Art Schools as Heterotopias

Shepley, Alec (2017) Art Schools as Heterotopias. In: Twelfth International Conference on The Arts in Society, 14-16 June 2017, Paris, France.

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“Under the intensity of creative experimentation (the situation and challenge of artists’ practice) each work asks itself (and therefore us, too) whether there might be a ‘place’ where culture has not yet reached; it hopes to be that ‘place’ – an elsewhere that is not yet a ‘place’ on culture’s terms” (Phillipson 1996). If institutional interests operate such an enclosing grip on the representation of cultural production is the prospect of a ‘place for art’ possible? Drawing on previous practice research on this topic this paper speculates on the paradoxical necessity of a place for art on the one hand and the impossibility of housing such a place on the other. I ask how do our current institutions access it without closing it down? And how do we, as artists / academics place and house complexity? Could the institute itself, as a place of articulation, examination, deconstruction and interrogation, be 'in ruins'? is this anything new? has this perceived threat always been there? and is it useful to reflect on Foucault’s types of Heterotopia to understand our new situation and occupy the institution differently? These questions become more ever more critical if we are to create new sites and places for art and education, and new institutions for new forms of practice that are somehow ‘different’: disturbing, intense, incompatible, contradictory and transforming. I will reflect on the question of whether universities can (or should) contain these places without closing them down and also on the ‘possibility of a place’ re-imagining itself. I will discuss the potential of ‘place’ which is dedicated to the housing of its own impossibility citing examples of recent practices and projects related to the concept of Heterotopia as an idea in the making, the suggestion of a place which is not yet a 'place', a place which is always destroying and re-imagining itself anew.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Art Schools
Members: Glyndŵr University
Depositing User: Mr Stewart Milne
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2017 09:13
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 09:13

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