A conference on the return of the human figure in semiocapitalism
Many art works today evoke the human figure: Consider the omnipresence of the mannequin in current installations of artists like John Miller, Thomas Hirschhorn, Heimo Zobernig or David Lieske. Or consider the revival of a minimalist vocabulary, which embraces anthropomorphism as in the works of Isa Genzken and Rachel Harrison. This conference seeks to speculate on the reasons as to why, since the turn of the Millennium, we have encountered so many art works that tend to reconcile Minimalism with suggestions of the human figure. It proposes that this new artistic convention becomes rather questionable when discussed in the light of Franco Berardi's theory of semiocapitalism-a power technology that aims squarely at our human resources. The participants of this conference are asked to offer possible explanations for this wide acceptance of anthropomorphism-could it be that this is a manifestation of the increasingly desperate desire for art to have agency?