Areas of research

a)    Avant-garde and Cultural Mobility

The centre welcomes new research on topography and aspects of cultural mobility in the aesthetic avant-garde. Tracing and reconstructing the topography of the avant-garde is an important aspect of approaching its activities in terms of a broad international current. Work in this area of research covers such different aspects as internationalism (and its relation to nationalism), translation, aesthetic appropriation, circulation and links between cultural, geographical and linguistic centres and peripheries.

b)    Alternative Publications

The publication strategies of the avant-garde are of central interest for understanding and describing its modes of presentation and distribution. Of special importance is the role of small magazines and autonomous publishing houses, as well as avant-garde strategies for organizing alterna­tive exhibitions, film clubs and screenings, performances and other modes of cultural presentation. These alternative modes of publication are crucial for the avant-garde project of creating an alternative aesthetic field for the presentation and circulation of its ‘new’ and ‘experimental’ aesthetics.

c)    Aesthetic Experimentalism and Media

The confrontation with new media plays an important role in avant-garde aesthetics, the generation of new aesthetic modes of representation often being related to experiments in new media. In the context of the avant-garde, as well as in aesthetic modernism in a broader context, experiments with new media are often related to redefinitions of traditional modes and practices of aesthetic production and an attempt at creating new practices that transgress the boundaries between different fields of artistic production. This area of research covers such different topics as electronic media, digital art and literature, the relation between art and technology, film and radio, to name a few examples.

d)   Avant-garde and Politics

The links of the avant-garde to politics has been a central question since the emergence of avant-garde studies, its activities being understood not only as an aesthetic but also as a profoundly political project. This area of research provides a forum for scholarly work on the links between aesthetic and political radicalism, conceptions of the political function of the aesthetic and different notions of political revolution and cultural and spiritual regeneration that emerge in an avant-garde context, as well as work on the links between the aesthetic avant-garde and other political systems and ideologies.

e)    Avant-garde and Gender

This area covers research on different aspects of gender and its role in the aesthetic avant-garde. Of special importance is the role of women in the organization of avant-garde movements from the early 20th century to the present day and the possible historical shifts that can be discerned in the participation of women in the avant-garde project. This area further covers work on the construction and presentation of gender as well as reflections on the cultural coding of sexuality in avant-garde aesthetics.