Manifesta, 2010): 25 minutes 

As the Academy Turns brings together two diverging poles. On the one hand, it addresses contemporary artistic practice, and autonomous artistic research and production as outcomes of art education. On the other hand, it presents the art academy “remodeled” as a product of the entertainment industry in the context of popular daytime television serving a mainstream, neo-liberal, consumerist audience. Elements of critique and hoax are brought together through the soap opera form so that the genre’s exaggerated dramatic style vigorously and mockingly subverts and deconstructs popular views on graduate art education and the extended art world it seems to project.


Ane Hjort Guttu, Time Passes, 2015, 45 minutes

Fine art student Damla starts a performative art project, which consists in begging on the street alongside the Romá woman Bianca, with whom she develops a friendship. Soon the graduation project turns into a political and existential crisis for the student, who must handle criticism from her classmates, teacher, as well as from Bianca. 

Both projects clearly articulate the constraints of the discursive, research-based, paradigm, and actually ask for another way of thinking about art educational practice. The two following projects show alternative ways of treating the seminar-situation from a more experimental-performative perspective: one trying to find a kind of experimental free zone within the institution, the other leaving the institution, in order to explore expanded modes of education


Rene Francisco, Art Works on Commission, Free, 2017

Documentary work related to the Pedagogia Pragmatica workshops taking place outside the art academy. The workshops deal with artistic group processes, the awareness of a community of action, reinterpreting the relations between doing, seeing and saying. As a consequence, the borders between author, artist, spectator and also those of professor-student are diluted.


Inci Eviner, Co-action Device, 2017

The issue here involves a research methodlogy developed during a group process: a performative way of working together translating a clearly defined, institutional space (e.g. the library as a location providing room for a documented form of knowledge) in an experimental working-stage ignoring didactic and declarative parameters. Thus a collaborative practice emerges, hovering in the interstitial space of artistic research and artistic production, causing it to extract from the hierarchic and descriptive restrictions of a coercing, curricular structure.

The videos by Inci Eviner and Rene Francisco were produced recently in the context of the project To Seminar, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.


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