The introduction to a one-day conference on contemporanity in artistic research.
Historically speaking, contemporary art, following modern and – so it existed – postmodern art, is the art of today. As such, it seems that art has ceased to be a historical project with less interest in change than remaining in circulation, in particular on a global scale. For some, this is the contemporary condition of art. At the same time, as the name suggests, in the con-temporaneity of contemporary art, different times and temporalities come together able to create links across times and across spaces that would otherwise be unthinkable. Following the famous claim made by Roland Barthes, who (inspired by Nietzsche, and quoted by Agamben) said that “the contemporary is the untimely”, the contemporary might suggest artistic practices that run against their own time and epoch, or at least help problematize and re-emphasize particular relationships to time, history and historicity. However, what is the relationship of artistic research to contemporary art? Can it help to further artistic practices interested in resisting the flow of our times, or is it complicit in making art available now not only as material object but also as object of knowledge?