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Verwoert

Jan Verwoert is a Berlin based, internationally renowned art critic and sometimes curator. He is a member of the advisory board of the Munich Kunstverein and has been a guest professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at the Academy of Umeå, Sweden, and the Royal College of Art, London. Since 2005 he has been a tutor and leader of the Imagined Communities seminar at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. Verwoert is a contributing editor to Frieze magazine and also writes regularly about contemporary art for Afterall, Metropolis M, Springerin, and artists’ catalogues. He is author of Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous (One Work) (2006) published by MIT Press/Afterall Books, and recently co-curated ‘Yes, No & Other Options’ for the contemporary art festival Art Sheffield 08.

continuing the theme of widening our understandings of the many complexities of human-being that might be addressed/harnessed to effect some changes in deep-seated habitualizations, how to re-imagine Poïesis for our times/needs.
“On his conference Jan Verwoert will question: “How to connect through art to the vivid, yet unverifyable feelings at the heart of the social?
Moving towards the threshold on which meaning is constituted socially, artistically and emotionally, we see symbolic representations fall apart, and feel the persistence of affective labour. How could art and thought engage with the (sur-)realities of affective labour, feel the feelings that are passed on, visibly invisibly, from body to body, soul to soul, creature to creature? By searching for ways to tap into the zone of sentience”.”
One might, as I would, wish to hear the lecturer with a more poetic/suggestive ear focused on possible effects/uses raised, not unlike Jane Bennett’s rhetorical use of animism or Stengers’ on mesmerism.

Emergency? Of what kind, where, affecting who? In most recent global history, a number of monumental incidents of a political nature, many of which fall under a larger concept of “biopower,” put the world into a state of crisis. The dismantling of socialist states in the (former) Eastern Europe and of welfare democracies in the (former) West, and more recent events such as 9/11, the war in Iraq, the bombings in London and Madrid, as well as devastating natural disasters such as last year’s tsunami and hurricane “Katrina,” have chipped away at the promise of global mobility and economic prosperity, and contributed to a general sentiment of immense instability and permanent danger across the world. This situation has placed all levels of public life in a confrontational mode, forcing everyone to face the crisis and refine ways of governance according to the new circumstances. Crisis, as a catalyst for change, is a paradoxical agent. At the same time it signals a shift in the existing power structures, it also provides an opportunity, or excuse, for their reinforcement. Jeremiah Day, Jan Verwoert, and Klub Zwei discuss the notion of crisis in our present-day world, and look back upon some historical examples. Specifically, alternative models of governance and political response are considered by re-posing the question: How can critical artistic and intellectual practice address these contexts and propose another path?