Summer University Reboot

William Spendlove

A reprise of the history of the category "real property" in English common law in light of the work of Patrick Keiller, with some reflections on the idea of Art itself

24-26 August

This session will be split into two bits. The first involves screening parts (or the whole of) Patrick Keiller's Robinson trilogy, and the second involves a presentation of the history of the category "real property" in English common law. The presentation will focus on the following moments in particular: the question of the devisability of real property in pre-nineteenth century England; the religious issues surrounding this question; the legal forms which in some sense answer this question; and the afterlife of these forms (ongoing). In light of this conjunction, I want to explore two provisional claims:

1) That the social form of the artwork can be understood as a privileged and residual instance of the historical category of real property.

2) That Keiller's project can be understood as a reflection on the status of artwork as real-property, and as an elaboration of two "promises" embedded within the history of this category. These promises take the form of alternative conceptual appendages to the term "real" (in its exclusively legal significance); they are, respectively, "personality" and "movement".