Readings for Art Users #1

January 13, 2016
Readings for Art Users #1

Readings for Art Users 2016
Seminar #1: On the Uses of Uselessness
January 13, 2016, 6 pm
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie / Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
Presenters: Sebastian Cichocki, Michał Kozłowski, Kuba Szreder


Information about the Seminar

The first meeting in a new series “Readings for Art Users” will focus on the benefits derived from the utilization of art: the domain of human activity commonly believed to be utterly useless. Starting from the classical concepts of use value (Marx) and purposeless purpose of art (Kant), the discourse will venture in the direction of an “artistic usology” postulated by Stephen Wright. Select concepts from his recent publication Towards a Lexicon of Usership (loophole, piggy backing, poaching, etc.) will serve as entry points for a collective discussion about the modes and conditions of making use of artistic competence, institutions, and conceptual edifices.

The texts in Polish will be distributed a week before the seminar in response to an e-mail sent at entitled Czytanki dla Użytkowników Sztuki #1. In addition, printed copies will also be available at the front desk of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw at Pańska Street 3. The meeting will be conducted in Polish in the room with a mosaic at the first floor.

Information about Readings for Art Users

The team of the Free/Slow University of Warsaw welcomes you to a new series of seminars accompanying the exhibition Making Use: Life in Postartistic Times. With reference to the legacy of flying universities, F/SUW organizes a series of self-educational meetings for users of art. Readings’ participants will assemble a theoretical toolkit, which will enable them to operate freely within a vocabulary and concepts crucial for understanding the role and position of art in the contemporary world. ­­

Seminars will refer directly to the exhibitions organized simultaneously at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (Making Use, Why We Have Wars, Bread and Roses), grounding theoretical reflection in the most recent curatorial and artistic developments. The cycle will serve as a discursive platform, taking on such questions as: What is the use value of art? Is art purposeless? What does making use mean in such a context? Are we living in postartistic times? Does an avantgardistic dream of fusing art with life remain an unreachable horizon? Can art facilitate radical changes in society and everyday life? What is artistic competence? How does this extend to other domains of life? What kind of plausible art worlds are there? What is the value of institutions sustaining artistic autonomy? Is the art world capable, and under which conditions, to empower disenfranchised communities? What brings together DIY enthusiasts with hackers? What kind of work is being conducted by users of social media?

One of the main texts to resurface over the course of several seminars will be Towards a Lexicon of Usership, by Canadian philosopher Stephen Wright. This work is to be juxtaposed with canonical texts (Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Friedrich Schiller) and contemporary positions (Howard Becker, Hakim Bey, Claire Bishop, Yann Moulier Boutang, Peter Bürger, Guy Debord, Hal Foster, Miwon Kwon, Lucy Lippard, Jerzy Ludwiński, Jacques Rancière, McKenzie Wark).

Readings for Art users has been conceptualized and organized by: Sebastian Cichocki, Joanna Figiel, Michał Kozłowski, Zofia Płoska, Tomasz Rakowski, and Kuba Szreder