NEW FORMS OF EXCEPTIONALISM – Art and Necropolitics in the age of COVID19

NOV 20th – DEC 21st, 2021 5 pm (CET)

Series of Lectures hosted by
The Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade,
New Media Department, University of Fine Arts

Approved for funding by the Ministry of Culture and Information of Serbia &
the Austrian Cultural Forum Belgrade 2021

Author, Coordinator & Leader of the Project:
Bojana Matejić Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade, New Media Department
Project Manager and Assistant: Milan Đorđević (Ph.D. Candidate of Culture and Media Management Studies at University of Arts Belgrade, Faculty of Dramatic Arts)

With Lecturers & Educators: Natasha Lushetich, Polona Tratnik, Adrian Parr, Bobby Benedicto, Marina Gržinić, and Bojana Matejić

With the collaboration and distant participation of students of: Univerza u Ljubljani, Slovenia (University of Ljubljana, Academy of Art and Design) (ALUO), Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien, Austria (Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna) (ABKW), Global Centre for Advanced Studies in Dublin, Ireland (GCAS), University of Oregon College of Design, US (UO), Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee, Scotland (DJCAD), Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University, Canada (McGill), and Fakultet likovnih umetnosti, Univerzitet umetnosti u Beogradu (Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade, New Media Department) (FLU)

For further information and registrations, please contact us at

NOVEMBER 20, 2021
Introductory Lecture: Forms of Exceptionalism

Recontextualising the functions of great global pandemics in the normalising processes of enmity from the standpoint of bio-, thanato-, and necropower theories, the lecture Forms of Exceptionalism seeks to map possible coordinates of thinking for the modalities of exceptionalisms in the conditions of the global outbreak of the COVID19 virus– the ´new so-called global threat´. The lecture starts from the presupposition that our societies are regulated by the generalisation of pathology, in the such a way that the medicine – not only as a clinic but also as a power – has penetrated every sphere of life ((non-)care of life), contributing to the mechanisms generating various forms of exceptionalism. The conjunction of the (non-)care/administration of life (taken both as a reality in itself and an economic challenge), with medicine as both a clinic and a power (morality), and the artistic discourses that address this coupling, will be analysed from the standpoint of the theoretical presuppositions of Foucault, Canguilhem, Agamben, and Mbembe.

Meeting ID: 856 1192 5532
Passcode: 240343

Prof. Dr. Bojana Matejić (born 1984) is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts New Media Department, and at the Interdisciplinary Studies, Theory of Arts and Media Department, at the University of Arts in Belgrade, where she teaches Discursive Practices in Art and Media, Institutional Theory of Art, Cultural studies, Bio/Necropolitical Theory of Art, and Media theory. She holds a B.A and an M.A in Fine Arts, and an M.A and Ph.D. in Theory of Arts and Media from the University of Arts in Belgrade. In 2015, with a Research Scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, she completed her Belgrade University of Arts Ph.D. with a thesis entitled Emancipatory Practices in the Contemporary Theory of Art, under the supervision of Professor Dr. Lev Kreft and co-supervision of Professor Dr. Miodrag Šuvaković. Ms. Matejić has published a number of articles in international scientific publications on the ESCI/AHCI list (Third text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture (London: Routledge), Život umjetnosti: Journal for Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture (Zagreb: Institute of Art History), Theoria (Belgrade: Serbian Philosophical Society), Philosophy and Society (Belgrade: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory), Monitorish: Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Ljubljana: ISH), Journal of University of Science and Technology Beijing, etc., and in books such as the three-volume History of Art in Serbia XX Century (Belgrade: Orion Art, 2012/2014), Shifting Corporealities in Contemporary Performance: Danger, Im/mobility and Politics (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Left Performance Histories: Recollecting Artistic Practices from Eastern Europe (Berlin: nGbK, 2018) etc. She published a monograph on Rosalind Krauss in 2018 (Belgrade: Orion Art). In 2019, with a Research Scholarship from the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, she was a Guest Research Fellow at the Leipzig University in Germany in the field of Global Art History (Host: Beáta Hock). Research and Educative Projects: New Forms of Exceptionalism: Art and Necropolitics in the age of COVID19 (2021-2022) (Funded by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia and the Austrian Cultural Forum Belgrade). She has given numerous public talks and presentations at conferences in the field of aesthetics, media studies, art history and theory, such as at the Künstlerhaus Vienna, FLUSS – Society for the Promotion of Photo and Media Art, Vienna, Villa Romana Florence, Institute of Art History in Leipzig, GWZO in Leipzig, Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, nGbK neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst in Berlin, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Shaanxi Normal University & Association of Media Studies and Literary Theory in Xián, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Villa Finaly Florence, etc. Her main research interests include contemporary theories of emancipation in art and aesthetics, bio- and necropolitical theory of art and media, cultural techniques, media ecology and transcultural relations in Art and Media Studies.

NOVEMBER 22, 2021
Lecture title: Vanishing Space, Unhinged Time, and the Kenomatic Norm

Our finite existence is a delicate meshwork of lived, dreamed, and intuited altitudes, latitudes, stretches and expanses; concave, convex, slow, and fast spaces; interstices, axes, and abysses. Our embodied memory is, likewise, a reservoir of countless cities, mountains, airy and watery landscapes, as well as a ceaseless dance of perspectives, scales, and velocities. The 2020-21 lockdowns and the ensuing ‘exile’ into the recesses of cyberspace abruptly amputated space. Time, which, since the advent of the digital era, has been unhinged (no longer bound to emplaced events), alternated between inexorable precipitation (caused by frequent changes of rules), and swathes of waiting for ‘normality’ to return. Based on Agamben’s work on the kenomatic law, which, unlike its pleromatic variant (that refers to the full powers of law), operates with ‘whatever it manages to catch within itself’ (2003), and more recent work on ‘soft’ necropolitics, this paper explores the interrelation between three areas: 1) the spatio-temporal character of the new states of exception, as related to the violence of kenomatic normativity (which manifests, among other ways, through memory loss); 2) Bratton’s proposition for a positive biopolitics (2021), which is diametrically opposed to Agamben’s ‘negative’ variant; and 3) artistically-informed approaches to embodied, extended and enactive memory (Clark 2010) that range from Duchamp’s n+ dimensions, the Situationists’ psychogeography and intermedial matrixing, to planetary sensing, and can be employed as a mode of resistance.

Meeting ID: 836 3746 1756
Passcode: 727106

Prof. Dr. Natasha Lushetich is an artist and theorist. Both her practice and her theoretical work are interdisciplinary; they unfold in the extended fields of intermedia, performance and interventionism, exploring the status of sensory experience in cultural knowledge, biopolitics, hegemony, critical mediality and their intersections with (continental) philosophy. A founder member of subRosa, she is the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies such as Fulbright (NYU, New York), Steim (Amsterdam), Noorderzon (Groningen), and ArtsLink (Cleveland & NYC). Her artistic work has been shown in a range of conventional venues – museums, film and performance festivals in Europe, Asia, and the US – in less conventional venues – banks and streets – as well as being supported by the Art Council of England, The Mondrian Foundation, The VSB Foundation, The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, and The Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts, among others. Professor Lushetich holds a theoretical Ph.D. from the University of Exeter and is the author of two books: Fluxus: the Practice of Non-Duality (Rodopi 2014) and Interdisciplinary Performance (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). She is also co-editor of On Game Structures (Taylor and Francis 2016); editor of The Aesthetics of Necropolitics (Rowman and Littlefield 2018); editor of Beyond Mind, a special issue of Symbolism, the International Annual of Critical Aesthetics (De Gruyter 2019); and editor of Big Data – A New Medium? (Routledge 2020). Her recent writing has appeared in such cross-disciplinary journals as AI & Society; Artnodes; Contemporary Aesthetics; Environment, Place, Space; Media Theory; Performance Research; Philosophical Salon; Text and Performance Quarterly, TDR, The Journal of Somaesthetics and Total Art Journal, as well as in a number of edited collections. She has led three interdisciplinary research projects: the Bridging the Gaps-funded Critical Gaming (2012-13), the HASS- and Maudsley-funded Spaces of the Mind (2013-16), and the NAC and LaSalle-funded Imaginations of Disorder in Art, Science and Philosophy (2016-18). She is currently PI on the 2020-21 AHRC-funded The Future of Indeterminacy: Datification, Memory, Memory, Biopolitics. Professor Lushetich is also an editorial member of the Anthem Series in Critical Thought, a member of the international board of Contemporary Aesthetics, and research assessor for NWO (Dutch Research Council) and FNSNF (Swiss National Science Foundation). Alongside guest teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts, Nanyang Technological University, Ohio State, and the University of Westminster, she has lectured extensively on intermedia, contemporary art, critical mediality, biopolitics and hegemony at her ‘home’ institutions, the most recent of which are the University of Exeter, LaSalle, Singapore, and the University of Dundee. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the recipient of several teaching awards. Recent publications related to the topic of the project: The Aesthetics of Necropolitics (Rowman and Littlefield 2018), of which she is Editor.

NOVEMBER 30, 2021
Lecture title: The Social Contract and the Instrumental Value of the Patients in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, some countries found themselves in catastrophic situations, when medical personnel were forced to deal with the question of how to fairly organise medical resources, which were more limited than usual. The Italian Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Reanimation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) issued a list of recommendations and ethical considerations to help doctors to orient in the context of the medical treatment crisis. Two guidances were crucial: to preserve as many lives as possible, and to preserve the maximum possible years of life. Doctors were also supposed to rely on the estimation of the patients’ future quality of life in deciding about treatment. In the lecture, the author will critically examine the issue of ensuring preservation of Enlightenment principles in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meeting ID: 886 6678 0558
Passcode: 079923

Prof. Dr. Polona Tratnik (born 1976) holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and theory of visual culture, and an MA and BA in Fine Arts. She is Dean of New University, Faculty for Slovene and International Studies, where she is full professor for philosophy and art; she is research counsellor at the IRRIS Institute for Research, Development and Strategies of Society, Culture and Environment. She is leader of the research programme Social Functions of Fairy Tales. She is President of the Slovenian Society of Aesthetics (since 2011), and an Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Aesthetics. Between 2016 and 2019 she was the Dean of Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Faculty for Graduate Studies, Ljubljana, and the principal investigator of the research programme Investigations of Cultural Formations, funded by the Slovenian Research Agency. In 2019/2020 she also held courses at the University of Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Faculty of Arts, at the Faculty of Education of the University of Maribor, and at the Faculty for Design. She used to be (2012–2013) Head of the Department for Cultural Studies at the Faculty for Humanities of the University of Primorska and Coordinator of the Ph.D. programme Philosophy and Theory of Visual Culture. In 2012 she was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, as well as a Guest Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was a Guest Professor also at the Capital Normal University Beijing (China), at the Faculty for Art and Design Helsinki TAIK (Finland), and at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City). She has authored eight monographs as a single author, including Art in Contemporaneity (Belgrade: Orion, 2018), Conquest of Body. Biopower with Biotechnology (Springer, 2017), Hacer-vivir más allá del cuerpo y del medio (Mexico City: Herder, 2013), Art as Intervention (Ljubljana: Sophia, 2017), The End of Art. Genealogy of Modern Discourse: from Hegel to Danto (Annales, 2009), In Vitro. The Living Beyond Body and Art (Horizonti, 2011), Transart. Culture and Art in Global Conditions (Pedagoški inštitut, 2011), Introduction to Media Art (Inštitut Nove Revije 2017), and was the editor of Art: Resistance, Subversion, Madness, and co-editor of Spaces of Art. Polona Tratnik is a pioneer bio artist who has exhibited worldwide at shows such as the Ars Electronica festival and BEAP festival in Perth. She was an art director of the Break 2.3 multimedia festival New Species. Recent publications related to the topic of the project: Conquest of Body. Biopower with Biotechnology, Basel: Springer, 2017, Art as Intervention, Ljubljana: Sophia, 2017, In Vitro. The Living Beyond Body and Art, Ljubljana: Horizonti, 2011.

DECEMBER 7, 2021
Lecture title: Earthlings: Imaginative Encounters with the Natural World

Amid environmental catastrophe, it is vital to recall what unites all forms of life. We share characteristics and genetic material extending back billions of years. More than that, we all—from humans to plants to bacteria—share a planet. We are all Earthlings. Adrian Parr calls on us to understand ourselves as existing with and among the many forms of Earthling life. She argues that human survival requires us to recognise our interdependent relationships with the other species and systems that make up life on earth. In a series of meditations, Earthlings portrays the wonder and beauty of life with deep feeling, vivid detail, and an activist spirit. Parr invites readers to travel among the trees of the Amazonian rainforest, take flight with birds and butterflies migrating through the skies, and plunge into the oceans with whales and polar bears—as well as to encounter bodies infected with deadly viruses and maimed by the violence of global capitalism. Combining poetic observation with philosophical contemplation and scientific evidence, Parr offers a moving vision of a world in upheaval and a potent manifesto for survival. Earthlings is both a joyful celebration of the magnificence of the biosphere and an urgent call for action to save it.

Meeting ID: 833 0430 0020
Passcode: 280384

Prof. Dr. Adrian Parr (born 1967) is an internationally recognised environmental, political, and cultural thinker and activist, author, and filmmaker. The new Dean of the College of Design at the University of Oregon, she is also a Senior Fellow at the Design Futures Council. Prior to joining the UO, she served as the Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington, and as the Director of the Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati. Adrian is a transdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of architecture criticism, aesthetics, political theory, and environmental studies. She has authored eight books, the latest three of which have focused on environmental politics and sustainability culture, and she is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair on Water and Human Settlements. The driving force behind her work is the question of how to overcome ecological and economic scarcity. She asserts that environmental devastation and climate change are crimes against humanity. Her 2016 documentary, “The Intimate Realities of Water,” won more than a dozen awards, including Best Documentary at the 2016 United International Independent Film Festival. Recent publications related to the topic of the project: Editor with Brad Evans, Conversations on Violence: An Anthology, London: Pluto Press, 2021; ‘One Nation Under Surveillance: Turning Striated Space Inside Out’, Angelaki, Vol. 2, No.1 (April 2006), pp. 99–107; ‘Listening to Child Detainees in Australian Immigration Detention Centres’, in Purushottama Bilimoria and Dina Al-Kassim (eds.), Postcolonial Reason and its Critique, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 202–220; The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics, New York: Columbia UP, 2013.

DECEMBER 14, 2021

Lecture title: No Fear: Death, Risk, and Homosexuality, Revisited
Homosexuality has long been condemned for what is said to be its foundational and lethal narcissism – its relentless, or at least reckless, pursuit of pleasure, even unto death. In the most phobic early accounts of HIV/AIDS, for instance, the illness appears as the fulfillment of the gay man’s rightful destiny, a tragic end of his own making that demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, what same-sex desire risks. In recent years, however, the chains of connotation that bind homosexuality to death in the Western imagination have largely been severed. Scarred by the genocidal neglect exhibited by the state in the wake of HIV/AIDS, queer criticism has, to a considerable extent, succeeded in folding homosexuality into life itself. And yet, such “success” has not meant the elimination of the image of gay men as given to risk, pathologically pleasure-seeking, and indifferent to survival, be it their own or others’. Shortly after the spread of COVID-19, for instance, images of gay men continuing to meet and party, flouting prescribed safety precautions and regulations in the process, became viral objects of derision, shame, and ridicule, particularly from other gay men. While such “bad” behaviour may rightly be criticised for the privilege on which it relies, this paper shifts the attention away from such moral judgments in order to think through the anxiety provoked by figures that appear to demonstrate an ineradicable link between death, risk, and homosexuality. I draw attention to the enduring presence of such figures in contemporary queer art and cinema, not to suggest that they be seen as signs of an unfinished task, but to insist on the critical role that homosexuality still plays as a means to acknowledge, if not embrace, risk as the meaning of sex itself.

Meeting ID: 885 6041 9312
Passcode: 233568

Prof. Dr. Bobby Benedicto is professor at Art History & Communication Studies McGill University Canada. Bobby Benedicto’s research interests lie at the intersections of queer theory, critical race theory, urban studies, and theories of death and temporality. His first book, Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), received an Honorable Mention for the 2015 Ruth Benedict Prize for Queer Anthropology and was a finalist for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies. He is currently working on two major research projects: Fatal Sex, a book-length study examining the role of necro-aesthetics (the aesthetics of death) in 21st-century queer art and media, and Queer Afterlives, a series of ethnographic essays on queer performances set in the decaying Brutalist buildings erected in Metropolitan Manila during the Marcos dictatorship (1965-1986).

DECEMBER 21, 2021
Lecture title: The Pandemic World

In March 2020, the tensions on the Greek-Turkish border and refugee flows were dismissed as dirty deals between the European Union /Greece and Turkey. At the same time, there was an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID -19) in the EU. On March 28, 2020, the US reported more than 100,000 people infected. Today the numbers are history, mostly concealed, not publicly disseminated, and waves of the pandemic resurface. Vaccination is available, but people are protesting, because the neoliberal ‘fake news’ are covered in lies… These two situations collide: migration, war and pandemic, and what we are witnessing now, what is still unfolding, defies easy analysis, as we can only piece together crumbs of what is happening. One thing is certain: thousands have again been left to die at the border between Greece and Turkey, and across the global world we find a state of affairs similar to the situation surrounding leprosy in the Middle Ages. Still, what can we learn from this situation?

Meeting ID: 831 3496 2466
Passcode: 334626

Prof. Dr. Marina Gržinić (born 1958) is a philosopher, theoretician, and artist based in Ljubljana Slovenia. She is a prominent contemporary theoretical and critical figure in Slovenia. Since 1993, she has been employed at the Institute of Philosophy at the Scientific and Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts (ZRC SAZU). Since 2003, she has also served as Full Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria. Gržinić does innovative work in practice research, she is a collaborative video artist, and since 1982 has worked together with Aina Šmid, an art historian and artist also from Ljubljana. Recent publications related to the topic of the project: Editor, Border Thinking: Disassembling Histories of Racialized Violence, Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2018; editor, Pavilion 14: “Biopolitics, Necropolitics and De-coloniality”, Bucharest: Artphoto, Jan 2010; editor, Identities 10 (1-2): “Science, Media, Necropolitics and Bastard Trans-feminism(s) / The Post-Human, the Non-Human and its Political Revolt”, Skopje: Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2013; with Šefik Tatlić, Necropolitics, Racialization, and Global Capitalism. Historicization of Biopolitics and Forensics of Politics, Art, and Life, London: Lexington Books, 2014; with Aneta Stojnić, Shifting Corporealities in Contemporary Performance. Danger, Im/mobility and Politics, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.