Manual for the free-range inscriptions

By Tijana Stevanovic

The following proposal is a practical exercise in dislocating the agency place within academic structures. It starts from the format and setting of upcoming conference in Copenhagen, as a space of assembly of people who occupy unstable positions within the academic framework. Being in the same time teachers of the others, teachers of their own practice and students (learners) of it, the participants occupy in the same time different official (already defined) positions, which only once embodied in them, become destabilized by that mere possibility of multiple occupation. Thus, this exercise is not directed towards dismantling existing forms of knowledge production in academia and its modes of representation. Instead, it goes beyond the negativity in such existing discourse, and sets itself as a practice in questioning the formats of the group public action; as well as – the threshold of spatial representation and action, such as: language, presence, conversation.

In Horace’s Ars Poetica art’s role in the society is to: ‘docere et delectare’ – or use non-conventional means in teaching through entertainment of its aesthetic experience. Artist practice in the field of ‘Lecture Performance’, mainly emerging in the 1990s, plays with the humour’s relation to entertainment, as well as the notion of intersubjectivity in transmitting the message. Artist Goran Djordjevic in his lecture (1986) he has given as Walter Benjamin, on Piet Mondrian’s picutres produced 1963 – 1996 plays with the truth and lie, and originality of the art-piece; in that way – limits of art. Since in the space of academia, it is mainly the scientific knowledge that dominates the practice of art of teaching, what kind of spaces do the uncertain personal positioning within it opens? Is a lie usable as a tool, since it is possible only through a mutual understanding and codified message? How are humour and lying connected to the withdrawal of a firm statement and which space of knowledge do they open as such? This exercise would like to discuss the opening of these invisible dynamics further, by the awareness of the time format of the assembly itself.

The format of exercise is preliminary set as:

– First day’s assembly of participants in a 30 – 45 minutes session (depending on the number of interested people) where it would be discussed how is the multiple occupation of the students’ and teachers’ roles of participants dealt with regards to the demand of entertainment and addressing the anonymous subject of a learner or supervisor. The participants are presented with the task for next day and are free to suggest not mentioned ways of participation.

– In the following days the participants are asked to – through withdrawal from the public space, and by personal affiliation, enact the possible group conversations (of minimum two correspondents) accompanying freely any other activities (in and out) of the symposium. These discussions should preferably include the subject of participants’ academic practice (but should not be limited to). They should involve a lie, a fantasmagoric element or a misunderstanding that is set up within the space of the conversation, no matter everyone’s awareness of this task. The person aware of the present lie should think of  the possible format or develop a technique of documenting the space of it appearance.

– The last day – re-assembly of the first day’s group and exposure of the free range practice during previous day (and night) through free-developed formats. group discussion of the techniques and the outcome for the collective space of questioning the instruction, guidance and company in the mutual desire for knowledge.

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