The Autonomy Project - symposium

Point of Depart

The Autonomy Project symposium

07/10/2011 - 09/10/2011

With contributions by a.o. Thomas Hirschhorn, Tania Bruguera, Peter Osborne and Jacques Rancière.

The Autonomy Project Symposium addresses the position of art in society today. The notion of autonomy, once designed to specify art’s place within society, has become a means of occluding its public relevance. This has become very clear when recently Dutch neoliberals and populists proposed large cuts on culture, arguing that art is primarily a private affair and has no real public function. The inability of the Dutch art world to mount an effective counter campaign has thereby made explicit the fact that the confusion   concerning the public nature of an autonomous art comes not only from without but also from within.

The symposium wishes to address the current situation through the work of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière. He has been committed to describing the function of art’s autonomy within public life today. Through a mixture of lectures and workshops the symposium explores Rancière’s valuable contribution both from theoretical and practical perspectives.

Participating in the symposium costs €45 for 3 days or €15 per day (including lunch). Students are charged €25 for the whole weekend or €10 per day.

The symposium is in English

Register... (The symposium is fully booked)
The number of registrations for the symposium has exceeded expectations and visitors can now follow the lectures in a separate room via a live stream. Participation in this costs €5,- per person per day (including lunch). The workshops are accessible to all participants.


Those who are unable to join the programme in the Van Abbemuseum can follow the auditorium lectures via the internet ( To follow events beyond the auditorium, it is necessary to be in the Van Abbemuseum


07 October 2011
11:00 Introduction
11:15 Peter Osborne
11:45 Ruth Sonderegger
12:30 discussion
13:00 lunch
14.00 Discussion on the Dutch situation
15:45 coffee (30 min)
16:30 Gerald Raunig
17:00 Maria Gough
18:00 oxygen break
18:30 Tania Bruguera
19:45 drinks

08 October 2011
11:00 Introduction
11:15 Thomas Hirschhorn
12:00 Isabell Lorey
12:30 discussion
13:00 lunch
14:00 Workshops (run parallel)
option 1: Curating Autonomy
option 2: The Autonomy of Criticism
15:45 coffee (30 min)
16:30 Jacques Rancière
18:00 oxygen break
18:30 Adrian Martin
19:45 drinks

09 October 2011
11:00 Introduction
11:15 Rossella Biscotti
12:00 Franco Berardi
12:30 discussion
13:00 lunch (1 hour)
14:00 Workshop (2 running parallel)
option 1: Translation into a political strategy (positioning autonomy in the public sphere)
option 2: Teaching Autonomy
15:45 coffee (30 min)
16:30 Hito Steyerl
17:15 Joost de Bloois
18:00 drinks

Editorial team: 

Jeroen Boomgaard (University of Amsterdam/Rietveldacademie)
Clare Butcher (University of Cape Town)
Charles Esche (Van Abbemuseum)
Annie Fletcher (Van Abbemuseum)
Thomas Lange (Universität Hildesheim)
Sven Lütticken (Vrije Universiteit)
Nikos Papastergiadis (University of Melbourne)
Gabriëlle Schleijpen (Dutch Art Institue/ArtEZ)
Steven ten Thije (Van Abbemuseum/Universität Hildesheim)

Autonomy Project Symposium assistant organisers:

Laurie Cluitmans and Arnisa Zeqo

The Autonomy Project consists of

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL),
Lectoraat Kunst en Publieke Ruimte, Amsterdam (NL),
Universität Hildesheim, Hildesheim (DL),
Platform Moderne Kunst, Amsterdam (NL),
Dutch Art Institute – ArtEz, Arnhem (NL),
John Moores University Liverpool (U.K.),
and Onomatopee, Eindhoven (NL).

Supported by Mondriaan Foundation