Within the framework of Pafos 2017, European Capital of Culture, and the Terra Mediterranea: In Action project, the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Associate with the Pierides Foundation organizes the international conference 'For An Extended Actionism' based on a concept by Paola Yacoub and Michel Lasserre.
Saturday, 23 September 2017, NiMAC
*Τhe conference will be in English
To paint, to photograph… is to act. Sometimes, the distinguishing features of actions, such as intentionality, agency, control, and their individuation, are also touched upon in the process.
When Duchamp states that his 'Large Glass' is definitively unfinished, he wades into the individuation of action in a recurring manner and not simply in relation to a specific material. He was already an Actionist.
We propose to take over this term once again [Use of this term is not restricted to the field of Art. It can also be found in sociology first with Max Weber and in the cognitive sciences], to describe both the interventions characterizing actions and those that modify their very characteristics. Examples of Actionism as hereby defined can be found throughout the history of the 20th century. As early as the 1910s, Malevich described his 'White on White' as pure action.
This Actionism extends beyond the movement labelled Viennese Actionism, beyond taxonomies of action in art: art action, happenings, performances. It no longer refers to conventional iconographies such as dismembered corpses.
What are the implications of this Extended Actionism, of this emphasis on interventions concerned with the characteristics of action, whether we practice them, observe them, or question them? How might we approach works that inquire into action itself, within history, law, economy, and even art criticism?
Let us better pinpoint certain issues arising from this Actionism. It is curled up in the origins of the neo-liberal economy[See Ludwig VON MISES, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Yale University Press, 1949, 1998, 2010]. Should one necessarily leave others to take action? Might Actionism also have a role to play in reconsidering and producing direct modes of action? From this perspective of the philosophy of action in the 1950s-1980s, what can we expect, on an operative level?
The use of such concepts within artistic practice is not self-evident, especially as most remain to this day controversial. Yet might we not employ them in order to challenge established characterizations and perhaps open up new possibilities for practice?
And yet, a number of these concepts have been applied –and challenged [Jean-Michel ROY, Triangulating Morris Intention? Davidson on Morris Quoting Davidson, ENS Éditions, 2015]– in other areas of artistic activity, as for example in the series 'Blind Time Drawings (Drawing with Davidson)' by Robert Morris as raw material [Jean-Pierre CRIQUI (Author), Donald DAVIDSON (Author), Robert MORRIS (Artist). Robert Morris: Blind Time Drawings, Paperback, 2005].
Could we revive this type of exercise? Could the Actionism of cognitive pragmatism be of use to us, such as in the proposition: perception is action [“Actionism is the thesis that perception is the activity of exploring the environment making use of knowledge of sensorimotor contingencies.” In Alva NOË, Concept Pluralism, Direct Perception and the Fragility of Presence, Thomas METZINGER, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany and Jennifer M. WINDT, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia]?
We will address such an extension of Actionism, at the crossroads of diverse fields. It follows on from the conference 'The Action of Art', organized by ARP-ALBA at the Sursock Museum in Beirut in 2016 [https://sursock.museum/content/international-conference-laction-dart-action-art].
For full programme and details, refere to our facebook event www.facebook.com/events/117066538979215/
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