5. EAM-Konferenz 1.-3. Juni 2016 – Universität Rennes

The next EAM conference will be held in 1–3 June 2016 at the Centre d’Études des Littératures et Langues Anciennes et Modernes (CELLAM) in Rennes, France, and will deal with the theme of Quest/Investigation.


The fifth EAM congress invites scholars to consider the coupling of the notions of quest and investigation in works of art or movements of the avant-garde or neo-avant-garde, or of the various forms of modernism, even though modernism and the avant-garde seem often to have been constructed in opposition to the spiritual or scientific heritage suggested by these two terms.

The notion of quest suggests a metaphysical beyond informed by mysticism, implying the absence of an end or of a conclusion, whereas the notion of investigation implies a totally rational conception of reality and a process likely to bring a definite result and reach a conclusion. Coupling the two notions, quest/investigation, is therefore an invitation to overcome an initial paradox: the endlessness of the quest as opposed to the fixed scope of the investigation. The co-articulation of the two notions may shed some light on marginal or neglected works. It may also question the dialectical relationship between modern and anti-modern, between avant-garde and rear-guard, between insistent innovations and archaisms, acknowledged or disguised.

Whether dialectical or dynamic, the approach we suggest applies to all the fields or domains of research in the Arts, literature, aesthetics, cinema, photography, drama, T.V. or digital media, architecture, music, design.

Again a team of the Avant-garde research network ViennAvant will present its research at the conference.

Anna Spohn, Katharina Jesberger and Stefanie Kitzberger have chosen the subject area “Laboratory Constructivism, early Video Community and Allan Kaprow” for their panel as follows:

Laboratory. Model. Experiment. Scientification and its Dialectical Matrix in the Avant-garde Arts

Summary of the Panel

The panel will consist of three lectures

Stefanie Kitzberger (Department of Art History, University of Applied Arts Vienna / IFK – International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna): “Constructivist Models”

Katharina Jesberger (Department of Art History, University of Applied Arts Vienna): “The universe as laboratory. Research and techno-mythic belief in the video collectives around Radical Software”

Anna Spohn (Department of Art Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna): “Becoming fluid? Allan Kaprow´s ‘experimental art’ between fixed scopes and open processes”

Translations of scientific concepts into art frequently manifest in the 20th century’s avant-garde art. Associated to both an open-ended innovation process and the idea of providing a scientific basis for a socio-political agenda, they reflect the dialectics of autonomy not only by escaping from conventional art vocabulary, but also by claiming a counter-aesthetic position.

This panel examines the consequences of such translations for the rhetorics and methods of artistic practices, for the medial or material status of their outcome: The objects and drawings of Laboratory Constructivism in Early Soviet Russia act as ‘models’ for art being transferred into the realm of industrial production. For the Video Communities around Radical Software art – a laboratory for social change – fuses with the technologized universe that has to be researched through the video and for Allan Kaprow the term ‘experiment’ is a mean to get rid of all predeterminations by the frameworks of art.