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White Spots for Sale: A higher seminar on “sick images”

Information och seminarium är på engelska:

The Royal Institute of Art and Goldin+Senneby are inviting you to a seminar with Andrea Phillips as respondent and an introduction by Anna Lantz.

20 September 2023 at 13.00-16.00

Location: Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library, Solna

Pre-registration required: <>

White Spots for Sale: A seminar on “sick images”

“I felt an urge to look at—and possess—the portraits of my brain that had captivated the attention of so many doctors and served the shareholders of so many drug companies. I wanted to see myself as they had seen me.”

An artist living with a chronic neurological condition unpicks a multi-billion dollar industry invested in treating the image of his brain. The condition, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), is diagnosed by identifying and analyzing white spots on Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI)—signs of damage to the nervous system. As such, these images have come to play a central role in the artist’s life. Yet he only recently learned that, beyond marking the “attacks” that characterize the early stage of MS, they have proven to be a source of immense, hidden value: an entire economy is based on visualizing, counting, and measuring the spots in the development of drugs. The drugs have become more and more successful in treating the white spots in the image, but not in addressing the most critical consequence of the disease: the onset of permanent disability. Nevertheless, the value of the market for treatments has nearly reached $30 billion per year.

Given the inexorable rise in prices, and the decisive role of the white spots in validating the drugs, the artist has found that his spots may be his most valuable asset. The seminar coincides with the release of Spot Price (2023); a blockchain-based artwork that offers a view of the artist’s diseased brain and an investment linked to the drugs targeting such images, which is sure to thrive for as long as the image is seen as the disease.

Goldin+Senneby will give a presentation and have invited writer and organizer Andrea Phillips to discuss the notion of ”sick images” in a larger context and how visual models frame what is possible to see, while obscuring other perspectives. The seminar will start with a historical introduction by Anna Lantz, curator of Rare Books and Prints, Hagströmer Library, Karolinska Institutet.

The seminar will coincide with the release of Goldin+Senneby’s artwork Spot Price and the accomapanying essay, “Regions of Interest” to be published in the online magazine Triple Canopy.

As we have a limited number of places, pre-registration is required for the event.
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Goldin+Senneby is a Stockholm-based artist subject. Since 2004 their work has explored the structural correspondence between conceptual art and finance capital, drawn to its (il)logical conclusions. Currently their practice is mutating. The higher seminar is part of their Swedish Research Council funded artistic research project, Crying Pine Tree, hosted by Kungl. Konsthögskolan/Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm.

Andrea Phillips is BALTIC Professor and Director of BxNU Research Institute, Northumbria University & BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. She lectures and writes about the economic and social construction of public value within contemporary art, the manipulation of forms of participation and the potential of forms of political, architectural and social reorganisation within artistic and curatorial culture.

Anna Lantz is an art historian and book historian working at Hagströmer Library since 2009, where she specializes in book illustrations, graphic techniques and their history.

About the higher seminar form
The higher seminar is a format to explore and discuss issues that have emerged through the various artistic research processes that take place at the Royal Institute of Art. Each seminar has a form and content that reflect the specific question and artistic project that we are invited to engage with. The core of the higher seminar is the communal thinking and sharing of methods and experiences in the middle of an artistic research process.

Om formen högre seminarium
Ett högre seminarium är ett format för att utforska och diskutera frågor som har uppstått genom de olika konstnärliga forskningsprocesser som äger rum vid Kungl. Konsthögskolan. Varje seminarium har en form och innehåll som speglar den specifika frågan och det konstnärliga projekt som vi är inbjudna att engagera oss i. Fokus för ett högre seminarium är det gemensamma tänkandet och delandet av metoder och erfarenheter mitt i en konstnärlig forskningsprocess.