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Research Seminar Network Art: Transformative Practices

Kate Southworth

11 February 2009
15.30 hrs – 16.55 hrs
Conference Room,


Making intimate places through 'everyday performance artworks' calls for a fragilising and making vulnerable of the self, and creates a potential for transformation and healing within that which Bracha L. Ettinger has termed the Matrixial sphere. Encountering without attempting to assimilate, master, control or reject the other, everyday performance artworks draw on that part of the human psyche that evades commodification and resists colonisation.

Attuned to ongoing social changes emerging with the rise of the network-based society some artists have shifted their attention away from making objects towards the realm of human relations, devising myriad situations within which participative activities take place. Whereas tangible borders mark the parameters between objects, network artists have found it necessary to use 'protocol' to call attention to and mark the borders between one set of relations and another. These protocols 'frame' processes and relations and can be 'sturdy' in so far as they strictly define a space and the parameters of likely encounters, or 'fragile' and just barely draw attention to particular relations and participatory processes.

In this seminar, alongside the question of how fragile an artwork can be before it collapses back into the everyday, I would like to consider whether there is a supplementary way of thinking artworking, relations, encounters and events: one that considers the Matrixial sphere of 'unintentional organisation' alongside the intentional organisation of protocol.