“Modernities Out of Synch”: Reflective Nostalgia and New Media in Transnational Art Practices

November 2011

Our project proposes to bring together an international group of scholars from the humanities (and digital humanities), social sciences, and architecture as well as curators and artists to investigate new tendencies in contemporary art and culture related to the critical uses of nostalgia in the production of new artistic media.

Focusing on the practices that were often considered "belated" or "peripheral" vis-à-vis the dominant Western conceptions of modernity and modernization, we develop the concept of the "off-modern" that offers an alternative understanding of the artistic evolution from a cross-cultural perspective.

Many of our examples come from transnational and immigrant art practices, especially from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Indian subcontinent (to use just a few concrete case studies: Anri Sala, Raqs Collective, Pedro Reyes, Huma Bhabha). These unexpected cultural connections invite further dialogues. The goal of our exploratory seminar is to test this new theoretical hypothesis and to envisage experimental ways of presenting and curating "off-modern" art in the future through museum exhibits, innovative digital platforms, and scholarly publications.