MACBA, in collaboration with the Universitat de Barcelona, is hosting part of the international conference Global Art Challenges: Towards an ‘Ecology of Knowledges’. The aim is to reformulate established approaches to the study of global art in the face of ongoing challenges in that field. Building on sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santo’s concept of an ‘ecology of knowledges’ (2007), the conference seeks to go beyond ‘abyssal thinking in modern Western-based conceptions’ of art and to trace lines of inquiry based on new epistemological approaches to global art studies. As theorised by de Sousa Santos, ecological thinking, understood as a counter-epistemology, recognises the plurality of heterogeneous knowledge(s) and highlights the dynamic interconnections that exist between them. Hence, faced with a longstanding mono-cultural conception of knowledge and art, an ‘ecology of knowledges’ conceives knowledge as ‘an intervention in reality’ rather than a hierarchical preference for Western knowledge(s) over other forms of knowing.
This conference seeks to discuss, from a methodological, epistemological and practical perspective, the possibilities of developing an ‘ecology of knowledges’ in art history and in artistic and institutional practices. It looks for ways to overcome Western hierarchies and enter into a proactive dialogue between practices, methods and discourses. Such perspectives, we hope, will contribute to questioning taxonomies, values, temporalities, and dichotomies that have not only been a part of the art historic discipline since its foundation, but have been imposed as universal and taken for granted. Finally, the conference seeks to become a platform for debating the possibilities of breaking this (Western-dominated) view within art history, and finding a starting point for a change of paradigm in the understanding of global art.
Organised by: Art, Globalization, Interculturality (AGI/ART) As part of the Consolidated Group Agència d'Ajuts Universitaris de la Generalitat de Catalunya (2014 SGR1050) and the research project Critical cartography of art and visuality in the global age. New methodologies, concepts and analytical approaches Part 2 (HAR2013 43122P) of the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO, Madrid).