Title Issue 2: Estrangement
Svetlana Boym writes, in Architecture of the Off-Modern(1):
By making things strange, the artist does not simply displace them from an everyday context into an artistic framework; he also helps to “return sensation” to life itself, to reinvent the world, to experience it anew. Estrangement is what makes art artistic; but, by the same token, it makes life lively, or worth living.
This is a different notion of estrangement than the use of the term established by Bertolt Brecht in theater – as a method of enhancing criticality and an awareness of the levels of fiction – as well as from the Marxist use of the term; an alienation of social relations due to wage labour and reification. Boym’s description seems to involve documentarism, collecting and archival activities – practices where things are isolated or combined in an unexpected way; they suggest a resisting of the erosion of memories and a perhaps vain attempt to postpone the slow and gradual disappearance of things.
In artistic research, there is an additional “double” or “second” estrangement that is crucial: after “making things strange” we, as artists and researchers, engage in another process of self-alienation (and self-understanding) in order to look at our own methods “from the outside”. This estrangement from the working process is vital as part of the attempt to find a language that is able to articulate experiences from artistic practice, and even to evolve theories about that practice.
VIS invites those wishing to submit artistic research material that manifests a reflection upon estrangement – be it from the perspective of Brecht, Marxism, Boym, “second strangement” or any other viewpoint.
Art works and expositions should have a clear relation to the theme and be conceived for the benefit both of those within the field and those beyond the sphere of artistic research.
Expositions in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English are all welcome.
(1) Buell Center/FORUM Project & Princeton Architectural Press 2008, p. 18–19.