HMKK03239U Modern Culture: The Art of Financial Crisis in Denmark and the U.K

Volume 2015/2016

Modern Culture


Over the seven weeks of this course we’ll be looking at the responses of artists and critics to the financial crisis of 2007/8 and social unrest that followed. By reading differing accounts of the crisis written both inside and outside academia we’ll ask questions about how artists and academics can continue working critically within austerity politics, within and beyond the horizons of the art world or university. In doing so we’ll be reading the work of art historians such as Gavin Grindon and Mikkel Bolt, philosophers and theorists like Alan Badiou and Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi alongside groups like Endnotes and The Invisible Committee to try and stake out whether traditional critical positions are still available. Part of the course will draw out the historical continuity of the protests through reading some of the books and pamphlets published in the preceding decades. Recent protests have referred explicitly to 90s movements like Reclaim the Streets and the alter-globalization movement, while others look back even further.

Friction between the art of critique and the critique of art brings up difficult questions for art historical study itself. It’s interesting that some art historians have moved away from familiar ground towards more general political critique in recent years. Given art historians’ complex understanding of the political use of images and sensitivity to institutionalized critique they seem well placed to get to grips with broader questions of social justice and economic collapse. What then would critical writing and art making look like today, and how has the crisis affected the possibility of critique? Artists and poets like Melanie Gilligan or Lise Skou, Rasmus Halling Nielsen and Sam Riviere try in differing ways to come to terms with the interruption of language within globalized capitalism, raising questions about the consistency of critical writing too. As well as more general discussion about the role of art within the context of crisis, we’ll look at specific cases in which art and writing has been inserted into social struggles, for example in the middle of contests over processes of gentrification or cuts to higher education.   

Berardi, Franco ’Bifo’, The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance (Semiotext(e): Los Angeles) 2012.

Bolt, Mikkel, Krise til opstand (Antipyrine: Aarhus) 2013

Crary, Jonathan, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (Verso: London and New York) 2013.

Montgomery, Will, ‘Sounding the Heygate Estate’, City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, vol. 15, issue 3-4 (2011).

The Invisible Committee, To Our Friends (Semiotext(e): Los Angeles) 2015.

Stallabrass, Julian, “Elite Art in the Age of Populism”, in Alexander Dumbadze/ Suzanne Hudson, eds., Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present, (John Wiley & Sons: Oxford) 2013, pp. 39-49.

Vedel, Joen, Sammenbrudsstykker - dagbog fra Athen (Nebula: Copenhagen) 2013.

It’s the Political Economy, Stupid - The Global Financial Crisis in Art and Theory, eds. Gregory Sholette and Oliver Ressler (Pluto Press: New York) 2013.

Dette kursus er en del af tapas-kurserne på Moderne kultur og Litteraturvidenskab.
For at aflægge Kulturhistorisk emne, skal du tilmelde dig et kursus i Forløb 1 (a, b, c, d eller e) OG et kursus i Kulturhistorisk emne Forløb 2 (a, b, c, d eller e). I undervisningstilmeldingsperioden tilmelder du dig begge forløb. Du skal vælge et kursus i både Forløb 1 og 2. Det er IKKE muligt at vælge at følge f.eks. 2 Forløb 1 eller 2 Forløb 2.

OBS: Forløb 1d, 1e samt Forløb 2d, 2e udbydes sammen med Litteraturvidenskab under modulet Aktuel kulturforskning, men kan vælges på lige fod med de andre forløb.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 84
  • Guidance
  • 3
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 277
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment
Written assignment