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Lectures

The lecture series in conjunction with Schaulager Night on Thursday evenings focuses on specific topics of Paul Chan’s art. Included in the price of admission. The details on the lectures are regularly updated on the website.

THU 15.5. 6.30 p.m.
Susanne Leeb
Laurenz Assistant Professor for Contemporary Art at the University of Basel
“Happiness” und “Hussein”. Kunst und Gesetz bei Paul Chan

Many of Paul Chan’s works revolve around questions of law and order in a twofold manner. On one hand, in relation to art, which lays down its own laws in keeping with its autonomous status while being, as Chan cites the philosopher Alain Badiou, a lawless proposition. And on the other, in relation to social rules and laws. The lecture looks into this chiasmus of art and law with a focus on two works: the digital video Happiness (Finally) After 35,000 Years of Civilization (after Henry Darger and Charles Fourier) with its intersection of social utopias and dystopias, and the book On Democracy by Saddam Hussein, which contains the former Iraqi dictator’s writings on democratic theory and a number of works by Chan on Guantánamo.

THU 2.10. 6.30 p.m.
Brian Droitcour
Critic and Curator, New York
e-books, books, bodies, freaks

Since its founding in 2010, Badlands Unlimited, Paul Chan's e-publishing company, has been a means for distributing art and poetry books that may not have found support elsewhere. But Chan's collaged history of printed matter in his e-book “Wht is a book?” and exploration of the possibilities of digital writing in the font collection Sade for Font's Sake suggest that Badlands is not just a publishing house but a critical engagement with newly dominant forms of control and circulation. Brian Droitcour­—a critic, curator, and editor of the Klaus_eBooks imprint of artists' publications—will offer an analysis of Badlands' activity as well as reflections on his work in digital media, to describe the shapes of social being encoded in e-books.

THU 16.10. 6.30 p.m.
Sven Lütticken
Art Historian and Critic, Amsterdam
Paul Chan: Rewriting the Book

At a time when the book is facing a serious crisis and the Gutenberg age is drawing to a close, Paul Chan’s works frequently return to cultural history elements of the book and writing as storers of cultural memory. The rise of book printing enabled the emergence of libraries worldwide. With the current digitalisation of libraries, our stored memories are becoming distorted and transformed and our brains are rewired in favour of the new techno-social order. In today’s culture of technology, not only are texts coded, but also images and sounds. In this context, Chan’s text-based works reorder the relationship between “natural” language and the programming language of algorithms, intermixing levels that are otherwise strictly separated. Ultimately, these works aim at establishing new affective and intellectual bonds, and creating forms and structures in which it is possible not just to survive, but to live.