‘As the Academy Turns’ – the EARN Winter School during Manifesta 8 Murcia December 2010 – is a unique experiment at the intersection of artistic research, contemporary art, and the new art academy practices that have emerged across Europe in the last decade. ‘As the Academy Turns’ is a multilayered project exploring the potentials and the tensions in the growth of artistic research and the current ‘academization’ of art education. This ‘academicisation’ of art is increasingly marked by the strong expectation of research trajectories and how these will be shaped within the changing institutional framework of art education. In that context, the present possibilities of PhD research within visual art are particularly at the center of attention and debate.
What do those challenges mean for the art academy as such? Will novel forms of academic elitism pop up or will research induce a novel form of intellectual conscience in the art academy? How will research and artistic practice be intertwined? Will they produce redefinitions in both domains or is research rather doomed to be a fringe phenomenon at the art academy? And the ultimate question, how will research be conducted within art academies? These themes will be tackled in three different dissemination platforms: a three day international symposium, an infolab presentation and an artwork in the form of a soap opera set in an art academy.
During the three-day symposium a series of exemplary research projects from prominent European art academies will be presented and discussed. The researchers involved include practitioners based in MaHKU, KUVA, Malmo, Gothenburg, CePRA, GradCAM and other academies across Europe (full list posted shortly). Their presentations will be critically addressed by a number of invited respondents including Sarat Maharaj, Tom Holert, Hito Steyerl, Mick Wilson, Marquard Smith, and Jan Kaila.
In addition, a special infolab presentation in Cendeac including research statements provided by the twelve researchers will delve further into their research trajectories and practices.
The presentation of the soap ‘As the Academy Turns’, a commissioned project developed and realized by artist Tiong Ang, will also take place in CENDEAC. The setting of the soap is the contemporary art academy where the characters – the art academy population of teaching staff and students – act within a situation of transformation where the current master-pupil oriented educational system moves towards a seminar-based form of education with artists as scholars and researchers in an academic community.
The soap ‘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, hedonistic, neo-liberal, consumerist ideology. Elements of critique and of hoax are brought together through the soap opera form so that the genre’s exaggerated dramatic style subverts and deconstructs popular views on higher art education.
‘As the Academy Turns’ is also made possible by the financial support of Fonds BKVB, Amsterdam.
Tiong Ang’s soap production is generously supported by SMART Project Space, Amsterdam.