The Politics of Medium Specificity

Join us online on 5th May 2021 at 15.00 for our next research event when we hear from Ryan Nolan (Aarhus University).

Ryan will share some ideas that stem from his PhD research, focussing in particular on the (often reviled) notion of “medium specificity”. In the history of art criticism, medium specificity came to symbolise the hard edge of modernist formalism and gave rise to reactionary projects such as contemporary art’s “postmedium condition”. Ryan is interested in reconceiving the notion of medium specificity through its radical expansion, steering it away from its formalist origins to understand artistic and cultural forms as mediums of production in the context of a global capitalist present. He invites you all to read and respond to a rough draft of a paper-in-progress, in which he attempts to outline a “politics of medium specificity”.   

Join us online at:

Ryan Nolan, “The Politics of Medium Specificity: Materialism, Capitalism, Scale” (work in progress)    

Ryan Nolan is a PhD researcher at Aarhus University (Denmark), interested in media and cultural theory, contemporary art, and music. Recent publications include “The Crackle of Contemporaneity” in Futures of the Contemporary (2019) edited by Paolo de Assis and Michael Schwab, and “Beyond Theory and Practice in Arts Research” in Theorem: Doctoral Research in the Fine Arts and Design (2018) edited by Jayne Boyer. He is affiliated with The Contemporary Condition, a research project at Aarhus co-led by Geoff Cox and Jacob Lund, and is a visiting doctoral researcher at CSNI.

Image: “Interior of a piano factory in Victoria – circa 1912” (CC PDM 1.0).