General Theory Forum

The General Theory Forum is a series of lectures produced for the Chelsea College of Arts postgraduate community (though they are now open and welcoming to the public), chaired by Dr. Stephen Wilson, Postgraduate Theory Coordinator. The General Theory Forum comprises 10 lectures, and this year we are delighted that they will be held at London’s ICA. This year’s series is titled Where Theory Belongs and begins on 21 January with Stine Hebert. Hebert will be in conversation with ICA curator Matt Williams and CCW Professor Neil Cummings on topics related to her book titled Self-Organised, edited by Stine Hebert and Anne Szefer Karlsen (Open Editions, 2013).

Where Theory Belongs is a title that refers to an increasingly resistant culture of auto-regulated art-speak, art theory that is in a constant need for a reflective governance. This series offers a platform that brings together: art theorists, anthropologists, sociologists, humanists, queer theorists, artists and political economists. All of the lectures are followed by a panel discussion. In looking closely at the broader relationships between art, culture and politics, Where Theory Belongs presents the thoughts of Federico Campagna and his recently published book, The Last Night – Atheism, Anti-work, Adventure on 28 January.

Campagna writes, ‘Yet a glass still has sides, though transparent. It has its own limits, which include and exclude: any action, thought or feeling that exceeds its boundaries is irrevocably banned from its territory. Or, at least, this is how normal words function. But adventure is in our hands like a piece of paper. We can cut it, fold it, make an origami out of it. We can even invert the rules that normally apply to other words, and turn its boundaries inside out, or, more precisely, outside in.’

To echo this, Where Theory Belongs proposes the possibility for a single word, or a single action, to become an adventure through its deterritorialising potentials. The limitless, yet boundaried, nature of words and theories allows for reflections and counter-reflections to create infinite possible subjectivities and hence, political manifestations of projected futures.

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