Julia Robinson: Working In the Spirit of Fluxus / May 25, 2023, 17:00 CEST online event

Posted on Sat, 04/15/2023 - 17:02
an image of a man with a violin in hand and a piano in the background

Date and time


Thursday Lecture, May 25, 2023, 17:00 CEST, online

The team of Activating Fluxus, a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) at Bern University of the Arts, is thrilled to welcome to its series of public events the renowned Fluxus scholar, professor and author, Julia Robinson.

How do museums handle the legacy of a collectivist initiative whose life and energy had a great deal to do with its avoidance of museums, galleries, and the art market? More comfortable in auditoria, and in the streets, Fluxus artists produced scores and performances, first of all. When they did contribute objects—found items, invented games, balls, lengths of string, playing cards, film strips, chess pieces, photographs, etc.—they were non-autonomous to the extreme, relying on activation by playing, performing, or relating to other items in groups, small and large. George Maciunas, who was on the receiving end of this ‘content,’ said that Fluxus was producing “anti-commodities.” What is left behind is only valuable if this context of precarious acts, performative strategies, and ephemeral gestures is preserved along with its fragile material residue. This lecture will address the nature of this context by specifying score types, considering viable modes of activation—or, as the artists called it, realization—and the importance of Fluxus for historical analyses of contemporary art.

Julia Robinson is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Department of Art History at New York University. Her research ranges widely and concerns topics in art since the 1960s through Contemporary art; score and language-based artistic strategies; performance (and performativity) from Fluxus through the present; and the shift from medium to media in contemporary art. She has curated exhibitions on Fluxus and adjacent subjects at the Museum Ludwig, Köln, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art MACBA, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. She is the editor of the October Files volume on John Cage, and is currently at work on a monographic study of George Brecht (forthcoming as an October Book, MIT Press in 2024).

The event will take place within the Thursday Lecture series organized at the Institute of Materiality in Art and Culture, Bern University of the Arts. Introduction and moderation by Hanna B. Hölling, Aga Wielocha and Josephine Ellis in collaboration with SNSF Activating Fluxus team members. There will be a possibility to engage with the speaker in the Q&A.


Research project Activating Fluxus, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. 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. Inherently fluctuating by definition, Fluxus rejects any stable, material form. Considering the transitory aspects of Fluxus forms not destined for preservation, and looking through a multidisciplinary lens of conservation, art history, performance studies, heritage studies and museology, our project advances novel strategies for activating Fluxus through the reconstruction, adaptation and artistic reinterpretation of Fluxus forms.

This online event is free, but registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent to the registrants shortly before the event.