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The Contemporary Condition: The Representation and Experience of Contemporaneity in and through Contemporary Arts Practice

The purpose of this project is to investigate contemporaneity as a defining condition of our historical present. Contemporaneity refers to the temporal complexity that follows from the coming together in the same cultural space of heterogeneous cultural clusters generated along different historical trajectories, across different scales, and in different localities. With the overall aim of questioning the formation of subjectivity in time and the concept of temporality in the world now, it is a basic assumption that art can operate as an advanced laboratory for investigating processes of meaning-making and for understanding wider developments within culture and society. The project will primarily concentrate on contemporary art and experimental artistic practice as its material with a particular interest in the role of contemporary media and computational technologies.

Through six subprojects the project thus oscillates between the micro-temporality of human subjectivity and machine time to the macro-temporality of art and history: 1) Contemporaneity, memory, and image-politics; 2) The micro-temporality of computer programming; 3) Archives as operative memory and integrators of the past in the present; 4) Registration of contemporaneity in transnational art biennials; 5) Curatorial negotiations of the role of the museum under contemporary conditions; and 6) Practice-based artistic exploration into the production and representation of contemporaneity.

The Contemporary Condition is a research project at Aarhus University made possible by a grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research. The project is led by Associate Professor Jacob Lund and Associate Professor Geoff Cox and runs for three years from September 2015 to August 2018.

The researchers involved in the project are:

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