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04 Jun 2009

Conference: Revising/Revisiting the Avant-Garde at University of Kingston, London

© Asger Jorn, The Avant-Garde Doesn't Give Up. 1962.

Revising/Revisiting the Avant-Garde


Date: Friday 3rd July



Dorich House museum
University of Kingston
67 Kingston Vale
SW15 3RN

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The concept of the avant-garde is arguably the most important and influential one in the history of modern art, but it is a notion often left unexamined. We are prompted to ask - which avant-garde? In the context of the recent popularity of a return to the issues of modernism within contemporary art and criticism, this conference proposes a critical re-engagement with the theory, histories and politics of the avant-garde.

The conference is intended to make original connections between a range of moments in the history of the artistic avant-garde, and to explore its relevance for contemporary cultural and social issues. It will focus, in particular, on the endurance of avant-garde approaches across the twentieth-century and their contemporary resonances.

Keynote speakers: Sylvère Lotringer, Franco Berardi, Gerald Raunig.

Sylvère Lotringer is professor of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University and general editor of Semiotext(e).

Franco Berardi, aka 'Bifo,' the founder of the famous 'Radio Alice', was an important figure in the Italian Autonomia movement and a collaborator with Felix Guattari. He has written a number of books, most recently 'Félix Guattari. Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography' and 'Precarious Rhapsody: Semio-capitalism and the Pathologies of the Post-Alpha Generation.'

Gerald Raunig is a philosopher and art theorist who lives in Vienna, Austria. He works at the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies and is the author of 'Art and Revolution: Transversal Activism in the Long Twentieth Century.'

Full Program:

09.00 Registration
09.30 Sylvère Lotringer - Keynote Speech.
10.15 Gavin Grindon - On Strike Against Society: Aesthetic and Political Autonomy in the Project of the Radical Avant-Garde.
11.00 David Cottington - Historicising the 'Historic Avant-Garde.'
11.45 Break for tea/coffee
12.00 Gerald Raunig - Beyond Avant: Flight-Lines of a Non-Linear Revolution.
12.45 Lunch
13.45 Anja Kanngeiser - The Aesthetic-Political Gestures of Berlin Dada and the Situationist International.
14.30 Gillian Whiteley - Provocative Praxis: Activism and the Political Avant-Garde.
15.15 Break for tea/coffee
15.30 Franco Berardi – The Century That Trusted in the Future
16.15 Lina Stergiou - Beyond the Myth of Creative Genius: Architecture and Activism.
17.00 Stevphen Shukaitis - The Artistic Dérivative, or Splitting Dead Hares.
17.45 Ends


Day pass, including lunch and drinks: £60 / Student concession: £25
To book please contact

Hosted by the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre at Kingston University.

Situated within its Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Kingston University's Visual and Material Culture Research Centre provides a staff and student focus for energetic interdisciplinary research in visual and material culture, and the histories of art, design, and architecture.

The Centre enables academics, emerging scholars, and students to conduct research within a stimulating and collegiate environment that actively seeks to shape the future of Visual and Material Culture as field of inquiry. Committed to the continuing development of a wide range of interdisciplinary research methods and activities, the Centre provides an intellectual infrastructure through which researchers engage with both individual and collaborative projects.