2018-2019 HTDTWT Seminar Anselm Franke - Frontiers and Mediality: The S/O Function
In his teachings at the Bauhaus, Paul Klee used the term “Medialgebiet” or “medial area”, to describe how positive and negative, active and passive elements interact within the visual field. In this seminar, we will look not only at what happens within pictures, but also at the “medial area” in the encounter between artwork and viewer. Carl Einstein’s theory of art from the interwar years will be another reference, especially his formula of an “S/O function” or subject/object function, which designates the reciprocal emergence and transformation of subject and object in processes of (artistic) formalization.
Both “medial area” and “S/O function” are conceptual tools that will allows us to critically reflect on conflicted ontologies of art, theories of the production of subjectivity and the political significance of attempts at surmounting metaphysical dualism throughout the 20th century. How can we conceive of the immanence of the relational vis-a-vis the violence of modern frontiers and the need for critical differences and distinctions? In approaching these questions, we will draw on philosophies of art as well as theories of media and mimesis, evolutionary and anthropological narratives, contemporary discourses of ecology and technology, and artistic and curatorial practice.
Preliminary reading list:
Paul Klee, Pedagocial Sketchbook, ff 1968 
Tom Holert / Anselm Franke (ed.), Neolithic Childhood. Art in a False Present ca. 1930, Diaphanes/HKW 2018
Juliane Rebentisch, Aesthetics of Installation Art, Sternberg Press 2003
Spyros Papapetros, On the Animation of the Inorganic, University of Chicago Press, 2012
Maurizio Lazzarato, Signs and Machines, MIT Press 2014
Mark Wigley, Discursive vs. Immersive, Stedelijk Studies Issue #4 2016
Erich Hörl (ed.), General Ecology, Bloomsbury 2017