Still image of Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day - 9 parts

Video recordings from the Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day which explores the changing history of modern western art’s relationship to the rest of the world; theories of globalisation; the status of photography in relation to globalisation.

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 1: Introduction

An introduction to the Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day.

One of the most important factors to affect contemporary art has been cultural and economic globalisation. Increasingly, international art exhibitions draw their contents from all over the world, and artists address a wide range of subjects relating to this developing situation.

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 2: Globalisation & Art - A Brief History

Session 1: Globalisation & Art - A Brief History

Speaker: Paul Wood, Senior Lecturer, Department of Art History, The Open University

Paul Wood considers some historical precedents for the relation of western art to the art of the rest of the world. In particular, he talks about the early 20th century avant-gardist notion of ‘the primitive’ and the break-up of this idea in the later 20th century. He then considers some of the different types of challenge posed to received ideas of art by the increasingly globalised practice of the present day, and in particular problems posed by the absorption of certain non-western cultural practices and products into the international market.

Further Reading

Niru Ratnam, ‘Exhibiting the ‘other’: the Yuendumu community’s Yarla’ in Frameworks for Modern Art, Yale University Press, 2004, pp.207-48

Niru Ratnam, ‘Art and Globalisation’ in Themes in Contemporary Art, Yale University Press, 2004, pp.277-310

Part VI, ‘Globalisation’, in Art of the Twentieth Century: A Reader, Yale University Press, 2004, pp.289-326 (includes texts by Stuart Hall, Sarat Maharaj, Rex Butler and Okwui Enwezor)

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 3: The Evolution of 'Globalisation'

Session 2: The Evolution of ‘Globalization’

Speaker: Suman Gupta, Senior Lecturer, Literature Department, The Open University

Suman Gupta‘s presentation gives a brief history of the evolving connotations of the term ‘globalization’ from the late 1970s onwards. It ponders some of the early uses of the term, as it emerged to replace ‘internationalization’ from three linked directions: alluding to extensions of American sociology; denoting a programme of instituting uniformities within and across nation states; and, most importantly, connoting the character of advanced capitalism. The manner in which the term gradually acquired, in the course of the 1980s and 1990s, an abstract normative character, representing inevitable change on a global scale, is also considered. Associations of the term with cultural and economic neo-imperialism spawned, particularly in the course of the 1990s, an ‘anti-globalization’ movement – or more precisely, some sort of alignment of various interest groups against the globalizing establishment. This is often characterized as advocating ‘globalization from below’. Gupta observes that some political theorists now understand ‘globalization’ as incorporating the ideas and activities of both those who champion changes from above and those who struggle for changes from below.

Further Reading

John Benyon and David Dunkerley eds. Globalization: The Reader. London: Routledge, 2000

Malcolm Waters, Globalization (Key Ideas series). London: Routledge, 1995

And if you want more:

Martin Albrow, The Global Age. Cambridge: Polity, 1996

Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization. Cambridge: Polity, 1998

Homi Bhabha , The location of culture. London: Routledge., 1994

Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance. Cambridge: Polity, 1998

Pierre Bourdieu, Firing Back. London: Verso, 2003

Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello, Brendan Smith. Globalization from Below. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 2000

Noam Chomsky, World Orders, Old and New. London: Pluto, 1994

Anthony Giddens ed., The Global Third Way Debate. Cambridge: Polity, 2001

David Held et al., Global Transformations. Cambridge: Polity, 1999

David Held and Anthony McGrew. Globalization/Anti-globalization. Cambridge: Polity, 2002

Paul Hirst, Globalization in Question. Cambridge: Polity, 1996

M Keck and M. Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1998

Naomi Klein, No Logo. London: Flamingo, 1999

Robbie Robertson, The Three Waves of Globalization. London: Zed, 2002

Roland Robertson, Globalization. London: Sage, 1992

Saskia Sassen, Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: New Press. 1999

Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents. London: Penguin, 2002

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 4: Glocal

Session 3: Glocal: somewhere between the local and the global

Speaker: Sonia Boyce, artist

Many contemporary artists reject the idea of their work as ‘political’, as if such a label prohibits it from also being poetic. Sonia Boyce rejects this distinction and discusses how circumstances have conspired to ensure her politicisation. She reflects on why she increasingly falls back on the old feminist adage ‘the personal is political’ to consider the question of the local in relation to the global, and how these two states intertwine. The paper includes discussion of the concepts of diaspora (often understood as communities traumatically dispersed, in transit, or worse still, subsumed and invisible), and nationhood (apparently opposite to the transitory, requiring stability and locational allegiance), and what happens when local and global get mixed up.

Further Reading

Gilane Tawadros, Sonia Boyce: Speaking in Tongues, Kala Press, 1997

Mark Crinson ed., Sonia Boyce: Performance, inIVA, 1998

John Roberts, ‘Interview with Sonia Boyce’. Third Text 1 (1997), pp. 55-64

Jean Fisher ed., Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism in the Visual Arts, Kala Press/inIVA, 1994

Irit Rogoff, Terra Infirma: Geography’s Visual Culture, Routledge, 2000

Sarat Maharaj, ‘Dislocutions’ in Reverberations: Tactics of Resistance, Forms of Agency in Trans/cultural Practices, Jan van Eyck Akademie, 2000

Also look at The African and Asian Visual Artists’ Archive, based at the University of East London, founded in Bristol by Eddie Chambers and now run jointly by David A. Bailey and Sonia Boyce 

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 5: Discussion

This video recording from the Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day features a panel discussion between speakers.

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 6: Photography and Social Space

Session 4: Photography and Social Space

Speaker: Steve Edwards, Research Lecturer, Department of Art History, The Open University

In an era of increasingly global capitalist production, photographers have become more and more preoccupied with documenting social spaces. Steve Edwards’ talk considers the work that has emerged from both the documentary tradition and the legacy of conceptual art. He argues that the kinds of places represented in this work represent a substantial challenge to one of the central myths of globalisation theory - namely, that the world is increasingly becoming the same.

Further Reading

Steve Edwards, ‘Photography Out of Conceptual Art’, Gill Perry and Paul Wood eds, Themes in Comtemporary Art, Yale University Press, 2004, pp137-180

John Roberts, ‘Photography and the Social Production of Space’, Imago 2001: Encentros de Fotografia y Video, Salmanaca, 2002, pp.134-137

Allan Sekula, Fish Story, Richter Verlag, 1995

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 7: Travels in a New World

Session 5: Travels in a New World

Speaker: Mohini Chandra, artist

In exploring the nature of diaspora and visual culture, through installation based art work, texts and other publications, Chandra’s practice involves a multiplicity of cross-cultural dialogues with disciplines such as history, anthropology and geography, suggesting new ways of mapping cultural experience through personal memory. In this paper Chandra discusses the way in which post-colonial Indian communities in the Pacific have incorporated photography into visual and historical processes, which map the fluidity of their own, increasingly diasporic, cultural identity. She then considers her own role as interpreter, interlocutor and member of global and local cultures as she traverses geographic and temporal distance via internalised ‘diasporic’ maps of family and personal remembrances.

Further Reading

Mohini Chandra, ‘Pacific Album: Vernacular Photography of the Fiji Indian Diaspora’, History of Photography, No. 3, Autumn 2000

Mohini Chandra, ‘Visible Fragments: Photography and diaspora at the turn of the century’, Creative Camera, December 1999

Mohini Chandra, VoiceOver, eBook, Diffusion series, Proboscis, (RCA/LSE/Arts Council of England), June, 2002

Mohini Chandra, Album Pacifica, Autograph, 2001

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 8: The Rise and Rise of the Biennial

Session 6: The Rise and Rise of the Biennial

Speaker: Marcus Verhagen, art historian and critic

Over the last 20 years a number of new biennials have been established and the older biennials have, by all accounts, played an increasingly important role in sanctioning tendencies, entrenching reputations and directing debate in the art world. This trend has not always been well received. Some criticise the biennials on curatorial grounds, maintaining that they are too large and multivalent to offer a coherent experience, while others argue that they are a force for homogenisation – that they pay lip-service to site-specificity and inclusiveness while showing broadly the same band of well-travelled artists. In his presentation, Verhagen suggests that the biennial is now crucial to the functioning of various other art world institutions, such as the museum and art fair, and that the diversity of its exhibits is a reflection not of a willed and consistent embrace of different practices but of the diversity of demand in a market system.

Further Reading

Okwui Enwezor, ‘Mega-Exhibitions and the Antinomies of a Transnational Global Form’, MJ - Manifesta Journal, no.2, Winter 2003/Spring 2004, pp.6-31

Carlos Basualdo, ‘The Unstable Institution’, MJ - Manifesta Journal, no.2, Winter 2003/Spring 2004, pp.50-61

James Meyer et al, ‘Global Tendencies; Globalism and the Large Scale Exhibition’, Artforum, Nov. 2003, pp.152-63, 206, 212

Pamela M. Lee, ‘Boundary Issues; The Art World Under the Sign of Globalism’, Artforum, Nov. 2003, pp.164-67

Claire Doherty, ‘Location, Location’, Art Monthly, no.281, Nov. 2004, pp.7-10

Niru Ratnam, ‘Art and Globalisation’, in Gill Perry and Paul Wood eds., Themes in Contemporary Art, New Haven and London, 2004, pp.276-313

Joost Smiers, Arts Under Pressure; Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalisation, London and New York, 2003.

Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day – Part 9: panel discussion

This video recording from the Contemporary Art and Globalisation Study Day features a panel discussion between speakers.