Cultures of Critique

Research Training Group (DFG-GRK 2114)

The cultural sciences research training group “Cultures of Critique” undertakes a productive revision of the preconditions, roles and validity claims of critique. On the one hand, new technologies and distribution channels have given rise to a welter of unexpected critical and quasi-critical practices. On the other hand, the very theoretical foundations of critique have come under massive pressure – and so, it seems, has the modern project of critique as a whole. What may be regarded as an act of critique and which agents, expectations and criteria take part, is currently subject to basal negotiation.

The research training group conceives critique as a praxis that is always already culturally situated, while its efficacy rides on comprehensive claims to validity and authority. The phenomena under critique are inseparably interwoven with the forms and media used to represent them. Representation thus appears as the focal point in which widely divergent forms of critique and their heterogeneous cultures lend themselves to comparative discussion. Building on studies of diverse concrete critical practices, the Research Training Group seeks to remap the interaction between critique and culture in the history of modernity up to the present and employ the tools of cultural studies to frame a well founded and timely conception of critique.

The research training group commenced its work on October 1st 2016.

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Beate Söntgen
Deputy spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Erich Hörl

Why Art Criticism? Julia Voss and Anna Kipke in conversation

As part of the K21 Encounters, Julia Voss and Anna Kipke presented the volume "Why Art Criticism?" published by Hatje Cantz in 2022.

The reader does pioneering work by bringing together and commenting on a wide variety of art critical voices from the present and the past. The diversity of arguments, modes of presentation, and criteria challenges the discussion of how art criticism can be understood and written under conditions of globalization.

The event series K21 Encounters is dedicated to current questions about the significance of contemporary art for the future of our society. After a period of social distancing and digital programs, the focus is on the analog, shared conversation on site. With talks, screenings, concerts, readings and performances, artists and theorists present their latest works; afterwards, there is space for open discussions. The events take place at monthly intervals in the Salon21 of the K21.


Die Nachricht vom Tod Christoph Jammes, der am 2. Mai verstorben ist, hat uns tief getroffen. Mit ihm verlieren wir einen leidenschaftlich engagierten Philosophen, der unsere Diskussionen kritischer Theorien und Praktiken mit seinen historisch-systematisch orientierten Beiträgen bereichert hat.

Zu den Nachrufen


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