color Beyond Kandinsky: Session I: The Spiritual Then and Now


The year 2011 marks the centennial of the publication of Wassily Kandinsky's classic text, On the Spiritual in Art. Inspired by this anniversary, this project set out to explore the place of the spiritual in contemporary art and to propose a challenge to the current devaluation of the inner life that prevails within the art world in our market-driven era.

Beginning on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, a ten-day virtual symposium moderated by Taney Roniger and Eric Zechman was held in this forum. The symposium closed on the evening of Friday, April 8th. Below is the full record of the proceedings.

Panelists invited to participate were: Suzanne Anker, Laura Battle, Connie Beckley, Anney Bonney, Deirdre Boyle, Nathaniel Dorsky, Jeff Edwards, James Elkins, Max Gimblett, Tom Huhn, Atta Kim, Roger Lipsey, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Joseph Nechvatal, Daniel Siedell, Charlene Spretnak, David Levi Strauss, Alan Wanzenberg, and Pawel Wojtasik. For participant biographies and other project details, please visit our site: www.beyondkandinsky.net.


SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE

March 30th–April 1st: Session I: The Spiritual Then and Now

April 2nd–April 3rd: Session II: The Changing Shape of Art

April 4th-5th: Session III: Art and Its Audience

April 6th–April 7th: Session IV: The Artist in Society

April 8th: Conclusions


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD COMPLETE SYMPOSIUM TRANSCRIPT

Session I: The Spiritual Then and Now

Session I: The Spiritual Then and Now

The session questions are intended to provide a loose framework for the discussion and to catalyze dialogue. Participants are welcome to respond to any of them in whatever way they see fit and to pose questions of their own as they arise.

(1) How have our ideas about the spiritual changed with the dissolution of the Modernist dream, in which Kandinsky's vision was so deeply embedded?

(2) How has the notion of transcendence changed? Is transcendence still viable in a largely secular, postmodern culture?

(3) What might account for the deep suspicion -- or indeed denial -- of the spiritual shared by many artists and intellectuals in our culture?

(4) How have attitudes toward nature, the material world, and the body changed since Kandinsky?

(5) In what ways has the rise of digital technology impacted our ideas about the spiritual? Does it present a new vision of transcendence or salvation?

(6) Are the Enlightenment principles championed by Modernity (i.e., rationalism, positivism, materialism, etc.) being superseded by a new, more spiritually-inclined worldview—or is the spiritual being rendered obsolete by a wholly new orientation?

(7) Does science have a role to play in exploring new approaches to or understandings of the spiritual?