Castoriadis Revisited: Questioning the radical imaginary in contemporary art and curatorial practice

WEDNESDAY June 17th 2015 10am to 5pm – Cope Auditorium, Loughborough University

Book your place NOW here (£10 full, £5 concessions/students – includes buffet lunch)

Recent art world interest in political activisms has largely lacked any specific articulation of the scope of artistic agency within social and political processes. Revisiting the ideas and writings of Cornelius Castoriadis, founder of the left-wing journal Socialisme Ou Barbarie and author of the ‘Imaginary Institution of Society’ (1975), this symposium aims to explore the notion of the ‘radical imaginary’ within the discourses around art, politics and institutions, in  the light of current and nascent forms of interaction between art and activist practices. How does the social imaginary relate to practice from a cultural and artistic point of view? Do the arts have an emancipatory social capacity which leads towards the institution of autonomy, as Castoriadis envisioned? How might the notion of the radical imaginary be utilised within the current state of the arts in order to initiate such a process?

Three international keynote speakers – art critic/writer Brian Holmes (based Chicago), artist Brett Bloom (Temporary Services, based Copenhagen)and curator/writer Simon Sheikh (Goldsmiths, London) – will lead a series of panels that reflect on these compelling questions. Proposals were invited for 20 mins papers or presentations to address the notion of the radical and/or social imaginary and contemporary practices.


9.30 onwards Registration with tea and coffee in Cope foyer

10.00- 10.15 Opening remarks Gillian Whiteley and Aria Spinelli

Session I: Curating, Art and Autonomy
10:15 – 11:15 Rubbing the (im)possible to Burst!
Curating between radical imagination and extreme governmentality. Simon Sheikh, Senior Lecturer in Curating and Programme Director of the MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths College, University of London, London.
11.15 – 11.45 Art as interruptive moments: autonomy, revolt and pathos Malcolm Miles Professor of Cultural Theory at the University of Plymouth; and Visiting Professor of Aesthetics and Urban Regeneration at Keele University
11.45 – 12:15 Spectacular labyrinths of insignificance Valeria Graziano Research Fellow at Middlesex University, School of Art and Design
12:00 – 12.15 Q&A

12.15 – 13.00 Discussing the Radical Imaginary: Informal discussion, David Ames Curtis and Clara Gibson Maxwell

Lunch – buffet served in Cope foyer

Session II Subjectivity, Instituency and Education
13.15 – 14:15: Making Distinctions: Strategies for Displacing the Images a Society Makes of Itself Brett Bloom (Independent Artist)
14:15 – 14:45 The Open Council: Institution for Experimental Policy
John Mclean independent artist and PhD (Newcastle University, 2012)
14.45 – 15:00 Building spaces of interregnum, art and radical education.
Luis Guerra PhD candidate in Philosophy at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

15.00 – 15.15 Tea, coffee and biscuits available in Cope foyer

Session III: Social Movements, Creativity and Radical Imaginary
15:15 -16:15 Live Your Models
Brian Holmes, art and cultural critic, Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland
16:15 – 16:45 Mobilizing art, a cultural understanding of creativity in urban social movements
Alberto Cossu PhD Candidate is Sociology at the University of Milan (GSSPS)
16:45 – 17:15 Today Yr. Love, Tomorrow the World – instituting an unknown future
Kasper Opstrup, Independent artist and PhD (London Consortium, 2014)
17.15 – 17.30 Q&A

17.30- 18.00 Final round table with speakers + Q&A

18.00 – 1830 “Dancing the Radical Imaginary”: Projection of Clara Gibson Maxwell’s “Encuentro-Encuentro,” a video of her “site-responsive,” “multiarts” ambulatory performance at a 2011 Castoriadis colloquium in Mexico City.

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