Transgressive methods in Institutional critique

Gunnar Sandin

Project Period: 2014-2015
Type: Senior research project
Program Area(s): Critical Projections


The project will address the issue of society and its institutions by investigating critical artistic works and their material manifestation. The frameworks and constraints of institutions become visible in artistic works where the manifestation and rules of the institution itself – and its architecture – is taken as the explicit working material. In such works the usual differentiation between message, medium and context, is put into a creative state of indeterminacy that will question and re-orient their interdependence and make possible renewed views on institutional constellations. The project will make a theorization of different types of positioning of critical roles: to what extent do critical agents in the so called creative domains work within or without the frames of the discipline, the profession, the tradition, or the institution by which the role itself - even the critical role - is defined and acknowledged? How can critical roles be defined today? In contemporary conditions, where critical identityformation is often oxymoronic, showing capitalist as well as emancipatory intentions, a clear-cut anti-governmental or anti-institutional position is
often regarded as insufficient – if not impossible. In regard of emancipatory techniques offering “release rather than opposition” (Easterling) and artistic modes of “instituent practices” (Raunig), various modes of institutional transgression will be investigated. This investigation will inform both an epistemological and a methodological perspective. By studying the intentions, realisations and effects of explicitly critical and self-critical artistic work, a methodological range of approaches can be discussed and taken into a research domain. The notion of “transgressive method” can thus be discussed in its relevance for understanding the mediating role of the societal institution, society-oriented views on creative disciplines, and research strategies’ need to consider different communities of practice in this field. Hence, this research will discuss the relevance of transgression for research in society-oriented creative disciplines.

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications

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