Andrea Phillips

Crossing Borders | 7 October | 7 - 8.30pm

Andrea Philips discusses the economy of subject object relations and the ways in which these are configured and might be reconfigured within Contemporary Art.
Contemporary art is configured in such a way as to make pliant subjects of us all – standing, looking, expectant of intellectual and/or pleasurable transformation. How we come to act in this way is economic, both in the sense that we fulfil a profitable role in a politically organised cultural economy, and that our role affirms and maintains the unnameable and abstracted values that sustain the economy of the object we encounter. An alternative animistic and psychoanalytic history of objects exist in which they act on us persuasively. Recent object-oriented philosophies suggest that objects (for instance art objects) need to be decoupled from their subjectification within human cognition. In turn I want to propose that we, as the publics of objects, desubject ourselves from the economy of spectatorship however superficially diversified and demand that exhibitions and their institutions change in favour of our new viewing needs, wherein we are no longer subservient to the (economy of the) objects we encounter.


Dr Andrea Phillips is Professor of Fine Art and Director of PhD programmes in the Art Department at Goldsmiths. Andrea lectures and writes about the economic and social construction of publics within contemporary art. Recent and ongoing research projects include: Curating Architecture, a think tank and exhibition examining the role of exhibitions in the making of architecture’s social and political forms (AHRC 2007-2009), Actors, Agent and Attendants, a research project and set of publications that address the role of artistic and curatorial production in contemporary political milieus (in collaboration with SKOR 2009-2012), co-director with Suhail Malik, Andrew Wheatley and Sarah Thelwall of the research project The Aesthetic and Economic Impact of the Art Market, an investigation into the ways in which the art market shapes artists’ careers and public exhibition (2010-ongoing), Public Alchemy, the public programme for the Istanbul Biennial 2013 (co-curated with Fulya Erdemci), Tagore, Pedagogy and Contemporary Visual Cultures (in collaboration with Grant Watson and Iniva, AHRC 2013-2014).