by Christian Bazant-Hegemark, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna 

Friday 25/4, 15.30pm, Litho Workshop, Graphic House, Skeppsholmen

Starting out with painting and print-making as examples of analog media, I'd like to discuss contemporary canonization dynamics and how they affect artists and their work, focussing how these are in turn affected by global quantization-by-digitalization efforts like Big Data, and what consequences they might imply for art and artistic research processes.
Contemporary art can be defined by its necessity for finding individualistics - by researching unique approaches, definitions and solutions regarding the individual parametrization of one's work's quality and process. The agility of art's underlying canonization dynamics is especially noteworthy because of the digital (and digitized) times we live in: the current era, post-visualistic turn, is defined by Big Data's global quantizations, creating strong yet unseen momenta acting like undercurrents regarding their establishing force for visual symbols and ciphers. Because of this, they require high levels of retinal awareness, a holistic visual fluency that's inclusive to all areas of past, current and future human conditions - from dance to design, from architecture to cooking, from cave paintings to internet memes.
At the same time, Big Data creates quantizations based on globally collected statistics that become individual de facto normatives - a body's appearance, shopping behavior, the next word to write, an unborn's name. Taking the behavior of masses, expectations are set on what will happen when and how, on the individual level: Big Data opens a new era in post-contingent living, where the only noteworthy action is the one deviating from the statistical norm.
Now with humanities’ cultural history being strongly founded on millennia of analog media (painting, drawing, sculpting, dancing, writing etc), its unquantifiable character can easily go unnoticed. It’s the advent of contemporary digitalization dynamics that creates an aura of suspicion towards the analog: because Big Data can’t exist in non-digital paradigms, it’s especially curious of all things unquantifiable - natural movements, ideas, erratic manifestations, the future: and Art.
Because of its inherent semantic ambiguities the analog in general - and analog art more specifically - can be seen as subversive vector in the tradition/spirit of terroristic acts. Aren't contemporary artists the creators of unquantifiable information? And isn’t unquantifiable information what contemporary western society is most afraid of? What could be more intrinsically hermetic than works of contemporary art?
Takeaway: An understanding on contemporary visual canonization dynamics, and how they affect one’s work independent of the artist’s actual knowledge about them.
Intended audience: Contemporary artists, art-based researchers.
Christian Bazant-Hegemark: After working as a video-game programmer at a sub-division of Rockstar Games for six years (GTA, Max Payne, Manhunt etc), Bazant-Hegemark (* 1978) studied painting with Harun Farocki, Gunter Damisch and Daniel Richter at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (2006-2011, diploma with honors). Since 2011 he’s writing his PhD thesis on contemporary painting (Elisabeth von Samsonow). Since 2010 his work has been shown at solo exhibitions in Vienna, Salzburg, Düsseldorf, Brno, Paris, Leipzig, Rio and Seattle. He co-organizes one of Vienna’s most prolific independent art spaces (www.moe-vienna.org), and makes some of his PhD research public at www.beyondmimesis.tumblr.com. His work can be seen at www.bazant-hegemark.com.