Workshop Sybrandt van Keulen

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL)

One-day workshop entitled 'On the Relevance of the Limit-Attitude for an Artist-in-Research'.

'On the Relevance of the Limit-Attitude for an Artist-in-Research'

The aim of this workshop is to find out what the relevance could be, if any, of the limit-attitude. For that purpose, we re-read and discuss three texts: one of Michel Foucault and two of Immanuel Kant. We start with Foucault’s rephrasing of the kantian answer to the question ‘What is enlightenment?’ oriented by Baudelaire’s notion of modernity (text 1). The implied proposal of this re-reading is to take Foucault’s philosophical ethos, characterized as ‘a limit-attitude’ (p.45), as the starting point to reflect upon what arguably can be understood as the basics of the artist-in-research (by analogy with ‘artist-in-residence’). We will use the underlying text of Kant (text 2) for a better understanding of the implications of Foucault’s ethos. If we can get grip on the presented concepts, it should also be possible for us to apply Foucault’s ethos, in his own words ‘the exercise of freedom’ (p.41), critically to Kant’s definitions of art and genius (text 3). Where I use ‘we’ and ‘us’ in this text I mean all the participants of this workshop who have read the texts below in advance.

Reading list:

Text 1: Michel Foucault. ‘What is Enlightenment?’ in: The Foucault Reader, (ed.Paul Rabinow), Pantheon Books, New York 1984, p.32-50.

Text 2: Kant, Immanuel. ‘An answer to the question: What is enlightenment?’ in: Rethinking the Western Tradition, edited and with an introduction by Pauline Kleingeld, translated by David L. Colclasure, Yale University Press 2006, p.17-23.

Text 3: Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment, translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews. Cambridge University Press 2000, §43 page 182, and §46 page 186.


Sybrandt van Keulen teaches aesthetics and philosophy of art at the University of Amsterdam. From 1994 to 1998 he taught at the Jan van Eyck Academy (Maastricht), and in 2005 at the Franck Mohr Institute (Groningen). He is head editor of Esthetica (since 2007), an open access platform for art and philosophy (