Blog Post

Theory Now

Theory Now
Nov. 16-19 2016, Paris, France
Directed by Lionel Ruffel, Université Paris 8, Leverhulm International Network in Contemporary Studies


Bringing together artists, theorists, performers, academics, this project was born out of the frustration toward a classic mold of theorizing, through homogenous panels and publication constraints. Lionel Ruffel and artist Kader Attia met in Berlin in 2015, and conceptualized together an event that allowed a space to resist these rigid forms of theory and thinking, but embraced ways in which theory can happen outside texts, outside walls, between the lines, between movements. The event takes place at La Colonie, a hybrid space between café and gallery opened by Kader in October 2016, that precisely hopes to break down some of these boundaries.

This international event, part conference, part forum, lab and workshop, gathers presenters from Germany, UK, Quebec, France, is open to the public as well in order to expand the frontiers of where theoretical thinking begins and ends. What does such theory mean?  Theory is not what it was a century ago, opening to queer studies, ecocriticism, anthropocene, acceleration, post-postcolonialism, speculative realism, technosphere, biopolitics, pharmacoporn, animal studies, etc. These different “tools” in the “theoretical toolbox,” as Ruffel calls it, require different forms in order to be produced, exhibited, approached.

How does Theory Now connect with digital humanities and the tendencies to technology? This event participates in an orientation toward a necessarily new way of understanding, creating, and sharing knowledge. It’s publishing lab, composed of doctoral students, running simultaneously with the event, is meant to reconceptualize as well what rendering public knowledge and theory can mean. 


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