Thinking Out Loud

In her talk, Maria Hlavajova thinks through the intersection of two collective research projects she has initiated and guided: FORMER WEST (2008–2016) and Future Vocabularies (2014–2016). If the former aims at developing a critical understanding of the legacy of the radical resistance to power in 1989 in order to re-evaluate the global present and speculate about global futures, the latter attempts to act out concrete propositions that explore the shifts in our existing conceptual vocabulary within artistic, intellectual, and activist work. To begin with Hlavajova’s talk is concerned with naming this particular moment, as a time of the interregnum, when, following political thinker Antonio Gramsci ‘the old is dying and the new cannot be born.’ Within this time she describes a set of practices that no longer relate to the tropes of modernity around authorship, ownership and spectator culture. In this way the old is defined as an inherited framework of modernity, the white cube and the single, white male spectator.

Hlavajova relates a situation where following the fall of the iron curtain the promise of one heterogenous world has not been fulfilled. Instead there has been a brutal process of sorting winners and losers in a time of crisis. Detailing practices like those of artist Aernout Mik and the ‘We Are Here’ refugee collective Hlavajova describes a series of ‘propositions’ that work ‘in spite of’ ‘a powerless politics’, driven exclusively by the language of markets and risk, that has proved inadequate to face the human and ecological challenges of our time. Hlavajova asserts when you are uncertain ‘all outcomes are still possible’. Into this climate Future Vocabularies, could be seen to stretch out like an expanded manifesto, providing a platform for art practices that ‘try to imagine the world otherwise’. Hlavajova asks: What are the prospective itineraries through which we can point towards what we once used to call the “future”?

Audio Title: 
Thinking Out Loud: Practices of Art in the Era of the Disenchanted
Audio Accession Number: 
HW. 003
Audio Speaker: 
Maria Hlavajova
Audio Annotation: 
A talk given as part of the Curating Europe’s Futures
Audio Location: 
The Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow
Audio Date: 
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Audio Duration: 
Audio Type: 
Public Talk
Audio Technical: 
Audio Recording type: 
Zoom recording