Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

‘Useless Uses’
International Conference on Use and Uselessness in Contemporary Art

Site 1, 2014. M. Kuzma

Site 1, 2014. Photo: M. Kuzma

‘Useless Uses’ is an international conference organised by the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in cooperation with the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University London. Speakers will consider the concept of use in its philosophical, economic and artistic meanings, along a trajectory running from Soviet Constructivism through Situationism to today’s Network Activism. International contributors from philosophy, politics, political economy, art history and art production will consider the heritage of the contradictory double coding of ‘use’ in the context of art, in the ‘double character’ of the commodity form, in the opposition of the social functionality of ‘use’ versus the promissory ‘usefulness’ of wherein the lack of a social function appears as a condition of art’s criticality and utopian promise. Where does art stand in relation to these discourses today?

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Contributors to the conference include: Éric Alliez, Professor of Modern European Philosophy at (CRMEP), Kingston University London & Professor of Philosophy and Contemporary Creations in Art, University of Paris 8; Étienne Balibar, Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy at (CRMEP), Kingston University London and Visiting Professor at Columbia University, New York; Melanie Gilligan, visual artist and PhD Candidate at Royal Institute of Art; Goldin+Senneby, visual artists, with Théo Bourgeron, sociologist of finance, and Katie Kitamura (author); Christina Kiaer, Associate Professor in  Department of Art History, Northwestern University; Mara Lee, poet, writer and scholar; Peter Osborne, International Visiting Chair in Philosophy in the Context of Art, at Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm and Professor of Modern European Philosophy and Director of (CRMEP), Kingston University London; Hito Steyerl, filmmaker, visual artist, author, and Professor of New Media Art at Berlin University of the Arts; McKenzie Wark, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at The New School, New York City.

The conference is an extension of the RIA’s course ‘Philosophy in the Context of Art’ which contributes to the institution’s research platform that explores contemporary philosophical approaches to art and culture.


Thursday 21 January

10.00–11.00: Registration

11.00–11.30: Introductions
Marta Kuzma (Vice Chancellor/Rector, RIA, Stockholm)
Peter Osborne (Visiting Professor, RIA/ Director, CRMEP, London)

11.30–13.00:  ‘The Concept and Politics of Use-Value: Marx and Beyond’
Étienne Balibar (CRMEP, London/Columbia University, NY)

13.00–14.00: Break

14.00–15.30: ‘The Spirit is Making them Meet/Meat: The Collectivity and Materiality of Capitalist Abstraction’
Melanie Gilligan (artist/PhD Candidate, RIA Stockholm)

15.30–17.00: ‘General Equivalent and Specific Non-Equivalent’
McKenzie Wark (New School, New York)

17.00–17.15: Break

17.15–18.30: ‘Autonomies’
Hito Steyerl (artist and writer, Berlin)

Friday 22 January

10.00–11.30: ‘Useful Art in the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: Productivism to Socialist Realism’
Christina Kiaer (Northwestern University, Chicago)

11.40–13.10: ‘Zero Magic’
Goldin+Senneby (artists, Stockholm) with Théo Bourgeron (sociologist of finance) and Katie Kitamura (author)

13.10–14.15: Break

14.15–15.45: ‘How Asger Jorn Stole the Value-Form of Modern Art’
Éric Alliez (CRMEP, London/Paris 8)

16.00–17.30: ‘The Unhomeliness of the Other in Language Use’
Mara Lee (writer, Stockholm)

The conference is free and open to the public.

For further information and advance registrations, contact:
Research Coordinator Åsa Andersson

The conference is supported by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond/
The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences.



3 combined CRMEP KKH copy

Start Time: 2016-01-21 10:00
End Time: 2016-01-22 17:30
Location: Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm

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