Artists Space


January 15, 2012, 3pm

With participants Adam Arvidsson, Boris Groys, Project Projects and Marina Vishmidt.

This symposium opens with the premise that progressive theories around branding and marketing have come to occupy an equivalent arena to cultural production, in which the reading of complex codes and reflexive modes of address are paramount.

Developing the themes of the exhibition “Identity”, this symposium will consider the role played by identity projection and branding within the cultural sector. With individual presentations from designers, branding theorists, and cultural critics, the event will encompass the practical and aesthetic conditions of branding as practiced by arts organizations, and a theoretical and critical consideration of how the development of "identity", as a projection of institutional image, relates to the social, political, and economic functions of a cultural organization.Is a constructed and mediative notion of institutional “identity” inherently part of a relationship between a contemporary art space, and its audience? Are the principles of branding and marketing at odds with the notion of a “critical” art space? How does the formation and maintenance of an “identity” relate to institutional policies, and political and economic positioning?

Adam Arvidsson teaches sociology at the University of Milano. He is the author of Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture (Routledge: London, 2006), and has published on social production, 'creativity' and creative industries, and the political economy of cognitive capitalism in general. His new book The Ethical Economy: A Theory of Value for the Information Society is forthcoming with Colombia University Press in 2012.

Boris Groys is Professor of Aesthetics, Art History, and Media Theory at the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. He is the author of many books, including The Total Art of Stalinism (Princeton University Press, 1992); Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment (Afterall Books, 2006); Art Power (MIT, 2008); The Communist Postscript (Verso, 2010), and, most recently, Going Public (E-flux journal/Sternberg Press, 2011).

Project Projects is a design studio that produces commissioned work and independent curatorial, editorial, and publishing projects. The studio was founded in 2004 by Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels; Rob Giampietro joined as a principal in 2010. Project Projects was honored in 2009 and 2011 as a Finalist in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum's National Design Awards. Combining a conceptual focus, a critical approach to visual form, and an expanded sense of the possibilities of contemporary design practice, Project Projects works across a wide range of media and scales from printed ephemera, books, and websites, to exhibitions, institutional identity programs, and public signage systems.

Marina Vishmidt is a writer based in London, is currently conducting PhD research at Queen Mary, University of London, on Speculation as a Mode of Production in Art and Capital. She co-edited Uncorporate Identity (2010) with Metahaven, and Media Mutandis: Art, Technologies and Politics (2006) with Mary Anne Francis and Jo Walsh. Her writing has appeared in many artists' publications, catalogues, and journals such as Mute, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, and Reartikulacija.