Daan van Golden, Malevich Sleeping, 1989.
My book Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy should roll off the presses in January, and hopefully it will find its way to a bookstore near you soon (if there is such a thing as a bookstore near you). Once again it has been a pleasure to work with Sternberg Press.
Texte zur Kunst no. 104 (December 2016) “examines a key protagonist of the modern age: the individual. As our cover suggests, there is an inherent tragedy to this being who, however autonomous, is beholden to a program that it must internalize at the price of suffering enormously. This issue takes up the individual not as a fixed subject, but as a mode of the self that shifts according to the current form of governance, asking how 15-some years of the “new spirit of capitalism” has shaped her – as an artist, as an entrepreneur, as a “productive” contemporary self.”
Contributions include an interview with Wendy Brown by Isabelle Graw, an essay by Nina Power, and a section called “Buffering of the Self: Guising in the Mid-00’s,” which collects short texts on collective artist personas such as Luther Blissett and Reena Spaulings. I contributed an essay titled “Speech Gestures: Notes on the Individual and the Socialization of Language after Gutenberg,” in which I discuss the role of lecture-performances and reading groups in today’s cultural economy—taking a few cues from Vilém Flusser’s theory of gestures in the process.
Image: still from Dora García, The Joycean Society (2012).
Two days after the US election, I wrote a short response-of-sorts titled “A Matter of Form,” which has been published on e-flux conversations. The piece was originally written as a “Publisher’s Note” for Badlands Unlimited, but Badlands’s own “New No’s” got slightly in the way, so Paul encouraged me to reroute the piece to e-flux.
The new issue of Third Text contains my essay “Posthuman Prehistory” in a short (well, shortish) version that was crafted with editorial help from Simon Sheikh. It will also feature in BAK’s Former West book, which will be out early next year. Some sections of the Third Text iteration are littered with parentheses containing years of birth and (where applicable) death, as their house style appears to necessitate.
A longer version will be part of my own book Cultural Revolution, which is still (slowly but surely) making its way through the design stage.
Image: Charles Gaines and Ashley Hunt, Cultural (En)richment, 2014.
I co-edited the November Issue of e-flux journal, “The Perfect Storm,” which is a (sadly needed) sequel of sorts to the “Idiot Wind” issue of some five years ago. By now we feel compelled to address and analyse the political wave of reactionary, nationalist and xenophobic political movements and figureheads as constituting a form of neofascism — or rather, an entire international of interlinked (but far from identical) neofascisms.
Contributors are Hito Steyerl, Ilya Budraitskis, Keti Chukhrov, Boris Buden, Ewa Majewska and Kuba Szreder, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Tony Wood, Jonas Staal and myself. My essay is here, but obviously I encourage you to read the entire issue.
The new issue of the journal Kunstlicht, which is edited by graduate students of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, is dedicated to “Cultural Policies: Agendas of Impact.” From the official announcement:
“This issue, guest-edited by Lara Garcia Diaz and Cristina Marques, delves into the historical grounds and present implications of arts and culture funding policies and programmes in the Netherlands and beyond. It features authors including: Sven Lütticken, Steven ten Thije, Josephine Berry, Bram Ieven and Market for Immaterial Value.
At the end of 2014, the Dutch Ministry of Culture (OCW) announced a new Art and Culture public fund, The Art of Impact, designating seven million euro to support art projects that have a distinct impact on society. With this programme, the policy of austerity initiated by minister of culture Halbe Zijlstra enters a new phase. Ideologically, it shifts away from discrediting the arts as a left-wing hobby towards rendering the arts as a tool of intervention and engagement with society.
In light of these events, Kunstlicht feels the necessity to initiate a debate about The Art of Impact to question the agenda of Cultural Policies that ultimately uses creativity and innovation to fuel neoliberal agendas and discourses. This topic already surfaced earlier this summer at our event in relation to the closing of the SMBA. We would like to use the launch event of our next issue to continue the debate and present you with different perspectives on the topic.
What does it mean to attribute to the artists, designers and art institutions the social, economical and political responsibility of changing and improving the world? The evening will consist of a moderated debate with guest speakers, a performance and a public discussion on the topic.”
My contribution, which is based on my work on the forthcoming Art and Autonomy reader, is an essay titled “Ends of Art: From Nul to Bijl.” In this text I analyse various proposoals (with various degrees of seriousness) to close art spaces or top making art in favour of more useful activities. One such case is Guillaume Bijl’s “Art Liquidation Project” text from 1979. Artist Wok the Rock refences this “fake manifesto” and Bijl’s Driving School Z installation in the comic he has drawn for this issue, which is wrapped around the cover in the form of a riso print.