How to Do Things with Theory

Theory course, Dutch Art Institute

 Dutch Art Institute, ArtEZ, Arnhem 2009-2015



core theory course and thesis supervision

I developed the curriculum and taught the core theory course for the Master of Fine Arts program at the DAI consisting of a theory seminar and thesis supervision. The theory seminar provided an open environment to explore different paths of thinking and conceptual networks, to re-negotiate histories, to develop capacity to create rhizomatic textures, and to ask questions. The seminar provided context, which supported, and gave an impetus to the creative practices of the students.  A variety of topics and texts, selected according to the interests of the students in the group, explored issues of mediality and materiality, representation, the body, desire, image-making, visual forms of knowledge, mimesis, criticality, iconoclasm, artworks as traps, delegated performance, the scene of the archive, invisibility.

We read a selection of texts gradually developing conceptual network spreading in different directions: art theory, visual studies, philosophy, media theory, anthropology.  For each seminar the required reading consisted of two texts, articles or chapters, which in combination create tension, resonate with each other and open further questions. A selection of literary and film fragments functioned as interruptions, which open different possible perspectives of interpretation of the texts.

The selection of readings included texts by: Theodor Adorno, Giorgio Agamben, Jean Baudrillard, Hans Belting, Claire Bishop, Jorge Luis Borges, Bill Brown, Benjamin Buchloh, Italo Calvino, Ray Chow, Roger Caillois, Mladen Dolar, Guy Debord, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Georges Didi-Huberman, Hal Foster, Michel Foucault, Michael Fried, Dario Gamboni, Alfred Gell, Martin Jay, Bruno Latour, Sarat Maharaj, Philippe-Alain Michaud, Chantal Mouffe, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Plato, Hito Steyerl, Irit Rogoff, Raul Ruiz and others

MFA Thesis

Writing a thesis is a challenging task that means engaging with ideas, images, objects, and contexts, understanding and re-imagining them, re-negotiating their histories. The thesis was the culmination of the two-year Thesis Course, which consisted of a theory seminar, one-to-one meetings with the students and writing workshop addressing practical issues related to research and writing. The evening lecture, delivered by a distinguished guest provided a broader context, and a chance to get acquainted with current research, and curatorial projects. While during the first year the focus was on developing research skills and a central question for the thesis, formally submitted as a thesis project, during the second year the students engaged in further research and writing the thesis.

Invited guests for the Monday evening lectures: Philippe Alain Michaud, Mladen Dolar, Jeff Guess, Chris Kraus, Daniel Blanga Gubbay, Alexandra Navratil, among others

I supervised a broad variety of topics and modes of writing related to the creative practics of the students. Abstracts and reviews: