Lina Dokuzović, Eduard Freudmann, Peter Haselmayer, Lisbeth Kovačič (Ed.)
Intersections.
At the Crossroads of the Production of
Knowledge, Precarity, Subjugation and the
Reconstruction of History, Display and De-Linking

Pbk. 292 pages
Price: 22 EURO
Löcker Verlag 2009.
ISBN: 978-3-85409-514-9

Purchase the book online:
http://www.buchhandel.de/detailansicht.aspx?isbn=978-3-85409-514-9

We, the students, staff and individuals associated with the class/department of Post-Conceptual Art Practices (PCAP) at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, each with different positions and histories, took this book as an opportunity for creating a non-hierarchical platform for the exchange of the various artistic, theoretical and activist positions with those who have contributed to developing a history together.
Throughout this process, it has been necessary to increasingly expand our context and our understanding of it, by including a wide variety of various processes, individuals and locations, because the conditions of historical, social, educational and political structures are not the result of one institution or one individual.
The book is a collection of texts in English and German, consisting of 37 contributors –
theoreticians, artists, activists – that synthesize these once distinctive positions on interventions in the fields of art, theory, education and politics into one single body of work.
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            The claim that all intelligence is equal, in terms of potential for development, is the main tenet of »universal teaching,« which arose through the work of Joseph Jacotot and was revived by Jacques Rancière, in which an unlearned individual gains knowledge through the process of having another unlearned individual, the »ignorant schoolmaster,« verify their knowledge. He states that what one can read, and prove having read, another can do as well, and that the awareness of this can bring about intellectual emancipation. This process challenges the hierarchical system of knowledge production and intelligence that has existed throughout history, where the learned master defines which knowledge is appropriate to pass down to which chosen individuals at which given moment, whilst maintaining a stronghold of power through knowledge itself, continually feeding and recreating the production of hierarchies.
            We, the students, staff and individuals associated with the class/department of Post-Conceptual Art Practices (PCAP) at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, each with different positions and histories, took this book as an opportunity for creating a non-hierarchical platform for the exchange of the various artistic, theoretical and activist positions with those who have contributed in developing a history together. Throughout this process, it has been necessary to increasingly expand our context and our understanding of it, by including a wide variety of various processes, individuals and locations, because the conditions of historical, social, educational and political structures are not the result of one institution or one individual.
            The logic and pressures of profit-creation drive institutions. They determine the terms under which they function and develop, and include all the people within them. The so-called production of knowledge takes place within such institutions, where the circulation of information is often based on embedded, or overt forms of, racism, sexism and maintenance of "otherness," producing a normalization of institutionalized violence and policies of exclusion. Those patterns, existent within the institutions, also permeate beyond its walls. They are immanent within the system of cultural production, where such ideologies are reproduced through imagery and display, while increasingly subjecting its own producers to states of precariousness, simultaneously instrumentalizing those that it excludes through extreme forms of exploitation and subjugation. The only way to redefine our conditions and de-link from the conventional practices, which are inherently prejudiced in their structure and functionality, is through a process of analyzing historical, political and educational structures and through the writing of our own alternative, parallel, counter-his/her/our-stories. With the publishing of this book, we aim, through the creation of a historical document, to materialize a process of work, which has lasted for a longer period of time, including the reading of theoretical texts, the debates on the relations within art and theory, the carrying out of guest lectures, workshops, student symposia and seminars, and the organization of research travels both outside and inside the EU, as well as its Schengen Zone.
            The blurring of traditional borders, taking place within processes of reformation, comprises the major fundamental logic of the profit-driven institutions within neoliberal capitalism. This operates through the recreation of imperialist principles through neocolonialist and neo-imperialist functionality. With the existing notion of the alleged disappearance of borders expanding through discursive production, we aim to challenge and reflect the reality that the frames are tightening around us. With the commodification of knowledge, including an increase in private investment, not only are we witnessing the maintenance of the enclosed system of privileges, but also a whole new format for exploitation and profit creation: students being turned into consumers of education and producers within the knowledge economy. Those conditions thrive on policies of exclusion and drive individuals to social extremes, with a startling growth of the implication of its own comfortable classes, due to the system’s demands for greater flexibility. This imbedded normalization follows a trickle-down logic, modeled after economic principles, from industries and governments to major institutions, including educational institutions, and attempts to reproduce a desirable and structural sterility and passivity of social movements.
            With the claim that education is being made available to everyone, significant reform processes, which are currently closing in on Europe, are taking place within its institutions of education. The Bologna Process – reforming and homogenizing European higher education – has been described as the replacement of the restrictive, elitist “ivory tower” model of education. However, this reformed structure now includes new restrictions of time, space, and most importantly financial constraints, thereby excluding those deemed unworthy of higher education. The implications of this process have forced us to challenge the structural production of education and culture within the changing job market and the broader social constructions that frame these processes, the privileges associated with them, and the oppression that exists due to these exclusions. As the economic bubbles have been bursting, and as education has become the new economic frontier, it has become evident that trickle-down structures cannot be imposed onto education; that there is a horrible contradiction inherent in the concept of a “knowledge economy.”
            Analyzing current forms of education, Munir Fasheh states that the only way of protecting oneself from becoming a consumer of meaning is by becoming a co-author of it. With this publication, then, we have organized to create and rewrite our own history, including a range of interlinked topics, each of crucial relevance to the current social condition. We were able to question the power relations and class struggles involved in educational, artistic and cultural production with the aforementioned established trajectories of learning, in order to take a precise political position; without simply feeding the (re)productive machine.
(Foreword by Lina Dokuzović and Eduard Freudmann)