Radio Tenthaus 85: Witnessing Whiteness
01/02/2022 20:00 – 23:00
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This is an airing of what the university of Agder call a 90% seminar. It is a sort of dress rehearsal for the viva-voca when the doctoral candidate presents their research.
What you will hear is the project presentation adapted for the radio and the ensuing discussion between Professor Jan Verwoert and doctoral candidate Helen Eriksen.
The questions the thesis throws out are: how and why do we continue to produce Whiteness in Western visual culture? How do visual arts teaching and practice sustain racial divides that are no longer acceptable in today´s heterogeneous society? This conversation explores the emerging role of a White researcher in a dominant White Scandinavian context.
During the last five years, Helen has explored emotive experiences through artist/educator and researcher practices. Con-fusing emotions manifest themselves as other than human beings to uncover power differences and acts of racial dominance in everyday working situations.
There are elephants, trilobites, rabbits, and polar bears woven into the fabric of the text. There are commonalities that facilitate White supremacy in art and education. This text is a witness to Whiteness in a safe ethical space; that is a space where dissent to racist actions or content is met with field-specific dismissal in academic fields but also in the arts.
Pluralist proximity is a concept that surfaces as a way to become more than White/ Black/Ethnic/indigenous. Being close to, listening to each other’s emotional register, and intra-acting with and in making processes challenges deep-seated and unseen racial understandings.
At the moment the thesis is called
Safe Ethical Space
Jan Verwoert is professor and head of research at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. He also teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, and at de Appel’s curatorial program in Amsterdam.
Verwoert’s work revolves around a desire to develop concepts that describe the role that emotion, movement, action, intuition, and perception play in art and thinking. His critique is directed at a new control system where performance pressure (inflicted by ourselves on ourselves, at all times) goes hand in hand with the requirement to produce events, deliver results, represent identities, and surrender to evaluation.
He is a critic and writer in contemporary art and cultural theory. He is co-editor of frieze and has contributed to a number of journals, anthologies and monographs.
Helen Eriksen is an artist and educator living born in and raised in the UK and living in Oslo. She was a co-founder of Tenthaus art collective and currently an associate researcher at the University of Agder. Her artist research practice takes place at the intersection of art, pedagogy, and research to explore the potential of that space to explore transdisciplinary modes of knowledge production.