At the Center of Contemporary Art fundamental research is conducted in art and art studies and transferred to interdisciplinary and international contexts. For this reason, the chosen core themes do not follow the principle of coherence in the framework of discipline-specific questions. The aim is, rather, to explore the most active and interesting constellations and zones of exchange. The fact that interdisciplinary projects tend to remain stuck in a rather unsatisfactory form of additive interdisciplinarity – stringing together various different discipline-specific perspectives – can be explained from their primary focus on a specific area of study.
The results of the cooperation based on fundamental research and the interdisciplinary collaboration between participants will, in a second step, contribute to teaching, introducing innovative approaches and methods. The center explicitly serves the – necessary – specialization of students enrolled in the M.A. as well as of doctoral candidates. In doing so, it not only seeks to respond to the desideratum of specialized, research-based teaching methods in KFU Art History, but also to strengthen the Austrian, European and international visibility of Graz as a site of research and learning due to this significant accentuation of modernity and the contemporary enacted by the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture in concert with the Institute of Art History.
In the U.S., it is not uncommon for artists to be integrated into the university as researchers and teachers – not only in the humanities, for instance in art and literature departments, but also in some science departments or research institutions such as Cal Tech (California Institute of Technology) or MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – whereas in the German-speaking parts of Europe, artists are, at best, employed in art schools as practice-experienced experts of art. As much as any other specialists, however, artists engage with particular topics, technological and media-related issues, cultural or political questions – from the perspective of art; yet the reception of their contributions largely takes place on an individual plane. The organization of a systematic, issue-centered exchange between artists and academics requires testing forms of cooperation not limited to coincidence or the occasional encounter at an event. At the Center for Contemporary Art, interdisciplinary project teams made up of artists – among others – respond to topical issues in relation to a concrete core theme set annually.