Contemporary artists' cinema and the politics of Utopia
- Friday 23 October
- Room 208, Joyce Ackroyd (#37)
- 1pm - 2pm
One strand of the burgeoning field of contemporary artists’ cinema, encompassing the work of moving image artists such as Joachim Koester, Matthew Buckingham, Tacita Dean and Gerard Byrne, specifically engages the relationship between past and future by exploring unfulfilled futuristic visions and utopian proposals from the past, particularly those imagined during the mid-twentieth century. What makes these projects difficult to analyze is that they conjoin two seemingly conflicting impulses: nostalgia with utopian longing. In attempting to rescue the memory (and political urgency) of past utopian experiments, this talk will suggest, contemporary artists question the strong bias against nostalgia and utopia within twentieth century critical theory, film and art criticism. In the writings of influential critics and cultural historians — from Andrew Higson to Benjamin Buchloh — nostalgia and utopia were often characterized as politically reactionary attitudes, associated with totalitarianism and violence, or dismissed as escapist fantasy.
Dr Paolo Magagnoli took his degrees at University College London. He is a modern and contemporary art historian who specialises in the history of photography and the moving image.