27154 - Art Seminar (1) (G.B)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the seminar the student: - knows and understands some relevant historical, analytical and conceptual aspects of the artistic disciplines; - possesses the fundamentals of the methodologies developed in the various fields of artistic research.

Course contents



The 30-hour seminar is divided into 15 classes of 2 hours, which will take place in the months of March and April. For the participation it is recommended the knowledge of English, both for the understanding of most of the bibliographic material – about 60% – and of numerous case studies discussed, in particular audiovisual productions, whose audio exists only in English.

The course examines the production of an international generation of artists emerged in the first two decades of the 21st century, who explore the social and cultural impact of the Internet, digital technologies and scientific innovations. Generally identified with the label “post-Internet”, the characteristic of this avant-garde movement is the speculation about a future of dystopian nature in order to reflect on the present.

In each lesson the most significant productions of about 5 artists and collectives are discussed, related to specific areas of interest of which their work is representative. Through the focus on such a strictly contemporary artistic movement, the seminar aims to be both an instrument of updating and of reflection in progress on the processes of critical reception and historicization of contemporary artistic practices.

For the discussion of such phenomena, is adopted a twofold approach: the phenomenological approach typical of the 20th-century methods of art historical investigation, which will stimulate references to twentieth-century art, from historical avant-gardes to post-modernism to post-human art; and that of visual studies, with references to the evolution of media, cinematographic science fiction and counter-cultural interpretations of technology.

Most of the artists discussed are concentrated in Europe and the United States, but they also come from the Middle East and Asia. These include: Ed Atkins, Tauba Auerbach, Alessandro Bava, Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, DIS, Aleksandra Domanovic, Cécile B. Evans, GCC, Melanie Gilligan, Camille Henrot, Holly Herndon, Lawrence Lek, Helen Marten, Metahaven, Trevor Paglen, Jon Rafman, Hito Steyerl, Ryan Trecartin, Amalia Ulman, Emilio Vavarella.



1. Introduction and planning – Mon. March 18, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

2. Reality as a constructed image – Mon. March 25, Aula 6 (3–5PM)

3. Fragmented subjectivity at the time of the Internet – Fri. March 29, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

4. Self-presentation and social media: from selfies to avatars – Mon. April 01, Aula 6 (3–5PM)

5. Transparency policies: WikiLeaks, drones and tactics of disappearance – Fri. April 05, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

6. The browsable city: immersion and nomadism – Mon. April 08, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

7. Big data: accessibility and knowledge – Fri. April 12, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

8. Media dis-entertainment: the myth of convergence – Mon. April 15, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

9. From the web to the real: materiality and illusionism– Mon. April 29, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

10. The global market and the new geopolitical structure – Fri. May 03, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

11. The ecological question: hyperobjects and the anthropocene – Mon. May 06, Aula 6 (4–6PM)

12. Abstract expressionism at the time of the apps – Fri. May 10, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

13. Sounds from the depths: electronic ruins and vaporwave – Mon. May 13, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

14. From posthumanism to transhumanism – Fri. May 17, Aula 2 (3–5PM)

15. The frontiers of artificial intelligence – Mon. May 20, Aula 2 (3–5PM)


As a reference bibliography, the seminar provides a selection of texts that can be downloaded from the relative page "insegnamenti online". The lecture includes about 30 essays, articles and artists’ writings. Among the authors: Karen Archey, Mark Fisher, Kenneth Goldsmith, Donna Haraway, Henry Jenkins, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Timothy Morton, Mark O’Connell, Marisa Olson e Hito Steyerl. About 40% of the texts are in Italian; the others are in English.

Teaching methods

The seminar is structured in 15 classes based on a historical and theoretical approach to the production of artists associated with the contemporary movement called post-Internet. On an Anglo-Saxon seminar model, the course is based on the active participation of students in the classroom, through comments and pre-arranged individual presentations. The goal is the development of a group dialogue on the topics discussed.

Assessment methods

The seminar does not issue a grade but an eligibility, for which it is required:

  • attendance at least to 12 of the 15 lessons
  • active participation in class through comments on the topics discussed
  • one individual presentation based on the readings assigned for that day
  • one final essay in the form of an article of 2,000-3,000 words (on a subject different from that of the presentation)

Teaching tools

The case studies are documented through the projection of audiovisual material.

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Maria Spampinato