D.i.Y. (Do it Yourself) in Contemporary Culture – Seminar on Amateur at Copenhagen University (2010)

MA seminar course, Dept. Visual Culture & Art History, Copenhagen University,

The seminar aims to investigate the new qualities of D.i.Y as a way of thinking about the production of a new frame of reference for contemporary culture. D.i.Y draws on my recent work on the role of the amateur in the production and reception of contemporary art. The seminars feature a mixture of lectures, film/video screenings, presentations of art projects as well as an active exploration of practice-based research by students in group work. Students study key aspects of contemporary phenomena connected with the notion of “amateur”, while they choose their own specific research topic to work in a collective manner.  The seminar aims at learning about new qualities of D.i.Y as they are currently shaping and informing discourses in and around recent trends in the arts.  The feature of the small i in this name of this seminar draws attention to the production of so-called do it yourself art and especially music from the late 1970s punk scene that rejected formal aesthetics and notions of professionalism to foster a new and confrontational sense of the political.  Given the revived interest in the participation of the amateur in contemporary art, a trend that includes not only visual arts but theatre, dance and music, it is timely for students to consider this mode as a part of their artistic education.