Michael Bears


Lecture in English

In 1967, Michel Foucault described his current epoch as one being concerned with space, that is, a space which is geographic or liminal, political or ideological, occupied or free. With an increasing preoccupation with space in late capitalism, Foucault’s concern grows into disquietude, using artistic spaces, for example, to engage with the politics of land use, race, and sustainability, or using concepts of decoloniality and critical whiteness to critique some of our most hallowed artistic spaces.

This lecture series will engage with space, cultural and performative practice, and political engagement in the arts, pivoting around the following set of evolving questions: What are spaces of exclusion and inclusion in artistic practice? In what ways can art contribute to spatial justice? How are spaces racialized and segregated artistically? And how do artistic spaces capture, reflect, or comment upon socio-political ideologies?


Michael Baers
The Outside of the Inside and the Inside of the Outside

Since 2011 I have worked on two very different research projects—one concerning the Picasso in Palestine project of 2011 and a second dealing with the legacy of the war in the Western Sahara. Both share an underlying spatio-political substrate: exile, statelessness, militarized borders, and the problematic portrayal of disenfranchised peoples within the mainstream media. How the underlying complexity of both situations can be conveyed to international art audiences has been one topic addressed in these projects; how they indicate limit points contemporary art encounters when taking up a didactic function has been another. In this talk I examine (at least) two sorts of exclusions apparent in how the art system is currently structured, each having to do with how the emancipatory pedagogical project of the historical avant-gardes might be resuscitated following the emergence of postcolonial studies.

Michael Baers

Michael Baers is an American artist and writer based in Berlin. Baers received his PhD from Vienna’s Akademie der Bildenden Künste in 2014 from its dedicated artistic research department. He has participated in exhibitions throughout North America and Europe, usually with drawings or offset publications exhibited sculpturally. He has also contributed comics and essays to many publications and print initiatives. In 2014 he completed a graphic novel based on his research of the Picasso in Palestine project, a commission from the third edition of the Berlin Documentary Forum at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Since 2013 he has conducted research on a unique photographic project that emerged from the war between the people of Western Sahara and Morocco, Sahara Occidentale, con poche immagini. This has involved lateral research into media theory and visual studies—the history and theory of photography in particular—as well as the history of western North African. His first work on the topic was published in 2019.