Author(s): Tom Holert
An examination of contemporary art's recent emphasis on "research" and "knowledge production," and its claims to provide a novel access to "knowledge."Questioning the role and function of contemporary art in economic and political systems that increasingly manage data and affect, Knowledge Beside Itself delves into the peculiar emphasis placed in recent years, curatorially and institutionally, on such notions as "research" and "knowledge production." Contemporary art is viewed here as a strategic bet on the social distinctions and value extractions made possible by claiming a different, novel access to "knowledge." Contemporary art's various liaisons with the humanities and the social and natural sciences, as well as its practitioners' frequent embeddedness within transdisciplinary research environments and educational settings, have created a sense of epistemo-aesthetic departure, which concurs with the growing relevance of art as conduit or catalyst of knowledge. Discussing the practice of artists such as Christine Borland, Bureau d'études, Tony Chakar, Lina Dokuzovic, Fernando García-Dory, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Adelita Husni-Bey, Jakob Jakobsen, Claire Pentecost, and Pilvi Takala, writer and curator Tom Holert submits the gambit of conceptualizing contemporary art as an agent of epistemic politics to a genealogical analysis of its political-economic underpinnings--in times of cognitive capitalism, machine learning, and a renewed urgency of epistemological disobedience.