Forms of Activity in Art and Politics
Sat, 28.06.2003, 2 pm

2-part symposium at ZKM in Karlsruhe [June 28] and Kornhausforum in Berne, Switzerland [July 05].

In his 1961 book» How to Do Things With Words«, the linguist John L. Austin (1911-1960) defined the performative as a linguistic statement that not only describes but also changes the world, creating new situations. Doing things with words succeeds not merely because the latter represent a perfect mise-en-scène of the performative act itself. Indeed it is only the context – the storyline, the culture, the institutions of power, the legal system – that which it references, that lends the activity the requisite authority.

The international symposium reflects the various aspects of the performative act in art and politics. What kinds of mise-en-scène have the power to change the world? From which traditions and from what kind of relationships of power do actors derive their authority? What part do the media play in politics? Does art define itself as a reality-changing form of activity? The conference identifies a turning point in the cultural sciences when the investigation of the world as a text or image was replaced by an analysis of acts and practices.
In the performance of acts and practices, that which is quoted, repeated and effected is commented, transformed or undermined. Accordingly, the analysis of performative acts is of great socio-political and cultural/economical relevance. To what extent do such activities have the power to change the traditions, patterns, schemata, laws, rules and programs that they necessarily follow?
Following the media's construction of reality we observe, from US foreign policy right through to European domestic policy, an increasing tendency towards creating or legitimizing realities by means of the mere act of speaking. Media staging and the conducting of discourses are now being replaced by or abused for arbitrary activities or blind enforcement. The symposium will be taking a critical look at these abbreviations and distortions in politics and the performative and demonstrating new opportunities for forms of activity in art and politics under the changed conditions of the performative turn.

Sat., June 28, 2003 / ZKM⎥Karlsruhe

2 pm :: Opening - Peter Weibel
2.15 pm :: Gunter Gebauer
3 pm :: Dieter Mersch
3.45 pm :: Sybille Krämer
5 pm :: Andrew C. Parker
5.45 pm ::  Manfred Faßler

Sat., July 05, 2003 / Kornhausforum Berne

2 pm :: Opening - Gerhard J. Lischka
2.15 pm :: Gerhard Schulze
3 pm :: Helmut Willke
3.45 pm :: Irmela Schneider
4.30 - 5 pm - Break
5 pm :: Martin Burckhardt
5.45 pm :: Hans-Thies Lehmann

Organization / Institution

Kornhausforum Bern