The UNREST SERIES is a lecture- and interview-series investigating the flux between art and politics. It is initiated by Professors Brandon LaBelle and Frans Jacobi at Bergen Academy of Art & Design, KHiB. The title UNREST was inspired by the television-series Popular Unrest by artist Melanie Gilligan. Gilligan gave a talk on Popular Unrest and other works as Unrest Series no5 on April 28, 2014.

groupsThe series aims to establish a collaborative platform for querying the conditions of political subjectivity today. Given the intensity of current global social movements, and the rather defunct or suspect neo-liberal economic system, what types of political models might be developed to support new forms of common life? Is it possible to claim a space for what we might call “radical publicness”?

The series sets out to develop as a hub for a mobile association of partners and practitioners, which will focus on nurturing new understandings of the relation between artistic practice and activism, between creative work and political consciousness. It explicitly intends to challenge the language of institutionalized politics and governmentality by instigating and testing new modalities of “becoming-political”: to act as a space in support of what Jacques Ranciére terms “the floating subjects”. Artistic practice in this regard is understood as fundamental for exposing and exploring new routes for articulations of agency, forms of self-organization, and for spiriting a cross-over between the imagination and daily global life.

Key themes and questions include:
– The question of language and voice: what modalities of address and speech can be adopted in speaking of the political? Does our contemporary situation demand another type of voice?

– The question of collectivity and the social body: how can new forms of collective decision-making substitute the crumbling format of representative democracy?

– The question of “the other”: how can questions of culture be rethought – after post-colonialism, in an age of neo-fundamentalisms?

– The question of perception: how can the new modes of perception – through social media, through surveillance, through digital revolution – be reclaimed? Is our permanent connectivity a tool or a threat?

The first season of Unrest took place in 2013/14 and included speakers: Chto Delat? (Skt. Petersburg), Valentina Montero (Barcelona/Chile), Melanie Gilligan (London), Ferdinand Krag (Copenhagen), Gerald Raunig (Vienna), Ilya Budraitskis (Moskow) and Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek (Berlin). Interviews were made with Guerilla Girls (USA), ‘Bifo’ Berardi (Italy), Valentina Montero (Barcelona/Chile), Ilya Budraitskis (Moskow) and Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek (Berlin).

The second season of Unrest takes place in the 2015/16 and includes Israel Martinéz (Mexico), Ekaterina Sharova (Russia) and Cornelia Sollfrank (Germany). Interviews are undertaken with a.o. Kristian Byskov (Copenhagen), Nathalie Quintane (Paris). The second season of Unrest acts in parallel with the artistic-research project SYNSMASKINEN.

The Unrest series is supported by KHiB, Bergen Academy of Art & Design, Norway.


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