Absent Audience: Practising Terminology, 10 September 2022

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The Absent Audience project emerged from the Practice Laboratory of the program. Led by group members, the talk presented the two years of collective research about the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale curated by Okwui Enwezor in 1997. It explored “diffractive case study” research, which as a notion and methodology engages with the multiple and fragmentary knowledges of the event, using the latter as a portal to know adjacent, opaque, distant or parallel narratives that are potentially present in or around the event itself, but often repressed by dominant systems or mundane status quos.

The talk developed around a series of questions: What does it mean to be an audience of an event displaced from us (as potential publics) both geographically and temporally? How can we reactivate the forces of the event starting from the urgencies of our space and time? Can the terminology emerging from the research become a tool to disseminate and diffract the different trajectories and lines of flight from the event?

This two-part event encompssed the following:

11.00 - 13.00: Joint the talk by the Advanced Practices Lab.
Presented by: Anne Julie Arnfred (Roskilde University and Goldsmiths), Gema Darbo (Goldsmiths), Zoe Keller (Goldsmiths), Francesca Lazzarini (Goldsmiths), and Vaida Stepanovaite (Goldsmiths). Followed by a talk by the visual artist and researcher Sarah Pierce. Closing discussion moderated by artist Hugo Hopping (SixtyEight Art Institute).

14.00 - 17.00: Workshop 'Practising Terminology'.
This joint workshop was an opportunity to work directly with the organisers and researchers of the event. Considering the open-ended nature of the Absent Audience project, ‘Practising Terminology’ drew from the methodologies and notions presented during the talk to expand them with the participants. Through a diffractive approach and positioning ourselves as the absent audience of each other’s practices, the workshop involved the participants in a series of discursive activities articulated around a terminology graph produced in the Absent Audience project. The aim of ‘Practising Terminology' is twofold: to make the methodologies available to the practitioners as tools for reflection on their own works,and to share and expand the research knowledge through the participants’ multiple knowledges.

Absent Audience: Practising Terminology was organised as a collaboration between the SixtyEight Art Institute and the Advanced Practices programme at Goldsmiths, University of London, to learn from the reciprocity of two entities immersed in questions of research-based knowledge and its publics in the cultural field. The ‘Absent Audience’ framework was first outlined as a two-day Goldsmiths virtual conference in June 2021, with keynote speakers Gabi Ngcobo and Sarah Pierce.

The event was made possible with the generous support of COST for Short Term Scientific Mission and the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

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