A meta-educational project by Rogério Nuno Costa
In a very litteral sense, Kantian university is a fictional institution. Reason can only be institutionalized as far as institution itself can remain a fiction, if it can only work ‘as if’ it was not an institution. When the institution becomes real, reason turns away.
[Bill Readings, The University In Ruins, Harvard, p. 68]
UNIVERSITY | YLIOPISTO is a durational meta-project of a virtual, trans-national and trans-artistic multiversity. A school where we can learn how to annul Art by the means of art itself. A laboratory to test Pop as the ultimate cultural appropriation. A masterclass titled “Laziness as the new avantgarde”. An intensive workshop about Kopimism. A cooltural magazine. And a very demagogic, finlandized and prophyl(arctic) political party to fund the whole thing.
UNIVERSITY | YLIOPISTO is Rogério Nuno Costa’s current research project, having officially started in 2015 and about to be completed in 2020, followed by two years of documentation and archival work that will conclude with an international symposium and a publication in 2022. The project proposes the building of a collaborative platform for inter-disciplinary thinking spanning across 4 school years. Fluid and nomadic working groups will meet in temporary spaces driven by one major goal: to elaborate a hybrid and radical pedagogic model for artistic learning based on “non-artistic” methodologies, or how can one reach Art without being through art? A self-referential academy that offers only one programme — the academic studies programme —, structured in a rhyzomatic and taxonomical dialogue between all Arts and Sciences. For that purpose, new educational paradigms will be tested, new modes of subjectivation and sharing of knowledge will be experimented, new ethical (therefore, aesthetic) models grounding the relation between master and apprentice will be foreseen. Ultimately, some of the premises that originated the mission behind Western university will be recycled, the same premises that (post-)modernity, quantitatively entrepeneur and business-oriented (education as a product, student as a client), has been extinguishing over the course of the last three decades.
Following an interest in a group of concepts that circle around the notion of territoriality — identity, place, exoticness, remoteness, possession, nomadism, site-specificity —, UNIVERSITY | YLIOPISTO encloses a virtual and physical platform built upon educational and research-oriented activities where meaning is collectively produced towards the creation of a meta-narrative about Knowledge and the means of knowledge production. Within a discursive system that is non-hierarchical and post-capitalist, the project is meant to build a universal meta-academy leading to the speculation of future (queer) universities. Despite their theoretical approach, most of those activities are structured in a highly performative and interactive manner, and are envisioned to happen inside the frame of cultural and/or academic institutions, either counter-reacting or merging with/against them. Ultimately, the goal would be to collect information and compile a data base of ideas and solutions for the creation of a trans-national and inter-disciplinary university, therefore recycling and reflecting upon the concept of universal knowledge itself, that is, a self-referential university. Taking VIRALITY as an operational tool to understand the power of new technologies and social media nowadays, all activities produced and promoted under the scope of UNIVERSITY | YLIOPISTO will assume over-portable, over-shareable and over-spreadable features.
The results of this durational and radical pedagogic laboratory (textual, visual and performative) will be systematized and published in various guerrilla online publications and zines. An ongoing “collaborative text” will highlight the concepts of co-participation and co-responsability, suggesting a critical reflection of a vast plethora of para-artistic subjects: mashup culture, virality, copywright (and copywrong), Peta-Byte Age, quantum philosophy (and also lo-fi –sophy), science-based science (and also art-based art), cyber-terrorism, aPOPcalyptical studies, queer epistemology, proto-academia, applied interdisciplinarity (and also anti-specialization studies), non-human creativity, post-human medievalism… and a brand new set of operational concepts to be announced as new avant-gardes (or new -isms). Throughout four academic stages (Year One: Finnlosophy, Year Two: The Academy As Performance and Year Three: Multiversity) and a final documental assessment (Year Four: Post-Production), research will be understood as a practice, not necessarily an “artistic” one, and a unified set of cross-disciplinary knowledge will be compiled under the scope of a participatory online platform:
After the proto-laboratory that took place within the context of Circular/Festival de Artes Performativas de Vila do Conde (Portugal) in 2008 — The Curator’s School —, and countless other introductory clusters, seminars and workshops in academic institutions such as Escola Superior de Artes e Design (Caldas da Rainha, Portugal), Faculdade de Letras (Coimbra, Portugal), Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (Arnhem, The Netherlands), among others, the official launching of UNIVERSITY’s Year One took place in Bucharest (Romania) in July 2015, a partnership with E-motional – rethinking dance, ODD Gallery and Modulab, co-produced by Gabriela Tudor Foundation. In October 2016, the project migrates to Espoo (Finland), in a symbiotic dialogue with Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art program at Aalto University‘s School of Art, Design and Architecture (Otaniemi Campus). A new series of lectures, workshops, think tanks and publications was then initiated, gathering an increasing number of artists, researchers and teachers. The Year 2 is introduced in November 2017 in Porta33 (Funchal, Madeira island, Portugal) through an intensive laboratory; its core topic The Academy As Performance was then developed further in other educational contexts, namely the performance-as-tool COPYWRONG (Future Places Festival, Porto/Portugal + Creative Commons Global Summit, Toronto/Canada, 2017-18), the theatre course RECURSO (produced by Estrutura at mala voadora, Porto/Portugal, 2018) and the Summer School UNFINISHED (curated by Rogério Nuno Costa for Armazém 22, Vila Nova de Gaia/Portugal, 2018-19). The Year 3 is launched in Portugal in late 2019, during a residency at mala voadora, Porto, in collaboration with the Performance Studies Research Group of Minho University. The core topic Multiversity will continue grounding a group of research-oriented activities throughout most of 2020, both in Finland and Portugal. Check the calendar below for a complete list of upcoming public events.
24 February 2020 | Launching of University|Yliopisto‘s Year Three: Multiversity with a brand new website and a series of online collaborative zines. At Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Espoo, Finland.
2-6 March 2020 | Experimental laboratory led by Rogério Nuno Costa for FIA – Investigação/Fiação nos Estudos do Corpo do Movimento e do Comum, an educational programme produced by C.E.M, Lisbon (Portugal).
May-June 2020 | Multiversity™: keynote speech at Aalto University (Kallio Stage, Helsinki, Finland) and Rua das Gaivotas6 (Lisbon, Portugal).