Art, autonomy and practices of relations: A critique of performance

Lecture by Josefine Wikström.

Everyone interested can attend the lecture on Zoom.


In the past 30 years or so the concept of performance, and the philosophically closely related term performativity – have been used to describe phenomena in academic disciplines as varied as Management and Gender Studies. Unsurprisingly performance and performativity have in particular played a fundamental role in theories and discourses on art and aesthetics. However, since both of these two terms have their philosophical-historical roots in Pragmatist, Analytic and Structuralist and post-Structuralist thought none of them come with an understanding of what art and/or aesthetics in their historico-philosophical sense actually are. So how might we make use of these two concepts when considering art and perhaps more so when relating them to that 1960s category in art that goes under the name performance?

In this lecture Wikström departs from her PhD thesis, recently published as Practices of Relations in Task-Dance and the Event-Score: A Critique of Performance (Routledge 2020) and argues for what she terms “a critical concept of performance.” Focus in this lecture will in particular be on what Etiénne Balibar has termed “the performativity of the Cartesian I” and the possible consequences of this for a contemporary understanding of art and autonomy.

About Josefine Wikström

Josefine Wikström is a writer and researcher living in Gothenburg. She has been published in Radical Philosophy, Performance Research Journal and Mute among others. She is the co-editor of Objects of Feminism (2017) and her PhD thesis was recently published as Practices of Relations in Task-Dance and the Event-Score (Routledge 2020). She holds an MA and PhD in Philosophy from the CRMEP at Kingston University in London and now works as a Senior Lecturer in Dance Theory at Uniarts in Stockholm. She has taught at universities such as Södertörn Högskola, Goldsmiths College of London, Central St:Martins and at Gothenburg University.

Forum Lectures

Forum Lectures is a series of lectures by Danish and international thinkers and cultural workers reflecting on how art co-forms communality. Forum Lectures brings thinking and shared study back to the university and invites for public lectures on the last Tuesday of every month at 17:00 - 19:00.

The initiative is hosted by the research group of the New Carlsberg Foundation research center Art as Forum. Our researchers are occupied by a.o. the infrastructures of the arts, collective modes of production, the entanglement of political theory and aesthetic theory, assembling strategies of curation, dematerialized art, acts of strategic separatism and temporality in digital art.

We hope to accommodate live lectures in a near future. However, the lecture by Josefine Wikström (50 min + Q&A) will be streamed online.

Everyone interested can attend the lecture on Zoom.