Knowledge Claims between Art, Politics and Philosophy
In the last decade, in the field of the arts, humanities and in the political field independent epistemological claims have developed under such different names as “image theory”, “situated knowledge”, “epistemic practice” or “knowledge of the arts”. In opposition to the established claims of validity in hermeneutic and analytical philosophy, they proclaim a knowledge that locates itself and engages itself in the performative speech act, in artistic practice, in the materiality of its images, in culture and in political action. Thusknowledge is understood less in the safeguarding and objectification of statements than in the living process of its situational realization.
From German Idealism (Schelling, Hegel, etc.) to constellative thinking in Benjamin and Adorno and post-structuralism, philosophy has become increasingly concerned with the question of the aesthetic form through which philosophy tries to think itself. Whether the labour of philosophy takes place as a dialogue, essay, system, fragment or diagram is not only significant for the content that is expressed in this form. More than this the aesthetic form of philosophy is regarded and enacted as a way of echoing and processing the conditions of philosophy’s own knowledge, which lay beyond philosophy itself: Against the background of feminist, queer and postcolonial criticism, currents such as the actor-network theory (Latour, Harraway) are increasingly trying to negotiate the historical, social and biographical conditions of their writing. Psychoanalytically informed philosophers (Badiou, Ljubljana-Schule, etc.) start from the assumption of an unconscious, have to position themselves to the fact, that their articulation will always say more than what is meant.
The conference “Constellations. Knowledge Claims between Art, Politics and Philosophy” aims to bring these different self-understandings of art, philosophy and cultural studies together, but also allow them to compete with one another. “Constellation” as an equally epistemic and aesthetic concept of form is intended to help take into account those historical, material and performative elements that remain obscured in the logical form of the sentence. In contrast the rules of constellation by which concepts, images and actions jointly build a knowledge-productive form arise from this formation process itself. The concept of constellation therefore allows differences and contradictions between the various knowledge productions to be compared without assuming a common cognitive model.
In the confrontation between the various epistemologies, a different self-understanding of philosophy in its situatedness can be entertained, one that requires philosophical writing to be more deeply entangled in the dependencies of both its genesis and effect: Not only by reflecting on the conditions of their possibility, but by adopting these conditions by ways of working through them. On the other hand, discourses, that defend the radical conditionality of all knowledge claims, may be challenged to clarify how they can redeem generality, validity, justification and inferentiality of their understanding of knowledge – or whether they want reject or reinterpret these characteristics. The stronger reflection on questions of validity may prevent us from falling back into old dichotomies between an “intuitive knowledge” in the fine arts and “discursive knowledge” in the sciences, or a “particular knowledge” in the humanities and a “universal knowledge” in the sciences.
A conference that deals with the conditionality of knowledge must also deal with the political context through which the concept of knowledge has gained importance in art and cultural studies. With the transformation to the so-called “knowledge society”, the humanities and the arts are increasingly pressured to re-conceptualize their own practice as a way of knowledge-production in order to signal economic utility. Should one therefore oppose the concept of knowledge, or can the concept of knowledge be used in a way that eludes the logic of utilisation? The discussion between the disciplines should help to open up perspectives on how the various concepts of knowledge can preserve or develop emancipation in our time.
We are interested in contributions on:
- philosophy as an aesthetic and political practice
- art as a form of knowledge and epistemic practice
- the epistemic relationship between theory and art
- the political context of concepts like “knowledge society”, “knowledge economy”, etc.
- diagrammatics, image theory, theory of constellation (Benjamin, Adorno)
- knowledge / actor-network theory (Latour, Haraway)
- Situated Knowledges and the conditionality of knowledge in the context of feminist, queer and postcolonial philosophy
Conference Date: 08. – 10. april 2020
Organizer: Student Council of the Department of Philosophy, University of Tübingen
Venue: University of Tübingen
Call for Projects
The conference is composed of lectures, panels and artistic contributions. The combination of the different formats aims at opening up diverse approaches to the conference topic. The panels are especially intended for discussion and exchange. A series of input lectures of 25 – 30 minutes or presentations of artworks will provide impulses for discussion in the panels. Following each presentation, 10 – 15 minutes are planned for questions.
Participation is possible either online or at site in Tübingen. In the latter case, lodging will be covered, travel will be reimbursed according to flat rates provided by the University of Tübingen. We strive for an honorarium in the three-digit range. A conference volume with theoretical and artistic contributions is aimed for.
Please send us:
- a description of your project (in case of lecture-performances or works in the field between theory and art you might also attach an abstract of lecture)
- additional information (portfolio, CV, website, etc.) that will help us to gain an impression of your practice (larger files may also be sent via wetransfer or similar)
- Requirements concerning location, time frame, preparation, technology etc. that your work will need
- rough estimate of costs for material procurement, transport, etc.
- include your name and email address in the document
We are particularly interested in time-based work: Performances or video screenings (which may also include installation). The time frame for artistic works is not fixed. Since the event will take place in a hybrid-format (in on-site presence in Tübingen, and online), we are also interested in contributions which are designed for virtual presentations or artistic practices between physical and virtual space. The work does not have to explicitly address the conference topics. Rather, it is a matter of whether questions of knowledge production, situatedness and embodiment, and the relation between theory and art are relevant questions for your practice.
Upon acceptance, we will contact you to discuss how your work can be situated in the context of the conference.
Submissions to the following two email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Prolonged Deadline: 10.03.2021 (for organizational reasons, the deadline for artistic papers is later than that for theoretical papers); feedback: 15.03.2020.