Office for Contemporary Art Norway

Office for Contemporary Art Norway announces Norway at the 54th Biennale di Venezia

'The State of Things':
A Series of Public Lectures in Venice

June–November 2011


'Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS':
An M.A. Teaching Programme at Iuav led by Bjarne Melgaard

February–May 2011

About 'The State of Things': *
At the end of World War I when a series of citizenship laws across Europe resulted in masses of refugees on the continent, Norwegian diplomat and explorer Fridtjof Nansen created the Nansen Passport
an identity card issued by the League of Nations in 1922 that enabled refugees to move across borders in search of political and intellectual shelter. Reflecting upon the principles of the Nansen Passport today, the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), as commissioner of Norway's representation at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, organises 'The State of Things', a series of public lectures that will be held throughout the Biennale period.

The lectures will reflect upon themes such as Europe, diversity, the environment, peace-making, human rights, capital, sustainability, migration, asylum, aesthetics and war. Each presentation aims to tackle the 'state of things' today, drawing from the speakers' fields of activity and research, and from what they consider the intellectual and political priorities of today. The programme will commence at Venice's Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in the days leading up to the official opening of the Venice Biennale as follows:

Wednesday, 1 June / 17:00
Jacques Rancière
Professor Emeritus at the Université de Paris VIII, Saint-Denis, France and Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Rancière has focused his research on emancipatory politics, aesthetics and the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

Thursday, 2 June / 11:00
Leo Bersani
Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, California, Bersani has worked on 19th- and 20th-century literature, psychoanalysis and the visual arts, as well as general cultural criticism.

Friday, 3 June / 10:00
Vandana Shiva
Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in India, Shiva is a prolific author, philosopher, environmental activist and eco-feminist who advises the International Forum on Globalization and the Women's Environment and Development Organisation.

Friday, 3 June / 11:00
Jan Egeland
Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and Co-Chair of the High-Level Taskforce for the Global Framework for Climate Services, Egeland is an active participant in humanitarian, human rights and peacekeeping processes in an international context.

June – November 2011
Confirmed speakers for the continuing programme include architectural theorist Eyal Weizman on Thursday, 30 June, gender theorist Judith Butler on Thursday, 21 July, media theorist and activist Franco Berardi on Thursday, 8 September, and concluding with a presentation by art historian T.J. Clark on Friday, 25 November.

About 'Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS':
Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard will serve as Guest Professor for the Graduate Programme of Visual Arts at the Faculty of Design and Arts, Università Iuav di Venezia, organising 'Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS,' an M.A. course that will look at the history and present of the AIDS crisis, and its reflection within contemporary art and discourse. With reference to the work of theorists such as Leo Bersani, Guy Hocquenghem and Lee Edelman, writers such as James Robert Baker and artists such as David Wojnarowicz, Melgaard will study, from the perspective of his artistic practice, how AIDS has shaped responses in the artistic and cultural sector, as well as behaviour and responses within a wider social and political context. The programme will include the participation of Leo Bersani as a Guest Lecturer. The M.A. course will commence in February 2011, and conclude in May 2011.

About the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA):
Norway's representation in Venice in 2011 is commissioned by OCA and organised by its director, Marta Kuzma and its associate curator, Pablo Lafuente, together with Peter Osborne, director of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. The teaching programme was developed in cooperation with Angela Vettese, director of the Graduate Programme of Visual Arts, Università Iuav di Venezia.

* Definitive lecture topics of the individual speakers will be confirmed in April 2011.
Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti is located in Campo S. Stefano, 2945, Venice, at the Accademia vaporetto stop, lines no.1 and 2. Additional venues will be confirmed closer to the time — please check OCA'swebsite.

Extract from: January 19, 2011