The 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress, Part One: Beyond What Was Contemporary Art takes place on 19 and 20 April 2012 at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Secession, Vienna. The Congress offers a space to speculate about possibilities for art vis-à-vis the increasing forces of antagonism across the world and the emerging imaginaries that accompany them. 

Is it possible to think of Contemporary Art as art—or an art historical period even—emerging from 1989 and developing in parallel to other hegemonic formations such as global neoliberalism? Could it then be argued that, in sync with the current seismic shifts in society, politics, and economy, it now also faces if not a dead end then a number of challenges that take it to task? Is Contemporary Art, as an iconographic source of the political architecture of the world of the last two decades on its way out so to speak, together with the system that made it possible? What kind of challenges and possibilities might then lie before us in the space of art in times like ours? Can we speculate collectively on how to move beyond the present confines of Contemporary Art’s practices, and begin articulating what can appear from its “formerness?” What are our responses to—and proposals for—the times ahead?

In order to consider these questions, Part One of the Congress brings together artists, curators, and scholars including aaa/atelier d’architecture autogeree (urban research collective platform, Paris), Nancy Adajania (cultural theorist and curator, Mumbai), CAMP (collaborative project and platform, Mumbai), Ekaterina Degot (artist historian and curator, Moscow), Jesko Fezer (artist and architect, Berlin), H.
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