Welcome to the Department of Art Theory & Practice (AT&P) at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University. The department has both an undergraduate program, offering a baccalaureate degree, and a graduate program, offering a Masters of Fine Arts degree.

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Visiting Artist Lecture Series - Chris Sullivan

Friday, May 22nd at 7pm at the Block Museum


Chris Sullivan is an animator, performance artist, and filmmaker. He will be screening his film, Consuming Spirits, a hand-made independent feature animation shot frame-by-frame on 16mm using paper cut outs, models, and tracing paper cell animation. It chronicles the lives of three characters who live in a rust belt town called Magguson, and work at its local newspaper The Daily Suggester. As the film unfolds, we find they have a long diabolical history, revolving around social service intervention, foster care, romance and hatred. Each character has family secrets to hide, and family secrets to discover. An auto accident one dark and inebriated night causes a crack in the memory vault of these intimate strangers. By film’s end all parties walk from the woods, both healed and wounded. This screening is made possible by support from The Myers Foundations.








A Symposium

at the Department of Art Theory and Practice


We are looking for a place that resembles the bar at the beginning of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Murky, anonymous, illicit; a place where strangers conspire to trespass in pursuit of higher rewards. Locations like these are central to certain online practices including hacking and trolling, motivations for which span from ‘doing it for the lulz’ to radical polemic disruption. How can these strategies of ad-hoc organization and intervention be leveraged by practitioners in different fields? Bringing together figures from cultural criticism, media theory and contemporary art, this symposium will propose methods by which the urge to disrupt corporate, governmental and media narratives might be channeled into productive (or unproductive) forms of arbitration.

Friday May 29th
6pm - Keynote Lecture by Rob Horning - Games of Truth

Saturday May 30th
1:30pm - Light Refreshments and Welcome
2pm - Presentation by Devin Kenny - starving artists and feasts under the bridge: a short survey of trolling and cultural production
2:45pm - Presentation by Erkki Huhtamo - Cloud Computing - The View from Below
3:30pm - Presentation by Beate Geissler - Volatile Smile: The Poodle's Core
4:45pm - Roundtable Discussion
6pm - Reception

the Gym
Department of Art Theory and Practice
Northwestern University
640 Lincoln St
Evanston, IL 60208

This symposium is made possible by support by The Myers Foundations and The Graduate School, and is sponsored by the Department of Art Theory and Practice, the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Department of Radio/Television/Film, and the Department of French and Italian.



Rob Horning is an editor of the New Inquiry, an online journal of ideas.

Devin Kenny is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, musician, and independent curator. Hailing from the south side of Chicago, he relocated to New York to begin his studies at Cooper Union. He has since continued his practice through the Bruce High Quality Foundation University, Skowhegan artist residency, SOMA Mexico City, and collaborations with DADDY, Studio Workout, Comotroovay-sa, Adult Contemporary and various art and music venues in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and elsewhere including: Recess, Roode Bioscoop Amsterdam, OCCII, Artspace Auckland, Freak City, and Santos Party House. He received his MFA in 2013 from the New Genres department at UCLA and is a recent alum of the Whitney ISP.

Erkki Huhtamo is an internationally renowned media historian and theorist, and a specialist in the history and aesthetics of media arts. He is one of the founders of an emerging approach to media studies known as media archaeology. Huhtamo's most recent books are Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications (ed. with Dr. Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011) and the large monograph Illusions in Motion. Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (The MIT Press, 2013). He is currently working on a number of new books: a media archaeology of interactive media (The MIT Press, under contract), a history of mechanical theaters and a theoretical volume tentative titled “Media Archaeology as Topos Study.” He works as a professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Departments of Design Media Arts, and Film, Television, and Digital Media. He received his Ph.D. in cultural history from the University of Turku, Finland.

Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann have been active as a collaborative
partnership since 1996. Their work concentrates on inner alliances of knowledge and power, their deep links in western culture and the escalation in and transformation of human beings through technology. Geissler/Sann’s artistic research utilizes a variety of forms of visualization: these include photography, video, installation, games, performances, internet-based work and books. On the threshold dividing document from created reality, on the border between factual occurrence and fictional bringing-into-being, their work scrutinizes the inherent idiosyncrasies of media. Within the collaborative space of an artist duo and interdisciplinary research, the artists’ work spans science, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, political science and contemporary art.
Geissler and Sann were born in Germany and live and work in Chicago. Beate Geissler received an MFA from the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany. Oliver Sann received his MFA from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany. Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in museums, galleries and alternative spaces including The Renaissance Society, Chicago, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the NGBK (New Society for Visual Arts) Berlin, the Fotomuseum Antwerp, Museum Ludwig, Köln and the Fotomuseum Winthertur in Switzerland. Geissler/Sann have been the recipients of a number of prestigious grants and awards: the Videonale Award, Museum of Art, Bonn, Germany; Herman-Claasen-Award Cologne, Germany, the Elisabeth Cheney Foundation and the Graham Foundation, Chicago. Currently, Geissler is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Sann is Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago.