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Public talk by Simon Sheikh - Lost in the Former West

In the context of Contemporary Research Intensive, and in partnership with Venice Faculty for Arts and Design, University of Architecture IUAV

Info about event


Monday 2 October 2017,  at 18:00 - 20:00


Aula Magna, Tolentini, IUAV University of Venice, Santa Croce 191, Venice

Simon Sheikh: Lost in the Former West

This presentation will define the contemporary in terms of formerness and formerizing: The long-term research project Former West grappled with the repercussions of the political, cultural, and economic events of 1989 for the understanding of contemporary conditions. It did so in the search for ways of formerizing the persistently hegemonic conjuncture that is “the West”; to be able instead to simply refer to “the west,” and with it, suggest the possibility of producing new constellations, another world: other worldings.
If the “former East” emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War in 1989, its western geo-political counterpart—blinded by the (seemingly default) victory of neoliberal capitalism—has widely failed to recognize the impact of these massive changes upon itself. The so-called West has continued to think and act, symbolically and realistically, as “first” among what were supposed to have become equal if heterogeneous provinces of one world. One wonders precisely why then, when there is a “former East,” there is no “former West”?

Dr. Simon Sheikh is a curator and theorist. He is Reader in Art and Programme Director of MFA Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a correspondent for Springerin, Vienna, and a columnist for e-flux Journal, New York. With Maria Hlavajova, he has recently published the anthology Former West: Art and the Contemporary after 1989, and working on a book about art and apocalypse entitled Its After the End of the World.

The talk is organized in the context of Contemporary Research Intensive, an international workshop involving 14 researchers from around Europe. Research Intensive Faculty include Jacob Lund (The Contemporary Condition, Aarhus University); Geoff Cox (The Contemporary Condition, Aarhus University / Plymouth University); Joasia Krysa (Professor of Exhibition Research, Director Exhibition Research Lab, LJMU, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial); Michael Birchall (LJMU, in partnership with Tate Liverpool); Angela Vettese (University of Architecture IUAV). Further supported by the Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology research programme at Aarhus University. A special thanks to Mara Ambrožic for organisational help.