A holobiont (from the Greek holo, “all”, and bios, “life”) is an ensemble composed of an animal or plant organism and the micro-organisms it hosts. Following the same idea, this major of ESAD – Grenoble Master degree is imagined as a complex and dynamic ecological community, in constant evolution, shaped by individual interactions and their intermingling.
Broadening and repositioning
In this major, artistic practices are considered as being inscribed in the wider context of contemporary society. In particular, they are considered as visual practices whose dynamics go beyond the simple framework of “seeing” and “showing” and instead contribute to shaping our forms of life. In the era of radical virtualization, this approach allows us to take into account the epistemological repositioning implied by the ecological and digital transition and issues such as the anthropocene, ecological interdependencies, post-coloniality and anti-racist instances, poetics and politics of the body, gender and post-gender perspectives, art in public and virtual space, the performativity of language and the body. In this sense, the practice of art allows us to be not only witnesses of these paradigm shifts but also very engaged actors. The major proposes in fact the art as a tool to allow us to bring back these questionings inside the daily life. This approach expresses the desire to always put pedagogy back into play and into discussion and not to freeze what it produces. It perpetuates the experimental and critical nature that has always marked art education in Grenoble. This pedagogy aims to let the study proliferate which “is what we do with other people. It is talking and walking with others, working, dancing, suffering, a certain irreducible convergence of the three things, held together as speculative practice” (Fred Moten and Stefano Harney).
Disseminating and transmitting
In this spirit, this program questions and places at the center of its mode of action the forms of the exhibition and artistic programming in the broadest sense. Each student is led to develop a research project where plastic, theoretical and institutional reflections are intertwined, while questioning the visibilization and transmission of the latter. He, she or they are led to appropriate the curatorial question, understood as the creation of collective formats for disseminating and sharing research. The program does not wish to adopt an authoritarian understanding of curating, but rather conceives it in an ethical sense, as a relational, co-authored and collaborative practice. This orientation leads to the invention of a set of devices that allow for the creation of a community of interpretation of the “enigmatic objects” that are artistic and visual productions and which, in the context of a school, are often still in search of meaning. The student thus acquires a plurality of skills in a multiple professional aim that incorporates curatorial writing and grammar, skills for creating and managing run spaces, as well as skills for negotiating with institutions.
In the context of a teaching conceived as a place of “study”, the writing of the Master’s “dissertation” is conceived as a space of crossing and articulation of theory and practice. The forms of writing are de-hierarchized. Categories, genres, nominations are shaken up. A poem takes on the status of a theoretical text. A theoretical text becomes a poem. The interstices are inhabited and the student’s practice is constantly re-articulated. Theory has a plastic form.
The aim of this major is also to include artistic and curatorial practices in the reflection that is currently conducted at the national level on the status of the artist and to participate in its legal repositioning. The student is thus led to question the figure of the artist as a worker and to reflect on the materialist questions and socio-economic responsibilities of artistic practices. In parallel the student acquires a practical sense of what is undertaking a project either in the artistic practice or in the curatorial experiences that are organized throughout the Master program. The student also confronts collaborations with a network of allied institutions in France and abroad.
Holobiont is a Major of the Master degree in Art at ESAD Grenoble. It is associated to the Research Unit “Hospitalité artistique et activisme visuel pour une Europe diasporique et post-occidentale”. Its research focuses on “Institutional critique and auto-reflexivity”, “Knowledge critical economy and legitimation system”, “Materialist Cultural Practices: Art economy, work and redistribution”, and “Visual practices and social justice”. See www.pratiquesdhospitalite.com
Members in charge of “Holobiont”:
Simone Frangi, Professor of Philosophy and Art Theory and Coordinator of the Research Unit “Hospitalité artistique et activisme visuel pour une Europe diasporique et post-occidentale” – ESAD Grenoble
Antoinette Ohannessian, Artist Professor – ESAD Grenoble
Katia Schneller, Professor of Art History and Theory and Coordinator of the Research Unit “Hospitalité artistique et activisme visuel pour une Europe diasporique et post-occidentale” – ESAD Grenoble
Benjamin Seror, Artist Professor – ESAD Grenoble
Camille Barjou, Professor of Art History and Theory – ESAD Grenoble
Pascale Riou, Professor of Art History and Theory – ESAD Grenoble