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Philosophical Criticism and Contemporary Art

A one day conference at the Institute of Philosophy, 1st April 2023


Maja Smrekar: !brute_force

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).

Venue: The Woburn Suite (G22/26), Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

Attendance is free, but attendees are asked to register in advance:


9.00 – 9.30. Tea & Coffee on arrival

9.30 – 9.40. Introduction and welcome: Diarmuid Costello and Jason Gaiger

9.40 – 10.50. Jason Gaiger (University of Oxford): ‘Parthood and Composition: Pierre 
Huyghe’s Untilled (2011-12)’

10.50 – 12.00. Elisa Caldarola (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice): ‘Installation, Interaction, 
Imagination: Katharina Grosse's It Wasn't Us (2020-2021)’
12.00 – 13.00. Lunch break (own arrangements) 
13.00 – 14.10. Diarmuid Costello (University of Warwick) and Katrin Flikschuh (LSE): ‘Felix Eats Garri & Egusi Soup (2014-16): Zina Saro-Wiwa and Metaphysics of Habitat’

14.10 – 15.20. Vid Simoniti (Liverpool University): ‘Art Beyond Human Agency: Maja Smrekar's !brute_force (2019-20)’

15.20 – 15.50 Tea & Coffee

15.50 – 17.00. Margaret Iversen (University of Essex): ‘Camera Consciousness: On Susan 
Morris’s Concordances and Silence (On Prepared Loom) (2021)’

17.00  – 18.10. Peter Geimer (Deutches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, Paris): ‘The Colours of 
On Harun Farocki’s Respite (2007)’

* 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.