Activating Fluxus

This research project investigates the objects, events, scores and ephemera that emerged in the spirit of Fluxus in the 1960s–70s in Switzerland, Europe, the UK and the USA.

Factsheet

  • Lead school Bern Academy of the Arts
  • Institute Institute Materiality in Art and Culture 
  • Research unit Contemporary Art and Media
  • Funding organisation SNSF
  • Duration (planned) 01.04.2022 - 31.03.2026
  • Project management Dr. Hanna Barbara Hölling
  • Head of project Dr. Hanna Barbara Hölling
  • Project staff Marcus Gossolt
    Aga Wielocha

Situation

Activating Fluxus centres on the lives and afterlives of Fluxus objects events an ephemera created in the 1960s-70s in Switzerland, Europe, the UK and the USA. Fluxus transformed creative practice for good, not least by questioning the dominant preconception of the artwork as something that endures unchanged. Inherently fluctuating by definition, the creative outputs of Fluxus reject any stable, material form. While many histories of the post-war avant-garde focus on the implications of nascent conceptualism and performativity for other artistic genres the proposed project considers the fundamentally transitory aspects of Fluxus forms not destined for preservation. By seeking new ways to engage with the legacy of Fluxus through the lens of conservation, art history, performance studies, heritage studies and museology, this project examines the possibility of activating Fluxus, challenged as it is by its paradoxical coexistence of ephemerality and materiality with implications for how we conceive of changeable artworks that emerged after the 1960s.

Course of action

The project has three principal aims: (I) Using examples of collections and individual artworks held in Switzerland and abroad, the project reviews, catalogues, evaluates and systematises the current strategies for exhibiting, conserving and documenting Fluxus. (II) By means of a theoretical investigation of the notions of authenticity, changeability and intentionality and the role they play in the continuing life of Fluxus intermedia, (III) the project advances new strategies for activating Fluxus works through (a) the reconstruction, (b) the adaptation and (c) the artistic reinterpretation of Fluxus forms.