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Module LXM-4037:
German Avant-Garde 20/21st C

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Overall aims and purpose

Against the background of the recent explosion of interest in the historical Avant-garde, due to the 100th anniversary of the Dada-movement, the module will investigate the Avant-Garde in its German appearance. The module will not only cover the historical and the Neo-Avant-Garde but will also explore contemporary Avant-Gardes. Based on an examination of theories about the Avant-Garde (e.g. Peter Bürger, Niklas Luhmann, Pierre Bourdieu, Andreas Reckwitz) the module will discuss the scholarly historiography of the Avant-Garde via diverse case studies. These case studies will cover 20th and 21st century and diverse media (literature, performance, actionist art, art, film, architecture). These case studies will equip students with in-depth analytical skills, applying complex theories to understand the dynamics and trajectories of art in general. At the same time, close-readings of the case studies will enable students to challenge theory.

Course content

Introduction to theories of the Avant-garde and their diverse approaches (art history, literary scholary, sociology, system theory). Reconstruction of key aspects in the discourse about the Avant-Garde. Divisions within the Avant-Garde: historical Avant-Garde, Neo-Avantgarde, Right-Wing/Left-Wing agendas of the Avant-Garde; strategies of the Avant-Garde. Case Studies can range from (will be agreed mutually with students): • Dada • Political Avant-Garde (anarchism, communism, national-socialism or other) • Vienna Actionism • Fluxus / Happenings • Experimental music and film • Theatre Avant-Garde • Christoph Schlingensief

Assessment Criteria

threshold

C- -C+: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the ideas, aesthetics and discourses studied, showing a basic understanding of the key issues informing the strategies, theories and critique of German Avant-garde and its development from the 1910s to the present. Students should demonstrate a limited ability to understand the ideas discussed in the context of German history and transnational institutional context and to evaluate artistic practices through the solid application of theoretical approaches to the everyday. Students will also demonstrate an awareness of accepted academic conventions.

excellent

A- - A*: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a detailed comprehension of the ideas, aesthetics and discourses studied, showing a nuanced understanding of the key issues informing the strategies, theories and critique of German Avant-garde and its development from the 1910s to the present. Students should demonstrate the ability to understand the ideas discussed in the context of German history and transnational institutional context and to evaluate artistic practices through the solid application of theoretical approaches to the everyday. Students will demonstrate some originality in their work. Students will also demonstrate full competence concerning accepted academic conventions.

good

B- - B+: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the ideas, aesthetics and discourses studied, showing a clear understanding of the key issues informing the strategies, theories and critique of German Avant-garde and its development from the 1910s to the present. Students should demonstrate the ability to understand the ideas discussed in the context of German history and transnational institutional context and to evaluate artistic practices through the solid application of theoretical approaches to the everyday. Students should demonstrate originality in their work, pushing at the boundaries of theoretical approaches to reconsider these in the light of contemporary culture. Students will also demonstrate familiarity with accepted academic conventions

Learning outcomes

  1. Display an in-depth understanding of different theories of the Avant-Garde.

  2. Demonstrate critical engagement in and commitment to practical experience (artistic workshops, actionist performances) to explore history, theory and practices of the Avant-garde.

  3. Demonstrate an ability to produce a critical analysis of German cultural products with regards to the symbolic capital and economic value of Avant-Garde labelling.

  4. Critically assess diverse media and genre of art by historical and contemporary artists (including all kinds of art).

  5. Appreciate and analyse the potential and limits of historiography and theory.

  6. Engage with Avant-Garde theory in general and German Avant-Garde artists and debates in particular.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 80
Reflective Creative Writing 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 276
Lecture

6 lectures x 2 hours every 2 weeks

12
Practical classes and workshops

Two 6hrs sessions of practical re-enacting of Avant-garde art. This includes students to prepare material, props and further individual requirements in order to conduct the practical exercises. Sessions will finish with reflective group discussion on practical work.

12

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Resources

Reading list

Wolfgang Asholt, Walter Fähnders (Hg.): Der Blick vom Wolkenkratzer. Avantgarde – Avantgardekritik – Avantgardeforschung, Amsterdam: Rodopoi 2000.

Barnstone, Deborah Ascher The break with the past : avant-garde architecture in Germany, 1910-1925. Abingdon, Oxon New York, NY Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, 2018. Hubert van den Berg: Avantgarde und Anarchismus. Dada in Zürich und Berlin, Heidelberg: Winter 1999. Blattner, Evamarie, (editor.), Bieberstein, Rada, 1979-, (contributor.), Stadtmuseum im Kornhaus (Tübingen, Germany) (host institution.) and Filmmuseum der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf (host institution.) Animation und Avantgarde : Lotte Reiniger und der absolute Film = Animation and avant-garde : Lotte Reiniger and Absolute Film. Tübingen Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf Filmmuseum, 2015. Block, René, Knapstein, Gabriele and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Fluxus : Fluxus in Germany 1962-1994 : a long tale with many knots, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 14 October - 5 December. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, [New Plymouth, N.Z, 1995. Pierre Bourdieu: Les règles de l’art. Genèse et structure du champ littéraire, Paris: Seuil-Essais 1992. Peter Bürger: Theorie der Avantgarde, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp 1974. Peter Bürger: „Avant-Garde and Neo-Avant-Garde: An attempt to Answer Certain Critics of Theory of the Avant-Garde“, in: New Literary History, Jg. 41, Heft 4 (2010), Themenheft: What Is an Avant-Garde? S. 695–715. Davies, Cecil. 2000a. The Volksbühne Movement: A History. Eckmann, Sabine, Diederichsen, Diedrich, Bailey, Matthew, Kovach, Jodi, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum et al. Reality bites : making avant-garde art in post-wall Germany = Kunst nach dem Mauerfall. Hatje Cantz ; [St. Louis, Mo.] : Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Ostfildern, 2007. Fischer-Lichte, Erika: Ästhetik des Performativen, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp 2004. Fischer-Lichte, Erika, and James Harding. 2000. The Avant- Garde and the Semiotics of the Antitextual Gesture (Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan P: Ann Arbor, MI). Forrest, Tara; Anna Teresa Scheer: Christoph Schlingensief: Art without Borders, Bristol: Intellect 2010. Forrest, Tara: Realism as Protest. Kluge, Schlingensief, Haneke. Bielefeld: Transkript 2015. Foster, Hal. 1996. The return of the real : the avant-garde at the end of the century (Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass.). Geldmacher, Pamela. 2015. Re-Writing Avantgarde (Bielefeld : Transcipt Verlag: Bielefeld). Randall Halle; Reinhild Steingröver (Hg.), After the Avant-Garde: Contemporary German and Austrian Experimental Film (New York: Camden House 2008). Kieruj, Mariusz Zeitbewusstsein, Erinnern und die Wiederkehr des Kultischen : Kontinuität und Bruch in der deutschen Avantgarde 1910-1930. Lang, Frankfurt am Main ; New York, 1995. Andreas Kotte; Frank Gerber: Theater im Kasten: Rimini Protokoll – Castorfs Video – Beuys & Schlingensief – Lars von Trier (Zürich: Chronos 2007). Langston, Richard Visions of violence : German avant-gardes after fascism. Northwestern University Press ; London : Eurospan [distributor], Evanston, Ill, 2008. Liersch, Thomas: Zur performativen Erneuerung von Gesellschaft am Beispiel Christoph Schlingensief, Berlin: 2010. Giovanni Lista: Futurisme. Manifestes – Documents – Proclamations, Lausanne : L’Âge d’Homme 1973. Niklas Luhmann: Die Kunst der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 1995. Paul Mann: The Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde, Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1991. Paul Mann: „The Afterlife of the Avant-Garde“, ders.: Masocriticism, Albany, New York: SUNY Press, 1999. Renato Poggioli: The Theory of the Avant-Garde, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press 1968. Andreas Reckwitz: Die Erfindung der Kreativität, Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2012. Seeßlen, Georg: Der Filmemacher Christoph Schlingensief, Berlin 2015. Sell, Mike. 2008. Avant-garde performance & the limits of criticism : approaching the Living Theatre, happenings/Fluxus, and the Black Arts movement (Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor). Ullrich, Ferdinand, (editor.), Schwalm, Hans-Jürgen, 1955-, (editor.), Städtische Kunsthalle Recklinghausen (host of exhibition) and Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen (2017). (exhibition sponsor.) Junger Westen : auf dem Weg zur Avantgarde. Recklinghausen Kunsthalle, 2017. Zeller, Christoph, 1968- Literarische Experimente : Medien, Kunst, Texte seit 1950. Winter, Heidelberg, 2012.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: