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Going beyond the contemporary? Art, anthropology, ontology 
Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA))
Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino (University of São Paulo)
SOAS Senate House - S312
Sunday 3 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel examines recent calls to 'go beyond' contemporary art and responds to how artistic and curatorial practices increasingly enter into dialogue with questions of ontological multiplicity, equivocity and cosmopolitics.

Long Abstract:

The art world's desire to categorise and curate points to the temporal dimensions at play in its search for the imminent. Suggestions about how to 'go beyond' the contemporary have recently culminated in calls for art's exit from "contemporary art" altogether, which begs the question, what lies beyond current paradigms of practice? Both extra-institutional artistic research and events like Documenta and the Venice and São Paulo Biennales are increasingly driven by such critiques and seek to propose alternative ethical paradigms and modes of existence, not only in ethnographic terms, but also in their engagement with so-called non-modern societies and other minoritarian social practices.

This panel is interested in how such artistic and curatorial practices enter into dialogue with questions of ontological multiplicity, equivocity and cosmopolitics. What are the encounters and possible misunderstandings derived from art and anthropology's common interest in ontological multiplicity? What is new about these convergences of interest as opposed to a mere reshuffle or appropriation of the 'Other' as a salve for occidental political and metaphysical dilemmas? Is there something that recalls an ontological turn occurring in contemporary art, thus pointing towards its redefinition and could this influence the way that anthropologists conceive of their own research practices as well as their presumed epistemological autonomy? Perhaps the term contemporary art *has* become so saturated that institutional exhibitions bear more resemblance to retrospectives than to the now. But is it inevitable that visions of the imminent will be defined through the traditional eurocentric gaze of art history?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Sunday 3 June, 2018, -