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Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art | L.A.

Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is a nomadic, intensive summer academy with shifting programs in contemporary critical theory academy that originated in Saas Fee, Switzerland in 2015 and moved to Berlin in 2016. SFSIA stresses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between art and politics. This year, in addition to the Berlin academy, we are hosted in Los Angeles by Otis College of Art and Design with participation of the MA Aesthetics and Politics in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts.

The academy was founded by fine artist and theorist Warren Neidich, is co-directed by art critic and poet Barry Schwabsky. Sarah Beadle is Director of Administration. It was conceived in 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to engage contemporary artists in political, socio-economic, philosophical and historical discourses concerning the power of art. Importantly it realizes that art plays both a generative and emancipatory role in producing theory while at the same time being aware of Neoliberal capitalism’s recuperative prowess.

The program runs two weeks and is structured with half-day seminars, deep readings, and workshops. In the evening SFSIA holds a lecture series, which is open to the public.

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Dates and Fees

SFSIA | L.A. will take place May 21 - June 3, 2018, at Otis College of Art and Design. There is a $20 application fee. Early admission applications are due by February 5, 2018. The new, extended deadline for applications is April 1, 2018. The fee to attend the program is $3,000, which includes room and board. Notifications will be sent out via email in March. A $350 deposit is required to secure your spot in the program after notifications go out (the full balance is due in early May). 

Warren Neidich, Program Director

Warren NeidichWarren Neidich is an internationally recognized artist and theorist. He is Professor of Art, Weissensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin, founding director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, Berlin, American Editor Archive Books and Visiting Scholar at Otis College of Art and Design. He has exhibited at such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, PS1, MOMA, The Walker Art Center, MIT List Center of Art, Ludwig Museum, ICA, London, California Museum of Photography and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has recently published Neuromacht, Merve Verlag and The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism, Part 3. His Color of Politics published by Studio Manuel Raeder and the Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz is forthcoming in 2018. Dr. Neidich studied photography, neuroscience, medicine, ophthalmology and architectural theory

Visiting Artists and Guests

Alva Noë

Alva NoeAlva Noë ( is a writer and philosopher living in Berkeley and New York. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT 2004), Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness (FSG 2009), Varieties of Presence (Harvard 2012), and, most recently, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature (FSG, 2015). He is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Center for New Media and the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Noë is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has recently been named a 2018 recipient of the Judd/Hume Prize in Advanced Visual Studies. He has been a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s science and culture blog 13.7 Cosmos and Culture since 2010.

Eleanor Kaufman

Eleanor Kaufman is professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of The Delirium of Praise: Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, Foucault, Klossowski (Johns Hopkins, 2001), Deleuze, the Dark Precursor: Dialectic, Structure, Being_(Johns Hopkins, 2012), and At Odds with Badiou: Politics, Dialectics, and Religion from Sartre and Deleuze to Lacan and Agamben (forthcoming, Columbia University Press); and co-editor of Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy, and Culture (Minnesota, 1998).

Graham Harman

Graham HarmanGraham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (on leave from the American University in Cairo). He is the author of 17 books, 15 already published and two in press. The most recently published are Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory (Polity, 2016), Dante's Broken Hammer: The Ethics, Aesthetics, and Metaphysics of Love (Repeater, 2016), and The Rise of Realism [with Manuel DeLanda] (Polity, 2017). He has published over 250 articles in 19 languages, and has given over 300 lectures on six continents. In 2015, he was listed by ArtReview as the #75 most powerful influence in the international art world. He currently resides with his wife, Necla, in Dubuque, Iowa.

Johanna Drucker

John WelchmanJohanna Drucker is the Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She is internationally known for her work in the history of graphic design, typography, experimental poetry, fine art, and digital humanities. A collection of her essays, What Is? (Cuneiform Press) was published in 2013 and Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press) appeared in 2014. Digital_Humanities , co-authored with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, (MIT Press) was published in 2012. In addition to her academic work, Drucker has produced artist‘s books and projects that were the subject of a retrospective, Druckworks: 40 years of books and projects, that began at Columbia College in Chicago in 2012. She is currently working on a database memoire, ALL the books I never wrote or wrote and never published. Recent creative projects include Diagrammatic Writing (Onomatopée, 2014), Stochastic Poetics (Granary, 2012), and Fabulas Feminae (Litmus Press, 2015). In 2014 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and awarded an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts by the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017.

John Welchman

John WelchmanJohn C. Welchman is Professor of art history in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego. His books on art include Modernism Relocated: Towards a Cultural Studies of Visual Modernity (Allen & Unwin, 1995), Invisible Colours: A Visual History of Titles (Yale UP, 1997), Art After Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s (Routledge, 2001) and Guillaume Bijl (JRP|Ringier, 2016). Past Realization: Essays on Contemporary European Art (Sternberg, 2016) is the first volume of his collected writings. Welchman is co-author of the Dada and Surrealist Word Image (MIT Press, 1987), Mike Kelley (Phaidon, 1999), and Kwang-Young Chung (Rizzoli, 2014); and editor of Rethinking Borders (Minnesota UP, 1996), Institutional Critique and After (JRP|Ringier, 2006), The Aesthetics of Risk (JRP|Ringier, 2008) and Black Sphinx: On the Comedic in Modern Art (JRP|Ringier, 2010) as well as the collected writings of Mike Kelley: Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism (MIT, 2003); Minor Histories (MIT, 2004); Mike Kelley: Interviews, Conversations, and Chit-Chat, 1988-2004 (JRP|Ringier, 2005). He has written for Artforum (where he had a column in the late 1980s and early 90s), Screen, the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Economist among other newspapers and journals; and contributed essays to catalogues and associated publications at Documenta (Kassel), the Louvre (Paris), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA|PS1 (NY), Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool, Reina Sophia (Madrid), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), The New Museum (NY), Albertina, Vienna, Museum of Contemporary Art (LA), LA County Museum of Art, Sydney Biennial, Venice Biennale, Vienna Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Ludwig Museum (Budapest), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Edinburgh Festival, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana.

Kenneth Reinhard

Kenneth ReinhardKenneth Reinhard is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and English at UCLA. He is the author, with Slavoj Zizek and Eric Santner of The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology (University of Chicago Press, 2006; translated into Spanish and Korean; second edition 2013), and with Julia Reinhard Lupton, of After Oedipus: Shakespeare in Psychoanalysis (Cornell UP, 1993; new revised edition 2009), as well as articles on French and German philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, and religion. He also writes performance reviews for Opera Quarterly. He is the general editor and co-translator of The Seminars of Alain Badiou (20 volumes, forthcoming on Columbia University Press). He is the Director of the UCLA graduate certificate

Mary Kelly

Mary KellyMary Kelly is Judge Widney Professor in the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California. She is known for project-based work that addresses questions of sexuality, identity and memory in the form of large-scale narrative installations. Exhibitions include retrospectives at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, (2010) Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, (2011), and Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, (2008), as well as representation in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, and Documenta 12. Major publications include Post-Partum Document, (1983), Imaging Desire, (1996), Rereading Post-Partum Document, (1999), and Dialogue, (2011). She is a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, (2015).

N. Katherine Hayles

Katherine HaylesKatherine Hayles, the James B. Duke Professor of Literature at Duke University, teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her books have won numerous awards, including the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory in 1998-99 for How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, and the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship for Writing Machines. She teaches courses on experimental fiction, literary and cultural theory, finance capital and culture, science fiction, and contemporary American fiction. Her latest book is Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious.

Renée Petropoulos

Renée PetropoulosRenée Petropoulos has created projects and exhibited internationally. Most recently embarking on the project "Among Nations (Mostly)" with a performance "Analogue" (2012) at the MAK, Venice to Venice (2012)  as part of the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. and “Women in Surrealism” for LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). "Black Star", begun in 2006, is a performance in continuum in Berlin.  Her most recent installment of "Prototype for the History of Painting: Eingrouping Social Historical" was installed in MARTE San Salvador, El Salvador.  Her recent film, "Two or Three Things I Know About Gas Station Mini Marts" screened at Screening, in Philadelphia.   The outdoor public sculpture project “Bouquet”(Flower Tower) Between Egypt, India, Iraq, the United States, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Mexico”, situated in Santa Monica, California at a street and pedestrian intersection was completed in spring, 2014.   An exhibit of related subject, “Bouquet(Flower Girl) Between Libya, the United States and Scotland”, was installed at LAMOA in Eagle Rock in May 2014.  Petropoulos’ monument drawings were also included in “Forms of the Formless” at Beijing Moca, curated by Marlena Donahue.

From the United States to Mexico/ From Mexico to the Untied States, was presented at Commonwealth and Council, which included a choreographed performance. She is exhibited Monument 1 – conjugation, with the Proxy Gallery in Paris in 2016.  In 2016, a cd of sound work, Between Libya, the United States and Scotland, created with composer Greg Lenczycki, will be released.  Two new works are scheduled for 2016, one with the Isaura String Quartet and a reading of sculpture, “Cheek by Jowl”, at Hauser Wirth Schimmel. Her project with former student, Amanda Katz was released this summer in 7 x 7 (  She recently returned from Naples Italy where she has been working on a collaborative project in conjunction with the MUAC in Oaxaca, Mexico as well as being a guest artist at the Palm Springs Museum.

Reza Negarestani

Reza NegarestaniReza Negarestani is a philosopher. He has contributed extensively to philosophy journals and has lectured at universities internationally. He is the author of Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (2008), Torture Concrete: Jean-Luc Moulène and the Protocol of Abstraction (2014) and the forthcoming Intelligence and Spirit (Urbanomic / Sequence Press) on the intersection between philosophy of mind, German Idealism and theoretical computer science.

Sanford Kwinter

Sanford Kwinter: Bio Forthcoming


The program is open to adult (18+) artists, designers and creative professionals. 

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About Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art

The SFSIA is a traveling, nomadic academy that originated in Saas Fee, Switzerland in 2015 and moved to Berlin in 2016. It was founded by fine artist and theorist Warren Neidich, is co-directed by art critic and poet Barry Schwabsky. Sarah Beadle is Director of Administration. It was conceived in 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to engage contemporary artists in political, socio-economic, philosophical and historical discourses concerning the power of art. Importantly it realizes that art plays both a generative and emancipatory role in producing theory while at the same time being aware of Neoliberal capitalism’s recuperative prowess.