An international conference arranged at Linnaeus University, in Växjö, Sweden, August 19-20, 2020
Due to the present circumstances this conference will be entirely digital!
In this age of turbulence, the value of art is challenged. Why occupy oneself with art, or with teaching art and heritage, when the world is on fire? On the other hand: in critical times, art becomes more important than ever. When human rights are under attack, an awareness of history, of its traditions, symbols and experiences, provides arguments in support of fundamental democratic values. The history of art and culture sheds light on the present.
In the present Anthropocene period, we are exhausting the Earth’s resources. For the last three hundred years, humanity’s relation to nature has been determined by an industrially based, consumerist approach that keeps escalating. How can art help us to identify the driving forces and understand the effects? When the climate change becomes ever more alarming and global collaboration is threatened by nationalistic politics, we must rely on the capacity of art to communicate knowledge, understanding and insight beyond politically polarized arenas.
The aim of the “Art – what is it good for?” conference is to throw light on the function of art in times of crisis by bringing together participants from a range of academic disciplines and professions: researchers, art educators, art critics and artists. Our expectation is that the debates will bring about a recognition of art as fundamental prerequisite for freedom of speech in any society. The conference will provide a scene for exchanges across disciplinary boundaries that may prompt interaction between academia and society and stimulate interdisciplinary research collaboration between theoretical and artistic disciplines.
Nancy Thompson, Professor in Art History, St. Olaf College, Northfield Minnesota, USA, and Jennifer Borland, Associate Professor in Art History, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, USA – both founding members of the Material Collective
SU-EN, Choreographer and artistic director for The Butoh Company, Almunge, Uppland
Mathias Kryger, Performance artist, art critic and curator, Copenhagen
- Art, populism and nationalism
- Teaching art in times of crisis
- Climate and art: the Anthropocene
- Heritage and democracy
- The infrastructure of art: the role of institutions in a sustainable art world
- Education and criticism: art as communication
Questions and information:
Please note that all times are local Swedish time CEST (Central European Daylight Saving Time)!
Links to the conference rooms (using the Zoom platform) will be provided in the morning the same day the conference starts. See below (under "How does that work?") for more information on we are planning to make it all work.
Wednesday 19 August
10.00–11.00 Coffee and registration
11.00–11.05 Opening of conference and welcoming. Vice Chancellor Peter Aronsson
11.05–11.10 Introduction and information. Professor Lena Liepe, Art History and Visual Studies, Linnaeus University
11.15–12.15 Key-note: SU-EN, choreographer and artistic director for The Butoh Company, Almunge, Uppland (website): Body and the World
13.15–15.45 Sessions (1 & 2 & 3)
Session 1: Climate and Art
Session 2: Heritage and democracy
Moderator: Jan Bäcklund
Hedvig Mårdh: ”Art and Activism During the Second World War”
Sofia Landström & Sara Rydby: ”A cultural heritage in tune with it's present”
Jan Bäcklund: ”A Realized Artistic Utopia of the Brezhnev Era”
Session 3: Teaching Art under Conditions of Crisis
Moderator: Hans Sternudd
Steve Rossi: ”Sculptural Problem Solving”
Eva Cronquist: ”Transformative Preparedness in Change Processes”
16 –17 Key-note: Material Collective: Resistance and Engagement: The Challenges of Teaching Art History in the US Today (Nancy Thompson, Professor in Art History, St. Olaf College, Northfield MN, USA, and Jennifer Borland, Associate Professor in Art History, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, USA)
17.15 -18 Voluntary online mingle ... with break out room opportunities
Thursday 20 August
09.25–10.30 Key-note: Mathias Kryger, Performance artist, art critic and curator, Copenhagen (writer’s web archive, Kunstkritikk): Institutional critique, diagnostics of a sick world and the body of the art critic as a permeable surface
10.45–12.15 Sessions (4 & 5 & 6)
Session 4: Street Art in Times of Crisis
Moderator: Eva Cronquist
Heather Shirey: ”Mapping Street Art and the Response to Covid-19”
Orestis Pangalos, Pegy Zali & Panagiotis Lianos: “Graffiti artworks … during and after the COVID-19 quarantine”
Session 5: Criticism, History & Change
Session 6: Communication in an expanded field of art
Moderator: Johanna Rosenqvist
Max Liljefors: ”Can Art History speak with the Arts and Health Field?”
Susanne Fessé: ”Writing about emotion”
Katarina A Karlsson: ”#metoo, violence and vulnerability in female singer’s bodies”
13.15–14.00 Discussions (Session 5 & 6) + an opportunity to "chambre separée"
14.15–15 Summing-up and conclusion
15 -15:30 Voluntary after conference online mingle
Nancy Thompson and Jennifer Borland: Resistance and Engagement: The Challenges of Teaching Art History in the US Today
In this lecture, two members of the Material Collective will present ideas formed through conversation with all ten founding members of the MC, an organization dedicated to fostering respectful intellectual exchange and innovative scholarship in the study of the visual arts, in the academy, and in the broader, public sphere.
As we face the challenges of teaching in today’s environment, we embrace strategies that allow us to engage our students and stress the continued relevance of teaching Art History in a politically-divisive and image-saturated world. Many of us teach in institutions that face repeated budget cuts and favour disciplines that are perceived as career preparation. At the same time, our communities are often hungry for the intellectual and emotional engagement that art brings to society, as well as the possibilities that art offers for resistance and revolution.
SU-EN: Body and the World
A communicative, visual and physical statement for Art - What is it good for?
by SU-EN, artistic director SU-EN Butoh Company, choreographer, dancer, artist, and curator
In my presentation, I will use words, dance, and actions to give you a taste of my creative universe.
A living world
Swarming of diversity
Wondrous and ever-changing
A living body
Surrounded by distance
Into and through matter
My body is nature
My body is … the world
Where my experience is coming from:
Being a student of the legendary Butoh dancers Yoko Ashikawa/Tomoe Shizune and the traditional dance master Yoh Izumo in Japan for many years.
30 years of own artistic activities in various countries/ cultures/ contexts/ collaborations.
Placing myself in challenging situations; personal, artistic, physical and and social.
A deep love and passion for life.
The Butoh Body comes to life in a paradox. It is never one or the other but all/everything at the same time. As soon as you think you can grasp this body, it is gone, changed, taken a new form. Placing my existence in the space – social, physical, psychological, historical – there are many spaces surrounding us. It is in the tension between existence and these spaces that a human struggle and art can begin. The speed of action rather than thinking. Thinking with the body, is the essence of dance. As soon as we think that shape is ”perfect”, we must destroy the shape. For this we use speed. Life is speed.
Since 1997 SU-EN Butoh Company has the headquarter in the forest, in Haglund Skola, Almunge village. I live and work in and with the nature. I struggle with nature. I interact and I try to listen. From this lifestyle, I have developed my dance work towards something what I call relation. I cannot exist without these plants or animals, so we must find a way together.
My dance is an aesthetic action or process. This aesthetics is born out of necessity. Like each plant and living being has the shape and functions due to the best way to survive in the environment they live in. Performing arts is a social activity, the encounter with other human beings is of essence. In a live performance event, there might be one spectator, or there might be many. The performance can take place in a cultural institution, but also in a persons home or workspace, as in our The Visiting Project or in site-specific locations such as our various projects in a Scrapyard in Uppsala. Recently I find myself drifting away from culture institutions and look for a more direct relation to the spectator. A relation, but through my artistic and physical statement. I may force my art into another being, but I trust that the meeting will always be fruitful (even if reactions from a spectator might be mocking, even violent or without any response). My dance and art is a choice, fuelled with intention to create a shift and a tremble.
Dirt shines. Space cracks. Time laughs.
Mathias Kryger: Institutional critique, diagnostics of a sick world and the body of the art critic as a permeable surface
The foundation of the institutional landscape that constitutes the fields of fine arts (bourgeois art) is shaking, and as the planet is in crisis, so is the art world (let us call it that) along with the social spheres of politics and societal structures and the mental ecology of the individual: The history of art is a history of trauma and of violence and as the planet is experiencing something we could call trauma, so are the people who inhabit them.
Recordings of Keynotes
A "digital conference" - how does that work?
The entire conference will use the e-meeting platform Zoom. In order to participate, please read the following and see further below for instructions of how to connect and install the Zoom client - we strongly recommend everybody to do that because it will give you much better technical quality.
Links to the sessions will be provided to all registered participants shortly before the conference starts.
Important for all!
- The key note lectures will be pre-recorded. After each lecture, we open for a live questions-and-comments session where the audience can interact IRL with the speakers.
- Links to all zoom rooms will be available shortly before the conference starts. The links will be active 30 mins before the beginning of each lecture or session so that all participants can enter and make sure that everything works.
- The paper presentations are organized in parallel sessions, and each session will be led by a moderator. The papers are either pre-recorded or presented live, and there will be room for questions and comments either immediately after each paper or at the end of the session in question.
- Please also note that the names and identity of participants will only be visible within the sessions and the same thing goes for the personal identity in the chat rooms.
Questions and support
For all types of questions before the start of the conference, please use the conference e-mail email@example.com. During the conference you can either use the same mail address or, of course, chat with us live via zoom.
Connecting to Zoom
If you do not already have the Zoom client installed on your computer, you will need to make the following steps to install and configure Zoom:
- Download the Zoom.us software on the device which you will use for the video conference (Windows, macOS, Android or iOS)
- Test the internet connection and the audio system (microphone + headphones/ speakers) and video (webcam). You can click here to test a Zoom conference meeting.
Steps for the actual video conference:
- Accessing the video conferencing link, in the form of https://zoom.us/j/xxxxxxxxxx, which you will find for each session. This will open the already installed application.
- The authentication in the video conference is done with the email and password previously received from the conference administration.
General recommendations for using Zoom
- Write your name and institution - eg. John Doe - University of Everywhere. In order to see how to do this please read this.
- Keep the microphone turned off when you are not speaking, since background noise can be very distracting.
- In order to talk with the moderators and other speakers try using the chat. Find instructions here.
- In order to share your screen watch this short tutorial.
- During a zoom conference you can give more non-verbal feedback - by raising your hand to ask for permission to speak, or by answering yes / no, etc. To see where you can access them, look at the explanatory images here.
For presenters (papers/key notes) - some tips for better technical quality in recordings
- Set your video resolution to 1920x1080. If you use a mobile phone to record, record in landscape (horizontal) format.
- Use a neutral background and record in good light.
- Place yourself slightly to the left or right of the centre of the frame, and make sure not to have too much air above your head.
- Place your camera at the same level as your head.
- Preferably, use a wired lavalier microphone plugged into your computer or phone. In case you do not have access to a lavalier, use a high-quality USB microphone or a high-quality phone headset. Try to avoid large headsets, as these do not look good on video.
- Avoid using a room witch echo or other disturbing sounds.
- Preferably, do not use a virtual background. In case you record in Zoom with a lit green screen behind you, it is ok to use a virtual background.
- Choose mp4 as your file format
Call for papers
We welcome proposals for papers on themes such as the following:
- Art, populism and nationalism;
- Teaching art under conditions of crisis;
- Climate and art: Anthropocene;
- Heritage and democracy;
- The infrastructure of art: The role of institutions in a sustainable art world; and
- Education and criticism: To communicate art.
Proposals should not exceed 500 words/one A 4 page.
We invite proposals to be submitted to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org