Peter Weibel – In the Name of the New: Romanticism – The Artist as Monarch



Event Date 8 – 9 May 2013

Room 22/26
Senate House
University of London
London WC1E 7HU

Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy


Romantic Transdisciplinarity: Art and the New Conference

2011–2013 (AHRC 914469)

This conference is dedicated to discussion of the transdisciplinary legacies of early German Romanticism in contemporary theory and practice in the arts and humanities, with particular reference to the construction of the concepts ‘art’ and ‘the new’. Themes to be discussed include: Romanticism and disciplinarity; aesthetics as a transdisciplinary field; transdisciplinary constructions of art, nature and the new; medium, media and transmedia as transdisciplinary concepts.

The conference is in collaboration with the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Professor Peter Weibel (ZKM, Karlsruhe) – In the Name of the New: Romanticism – The Artist as Monarch

On one side in Romantic art, we have a transdisciplinary tendency – a union of art and life anticipating the Fluxus movement, for instance, or a fusion of art and science, in J.W. Ritter’s book Physics as Art. On the other side, however, the romantic revolution was a conservative revolution, opposed to the French revolution, against enlightenment, against rationalism, and for monarchy. What interests me is the cult of ‘the new’ in romanticism as a method to eliminate competition and mastership. Since romanticism we have had one ism after another (think of Arp and Lissitzky, Kunstismen 1914-24), because each movement is based on a theoretical principle: every artist can found a new art movement defining it as a set with one member, him- or herself, or him/herself and some friends. With this methodology you can always claim a unique position. In the name of the new you can declare yourself the king of art. In some ways, it is once again a principle of monarchy.

Peter Weibel has been a central figure in European media art since the late 1960s on account of his various activities as artist, media theorist and curator. Since 1984 he has been Professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. From 1984 to 1989 he was head of the digital arts laboratory at the Media Department of New York University in Buffalo, and in 1989 he founded the Institute of New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt-on-Main, which he directed until 1995. Between 1986 and 1995, he was in charge of the Ars Electronica in Linz. From 1993 to 1999 he commissioned the Austrian pavilions at the Venice Biennale. From 1993 to 1998 he was chief curator at the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria, and since 1999 he has been Chairman and CEO of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe. Over the last 10 years he has received many awards, including the French Order “Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Order of Arts and Literature) and the “Europäische Kultur-Projektpreis” of the Europan Foundation for Culture. From 2009 to 2012 he was Visiting Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. In 2011 he was the Artistic Director of the Fourth Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art.






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