Keynote lecture, The Contemporary Contemporary, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, 17 June 2017
Knut Ebeling tries to cross two current discourses in the art world: the discourse on the contemporary and the discourse on new materialities. Reading these together, Ebeling develops an “archaeology of contemporaneity,” to examine a material conception of temporality allowing him to think contemporaneity differently and to develop a critique of the philosophical discourse on contemporaneity. The title refers to the recent Lois Weinberger piece Debris Field: Explorations into the Decrepit (2017), shown at Documenta 14 in Athens, in which the artist attains contemporaneity by digging up his own Austrian homestead archaeologically, finding debris dating back to the 18th century.
Knut Ebeling is Professor of Media Theory and Aesthetics at Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin, and lecturer at Stanford University Berlin. He has written numerous publications on contemporary theory, art and aesthetics, including Die Aktualität des Archäologischen – in Wissenschaft, Medien und Künsten (Mithg.) (2004), Das Archiv brennt (together with Georges Didi-Huberman) (2007), Wilde Archäologien 1: Theorien materieller Kultur von Kant bis Kittler (2012), and Wilde Archäologien 2: Begriffe der Materialität der Zeit von Archiv bis Zerstörung (2016).