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Onomatopee 43 / Research / Cabinet project
The Autonomy Project
redefining autonomy in contemporary art

The word “Autonomy” sounds outdated. In an artistic field, this term finds itself wedged between a number of possibilities: the romantic notion of the isolated Artist developing works in a studio; or the reality that to operate within given socio-political arenas those who play creative roles are only there to facilitate a public agendas or to smooth social process. These two positions are not mutually exclusive.

The current reformation of artistic practices as globalised and professionalised; and the ways in which these practices are implemented and permeated by the social, political and economic realm pose new questions and challenges to the entire field of artistic production, mediation and education. The Autonomy Project is an international collaboration between art spaces and research/education institutes that seeks to address these multi-faceted geographic and cultural cont exts, facilitating a number of events over the coming years in various locations, bringing the notion and practice of Autonomy back into debate.

more info


The Autonomy project is coordinated by Steven ten Thije and Clare Butcher and supported by various institutions, University’s and school’s, collaborating on a project basis to share the urgency of the matter. 

Project coordinators and editors:
Clare Butcher and Steven ten Thije

Graphic design publication:
Sjoerd Koopmans (#1 and #2) and Martijn Maas (#3)

Partners and collaborators:
Dutch Art Institute, NL
Filter-Hamburg/Detroit, DE/USA
Grizedale Arts centre, UK
Liverpool School of Art & Design, UK
Lectoraat Kunst en Publiek Ruimte, NL
Onderzoekschool Kunstgeschiedenis & Platform Moderne Kunst, NL
University of Hildesheim, Kunstwissenschaft, DE
Van Abbemuseum, NL


Autonomy Newspaper #1
Onomatopee 43.1


Price: € 5,00    

isbn: 978-90-78454-45-8

free download here

The fist one maps out a variety of stances in the aftermath of an expert meeting held at the Van Abbemuseum, with contributions of: Becky Shaw (Head MA-Fine Arts Sheffield Hallahm University) Clare Butcher (curator Your-space, Van Abbemuseum) Freek Lomme (director Onomatopee) Jeroen Boomgaard (Lectoraat Kunst in Publieke Ruimte) John Byrne (Programme Leader BA (Hons) Fine Art, Liverpool School of Art and Design, co-directeur Static) Juan Cruz (Head of Art and Architecture at Liverpool School of Art and Design) Steven ten Thije (research curator Van Abbemuseum / Universiteit Hildesheim) Sven Lütticken (lecturer and supervisor, Vrij Universiteit, Amsterdam) Thomas Lange (professor Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Hildesheim)

newspaper #1

48 pages


Printed at: Dijkman Offset

Editions: 2500


Autonomy Newspaper #2
Onomatopee 43.2


Price: € 5,00    

Free download here

Frameworks, the second Autonomy Project Newspaper which follows the edition entitled Positions (launched in June, 2010 and also available via Onomatopee) picks up where the project’s Summer School left off – with a discussion of the question: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

The Autonomy Project Summer School of July 2010 provided a platform for Seminar participants, established artists, academics and radicals to use the Van Abbemusuem as a hub – to meet, exchange, question and discover stances and experiences which negotiate artistic autonomy. The results of these are contained in the newspaper’s dynamic presentation of Possibilities, Perspectives and Projects. Here the work of new writers and artists rubs shoulders with commissioned as well as existing texts by more familiar names. Each voice contributes equally to the development of an architecture of understanding (attempting to accommodate a set of complex propositions and difficulties). All point towards new currents of thinking and increase the urgency of our questions.

On Sunday 27 February, 2011, from 14.00 to 17.00, the Autonomy Project Newspaper #2: Frameworks will be officially launched at Onomatopee Project Space, Eindhoven and accompanied by an exposition in Onomatopee detailing the networks and activities developed during the Autonomy Project’s first year. The exposition will run from February 18 until March 20. Official opening will take place February 18th, 20:00.


Editorial team: Steven ten Thije, John Byrne, Clare Butcher

Production: Freek Lomme and Clare Butcher

Graphic design publication: Sjoerd Koopmans

Contributors: Derk Alberts, Laurie Cluitmans, Jasper Coppes, Martine
Derks, Charles Esche, Michelle Franke, Marijke Goeting, Sean Harvey, Brian
Holmes, Tobias Karlsson, Joanne McClellan, Joana Ozorio de Almeida
Meroz, Emilio Moreno, Kerstin Niemann, Hannah Pierce, Sarah Pierce,
Charlotte Rooijackers, Jennifer Smailes, Paul Sullivan, Jort van der Laan.


Newspaper #2

80 pages


printed at: Dijkman Offset



Autonomy project Newspaper #3, with o.a. Jacques Rancière, Ruth Sonderegger, Sven Lütticken, Harlan Levey, Catherine Somzé, Willem van Weelden, Tina Bastajian Jesse Ahlers, Judith Westerveld, Ingeborg Entrop, Windferreira and Eric Phillipoz.
Onomatopee 43.3


Price: € 0,00    

Free download here

The Autonomy Project is proud to present the 3rd edition of the project’s newspaper. The tile is ‘At Work’ – reflecting the work done in the last two years, particularly the symposium in October 2011 and the 2nd Summer School that same year. Like previous editions of the newspapers also ‘At Work’ offers a platform for more established intellectuals and artists to air their views, as well as the graduate students who participate in the various Autonomy Project’s activities. Contributors are, amongst others: Jacques Rancière, Ruth Sonderegger, Sven Lütticken, Harlan Levey, Catherine Somzé, Willem van Weelden, Tina Bastajian Jesse Ahlers, Judith Westerveld, Ingeborg Entrop, Windferreira and Eric Phillipoz. Next to these, Urok Shirain presents an artistic interpretation of our discursive events, and Autonomy Project editor, John Byrne, interviews Franco “Bifo” Berardi.

This new edition is thematically structured around the main topics guiding the discussion at the Autonomy Project Symposium and the Summer School – ranging from an evaluation of a ‘communism of intelligence’, to the work of artist, Thomas Hirschhorn; and from the Italian Autonomia movement and popular thinking of the ‘90s, to the Arabic Spring of 2011. ‘At Work’ also contains a republication of an essay by Sven Lütticken, in which he reflects on the current, heated debate on art in the Netherlands resulting from proposed (and now accepted) radical cuts in state culture budget: a discussion that has formed a pertinent background to the Autonomy Project in the last year. Sections from a longer interview with Jacques Rancière made during the symposium thread through the different sections of the publication, introducing each area of focus.



© Onomatopee 2011