Theoretical Seminar & Critical Meeting
with Aarhus University School of Communication and Culture Art History professor, dr. Jacob Wamberg
Verlust der Mitte: On posthuman aspects of modern art
Why is modern art behaving so strangely? This question was frequently asked when modern art was young, but now we have become so used to artistic experiments that posing it easily seems a sign of ignorance or conservatism. In this lecture, however, I will take the strangeness at face value, seeing an alien, non-human presence as indeed the defining characteristic of modern art. More precisely, I will relate modern art to an emerging posthuman condition, taking its myriad explorations of new ways of being situated - sensorially, cognitively, corporeally - as means to transcend an anthropocentric world view. In Hans Sedlmayr's Verlust der Mitte (1948) modern art was already seen as anti-humanistic, but in contrast to Sedlmayr I see this tendency as healthy rather than sick.
Jacob Wamberg is Professor of Art History at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He works on evolutionistic theories of the visual arts, especially in relation to nature and technology. His present focus is posthuman aspects of avant-garde art. His publications include Landscape as World Picture: Tracing Cultural Evolution in Images ( 2009), Totalitarian Art and Modernity (2010, ed. with Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen) The Posthuman Condition: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics of Biotechnological Challenges (2012, ed. with Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen and Mads Rosendahl Thomsen), and Art, Technology and Nature: Renaissance to Postmodernity (2015, ed. with Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam).
All Seminars, presentations and discussions are held in English and moderated by prof. Henrik B. Andersen.