Absent Audience: Practising Terminology


Absent Audience: Practising Terminology

An Advanced Practices Programme Event in Collaboration with SixtyEight Art Institute

10 September 2022

LOCATION:School of Visual Arts, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in the Hirschsprung auditoriet.

Peder Skrams Gade 2 opgang A, 3. sal. 
(please follow the signs posted outside the building)

SixtyEight Art Institute is pleased to announce a two-part talk/workshop event, ‘Absent Audience: Practising Terminology,’ organised in collaboration with The Advanced Practices programme at Goldsmiths, University of London, The International Center for Knowledge in the Arts and the Laboratory for Arts Research, The School of Visual Arts, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

The Absent Audience project emerged from the Practice Laboratory of the program. Led by group members, the talk presents the two years of collective research about the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale curated by Okwui Enwezor in 1997. The presentation digs into “diffractive case study” research, which as a notion and methodology, engages with the multiple and fragmentary knowledges of the event, using the latter as a portal to know adjacent, opaque, distant or parallel narratives that are potentially present in or around the event itself, but often repressed by dominant systems or mundane status quos.

The talk develops around a series of questions: What does it mean to be an audience of an event displaced from us (as potential publics) both geographically and temporally? How can we reactivate the forces of the event starting from the urgencies of our space and time? Can the terminology emerging from the research become a tool to disseminate and diffract the different trajectories and lines of flight from the event?

Schedule for this two-part event:

11.00 – 13.00: Joint the talk by the Advanced Practices Lab. 
Presented by: Anne Julie Arnfred (Roskilde University and Goldsmiths), Gema Darbo (Goldsmiths), Zoe Keller (Goldsmiths), Francesca Lazzarini(Goldsmiths), and Vaida Stepanovaite (Goldsmiths). This presentation will be followed by a talk by the visual artist and researcher Sarah Pierce. The closing discussion between all researchers will be moderated by artist Hugo Hopping(SixtyEight Art Institute). This talk is open to the general public and requires no reservations.

14.00 – 17.00: Workshop’ Practising Terminology.’ 
This joint workshop will be an opportunity to work directly with the organisers and researchers of the event. Considering the open-ended nature of the Absent Audience project, ‘Practising Terminology’ is a workshop that draws from the methodologies and notions presented during the talk to expand them with the participants. Through a diffractive approach and positioning ourselves as the absent audience of each other’s practices, the workshop involves the participants in a series of discursive activities articulated around a terminology graph produced in the Absent Audience project. The aim of ‘Practising Terminology’ is twofold: on the one hand, it will make the methodologies available to the practitioners as tools for reflection on their own works. On the other hand, it proposes to share and expand the research knowledge through the participants’ multiple knowledges.


Absent Audience: Practising Terminology is organised as a collaboration between the SixtyEight Art Institute and the Advanced Practices programme at Goldsmiths, University of London, to learn from the reciprocity of two entities immersed in questions of research-based knowledge and its publics in the cultural field. The ‘Absent Audience’ framework was first outlined as a two-day Goldsmiths virtual conference in June 2021, with keynote speakers Gabi Ngcobo and Sarah Pierce.

The event is made possible with the generous support of COST for Short Term Scientific Mission and the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths CollegeUniversity of LondonThe International Center for Knowledge in the Arts and the Laboratory for Arts Research at the School of Visual Arts at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.


This workshop is for artists, curators, and, more broadly, researchers in the cultural field interested in research-as-practice, exploring how to work with the idea of absent audiences and the diffractive case study in practice. We’re looking to put together a dynamic group of workshop participants whose work and research will engage productively with the day’s presentation. Therefore, seats are limited and available through an open call until 2 September 2022.Please send your name, affiliation, and a 150-word statement framing your research to info@sixtyeight.dk.

We will confirm your participation on or before 4 September.

Anne Julie Arnfred is a curator of visual art and PhD fellow at Roskilde University (2019-2022) & Visiting PhD fellow at Advanced Practices Goldsmiths (2019-2022). She received the Elite Research Travel Grant 2021 from the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science and has several years of experience as a curator at well-known Danish art institutions such as Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center (2007 – 2016) and The Museum for Contemporary Art, Roskilde (2016 – 2017). Arnfred works in between various knowledge-based practices, questioning how we know, how we practise, and what we consider valuable to evaluate.

Gema Darbo is a curator and a researcher based in London. Her practice is informed by aspects of visual culture, digital humanities and the production of curatorial knowledge. As a researcher, she questions individuation in curatorial practices while exploring transdisciplinary, co-relational and collaborative modes of creation and transmission of knowledge. Darbo is co-initiator of Widephoto, a non-profit curatorial platform that led a series of initiatives for the exchange, learning and debate of contemporary photography in Barcelona. She is granted a curatorial residency in Spain institutionally supported by Matadero, Loop, and Fabra i Coats, where she is currently working on an exhibition that will take place at Center d’Arts Santa Mónica in September 2022.

Jiaying Gao is a fellow PhD student in the Advanced Practices programme at Goldsmiths University of London, UK. Her research investigates the intersection of the body perceptions and the archives, particularly within the frame of Dance museums. She has an extensive research experience in the fields of Chinese dance, as well as cultural and ethnic policies and their impact on social and economic development at local, national and international levels. Gao is currently undertaking a practice-based project that aims to extend and reflect the performativity of identities and affects in dance archives.

Zoe Keller is a researcher (Advanced Practices Goldsmiths – 2019-2022) and an assistant curator based in Geneva. Her research interests expand around matters of collections and archives and their multiple articulations between the poetic and the political. In the past years, she has been involved in different art institutions, such as HEAD-Geneva (University of Art and Design), MAMCO (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – Geneva), Le Centre de la Photographie Genève, and The Warburg Institute in London. She is currently leading a collaborative publication project with the artist Batia Suter using a found collection of ‘archetypal’ images.

Francesca Lazzarini is a curator of visual art. For her PhD in Advanced Practices at Goldsmith, London, she is looking at the post-photographic as a dynamic space to rethink ways of togetherness with and through images. Lazzarini worked for Fondazione Fotografia Modena (now FMAV) and its School for Advanced Studies from its initiation in 2007 until 2013. She has then undertaken an independent path orienting her curatorial practice toward long-term projects based on research, collaboration and experimentation. Among them: are POIUYT (2017 – ), Neuro-Revolution (2019-2020), Talking (about) Images (2018-2019), and Stories from the Edges (2015-2016). She directs the art residency program AiR Trieste which she founded in 2016.

Sarah Pierce is an artist based in Dublin. Since 2003, Pierce has used the term The Metropolitan Complex to describe her project, characterised by forms of gathering, both historical examples and those she initiates. The processes of research and presentation that she undertakes demonstrate a broad understanding of cultural work and a continual renegotiation of the terms for making art, the potential for dissent, and self-determination. Pierce is also a lecturer at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin where she teaches on the BA Visual Cultures and the MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World. She holds a PhD in Curatorial Knowledge from Goldsmiths College and an MFA from the College of Architecture Art & Planning at Cornell University. She is a past participant of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York (1995), and is past Board member and Chair of Project Arts Centre in Dublin.

Vaida Stepanovaite is a curator of contemporary visual art and cultural and political discursive practices contextualised mainly within the histories and presences of the post-socialist region. Stepanovaite practices and writes through the problematics of self-organisational communal practices and questions of radical resistance, undertaking practice-based doctoral research at the Advanced Practices programme, Goldsmiths. She is a co-establisher of a publishing platform with a communal itch, Lost Property Press, under which she also is an Assistant Editor of an upcoming book “Paths to Autonomy” (ed. Noah Brehmer, Lost Property Press, Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2022). She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Artnews. Lt and Head of organisation.

SixtyEight Art Institute is an artistic/curatorial research organisation looking to uncover, develop, and further exchanges between artists and curators and their creative labour. Currently on view They Say We Are Seeking to Understand What’s Been Going On with artists Anastasia Sosunova and Jeremiah Day, curated by Caterina Avataneo, and open until 20 August. This exhibition is the eighth instalment of our two-year programme of exhibitions, Memoirs of Saturn, kindly supported by the Danish Arts FoundationDet Obelske FamiliefondBeckett-Fonden and Københavns Kommune Rådet for Visuel Kunst.