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The Contemporary Contemporary

The research project The Contemporary Condition at Aarhus University held the international conference The Contemporary Contemporary: Representations and Experiences of Contemporaneity in and through Contemporary Arts Practice, at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, June 16-18, 2017.

What constitutes the contemporary present? The contemporary present seems to be characterized by con-temporaneity. However contemporaneity is not to be understood ahistorically as simply the state of belonging to the same time or period, or existing or occurring at the same time, but rather as the coming together of a multitude of different times and temporalities in the same historical present. This is the contemporary contemporary. It is formed by an intensified global interconnectedness of different times and experiences of time that challenge as well as consolidate some of the hierarchies that have been associated with modernity. With networked informational technologies and ever more socialized media forms it is now becoming more and more evident that the plurality of times today are not only existing at the same time, in parallel to each other, but that they interconnect and are being brought to bear on the same present, a kind of planetary present and a globally generalized sharing of time, even though of course the possibility of taking part in this interconnection and sharing is highly unevenly distributed. This, among other things, means that we – and we now dare to employ the collective pronoun as indicating, if only in principle, all of us – seem to live in an expanded present in which several temporalities, histories, and times take part in what is perceived as present and as presence.

The conference investigated and discussed this phenomenon and/or concept of contemporaneity and how it has come and still comes into being, and, not least, how it relates to and appears in contemporary art.

The conference website is archived here: http://conferences.au.dk/contemporary2017/

Keynote speakers: Ina Blom (Oslo), Raqs Media Collective (New Delhi), Dexter Sinister (New York/Liverpool), Knut Ebeling (Berlin), and Peter Osborne (London).

Conference papers by AA Animate Assembly, Rosa Barba, Sabin Bors, Roy Brand, Mihaela Brebenel, Rebecca Carson, Simon Roy Christensen, John Dummett, Nicola Foster, Catherine Grant, Christian Grueny, Nicola Guastamacchia, Ayesha Hameed, David Hodge, Erik Granly Jensen, Rahma Khazam, Mara-Johanna Kölmel, Tue Løkkegaard, Andrew Prior, Scott William Raby, Vincent Roumagnac, Judith Schwarzbart, Trine Friis Sørensen, Tomasz Szczepanek, Anette Vandsø, Riccardo Venturi, Jason Waite, Birk Weiberg, and Alexander Wilson.

Additional artworks were presented by Dexter Sinister, Scandinavian Institute for Computational Vandalism, Fergus Daly & Katherine Waugh, and Winnie Soon.

The full conference programme, including abstracts and biographies, is available for download as a PDF

Conference organised by The Contemporary Condition research group, Jacob Lund, Geoff Cox, Verina Gfader, Anne Kølbæk Iversen, in collaboration with Lise Pennington, Chief Curator at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, with the support of:


The Contemporary Contemporary conference
ARoS, Aarhus, Denmark, 16-18 June 2017
Published by Aarhus University
ISBN 978-87-93670-00-6

Video documentation of keynote presentations:

Selected conference papers:

Links to featured artworks:

 Abstracts of all papers, and biographies of presenters, are available here.