Klaus Speidel: New Interfaces 02/ Art and the Crises of Storytelling

You are cordially invited to the lecture of the German curator Klaus Speidel, which will take place on 25th May 2023 at 6pm. The lecture will be held in English language.

MEDIUM Gallery, Hviezdoslavovo námestie 18, Bratislava

Narratives are omnipresent, produced and theorized in politics, marketing, law, and even medecine. Audiences all over the world consume more fictional narratives than ever before on streaming services or they live them through in computer games. Many of us also incessantly post « Stories » on our social media, narrating our lives to our « Followers », sometimes professionally. Despite this fact — or perhaps because of it — the German-Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han recently declared narration to be in crises. This follows the 2017 observation by Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre that the « Enrichment Economy » relies heavly on storytelling to generate market value and the declaration that “the empire has confiscated narrative” by the French researcher Christian Salmon in Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind (2007). Byung-Chul Han argument relies heavily on a much earlier theorist, namely Walter Benjamin, who in 1936 considered that « we have lost the ability to narrate ». Han explains: « Information suppresses occurrences that cannot be explained, but only narrated. Stories are often bordered by the miraculous and the enigmatic. They do not tolerate information as opposing the enigma. Explanation and narrative are mutually exclusive. » (Byung-Chul Han, 2023). I want to argue that he overlooks something, that contemporary art is a place for different narratives, a place of narrative salvation, a locus where we can experiment with counter-narratives and different forms of storytelling; where traces tell as much as words, and openness is a quality rather than a weakness. Which is the place of narrative in art and what strategies have artists deployed to oppose the manipulative or mega-production stories told only to enhance power — or to subvert it — rather than for their own sake?


Klaus Speidel is an art critic and curator. Holding a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne, he wrote for the Centre Pompidou, the Schirn Kunsthalle, the Belvedere, mumok and Albertina in Vienna and many other European museums and galleries and curated numerous exhibitions in France and Austria. He teaches art history at Vienna University, transmedia art theory at the University for Applied Arts and Visual Narrative at Paris College of Art. He gave workshops on the art of art writing at summeracademy.at and Writing on Contemporary Creation at Ecole Estienne Paris and regularly publishes art criticism in Spike, Art Newspaper France and other online and offline publications.

Connect on instagram: @dirtytheory


The interdisciplinary lecture series New Interfaces 02 in the dramaturgy of the head of the MEDIUM Gallery, Miroslava Urbanová, focuses on topics affecting our conditions of cognition in the interfaces of constantly updating technologies and in contrast to the desire for an authentic, visceral experience of the escaping here and now. It focuses primarily on the investigation and reflection of different types of spaces, their meanings, transformations, cohabitation within spaces: public space, digital spaces, topoi, spaces that remain seemingly untouched by people, or are totally and irreversibly transformed. The aim of the lectures is to provide a comprehensible approach to aspects of our lived online present in circles that reflect the posthumanist discourse, transformations in the perception of time and temporality, new artistic interfaces such as game art. At the same time, the lectures reflect the themes that appear in the dramaturgy of the exhibition plan of the gallery (and the reading club for VŠVU students What's the Point?), which carries a certain line of tension between the subject reacting to the new interfaces of technological progress, its effects on our perception of living and virtual reality and escape to the corporeality of experience.


Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.

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