Brian Holmes symposium "The Artistic Device"

VAM uk 180
Brian Holmes, Escape the overcode

Brian Holmes symposium "The Artistic Device"

26/11/2010 - 27/11/2010

On 26 and 27 November 2010 the Van Abbemuseum organises a two-day symposium with culture critic and activist Brian Holmes, under the title The Artistic Device. On Sunday 28 November there is a master class for artists by Brian Holmes and Angela Melitopolous.

Following the Holmes publication of Escape the Overcode: Activist Art in the Control Society, the symposium explores the possibilities that “extradisciplinarity” can have in the tense political climate of today. How can art, theory and activism come together in a progressive artistic practice? A question that is also included in a performance by the Greek-German artist Angela Melitopoulos, in collaboration with Brian Holmes. Other participants are Armin Medosch, Willem van Weelden and Merijn Oudenampsen.

Programme symposium

Friday 26th November 2010

16.30   Opening and introduction
16.45   Brian Holmes - lecture on “extradisciplinarity”
18.15   Reaction Willem van Weelden, moderated by Charles Esche.
19.00   Drinks

Saturday 27th November 2010

11.30 – 13.30  Closed session with Brian Holmes and Charles Esche for students Art History and Art Theory in collaboration with Platform Moderne Kunst.

14.00  Armin Medosch - Lecture
15.30 Angela Melitopoulos - Performance Möglichkeitsraum (The Blast of the Possible), with Brian Holmes on his essay Four Pathways through Chaos.

17.00  Discussion with Brian Holmes, Angela Melitopoulos, Charles Esche, Merijn Oudenampsen

18.00  Drinks

Admittance for the symposium is € 9,00 per day, € 14,00 for 2 days. Students pay € 4,00 per day, € 6,00 for 2 days. Admittance is including two drink coupons.
You can register here



Brian Holmes is a culture and art critic and activist, based in Paris and Chicago. In 2009 he received the Vilém Flusser Theory Award at Transmediale in Berlin. He gives lectures and workshops in response to his texts about the role and impact of art in different societies, with particular attention to the analysis of forms of resistance and the possibility of extradisciplinarity.

Angela Melitopoulos is an artist / researcher and part of an extensive network of theorists and other art professionals. Her work consists of experimental systems with video essays, documentaries and experimental sound works in relation to the working of memory and conceptions of history. Melitopoulos also organises a series called Möglichkeitsraum (The Blast of the Possible), a temporary set designed as an extended post-production studio for performing archives belonging to the history of activist media. Melitopoulos invites artists, curators and writers into the Möglichkeitsraum for creating a live editing on stage as a contemporary form of performing film and video archives about politics and activism.

Armin Medosch is a writer, curator and artist and currently doing a PhD in Arts and Computational Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has initiated the collaborative research platform The Next Layer which examines the intersecting dynamics of art, technology and social change.

Merijn Oudenampsen is an independent researcher. His interests range from political populism, urban development, political art and radical theory. He runs the blog and has guest edited the upcoming issue of Open, Cahier on Art and the Public Domain.

Willem van Weelden is a researcher, writer, artist and lecturer in the field of interactive media. He teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and is a member of the research group Art and Public Space.

About Escape the Overcode

The publication contains a selection of texts and essays by the writer Brian Holmes and is involved with the possibilities and problems of geopolitics and 'geopoetics. Holmes is a key contemporary thinker and writer whose understanding of the current social and political developments and how they relate to artistic processes, are opening up a new field of 'geocritique'. The examples he cites extend across Latin America, Europe and Asia, where he looks at networking, art, movies, organizations and protest movements for signs of how the progressive future strategies can be designed. The texts are part of the publication of the long-term research project, Continental Drift, as a blog on the Internet to follow.

The symposium entitled The Artistic Device addresses, one year after release of the publication, the developments that since that time in the world of art, activism and networking took place. Brian Holmes reflects on his texts in the book and current changes. What is the impact of the financial crisis and what are the consequences for the cultural world in a time when the earning capacity of art is emphasized?

Curators: Remco de Blaaij and Steven ten Thije                                  
Assistant: Marlies Oud

Brian Holmes symposium - The Artistic Device


  • Fonds BKVB