• Thursday, 14 January, 2021 - 16:0017:30

Lessons of a Virus #1

Lessons of a Virus: On Nearness, Art & Education after COVID 19 and The Aesthetics of Ambiguity, understanding and addressing monoculture with Marlies de Munck et Pascal Gielen. Moderated by Guy Gypens.


- Nearness, Art & Education after COVID 19 (VALIZ, 2020). The Covid-19 crisis teaches us how priceless human nearness is. Art and education can't do without it either. Like works of art, people lose their aura when kept at digital arm's length. Art is lifeless when it can't resonate with bodies. In Nearness, Marlies De Munck and Pascal Gielen diagnose a new reality. Only culture marks the difference between surviving and living.


-The Aesthetics of Ambiguity, understanding and addressing monoculture (VALIZ, 2020) In The Aesthetics of Ambiguity: Understanding and Addressing Monoculture Pascal Gielen argues that multiculturalism is paradoxically based on monocultural thinking. The publication explores this paradox by exploring monoculture in a variety of contemporary contexts. The book sets out to analyse monoculture using a multifaceted approach, by bringing together historical, social, cultural and ideological perspectives, using the dual role of art as tool for reconciliation and division in societies. The Aesthetics of Ambiguity gives stage to artists, thinkers and institutional practices who dare to play with the rules of a broader society and thus generate ambiguity ‘at large’. The book represents a quest for (more) ambiguity in order to avoid rigid borders or black-and-white polarities between cultures, as well as between practices of art and scientific thinking. By doing so, the artists, activists and researchers featured in this book plea for a politics and aesthetics of ambiguity to deal with the complexity of our living together on Earth.


Marlies De Munck is philosopher of culture. She teaches at the Philosophy department of the Antwerp University and at the KASK & Conservatory in Ghent. As a member of the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO) of the Antwerp Research Institute of the Arts (ARIA) she conducts research into the health of culture.


Pascal Gielen is professor of sociology of culture and politics. He is based at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA) of Antwerp University. There he leads the research group Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO). He is editor of the international book series Antennae-Arts in Society, published by Valiz.