Can Art and Politics Be Thought? That’s an interesting question. Now you might be thinking, “Did you leave out a word in that first sentence or something, I don’t… really…” but before you embarrass yourself any further, understand that this is the official title of a two-day conference at UCLA curated by Matmos’ Drew Daniel and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA Kenneth Reinhard, so maybe you should just re-read the sentence and mull it over before you start running your mouth. So, let’s start again: Can Art and Politics Be Thought, You Asshole? This story wasn’t supposed to be so aggressive! Goddammit!!!
I’m back. “Can Art and Politics Be Thought?” (deep breath…) is taking place this weekend at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in conjunction with the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory, with two days packed full of lectures and performances by Matmos, Kode9, Matthew Barney, Alain Badiou, and other “contemporary artists, critics, and philosophers,” all attempting to explore the relationship between art and politics. Some of the questions being posed include:
Is a relationship between art and politics that does not compromise the specificity of each practice possible? Can art be political without becoming propaganda? Does politics have anything to learn from art? How have artists approached these questions in their concrete practices and reflections on those practices? And how have theorists conceptualized and contributed to those practices?
And here I thought the only pertinent question was, “Does the artist use a megaphone and make their voice sound sorta like Zack de la Rocha?”! We’re always learning in this life. Though the event is free, like all programs at the Hammer, tickets are still required for entry (to keep out any kids sloshed with jungle juice) and can be picked up at the Billy Wilder Theater box office one hour before the conference starts. Check the full schedule below, and sorry for the outburst earlier.
Saturday, June 4, 2011:
1:00: Steve Goodman
2:00 Joshua Clover
3:30 Lauren Berlant
4:30 Matthew Barney
8:00 Performances by Ultra-Red, Matmos, and Kode9
Sunday, June 5, 2011:
1:00 Drew Daniel
2:00 Joan Copjec
3:30 Allan Sekula
4:30 Alain Badiou
8:00 Reading of scenes from Alain Badiou’s Incident at Antioch and Ahmed the Philosopher; directed by Stephen Barker