Members get FREE access to Cinema 3. Join today.
Sign up
to emails
Thinking Art
Institute of Contemporary Arts

Ayesha Hameed, Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene, 2020

In 1990, the ICA established a Philosophical Forum to host a series of lectures on theoretical work that engaged contemporary art beyond the intellectual horizon of the aesthetic tradition (subsequently published as Thinking Art: Beyond Traditional Aesthetics, ICA, 1991).

Thirty years later, we return to the same broad theme of ‘thinking art’ – at once philosophical and transdisciplinary – under very different political and theoretical conditions. Many of the terms and theoretical definitions debated in 1990 have now changed, and the technologies, institutions, markets, forms of labour and social spaces discussed have since become radically destabilized.

This conference provides a forum for critical discussion of some of the theoretical discourses that currently preoccupy the anglophone art world: vital and poetic materialisms; art and labour; instabilities of forms; social ecologies and intimations of catastrophe.


10.00 – 10.30am: Arrival / ticketing

10.30 – 11.45am: Materialisms, Digital & Poetic
Six-Handed. Machine Assisted. Furious.
Caroline Bassett (Digital Humanities, Cambridge)
The Consolation of Materialism
Keston Sutherland (Poetics, University of Sussex)

12.00 – 1.15pm: Art and Labour
On the Logic – not Iconography – of the Diagram: From Picabia to Rotella, 1915 – 1962 
Jaleh Mansoor (Art History, University of British Columbia) 
Neither Capitalist Nor Worker: On the Historical Roots of the Artist as an Anti-Capitalist
Dave Beech (Fine Art, Chelsea, University of the Arts London & Valad Academy, Gothenburg)

1.15 – 2.30pm: Lunch

2.30 – 3.45pm: Instabilities of Forms
Arting Philosophy
Ludger Schwarte (Philosophy, Dusseldorf Art Academy) 
The Making of a Feminist Subject: Carla Lonzi's Refusal of Art as a Transformative Practice
Giovanna Zapperi (Art History, University of Tours)

4.00 – 5.15pm: Social Ecologies, Intimations of Catastrophe
Black Atlantis: The Plantationocene
Ayesha Hameed (Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths)
People Who Think Together Dance Together #8 (A Report)
Christian Nyampeta (artist, London)

5.30 – 7.00pm: Reception (ICA, Sake bar)

Organized by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University, in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London

Caroline Bassett is Professor of Digital Humanities at Cambridge. Her research explores media technology, critical theory, feminism, and cultural change. Recent publications include work on AI and behaviourism, and on gender and digital media history. Her latest book is Furious: Technological Feminism and Digital Futures (Pluto, 2020), co-authored with Sarah Kember and Kate O’Riordan.

Dave Beech is Reader in Art and Marxism at the University of the Arts, London. His most recent book is Art and Postcapitalism: Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production (Pluto, 2019). Beech worked in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan) between 2004 and 2018. His current art practice translates the tradition of critical documentary film into sequences of prints that combine photomontage and text art.

Ayesha Hameed is Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work – in performance, exhibition and writing – explores contemporary borders and migration, critical race theory, Walter Benjamin, and visual cultures of the Black Atlantic. Her publications include Futures and Fictions (co-edited with Simon O’Sullivan and Henriette Gunkel, Repeater, 2017) and a contribution to AUDINT – Unsound:Undead (Urbanomic, 2019).

Jaleh Mansoor is an associate professor in the faculty of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She has written monographic studies on the work of Piero Manzoni, Ed Ruscha, Agnes Martin, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter and Mona Hatoum. Her current project is tentatively entitled Stealing Back Time From Universal Prostitution: The Biopolitics of Abstraction Crossing Modernism, 1888 – 2008.

Artist Christian Nyampeta convenes the Nyanza Working Group of Another Roadmap School. His recent solo exhibitions include École du soir (SculptureCenter, New York), A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow (GfZK, Leipzig) and Words after the World (Camden Arts Centre, London). He contributed to the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art (2019) and the Dakar Biennale (2018) and was awarded The Art Prize Future of Europe in 2019 and the European Union Prize at 12th Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography.

Ludger Schwarte is Professor of Philosophy at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. His research covers the areas of aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of culture, ontology and history of science. His most recent books are Notate für eine künftige Kunst/Notes pour un art future (Merve 2016/les presses du reel, 2019) and Piktrale Evidenz (W. Fink 2015).

Keston Sutherland is a poet and Professor of Poetics at the University of Sussex. He has held visiting Fellowships at Harvard University and Berkeley UC and in 2016 was the Bain-Swiggett Professor of Poetry at Princeton University. Collections of his poetry and translations include Whither Russia (Baroque, 2017), Poetical Works 1999 – 2015 (Enitharmon Press, 2015) and The Odes to TL61P, (Enitharmon Press, 2013).

Giovanna Zapperi is a Paris-based art historian and a Professor for contemporary art history at Université de Tours. Her latest book, Carla Lonzi. Un’arte della vita (Rome, 2017), examines the writings of art critic and radical Italian feminist Carla Lonzi. With Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, she has curated the exhibition Defiant Muses: Delphine Seyrig and Feminist Video Collectives in France, 1970s – 1980s (Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2019 – 20).
10:00 am
Sat, 29 Feb 2020

£18 Full, £15 Concs/Green, £13 Blue Members. 

All programme on Cinema 3 is free to ICA members from £10 / month. Join today to enjoy membership benefits.