Visual Culture Unit
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5 Regime des Visuellen | LVA: 264.097 | IMAGES AND EVENTS OF RADICAL WILL

Allan Sekula, Untitled [from the Waiting for Tear Gas (white globe to black), portfolio 1999-2000]

LVA: 264.097, Regime des Visuellen VU 2,0h/2,5ECTS

Die Lehrveranstaltung wird in englischer Sprache abgehalten. / This course will be held in English.


“It is gladly believed that a culture is more attached to its values than to its forms, that these can easily be modified, abandoned, taken up again; that only meaning is deeply rooted. This is to misunderstand … that people cling more to ways of seeing, saying, doing, and thinking, than to what they see, what they think, say or do… In the twentieth century things have taken an unusual turn: the ‘formal’ itself, reflexive work on the system of forms, has become an issue. And a remarkable object of moral hostilities, of aesthetic debates and political clashes.”

Michel Foucault

The course focuses on different regimes and strategies of representing and acting radical will. "Radicality" here is proposed as a term that can be applied to different models, formats and media of artistic and activist practices but also to different modes of critical thinking. What was once coined by the theorist Susan Sontag as “styles of radical will” and looked at only in aesthetic terms today could be taken much further and questioned in the context of social and political potentialities of visual expression and representation of “radical will”.  

Some of the central questions to be discussed in this course are whether images can be radical on their own, whether radically disturbing political and social events could be represented only by extreme imagery and how can one match the “radicality” entailed in the events with images? Topics to be discussed will deal with images representing radical events in media, visual art exhibitions and museum collections, public art and monumental sculpture as well as with the construction of new subject positions.



28 October 2013, Suzana Milevska

11:00 - Seminarraum 2, Karlsgasse 11

Representation and Radical Truth - lecture

The session will focus on the relation between the potentials of visual representation of “reality” by use of new media. By discussing of several art works and films we will ponder different regimes and radical strategies of manipulations of truth. Therefore we will shed more light on the paradoxical relation between radical images and events in different historical and political contexts.


11 November 2013, Suzana Milevska

Monuments of Radical Will - lecture

The question how to represent a historic event and person that in any way stand as a metaphor of radical will in the memory of a certain nation and people will be the main question posed in this session. Also the issue of a kind of negativity entailed by monuments of mourning and remembering tragic events will be discussed in the context of the phenomenon of “anti-monument”. The iconoclastic radicality of such a “void”, the absence or lack behind such emptied out representation will be discussed as one of the retorts to figurative representation of radical will.  


21 November 2013, Gulsen Bal

From Open Space to Open Systems - lecture / PERFORMANCE

The introductory part of this session will cover various exhibitions and practices that have taken place in the period of the transformation from Open Space to Open Systems. We will, in particular, examine “an ever-expanded category of (relational, socially engaged) art”. As Susan Kelly puts it, “'transversal practices' must often negotiate a double and sometimes paradoxical move. A logic of refusal – of resisting visibility, or taking on recognisable forms”.

The session will then continue with a visit to a PERFORMANCE / LECTURE part of Open Systems’ year prog within the Vienna Art Week:

“How to make an ice cream out of a drill” (on the passionate resistance against settling)

by Federica Bueti


In English, entrance free

Time: 6:00–7:00 pm

Venue: Kunstraum Niederoesterreich - NOE



25 November 2013, Suzana Milevska

Bearing Witness - workshop

This session is reserved for an interactive workshop-trial. Students will be asked to agree in advance on presenting and analysing an event or person from history or from the contemporary context. They will prepare and present various testimonials on how the event/person of their choice has been represented by the media, art or political officials. The presentation could be prepared in different formats and media (as texts, photographs, audio or video files, proposals for monuments, etc.). The students will work in small groups specifying different roles (expert, character witness, event witness, defender, prosecutor). 


2 December 2013, Gulsen Bal

Re-articulation of the location of emergence - lecture

In line with Suzana Milevska’s contextualisation in her ‘Bearing Witness’ workshop, this lecture will pursue what matters when “presenting and analysing an event or person from history or from the contemporary context” towards an inquiry into the different readings of participation within the limits of spaces reserved for creative practices and into how political locations of emergence appear in unexpected ways today.


9 December 2013, Gulsen Bal - two sessions in one: 11am till 16pm

The experience ‘says more’! - workshop

This session will concern with a practical approach to creativity, focusing on the creative strategies and the creative moment of thinking differently beyond an aesthetic identification of an argument:

“- Who wants to know?
- I want to know.

- What do you want to know?
- I don’t know!”

This argument will be generated by the students for preparing the final presentation with regard to an understanding as well as a reaction to ways of seeing, saying, doing, and thinking inside/outside the limits of social and political potentialities at the edges of “radicality”.

17 December 2013, Suzana Milevska/Gulsen Bal

joint session - round up, marking

Archiv: Aufnahme der letzten Diskussions-Einheit über Radikalität

9 December 2013 - What do you want to know?