RUPTURE AND CONTINUITY
Prof. Florian Schneider
Traditionally, continuity results from an artificial fabrication of linear time and consistent space. From Renaissance painting to modern cinema, ambiguities were eliminated, contradictions were reconciled, and the immediate was standardized in order to reduce what could not be understood to a comfortable selection of endlessly repeated facts. The poet and art theorist Carl Einstein writes in an unfinished text fragment that probably dates from the early 1930s:
“Continuity means standardization of all processes, which is achieved by eliminating the conflicting, irrational, irritating — i.e., irreconcilable — layers and tendencies. In this way, one suppresses the genetics of the ostensibly static configuration as well as the intuitive processes that, at any given point, can break through or tear apart any rational system, since they cannot be incorporated within it. To conceptualize means to standardize at the cost of the immediate and concrete; in the act of knowing we perceive a hostile manifestation of the weak and threatened human being.“
But what importance does continuity have now, in a seemingly ahistorical, networked, and converging media environment structured by hybrid divisions of labour? Continuity is produced here in ways that are diametrically opposed to traditional techniques of film or television, painting or theatre; there it emerges in the imagination of the inwardness of a self that consists of a synthesis of contradictory elements but coheres with an outside world. Networked continuity operates in reverse terms: as a performance of the outwardness of a self that presents itself as perfectly consistent, but struggles charismatically, so to speak, against drowning in the maelstroms of an outside world.
The networked production of continuity generates a new perspectivity that is reversing the conventional configuration of space and time; it unframes the theatrical unity of time and space, which has characterised the disciplinary regime of the factory, but also theatre and, in a figurative sense, the cinema. While Didi-Huberman shows that “classical representation creates a continuous space in which objects and persons are arranged as discontinuous entities,” the new regime of networked continuity inverts this set-up: It creates a discontinuous, synthetic space in which objects and persons are arranged as continuous, logical entities with an unlimited potential for semantic connections, visual manipulations, and recreations.
The course will investigate rupture and continuity as "Key concepts of art theory”. In each of the six session a theoretical text and an artwork will be presented and discussed. Each students has to make one presentation and submit a short paper.