Call for papers: The Contemporary Contemporary

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

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

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 purpose of the conference is to investigate and discuss 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. How does it affect our experience(s) of time and contemporary formations of subjectivity? What are the consequences for concepts of history and for understandings of time itself? For art history? What is the role of media, and planetary-scale computation in the production of contemporaneity? How does it relate to current forms of capitalism? What are the implications for social imagination? Image-politics? Artistic practice? With the overall aim of analyzing, articulating, and discussing contemporaneity and its relationship to contemporary art these are some of the issues we invite paper proposals and artistic contributions to address.

Practical information

Venue: ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aros Allé, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

Proposals: Proposals of papers and artistic contributions (such as screenings and performance-lectures) should be roughly 300 words (including a short bionote) and should be sent to

The deadline for submission of abstracts is now closed. Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be sent by March 1st, 2017. Presenters at the conference will be invited to submit papers for possible publication in the Nordic Journal of Aesthetics.

Conference fee: The registration fee is 75€ for faculty members and 30€ for PhD students, postdoctoral scholars and independent scholars and artists.

Registration is now closed (but all presentations are open to visitors to ARoS as long as there are seats available).


The Contemporary Condition research group consists of Jacob Lund, Geoff Cox, Verina Gfader, Anne Kølbæk Iversen and Camma Juel Jepsen. The conference is organised in collaboration with Lise Pennington, Chief Curator at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.