The Akademi and
The Corporate Public

Art Production in a Dramatised Field

- A research project by Stephan Dillemuth -



This research is based on my previous work in 1994/95 about a contemporary model of the Akademie and, from 1996 onwards, about the ‘Corporate Rokoko’ i.e. how the global changes in economy start shaping the public sphere and the art differently - all things which make our life at the beginning of the 21st century so exciting.

As for my research, I want to introduce ‘The Akademi and The Corporate Public’ and ‘Art Production in a Dramatised Field’ as the titles for one project which has several parts. All of them have one point of departure in common, which is the present shift in the idea of a public sphere and its consequences for the significance of art in our time. ¨

‘The Akademi and The Corporate Public’
is the investigation into the status questionis of a public in change. It is the mapping of a new phenomenon, which is a shift in the idea of the public sphere induced by a corporate world economy, that results in a different function of art and a different role of the artist in this society.

‘Art Production in a Dramatised Field’
is the necessary second part. It is research as an attempt of artistic transformation, to dramatise the investigated problem as part of a counter strategy. The idea is to induce the idea of a dramatised field as an exemplification which renders visible aspects in the field of the fine arts and its dependency on a corporate public that would otherwise remain unnoticed.

Dialogues, relations, differences.
Each of these two constituents, investigation and research, consist of two parts again. In order to approach relations and differences in my research I prefer a ‘methodology’ in dialogue form.

The investigation into
‘The Akademi and The Corporate Public’

- is firstly aimed ¨ to create an overview of an international debate by collecting writings of artists.
- Secondly it is ¨ to apply this knowledge onto the Norwegian situation by starting a dialogue with different publics, corporate or otherwise.

The ‘Art Production in a Dramatised Field’ means to develop the investigated matter into two different experimental set-ups.

- One of them, the ‘White Cube’ is a space to be installed in a former storage of the Kunsthogskolen in order to introduce the awareness of a dramatised field into the production and the display of the art object, into the community that creates a debate around it and expands it into the scenery of Bergen.

- The second experimental set-up is planned to happen in the gallery ¨ ‘American Fine Arts’ in New York.

Whereas the set-up in Bergen is rather simply defined through a relatively empty field, in New York the world is not merely a stage, but the stage is also full of worlds. Further, the gallery ‘American Fine Arts’ could be seen as a theatre already, because it has reflected upon its position in this environment before and has dramatised and strategised its appearances and audiences in various ways.

In order to reflect upon these strategies centred around the 'art work of the future', and investigate its aesthetic, its corporate public and its social function, I have to set up an experimental model.
To research into the very heart of capitalism’s lair, we must be able to see its relativisms and uncertainties as a game in order to be able to begin our work. I have to turn the situation into an artificial set-up in order to be able at least to see it. That is to say, I will set-up a ‘real’ theatre in the gallery.

The stage enters as an analogy drawn not only in order to see late capitalism as a game but also, and very importantly, in order to found the attempt to stage a new game with different rules. In this new game, we have to see ourselves not only as viewers, or as powerless participants in some kind of pre-ordained reality scenario, but also as part of the game itself. The chance is that perhaps then we can begin to act out our own participation.

With the (artificial) device of a stage in place, we can see ourselves as artists appearing in a dramatised environment where we can try and alter the script and the props, and then see if this helps us to shape a different audience. With a different audience in place, perhaps we can effect an exit from the aforementioned 'game' and thenceforth continue our work as artists outside of its strictures.

Theatrical strategies in the fine arts are not in themselves new. There are various collaborations and cross-border activities throughout the history of fine art and theatre which lead to the new genre ‘performance’. But it is important that, through this research project, the introduction of ‘theatre’ into the fine arts context can lead to a new possibility for reflection upon the fine arts context itself.

So theatre becomes the main device in this research; it becomes almost synonymous with the artistic research because it enables us to throw a reserved and critical view onto our objective. On top of this, it can even assist us to catch sight of the action of this view being thrown. As with all the arts we will not deny an entertaining effect, but use it.


"Proposal for Research at Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen"