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CFP: Space, Site, Installation. Philosophy, Art Theory and Art Practice

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23 – 25 March 2020, University of Padua, Italy, Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education Science and Applied Psychology (FISPPA), Philosophy Division.
Deadline for submissions: 31 August 2019
Notification of acceptance: by 1 December 2019
Submit to: spacesiteinstallation@gmail.com
Keynote speakers: Sondra Bacharach (Victoria University of Wellington), Elisa Caldarola (University of Padua), Jason Gaiger (University of Oxford), Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma), Deborah Perron Tollefsen (University of Memphis), Kenneth Wilder (University of the Arts London).
Programme Committee: Sondra Bacharach (Victoria University of Wellington), Elisa Caldarola (University of Padua), Frida Carazzato (Museion Foundation, Bolzano), Deborah Perron Tollefsen (University of Memphis), Letizia Ragaglia (Museion Foundation, Bolzano), Gabriele Tomasi (University of Padua), Kenneth Wilder (University of the Arts London).

Many works of art today consist of objects intentionally set in certain spaces, making their settings an important aspect for experiencing them as art. Like Katharina Fritsch’s Cock – a giant sculpture representing a blue cockerel installed in 2013 in Trafalgar Square, London, where it is surrounded by statues of important men – many works in various art forms (e.g. sculpture, painting, music) are currently produced with attention to their status as installed objects: they are what is usually called ‘site-specific art’. Moreover, a new family of works, usually categorized as ‘installation art’, has emerged since the late 50s. These employ not only traditional art media but also familiar objects (tires, cardboards, chairs, etc.), installed in certain spaces. Ai Weiwei, for instance, installed 886 wooden stools at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Installed objects are also central to the practice of curatorship. It is usual for curators as well as for other art practitioners to undertake the actual installation of objects in exhibition spaces, paying attention to e.g. the spatial relationships between objects, spaces, and viewers, and the viewpoint from which they wish to present the objects.

This conference is devoted to investigating site-specific art, installation art, and installation as performed by curators and other art practitioners.It aims to promote a dialogue between philosophers and art practitioners that will be revealing to both.

Philosophical research on site-specific art, installation art, and installation as performed by curators and other art practitioners is still quite limited. The organisers believe that philosophers will learn from the work of art practitioners: philosophers engage in theory construction, organising in a perspicuous manner data that are often gathered from other fields. Careful attention to the work of art practitioners is therefore crucial to expand the philosophical investigation on under-researched topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. At the same time, art practitioners will also learn from this exchange: when considering objects as diverse as, for instance, site-specific works of music, multi-media works of installation art, and exhibition displays, it is necessary to understand the categories to which they belong. Philosophers specialize in giving accurate definitions of categories of objects. Furthermore, to understand site-specific art, installation art, and installation as performed by curators and other art practitioners it is necessary to understand what it is that the products of such practices allow us to appreciate. In other words, what is needed is a philosophical account of the value of the products of such practices.

The organisers invite papers by philosophers, art theorists, curators, artists and other art practitioners.

The organisers suggest that submitted papers may address the following topics (the list is, however, not exclusive):

The definition of the art-category ‘site-specific’
Is ‘site-specific’ a category that applies only to contemporary art?
When is a site-specific work a good work of art?
The phenomenology of works of site-specific art
The metaphysics of works of site-specific art
The relationship between site-specific art and public art
Analyses of particular works/oeuvres that have brought innovation into/challenged the practice of producing site-specific art
The future of site-specific art
Analyses of issues emerging when curating the exhibition of site-specific artworks
The conservation of works of site-specific art

What principles guide the practice of installing exhibitions and/or particular artworks or other objects?
What principles guide the collaboration between artists and other art practitioners to the instalment of exhibitions and/or particular exhibited artworks?
What principles guide the collaboration between curators and other experts and/or stakeholders to the instalment of exhibitions and/or particular exhibited objects?
Similarities and differences between the practice of installing exhibitions and art making.
Analyses of case-studies concerning the instalment of exhibitions and/or particular artworks or other objects
The conservation of exhibitions
The future of exhibitions
The metaphysics of exhibitions
The phenomenology of exhibitions
The value of exhibitions

All submissions must be in English.
Submissions should include a 200-word abstract and should be prepared for anonymous review. Submissions may not exceed 3500 words (around 30 minutes of reading time, to be followed by a 30 minute discussion).
Abstracts without full papers, papers that are not prepared for anonymous review and papers that exceed the maximum length will not be considered.
The organisers especially encourage members of under-represented groups to submit.
Submissions should be sent by email attachment in Word format to: spacesiteinstallation@gmail.com
Include the author’s name, affiliation, status (student or not) and contact details in the body of the email. Please also indicate whether you are willing to serve as a chair for a conference session. Please also direct any questions to this address: spacesiteinstallation@gmail.com

Authors whose papers are accepted will receive a stipend to defray accommodation, meals and travel costs.

The proposal to collect contributed papers into a volume will be submitted to major publishing houses by Elisa Caldarola.

The conference is funded by the University of Padua through the initiative “Supporting TAlent in ReSearch@University of Padua” – STARS Grants (Starting Grant 2018-2020, APAI – “A Philosophy of Art Installation”, P.I. Dr. Elisa Caldarola).