Future Bodies from a Recent Past, a symposium hosted by Museum Brandhorst

January 18, 2021
Aleksandra Domanović, production photography of The Future Was at Her Fingertips, 2013. Photography by Ulrike Buhl. © Aleksandra Domanović.

Museum Brandhorst presents “Future Bodies from a Recent Past—Sculpture, Technology, and the Body since the 1950s,” a large-scale research and exhibition project investigating the impact made by technological developments and changing notions of the body on the medium of sculpture.

Technology permeates the body, the body permeates technology. What is immediately evident for contemporary art, and especially post-digital practices with their rematerialized avatars and techno bodies, can be traced back to the beginnings of modernity as a hitherto little-noticed history of art and especially sculpture. This history of sculpture is one of hybridization and the dismantling of its purported autonomy, which begins well before the historicized narrative of the dissolution of the medium in the 1960s and continues in sculptural forms up to the present day. In the process, the resilience of sculptural categories—spatiality, plasticity, motion/animation, and form/materiality, but also its intrinsic forms of corporeality—moves into the focus of consideration.

During the three-day international symposium, leading theorists will explore the lines of reference between technology, the body, and sculpture from the perspectives of art history, philosophy, media and literary studies, sociology, and the history of science. With contributions on individual artistic positions and specific thematic complexes, such as the influence on sculpture of changing production technologies, materialities, and concepts of the body, but also interdisciplinary considerations of body-technology relations, a multi-perspective history of contemporary sculpture will be outlined.

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