THEMATICS RESIDENCY: “Author / Authority”


Duration: Thematics Research runs from May 13 till July 5 2013

Artists in residence: : with Adva Zakai, Fabian Barba, Elke Van Campenhout and Abake + the workshop interventions of Various Artists, Nikolaus Gansterer, Adva Zakai & Anna Rispoli. (for workshops read more at the end)

in collaboration with a.pass

Introduction by Lilia Mestre:

The words “author” and “authority” are etymologically linked. The word is ultimately from the Latin auctor, “authorizer, responsible agent, originator, or maker.”
Their significance is related to the verbs create or cause. But if the artist is the author, he is still an authority? Or in other words where is the authority of the author placed if we link authority to a set up of conditions that elaborate a way of living, a political attitude?

Thematics “Author / Authority” came form the observation of the political role of the artist in contemporary society. After the “Death of the author” by Roland Barthes, “ What is an author by Michel Foucault and others works by Walter Benjamin or the working system of Bertold Brecht, we are dealing with the idea that the author can not anymore be designated as a singular individual, inspired and linked exclusively to his/her biography and qualities or craziness.

We know that knowledge, thought, ideas, creation come from a far more complex constellation of things. They emerge from assemblages and combinations of materials that are processed a constantly in new assemblages, new combinations. The assignment of power to one singular person seems to be an old fashion practice, a conservative approach inducing manipulation.

Art is dealing with the phenomenon of its own construction, its critical autonomy, the nature of its materials and properties. Subject matter and content have been reformulated as form, as agency beyond the idea of the one man/woman skill, emancipating itself from the authority of the author. So to say that the importance is the “language” (material) on itself rather than who made it.

The curatorial practices have extended themselves to collaborative practices with artists. The transversal crossing of roles delineate an open and rich approach to creation, there is a system of mediation created between different agents with different approaches acting on a specific context each time.

This brings us to consider the position of the artist not as a father / mother to his/her work, preceding it and giving it life but to consider the artist in the present tense, existing as far as the work is been constructed. “There is no other time than the present the time of utterance of becoming meaning now” (R. Barthes).

This reflection and practice raise several questions in the entire domain of the art making construction. Where lays the producer, the manager, the institution? Where lays the authority of a work of art in this conditions?
Where lays criticism if the author is gone together with his life, history and personal context? Where lays the concept of authenticity? Originality?

With the “Death of the author” we can see emerging a revolutionary form, creating a resistance to the author as authority and as a symbol of mastery that is exemplary. Bringing together a larger critical approach to modes of production and to the viewer him/herself.

It also claims the autonomy and emancipation of the spectator as the ultimate creator, the anonymous author that assembles freely the materials that have been displayed before him/her, bringing the unity of the work not to its origins but to its destination.

We have been assisting to a myriad of collaborative projects, participatory practices, artists with several names, and several artists with the same name. Reenactments are also a frequent practice that makes us look at things as they are, as objects for raising questions, free from the authority of the author so they can be look at and really make a difference.

Author / Authority lays out questions in different realms. We will be diving in these concepts and art practices during the two month residency.