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Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1952
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1960


The article presents and discusses an ongoing fellowship project entitled ‘Space for Interference’, conducted under the Norwegian Programme for Research Fellowships in the Arts. Two concrete site-specific art projects produced under Space for Interference serve as a point of departure for an investigation into methods of interference and the forms of address that artists use when intervening in other specialized fields in society. The institutions that provide the site for an art project have different social functions. We ask what may be their motivation for allowing artists access to their physical environments, apparatuses, procedures, systems and discourses. The fact that the artists’ projects in these contexts function as a means of self-observation for the institutions seems obvious. Nevertheless, we seek to investigate the various economic and political factors that allow these institutions to include potentially critical activities, which aim to modify or transgress their systems, and thereby displaying how they are malleable and mobile bodies. One assertion we make is that by doing so the involved institutions prove to be modern, self-critical and flexible, thus complying with political requirements to adapt to the rapidly changing environments of the information and communication age. The perspective from systems theory in the Luhmannian tradition has proved useful since it shows how the issues of art may also be the problems of science, business, politics and the law in the complex and decentered social universe of today. The issues of contingency, insecurity, paradox and autoreflexivity, surplus meanings and the complexity and decentering of the subject are at the heart of contemporary art. Systems theory provides a way to link such practices theoretically with scientific discourse and with the advanced problem solving and criticality of other social domains, like politics, business and the media industries.


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