Archive for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: The Need to Document: Contemporary Art from Performance to Biopolitics (HIAR11089)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis MSc course focuses on the deployment of lens-based documentary strategies by artists from the 1960s to the present day including photography, film and video. Though the compulsion to document has undoubtedly taken on new levels of urgency since 1990, it is certainly not a new concern within contemporary art. Incorporating an examination of performance practices, 'global conceptualism', the politics of representation under postmodernism and the complexities of art's recent 'biopolitical' and 'documentary turns', we will analyse the decisive role that lens-based documentation has played in the heterogeneous intersections between art and life in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The work of a range of international artists and collectives will be considered including Mary Kelly, Tino Sehgal, Grupo de Artistas Vanguardia, Sanja Ivekovi¿, Martha Rosler, The Hackney Flashers, WochenKlausur, Anton Vidokle, Hito Steyerl, Artur Zmijewski and Hans Haacke. Through close examination of such practices we will consider the ways in which the document relates to artists' radical concerns with performance, dematerialisation, live social relations and knowledge production. Particular attention will be paid to why the demand for art documentation increased in parallel with the shifting political and cultural realities induced and accelerated by globalisation.

The seminar format will encourage active participation through informal student presentations (one fifteen-minute presentation per week) followed by class discussion chaired by the course organiser. Screenings and local exhibition visits will be built into the seminars as appropriate. Students will be expected to prepare for each seminar by reading key set texts, undertaking independent research on specific artworks and watching moving image works online as directed.
Course description Week 1 | Introduction: Framing the Document(ary)
Week 2 | Documents of Performance Art
Week 3 | Global Conceptualism
Week 4 | Postmodernism: deconstructions and lived subjectivities
Week 5 | Martha Rosler
Week 6 | Globalisation and Art
Week 7 | Aesthetic Journalism, Video Essays and Poor Images
Week 8 | Collaboration, Participation and the Biopolitical Artwork
Week 9 | Ethics and Aesthetics
Week 10| Curating and the Art Document
Week 11 | Revision Session
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 4000 word essay (100%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a specialist and integrated knowledge of the development of contemporary art since the 1960s including a familiarity with its theoretical contexts and the work of key artists, specifically in relation to lens-based documentary modes.
  2. Demonstrate your skills in visual and theoretical analysis, particularly in relation to lens-based media.
  3. More effectively structure arguments which synthesise a range of complex positions and, in some cases, present original research.
Reading List
Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson (eds), 1999. Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (Massachusettes and London, MIT Press)

Ursula Biemann, 2003. Stuff It: The Video Essay in the Digital Age, (Zürich, Edition Voldemeer and New York, Springer)

Claire Bishop, 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London, Verso)

Nicolas Bourriaud, 2002. Relational Aesthetics (Dijon, Les Presses du Reel)

Alfredo Cramerotti, 2009. Aesthetic Journalism (Intellect, Bristol)

TJ Demos, 2013. The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis, (London, Duke University Press)

Angela Dimitrakaki, 2007. 'Materialist Feminism for the Twenty-first Century: The Video Essays of Ursula Biemann', Art Journal, 30.2: 205-232

Steve Edwards, 2012. Martha Rosler, The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems (London, Afterall)

Okwui Enwezor et al (eds), 2002. Documenta 11, Platform 5: Exhibition Catalogue (Ostfildern-Ruit : Hatje Cantz ; London : Art Books International)

Hal Foster, 1996. 'The Artist as Ethnographer' in The Return of the Real (London, MIT Press): 171-203

*Boris Groys, 2008. 'Art in the Age of Biopolitics: From Artwork to Art Documentation' in Art Power (London, MIT Press)

Jonathan Harris (ed), 2011. Globalization and Contemporary Art (Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell) 1-15

Amelia Jones (ed), 2006. A Companion to Contemporary Art since 1945, (Oxford, Blackwell)

Amelia Jones, 1997. '"Presence" in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation' in Art Journal Vol. 56, No. 4: 11-18

Dan Karlholm, 2005/06. 'Reality Art: the Case of Oda Projesi' in Leitmotiv 5: 115-124

Grant Kester, 2004. Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press)

Stewart Martin, 2007. 'Critique of Relational Aesthetics', Third Text, Vol. 21, Issue 4: 369-386

Tanya Leighton (ed), 2008. Art and the Moving Image: A Critical Reader (London, Tate Publishing and Afterall)

*Maria Lind and Hito Steyerl (eds), 2008. The Greenroom: Reconsidering the Documentary and Contemporary Art # 1, (Berlin, Sternberg Press & CCS Bard)

Martha Rosler, 1989. 'In Around and Afterthoughts (on Documentary Photography)', The Contest of Meaning, (Cambridge Mass, The MIT Press): 303-341

*Julian Stallabrass (ed), 2013. Documentary (London, Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press)
Julian Stallabrass, Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004)

Brian Wallis (ed), 1999 [1984]. Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation (New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art)

* denotes key text
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Independent research (locate, access and interpret information)
- Critical analysis
- Presentation (oral and written)
- Communication
- Organisation (the ability to plan workloads and meet deadlines)
KeywordsContemporary Art, Performance Art, Globalisation, Documents, Biopolitics, Feminism, Participatory Pr
Course organiserMs Kirsten Lloyd
Course secretaryMiss Lizzie Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5852
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2014 The University of Edinburgh - 12 January 2015 4:06 am