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Tobias Dias: The University as a Work of Art

All are welcome to Aesthetic Seminar

Info about event


Thursday 26 October 2023,  at 14:15 - 16:00


Kasernen, Building 1584, Room 126


The University as a Work of Art

Working and living amidst the daily disasters of the neoliberal university, it is tempting to look at the history of artist-led university projects as emancipatory escape routes to the “edu-factory” of academic capitalism. From Joseph Beuys’ iconic Free International University in the 1970s to more recent cases such as Copenhagen Free University (2001-08) or The Silent University (2011-), artists have long experimented with constructing institutional infrastructures for free, collective, and creative education and research. This has been particularly manifest since contemporary art’s so-called “educational turn”. In this talk, Dias will revisit the history and present of alter-university projects. Why has the university remained a pivotal point of attraction for socially engaged artists? What does the university have that artists and activists want? And not least: to what extent can the artist-led universities be seen as models for a new or future university? Rather than simple utopian “solutions” or a kind of aesthetic Ersatzpolitik, Dias will discuss how some of the cases can be understood as contradictory “formal” refusals of the “prison house of knowledge”. In an age in which knowledge is primarily seen as a private and financial asset, sanctioned by the authority and infrastructure of the university, the history and present of artistic alter-universities delineate a living archive of practices distributing, propagating, and organizing knowledge otherwise.

  • Æstetisk Seminar E-2023 Program
  • Æstetisk Seminar E-2023 Plakat 

Æstetisk Seminar efteråret 2023 er tilrettelagt af Nicolas Malevé og Jacob Lund, med hjælp fra Annelis Kuhlmann og Jussi Parikka på vegne af 
Institut for Kommunikation og Kultur, Aarhus Universitet.