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International conference that reconsiders the questions that concern both human society and the entire planet and share a common denominator: global capitalism.

The international conference – prepared in collaboration with the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana – reconsiders the universal during the era of global capitalism and pandemic, and aims to rethink our common future and the presence of art in the (entire) world that is (not yet) our world. Speakers include: T. J. Demos, Boris Groys, ruangrupa, Apolonija Šušteršič, Alberto Toscano, and Alenka Zupančič.


Day 1  ⁄  3. 12.

How art today imagines universalism and represents all-encompassing force such as the force of global capitalism

Moderated by Dražen Dragojević

15:00  ⁄  Introduction by the organizers

Zdenka Badovinac, MG+MSUM
Urška Jurman, Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory

15:15  ⁄  Alenka Zupančič  ⁄  The Art of Surprise

Is art “of this world” or “not of this world”? Does this question even make sense outside of a religious perspective? The presentation will propose that art is at its strongest when it opens a perspective onto the world in an indirect way, from the new and surprising reality that art itself creates. Art, which doesn’t surprise us at all but rather shows us what we expect, fails precisely at establishing a relation with the world rather than being merely commentary or reflection on it. In this sense, art is perhaps always the art of surprise, which, from an unexpected perspective, constitutes the world as the world.

15:35  ⁄  Boris Groys  ⁄  The Universal Subject of Care

In contemporary society, there exists a universal mode of work – it is the care work. The securing of human lives is regarded by our civilization as its supreme goal. Foucault was correct when he described modern states as biopolitical. Their main function is to take care of the physical wellbeing of their populations. However, our culture is also permanently producing extensions of our material bodies: artworks, books, photographs, documents, videos, emails, websites, etc. All of these objects and documents are kept for some time after our deaths. Cemeteries, museums, libraries, historical archives, public monuments, and places of historical significance are maintained. Cultural identity, historical memory, traditional urban spaces, and ways of life are preserved. And we care for ourselves – our own survival and our cultural afterlife. The universal subject is itself a subject of care.

15:55  ⁄  Alberto Toscano  ⁄  Quantities of the Past – Photography in the Aftermath of Capital

The talk will return to a previous discussion about the relation between photowork, landscape, and logistics in Cartographies of the Absolute (with Jeff Kinkle, 2015), and extend it to include reflections on the following three recently published books of American landscape photography: Richard Misrach and Kate Orff’s Petrochemical America, Mitch Epstein’s American Power, and David Maisal’s Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime. The presentation will consider environmental devastation and its nexus with racial capitalism in light of Fredric Jameson’s arguments about “dead labour” in his 2011 book Representing Capital.

16:15  ⁄  Discussion

The conversation between Alenka Zupančič, Boris Groys, and Alberto Toscano will be moderated by Dražen Dragojević.


Day 2  ⁄  4. 12.

On the relation between the particular, the concrete, and the universal in the field of contemporary art

Moderated by Dražen Dragojević

15:00  ⁄  Introduction

Dražen Dragojević

15:15  ⁄  Apolonija Šušteršič  ⁄  Becoming local

The talk will address the contradiction between the particular and the universal based on Apolonija Šušteršič’s position as an artist who works with local people and environments from a non-local perspective. How does a method developed in a particular case apply and influence a new situation and produce a new work? What kind of displacement is possible when discussing the context-specific art project? Why and how do we recontextualize an art project that has been created for a specific place, time and, situation, years later in another place and situation that is historically and politically divergent? Is recontextualization the right method to create a new work that has a relevant and updated relationship with an existing but new context in time and place?

15:35  ⁄  ruangrupa

Art collective based in Jakarta, Indonesia and currently curator of documenta 15 in Kassel.

15:55  ⁄  T. J. Demos  ⁄  Radical Futurisms – Worlds after the End of the World

This presentation offers a work-in-progress overview of Demos’s current book project, which investigates radical visions of justice-to-come in contemporary art and visual culture – including examples drawn from Indigenous futurisms, Afrofuturisms, and multispecies and post-capitalist speculative imagination. The research project poses theoretical and analytical questions about what comes after end-of-world narratives and how creative ecologies of time will help us get there, arguing that it is vital to defeat chronologies of fatalistic nihilism as much as the techno-utopianism of green capitalism. In alliance with creative practitioners, Demos argues that, in decolonizing the future, we must cultivate an emancipated chronopolitics in relation to an undetermined not-yet.

16:15  ⁄  Discussion

The conversation between Apolonija Šušteršič, ruangrupa, and T. J. Demos will be moderated by Dražen Dragojević.


(Taken from the website of Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory) 


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