COOP Academy / Open! presents: Affective Images: How Public Images Produce Affect in a Digital Age

Project curator & core tutor: Jorinde Seijdel  Co-tutor: Florian Göttke

Guest tutors: Metahaven, Foundland, Eric Kluitenberg, Niels Schrader, Brian Massumi

Participants: Ben Burtenshaw, Eduardo Cachucho, Charlie Dance, Sebastian De Line, Katja den Dulk, Monique Hendriksen, Yung Han Juan, Jammie Nicholas, Marie-Andrée Pellerin, Miguel Angel Rego Robles, Kaste Šeškeviciute, Aarti Sunder, Hu Wei and Amir Avraham ( Werkplaats Typografie)

tag: Arnhem

In the picture: City Rising, 2014. Single-channel video, color, by Metahaven. This video still features a model by Constant Nieuwenhuys, whose writings are also sourced in the work (source:

"Affective Images: How Public Images Produce Affect in a Digital Age" will be a one year long research and design project with Open! as structural, discursive and productive framework.The project will span curatorial, editorial and artistic practices, and its overall aims are to better understand the working of mediatisation and digitization processes for the public sphere by working and reflecting on a specific topic within a globalised digital publishing environment.

This year the starting point for our research and production will be Affective Images: How Public Images Produce Affect in a Digital Age. We understand 'public images' here as mediated images that are engaged in a public political discourse. These can include both amateur images as news images and artistic images – From the Abu Ghraib pictures till the IS video's or specific public art works. We will focus on the aesthetics and politics of certain of these images and on the way they hide ideological layers and produce affect. Affect we conceive here as a sphere of experience which falls outside of dominant paradigms of representation.

The Canadian political philosopher Brian Massumi (also translator of Deleuze & Guattari) defined the notion of affect as 'a pre-personal intensity corresponding to the passage from one experiential state of the body to another and implying an augmentation or diminution in that body's capacity to act.' Although affect, for example in the thinking of Michael Hardt, can be understood as an enabling political asset, it could as well work as a disabling and manipulating force.

How is affect being produced and transmitted in today's image culture? What is the relationship between media and the production of affect? What about the aesthetics and politics of affect? Can affect be defined as a possible critical site and departure point for curatorial and artistic production?

Reading: To get a first insight in these questions we will read and discuss, in a series of seminars, texts on the notion of affect by Deleuze & Guattari, Brian Massumi, Hardt & Negri, Mark Hansen, and others. We will also go into literature that is in a more general sense about the way public images 'work' in our society. This reading includes essays by Susan Sontag, Judith Butler, Richard Grusin and WJT Mitchell.

Assignments: Parallel to the reading classes, there will be two main assignments to work on during the year and to discuss in workshops and face-to-face meetings with the tutors and guest teachers.

1) Research and design assignment: Create an image essay, text essay or text-image essay relating to the subject matter of Open! CO-OP Academy and within the format of Open!. At the end of the year, these essays will be published on the Open! site as part of a thematic body of texts and image essays on Affective Images. This is an individual assignment.

2) Curate a conference-like event on the subject matter which will have to take place towards the end of DAI 2014-2015, and which should include public presentations of the image essays, key-note lectures by invited speakers and a public debate. This is a group assignment.

N.B.  "Affective Images: How Public Images Produce Affect in a Digital Age" will take place in close cooperation with Florian Göttke

Open!  is an online international publishing platform that fosters and disseminates experimental knowledge on art, culture and the public domain. It is the online continuation of the journal Open. Cahier on Art & the Public Domain (2004-2012). Open! explores the changing conditions of the public domain and new viewpoints on publicness from a variety of international and interdisciplinary perspectives. Open! addresses the commons and the community, ownership and power relationships, and it examines the consequences of current privatisation, mediatisation and globalisation processes on our social and cultural practices. Open! works with theorists, artists and designers who contribute to the creation of an experimental and critical body of thought. Before the end of this year the current website will be replaced by a new one: a living archive and an experimental knowledge environment also containing the complete content of the printed journal, better equipped to publish, research, read and archive online.

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