Trumpian Conversations

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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.

 

Third Text: Posthuman Prehistory

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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 section 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.

E-flux journal no. 76

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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.

 

Ends of Art

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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.”

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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.

Cultural Revolution in Progress

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My book Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy (to be published by Sternberg this fall) is now being proofread. What you’re seeing here is not so much a typo as a consequence of the fact that I’m using fancy ten-dollar words that don’t fit the current design grid. Perhaps I should have listened to advice and gone for the catchy youthspeak title “CULT REV”!

Meanwhile in Gwangju

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New Left Review: The Coming Exception

New Left Review no. 99 (May-June 2016) contains my essay “The Coming Exception: Art and the Crisis of Value.” In a critical reading of recent theory as well as recent artistic practice, I argue that rather than focusing on the question whether or not art can be integrated into the Marxian labour theory of value, we should focus on the challenge posed by art to the theorization of value, and examine the increasing economic normativity of the putatively exceptional commodity that is the work of contemporary art in today’s economy.