Construction of the New Jersey Turnpike, 17 November 1951. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Open Forum: Art, very occasionally - Mike Sperlinger

We welcome you to a talk with writer and curator Mike Sperlinger.

Time: Monday, March 18 at 19.00. Student beer and free soup from 18.00. Khartoum is open 17.00–00.00.
Place: Khartoum Contemporary Art Center, Bernt Akers Gate 17.

“It is necessary to establish… that the nature or power of each thing is nothing but the will of God; that all natural causes are not true causes but only occasional causes.”
- Nicholas Malebranche

It seems very obvious what we mean when we say one thing is the ‘cause’ of another, but causality remains in fact remains a philosophical shady category. The fact that we repeatedly see one thing follow another is proof of nothing – as David Hume said, don’t count on the sun rising tomorrow. When it comes to art, the case is, if anything, even less clear: for example, when you suffer Stendahl syndrome in front of a Giotto fresco, are your ecstasies really caused by the painting? How can we honestly account for everything, however circumstantial, that comprises an aesthetic encounter without trivialising artworks themselves? And what if art is never the real cause, but only an occasion – an accident in front of which I happen to have an experience?

This talk will attempt to think through some of the consequences of taking this absurd premise seriously, via, amongst other things: the philosophy of Occasionalism, the film criticism of Dorothy Richardson, Manny Farber’s termite and Carl Jung’s beetle, driving on an unfinished highway at night, and some iconic but invisible public sculpture in Oslo.

Mike Sperlinger is a writer and curator. He currently teaches writing at Kunstakademiet, Oslo, and Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. His recent writing includes catalogue texts for Ed Atkins, Ruth Buchanan and Gerard Byrne, and the chapbook Occasional Criticism (Schloss Solitude, 2018). Recent curatorial projects include Sad Disco Fantasia, a festival of film-as-event with Kunsthall Oslo, and (with Kirsty Bell) the exhibition Ian White: Any frame is a thrown voice for Camden Art Centre, London.

Open Forum is a student run initiative from the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo that runs at Khartoum Contemporary Art Center (KCAC) every other Monday night. Open Forum seeks to create a meaningful exchange of ideas and a dynamic space for dialogue and debate between art students, artists and others. The talks are structured around different topics, from those closer to artistic and curatorial practices to other of social and political relevance.