Face a l'histoire

A lecture by Victor Burgin
Wednesday 16 March 2011 - 6.15pm

Victor Burgin

No bookings. Seats strictly limited. Gold coin donations gratefully accepted.

In October 2008 I was invited to join a group of artists and academics in Cyprus to inaugurate the 'Famagusta Project'. In August 1974 the Varosha suburb of Famagusta was encircled and cordoned off by the then invading Turkish army. The former beach resort, now in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, has remained an unoccupied exclusion zone ever since. The organisers of the 'Famagusta Project' defined their aim as that of bringing an 'artistic point of view' (regard artistique) to Varosha in order to explore symbolic dimensions of the situation inaccessible to a 'journalistic or historical' approach.

Almost all of the artists invited to take part in the Project were photographers and filmmakers working within one or other 'documentary' tradition. Discussions between participants during the week they spent together revealed differences both in regard to the definition of an approach that is 'artistic rather than journalistic or historical' and in their political response to the division of Cyprus. On my return from Cyprus I posted a response to the organisers, on a blog dedicated to the Project, in which I questioned the idea of an 'artistic regard' that might offer insights into violent historical events that were denied to other points of view. In my talk I expand on these remarks.

Victor Burgin is one of the most influential artists and theorists of our time. He first came to prominence in the late 1960s as an originator of conceptual art, when his work appeared in such key exhibitions as When Attitudes Becomes Form (1969) and Information (1970). Burgin is Professor Emeritus of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His writings focus on the production of meanings and affects through images 'at the intersections of subjective desire and sociopolitical organisation' and draw on diverse representational spheres (photography, film, painting, advertising and the Internet) and theoretical fields (semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminist theory and cultural studies). Burgin's academic books include Situational Aesthetics (2009), The Remembered Film (2004), In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in visual culture (1996), The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity (1986), and Thinking Photography (1982). The most recent books devoted to his visual work are Components of a Practice (Skira, 2008), and Victor Burgin: Objets Temporels (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007). His most recent book, Parallel Texts: Interviews and Interventions About Art (2011), has just been published by Reaktion, London. He is currently working on The Prosthetic Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Virtual Worlds, for Polity books.

Victor Burgin was in Melbourne to participate in the ARC-funded free-entry symposium Digital Light: Technique, Technology, Creation at the University of Melbourne on 18–19 March 2011. www.digital-light.net.au

ARC

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Last Updated 30 June 2011

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