Jochen Gerz

The Anthology of Art
Art and Theory in Dialogue.

The Anthology of Art offers an internet-based platform for dialogue between artists and art theorists from all over the world. Its theme is the vision of art and its relationship to theoretical discourse.

The appropriation of art by its institutions has shown that art and discourse are interconnected, placing equal emphasis on both theoretical reflection and on the work of art itself. Contemporary art reflects the conditions of its own production and promotion.

Instead of presuming the connection between production and theory, the Anthology of Art is investigating, and demonstrating it. At the same time, it confronts the global medium of the Internet with traditional relationships within the international art. As a result, this experiment provides information about contemporary artistic process.


The Game
In the beginning, six artists and six theorists were invited to contribute to the Anthology of Art. The artists chose one of their own images, while the theorists wrote a short text (1 - 3 pages) in their native language or in English, both answering the same question:

"In the context of contemporary art, what is your vision of a yet unknown art?"

The twelve contributions - either images or text - are accessible on the Internet for only two weeks. Each participant invites a successor to send in a replacement submission, either an image or text. In this way, the web site is continuously updated and no more than twelve contributions will appear on the Anthology's site at any given time. The rotation of contributions will continue until October 2002.


At the completion of the project, all contributions will be published. The final Anthology of Art will comprise 312 different contributions: 156 images and 156 texts.


The Investigation
Beyond compiling a representative collection of contemporary theory, the intention is to investigate a production process in dialogue form, without the initiators' interference. It is assumed today that art itself is no longer being questioned. On the contrary: every word about art tends to transform itself into art as well. The Anthology of Art tests the limits of this trend. The question is: can a large number of independent authors produce a meaningful work as a whole? Will this form of production reflect a global society more adequately than traditional, curated models of presentation?


The Anthology of Art
The year long process of developing the Anthology ends in October 2002 and will coincide with the opening of the new library of the Academy of Fine Arts in Braunschweig. Six months later, a printed version of the Anthology of Art will be published, including all images and texts.

Summary
The aim of this work in progress is to forge a new dialogue between art and theory. Members of a heterogeneous international community will be the authors and curators of the Anthology. Existing contacts will grow; unexpected relationships will be initiated.

The international and interdisciplinary claim of contemporary art has often been taken for granted. It will now be questioned by simultaneous, ephemeral and aleatoric confrontations of different regions of the world, no longer merely from centres or peripheries, no longer from either naive or informed perspectives.


Organization
Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig - Braunschweig School of Art/Germany

Project Team
- Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Prof. Horant Fassbinder, Heike Wetzig, Deborah Phillips (translations), Christoph Behm (site administration)
- Université Rennes 2, Haute Bretagne, Département des Arts plastiques, Dr. Marion Hohlfeldt, and students
- Dr. Sigrid Pawelke (Paris)

Partners
- Lettre International, Berlin
- Fondation Evens, Antwerp
- eku interactive e. K. Berlin
- Universität Karlsruhe (TU), Virtuelle Bibliothek der UB
- advanced visions Design & Mediaagentur, Braunschweig

Funder
Stiftung Niedersachsen, Germany www.stnds.de