Philosophical Criticism and Contemporary Art

28 March 2020, 10.00am - 6.00pm
Conference / Symposium
Room 349, Third Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU


Philosophical Criticism and Contemporary Art

A one day conference at the Institute of Philosophy, 28 March 2020


Maja Smrekar: !brute_force

Collaborators: Borut Peterlin (photographer), Polona Bonač (animal wrangler) with dog Baxus, University of Ljubljana / Faculty of Mechanical Engineering / Laboratory for Machining // Produced by: Quo Artis Foundation (ES), Co-produced by: Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova Institute (SI) and The Culture Yard / CLICK Festival (DK) // The '!brute_force' project is part of the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana, Danish Art Council.



This conference brings together leading philosophers of art and art theorists to focus in depth on major works of twenty-first century contemporary art. The aim is not to motivate general philosophical claims about the nature of contemporary art but rather to examine a single work or a short run of works by a particular artist and to consider this in light of the broader issues of philosophical interest that it might be thought to raise. The idea behind the conference as a whole is that close attention to an individual work of art can be both critically and philosophically illuminating, and that this provides one model for substantive work in aesthetics, work that is not only philosophically serious but critically and historically sensitive.


The conference is a collaboration between Department of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford, the Institute of Philosophy, University of London, and the London Aesthetics Forum. It is supported by a grant from the British Society of Aesthetics.


Conference organisers: Diarmuid Costello (Warwick) and Jason Gaiger (Oxford).



9.30 – 10.00    Tea and coffee on arrival

10.00 – 10.15 Introduction and welcome: Diarmuid Costello and Jason Gaiger

10.15 – 11.30 Vid Simoniti (Liverpool University): ‘Art Beyond Human Agency: Maja Smrekar's !brute_force’ (2019-20)

11.30  – 12.45 Peter Geimer (Freie Universität, Berlin): ‘The Colours of History. On Harun Farocki’s Respite (2007)’

12.45 – 14.00 Lunch break (own arrangements)

14.00  – 15.15 Louise Hanson (Durham University): ‘Morality and Metaphysics in the Chapman Brothers' Insult to Injury (2004)

15.15 – 16.30 Diarmuid Costello (University of Warwick) and Katrin Flikschuh (LSE): ‘Felix Eats Garri & Egusi Soup: Zina Saro-Wiwa and the Politics of Eating (2014-16)’

16.30 – 17.00 Tea and coffee

17.00  – 18.15 Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma): ‘Making the Body Strange: Janine Antoni’s Conduit (2009) and I am fertile ground (2019)’

18.15 – 19.15 Wine reception



Attendance at the conference is free, but attendees are asked to register in advance.



Institute of Philsophy
020 7664 4865