Futures of the Contemporary

Academy 2017

The contemporary points towards incommensurable definitions. Intensely debated in the fields of visual arts, art theory, and philosophy, it describes different practices, relating to disparate conceptual horizons. However, if distinguished from the contemporaneous of a given historical time, the contemporary becomes a selective concept: it promotes or excludes things and practices according to their ability of diagnosing previously unnoticed aspects of the present. In this sense, it gains a critical function, involving particular modes of relating to history and to one’s own time.

Following Roland Barthes’s claim – inspired by Nietzsche, and quoted by Agamben – that “the contemporary is the untimely”, the contemporary might also suggest artistic practices that run against their own time and epoch, implying specific forms of resistance. Beyond historicising frameworks, which futures are there for an untimely contemporary?

To this day, the debate on the contemporary remains largely theoretical. The comparative lack of discourse by practitioners, particularly music performers, presents a chance for new perspectives to emerge. The 14th International Orpheus Academy for Music and Theory – Futures of the Contemporary – aims precisely at exploring, fostering, and propelling new modes of thinking the contemporary, focusing on music performance.

Guest Faculty

  • Babette Babich, Fordham University, New York (USA)
  • Chaya Czernowin, Harvard University (USA/Israel)
  • Heiner Goebbels, professor to the Justus Liebig University, Gießen (D) 
  • Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig (D)
  • Peter Osborne, Kingston University London (UK)

Academy conveners

Paulo de Assis, Michael Schwab, Heloisa Amaral

Music Performances by

Almut Panfilenko, Heloisa Amaral, Juan Parra C.,  Mieko Kanno, Paulo de Assis

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