Stefan Nowotny’s Discourse Series lecture attempts to suspend the archive

CuMMA Discourse Series # 19
Stefan Nowotny: Suspending the Archive
24th of September 2014
Node Space, Hämeentie 135 C (5th floor)

Archives have an epistemological or ‘logological’ function just as much as they have an empirical function. That is, they do not only collect andconserve materials on which
knowledges can be built. They also disallow others and regulate the very ways in which knowledges can be formulated. Thus, the archive silences as it allows for discourses and narratives to be constructed. According to Michel Foucault, it is what ‘separates us from what we
can no longer say, and from that which falls outside our discursive practice.’ But then, isn’t the task of actualizing the archive a highly paradoxical task? Doesn’t it involve the task of suspending the archive, of rendering it inoperative rather than making it operate in new ways? And
what if many things were, regardless of the archive,
constantly being said and the ask was to listen to them
even though ‘we’ cannot say them? How, then, would
‘we’ have to rearticulate or recompose ‘our’ discursive

Stefan Nowotny is a philosopher based in London (Goldsmiths College) and a member of the eipcp (http:// He has been part of the eipcp’s transnational projects transform and translate (2005–2008) and done research and taught at universities in Belgium (Louvain-la-Neuve), Germany (Lüneburg) and Austria (Klagenfurt) since 2001, alongside various other project involvements and collaborations with both visual and performance artists.
He has published widely on philosophical and political
topics, co-edited several anthologies, translated a number of texts from both French and English into German, and co-authored the volumes Instituierende Praxen. Bruchlinien der Institutionskritik (w/ G. Raunig, 2008) and Übersetzung: Das Versprechen eines Begriffs (w/ B. Buden, 2008). He is also a co-editor of the book series “Es kommt darauf an. Texte zur Theorie der politischen Praxis”,
started in 2005. Since 2011 he is a tutor at Goldsmiths,
University of London. He is also part of the eipcp’s research project „Europe as a Translational Space. The Politics of Heterolinguality“.

David Muoz’s exhibition creates a space for CuMMA seminars


This autumn the CuMMA seminars and Discourse Series will mostly be taking place inside David Muoz’s exhibition, contributing to his research and vice versa.

David Muoz – Nomad Agency/Archive of Emergent Studies
Curated by Nora Sternfeld and Hanna Ohtonen
24 Sept.-28 Nov. 2014
Opening: 23 Sept. 2014, 6:00 p.m.
NODE Space, Aalto Arts, Hämeentie 135 C, 5th Floor, 00560 Helsinki

What could a space for emergent studies and critical knowledge production within the art department of a University look like? How can we conceive of research and artistic practice as unruly agencies within a public institution? In addressing these difficult questions, David Muoz creates a gap as well as a laboratory. He invites us into the universe of his research project that reflects on the intersections and frictions between learning and acting, theories and affects, history and politics.

The installation at NODE Space gives insight into Muoz’s ongoing research on the resilience and fragility of power. The works presented explore the concept of the ‘milestone’ and reflect on monuments as containers of memories, as moments of sedimented politics, of needs and desires, of contestation, and of denial.

Muoz enters into the topic through discussing two cases of monumental unrest: The Statue of Miguel Aleman (1952) at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Alexander II Monument (1894) at the Senate square in Helsinki. His investigation juxtaposes these two highly symbolically charged monuments, which are also records of political contradictions within specific periods of socio-historical transitions. Gazing into their shadows, the artist reconstructs the target of demands and the attempts at the removal of the monuments to encourage us to reflect on the physical void and the absence of significance. The work stems from an archival excavation that links a personal understanding of the narrations of historical events and repositioning conceptual relations through appropriating new meanings in order to open up space for new reflections.

The starting point for the installation are these two connected and divided contexts that he places in a research environment—a growing space for shared reading and debate—in which questions are raised that create a perspective to see different relations to the archive and to political practice. It is as much an exhibition as it is an invitation to partake in a process with an open outcome, and to read and think together.

The exhibition was conceived within the context of the CuMMA seminar “Theoretical Frameworks in Curating and Mediating Art”, which investigates conceiving curatorial, artistic and educational strategies as public intellectual practices. The seminar readings, lectures and discussions both take place and leave traces in the space.


David Muoz (MX, 1979). Visual artist, architect and designer based in Helsinki and Mexico City. Graduated from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture of Aalto University in Finland (2012), and from the National Autonomous University of México, UNAM (2003). He is the founder of the artistic research platform NAES, Nomad Agency- Archive of Emergent Studies and a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University in Finland.

His artwork takes the form of critical interventions, playing with different levels of transparencies as resources to unveil and question the passive way with which the hegemonic strategies are accepted. By confronting layers of truths, myths and realities, his work encounters an exploration on the modes that the social memory crystallizes into material facts, as common imaginary sets constituted by a historical memory in play with social and political forms of identification, mediation and prevention.

Next CuMMA Discourse series lecture by Dmitry Vilensky on Wed 17th of Sept

Dmitry Vilensky: Chto Delat and Method – On the Front lines of the Second Cold War

17th of Sept, 2014, 6-8 pm
Node Space

The events of recent months have lodged all the artists and creative workers of Ukraine and Russia between two brutally opposed countries – Russia with its cold war atmosphere, exaltation of the search for enemies, and the tightening repression of dissent in all forms, and Ukraine flung headlong into direct military confrontation.

What yesterday seemed the stuff of chimerical nightmares is today becoming reality, and artists and cultural workers, aiming to relate their work to the actuality of the time have wound up in a very complicated position. How can we carry on creating, speaking and living when we are all hopelessly frozen to our computer screens with anxiety, trying to make sense of the bloody mingling of contradictory and manipulated information, seething hatreds, madness, and desperation?

Nonetheless, the cultural producers bear a special responsibility for the right to speak, analyze, feel, and continue shaping values that not only free people from the affects of propaganda but also create a refuge from the inevitable future in which the catastrophe of our situation becomes full-blown, and we all realize that we can no longer live with it.

In this seminar we invite you to share experiences and discuss how the methods which Chto Delat has been developing for last decade can be tested at the moment of direct danger not just for cultural workers but for societies at large.

– Dmitry Vilensky