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Mike Sperlinger

I am a writer and curator, and Professor of Writing and Theory. I’m British, but these days I’m based full-time in Oslo. I never went to art school myself, but I have taught in several including Goldsmiths, London and the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. My own studies were in literature and philosophy, and I’m still interested in how both those fields relate to art – especially when it comes to how visual artists use writing.

Before I came to KHiO, I was Assistant Director of LUX (, a London-based organization for artists working with the moving image, from 2001-2013. LUX is a tiny organization dealing with a huge archive of artists’ films and videos, and working with cinemas, festivals, galleries, and museums. I had the chance to work with a huge variety of artists from around the world, on projects ranging from film restoration to publishing and exhibition-making.

Most of my own writing has been about the intersection between art and film, or art and writing. I’ve written for magazines like Afterall, Dot Dot Dot and Texte zur Kunst, as well as catalogue texts for artists like Ed Atkins, Laure Prouvost and Mari Slaatelid. Often my writing has been done in close dialogue with artists and sometimes even as part of artworks. I’ve also edited several books including Here Is Information. Mobilize – a selection of writings by the late artist Ian White – and Afterthought: New Writing on Conceptual Art (both available in the library). If you’re interested in seeing some examples, you can download several texts here:

A lot of my curatorial work has also been with the moving image, from small salon-style screenings to gallery and museum shows. But perhaps the curatorial work which has been most important to me personally has been with the artist Marianne Wex (1937-2020), who made an extraordinary photo/collage project about male and female body language in the 1970s. I made three exhibitions with Marianne over the course of a decade, one in the UK and two in Germany. You can see a talk I gave about Marianne’s work at Kunsthall Trondheim in 2017 here:

What I am working on now / current interests

One of my main interests is film and particularly alternative, experimental or moving image. I’m in the process of establishing PRISMS, a new organization for alternative film cultures in Norway and elsewhere. You can read more and sign up to receive a monthly email with information about upcoming screening events here: I’m also very interested in the relationship of art to writing, and especially how artists themselves use writing alongside – or as a part of – their artwork. I’m currently researching a book of essays about writing by visual artists, in collaboration with Berlin-based curator and editor Nida Ghouse.

Pedagogical approach and expectations of students

I am not a main advisor, but I do a lot of tutorials – they are an important way for me to get to know you and your practice in more depth. You are always welcome to sign up for a tutorial to talk about anything you are currently thinking about or working on (it doesn’t need to be writing- or theory related). And if you would like to speak but don’t see any tutorials advertised, just drop me an email and we will find a time.

In terms of my seminars: these are normally based around a particular topic or question, and involve a combination of reading, writing, lectures and discussions. What I can promise is that my courses will be planned so that you know in advance what is expected of you and assignments of reading/writing will be relatively short, so you have time to work on them alongside your other courses and studio work. In return I ask you to come to class punctually (and to let me know in advance when you cannot attend), to do the required reading (even if it seems difficult), and to try to be an active part of discussion in class (whilst being respectful of others).

I teach mostly in English, but my Norwegian is improving! At school we are often speaking in a second language, as well as reading texts which are challenging. It is important in all my classes that you feel you can always pause the discussion and ask when there is a word or concept you are not familiar with. My seminars are not about mastering the texts we look at, but rather finding ways to approach unfamiliar ideas in honest and creative ways, as artists rather than theorists – come prepared to share questions, doubts, and speculations


  • Michael Sperlinger, Morten Kvamme, Ingrid Halland & Jan Christensen: Panel discussion for seminar on Nasjonale Turistveger (2023).
    Faglig foredrag. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger & Marte Aas: Artists talk with Marte Aas (2023).
    Faglig foredrag. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger: On Trinh T. Minh-ha's 'Lovecidal: Walking with the Disappeared' (2023).
    Faglig foredrag. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger: ‘I am not an archive’: Ian White and liveness (2023).
    Faglig foredrag. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger & Sille Storihle: Jack presenterer #4: Gruppekritikken & samtale (2023).
    Faglig foredrag. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger, Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme: Artist Talk with Basel Abbas / Ruanne Abou-Rahme (2023).
    Faglig foredrag. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger, Ed Atkins, Lene Berg, Kevin B. Lee, Maryam Tafakory & James Kienitz Wilkins: Motforestillinger (2023).
    Kunstutstilling. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger: O Superman (2023).
    Faglig kapittel. Mer info
  • Martin White & Michael Sperlinger: Big Science #4 (2023).
    Utstillingskatalog. Mer info
  • Michael Sperlinger: Analogies and Anthologies: A Lexicon for Marte Aas (2023).
    Annet. Mer info