About the theme

Immigrants climb over four-meter tall fences and risk their lives trying to reach Europe in small boats. In their attempt to create a world where only the Sharia laws apply, people are decapitated by IS of which the imagery is spread through the internet and shared with the whole world. The beheadings seem to be a form of radical iconoclasm, the ultimate gesture of someone being silenced, not only in a gruesome but especially in a visual manner.

These are happenings that we cannot avoid any longer. They have become impossible to circumvent and we can't just remain looking at ourselves in the mirror.

At the same moment one could say that we live in a time of narcissism. 'We are focused on who we are and what we can get, instead of on what we can give to others. Social media aren't necessarily the driving force behind it, but they do have part in a more and more extensive navel-gazing. We speak of 'online sharing', but rather you send something into the world, only in the hope to receive something back. I constantly feel the need to be fed with external attention. It is this we hope to find online, but actually we hardly ever get there what we really want: love' said Nicolaas Veul in his lecture about his Television program Super Stream Me, a 24/7 live stream of his life.

An artist is not a journalist, because personal obsessions and fascinations lie at the core of his practice. 'What are my qualities? What do I do with great pleasure? What really keeps me busy? And,what defines me?'

Yet in what ways do artist connect their own themes with what's going on in the world? And how do their practices –be they artistic, curatorial, or academic– engage in and open up these complex, though fundamental (socio-) political discourses? Engagement can be manifested in abstract ways, like in the performance of Juliacks, the fashion designs of Duran Lantink or the installations of Thierry Oussou.

In this paradox –narcissism fueled and made visible by the same media that engages and connects people in global conflicts through vast amounts of information– the contemporary artist too must find its way. This years' Studium Generale attempts to discuss this dichotomy and its consequences for the arts.

The second part of Studium Generale's 'We are the Narcissistic Generation' will be extended by a more geographical framework, Africa: twelve people from different professional fields will –among other topics– address the colonial histories that predominately determine strategies of urban planning, the neocolonial realities of material resources, economic and ideologic problematics of charity and the linguistic appropriation of a mediatised 'blackness'.

In a more general way, the lecture-series aims to break with a position towards art which anno 2016 remains strongly euro-centric.

Hanne Hagenaars

Season 1 - Lectures We Are The Narcissistic Generation

Studium Generale 2015–2016, term 1 from Mind Design on Vimeo.

DateGuest speaker
24 Sep. Erik Viskil - Looking for Clues
1 Oct. Geo Wyeth - Clowns
8 Oct. Nazmiye Oral - Never again without you
29 Oct. Kader Abdolah - The Messenger and the Parrot
5 Nov. Mounira Al Solh - Now eat my script, or don't
12 Nov. Marjolijn van Heemstra - Sharing of Values
19 Nov. Nicolaas Veul - Super Stream Me
26 Nov. Annabell van den Berghe - Always Seeking Contact
3 Dec. Petra Stienen - We Must Value our Freedom

Season 2 - Lectures We Are The Narcissistic Generation

Studium Generale 2015–2016, term 2 from Mind Design on Vimeo.

DateGuest speaker
4 Feb. Said El Haji - The School of Mixed Love
11 Feb. Elke Krasny - Transnational Curating
18 Feb. Jesse Darling - Thing Doesnt Need a Name
3 March Renzo Martens & Quinsy Gario
10 March Anoek Nuyens - Aid
17 March Juliacks - Architecture of An Atom
24 March Duran Lantink - Sistaaz of the Castle
7 April Manon van Hoeckel - In Limbo Embassy
14 April Hannes Bernard - A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
21 April Jeroen de Lange - The White-Man's Burden
21 April Thierry Oussou - The Other Way, Together
12 May Vincent Meessen & James Beckett - Personne et les autres
19 May Nana Adusei Poku - Post-Black Dark Matter

Studium Generale 2015-2016

Cura­tor: Hanne Hage­naars
Coor­di­na­tor: Marthe Prins
Posters: Gilles de Brock
Promo video: Mind Design