The lecture by public critic Brian Holmes, After Chimerica: Art and Bioregionalism in the Anthropocene can now be viewed on our Youtube Channel.
The lecture was given on the 27th of March and was the first public lecture in the Performative Defiance Lecture Series. These lectures are an initiative of the Autonomy Research Chair at the Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology (Caradt), organized in collaboration with and hosted by the Master Institute of Visual Cultures.
The second lecture was Friday 7 June with leading creative industries expert Justin O’Connor about Creative Industries in China: From Catch-Up to Cold War 2.0. This lecture will be online soon.
For decades, global growth was sustained by an uncanny illusion: underpaid Chinese workers produced the incredibly cheap goods that unemployed Americans consumed, while the Chinese Communist government financed the whole thing by purchasing US Treasury bonds. This unlikely construction, known to economists as “Chimerica,” has clearly reached its limit. What comes after the culture of gadgetry and cheap consumption?
How to orient ourselves toward a viable future?
In this lecture Brian Holmes uses on-the-ground research to explain the geopolitical shift caused by the 2008 financial crisis. At a more intimate scale, he shows how the dead end of neoliberal economics led to a transformation in his own practice. Leaving the stance of theorist for that of artist, he opens up ecological inquiries in the Mississippi river watershed, in the Paraná Delta of Argentina, and on the Pacific coast of North America.
The aim is to discover a new framework, the bioregional state, where the destinies of non-humans can be taken into account at formal negotiating tables. Such a metamorphosis cannot simply be legislated. First it has to take place at heart of aesthetic experience.
Brian Holmes is known for his art criticism and his theoretical work on global capitalism, which he now pursues as an artist, since there’s no concept of “autonomous theorist” in the USA. He has been living in the USA for the last decade after some twenty years in France. His current production swings between the magnetic poles of geography, geopolitics, earth science and tactical media, with a strong influence from the Anthropocene Campus program at HKW Berlin.
The Performative Defiance Lecture Series is an initiative of the Autonomy Research Chair at the Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology (Caradt), organized in collaboration with and hosted by the Master Institute of Visual Cultures.
Its aim is to provide within Avans University an open, public forum where some of the foremost national and international voices challenge us to think about and discuss the role of art and design for the creation of a different future, to imagine another kind of world, the kind of world we wish to live in.
The notion performative defiance refers to creative practices that depart from the idea of the future as a mere update of the present, and calls for a recharge of aesthetic practice that turns complicity into defiance. What is required of art and design is an aesthetic mobilization to unsettle and then create the conditions that will ensure our survival and enhance our capacity to create and resist in the future. Performative defiance is therefore an articulation of a creative longing for a desirable future that lends itself to a counter position set against the deadlock of the present and against the symbolic misery of our time.