A Delay in Print

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Late last year, Willem de Rooij’s Index book was finally printed – and I have just received my copy. De Rooij’s piece Index. Riots, Mourning and Commemoration (as represented in newspapers, January 2000 – July 2002) is a series of framed wall panels that has now been reformatted for the medium of the book. I wrote my accompanying essay in the spring of 2015, as the Pegida movement was taking off and refugees dominated the media. As I note in a postscript, the slow book production process meant that I could not give critical feedback on these developments in real time, yet I felt I had no option but to reflect on De Rooij’s already historical piece in a way that fully acknowledged this temporal conjunction between the time documented by the piece (just before and after 9/11) and the moment of writing. The postscript is dated 13-14 November 2015; it was written right after the Bataclan massacre. I don’t think that anybody at the time assumed that it would still be a full year till publication. In an accelerating catastrophe, this decelerationist book makes for a curious temporal palimpsest. It is none the worse for that.

Former West

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BAK’s book Former West: Art and the Contemporary after 1989 is out, or at least it has been printed and will find its way to bookstores soon. The culmination of BAK’s long-running “Former West” project, the volume is impressive in scope and contains a version of my “Posthuman Prehistory” essay in the “Timing the Former” section.

Legal Forms: Contour and DAI

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My essay “Legal Forms, Value-Forms, Forms of Resistance” has been published in the Hearings journal of Contour Biennale in Mechelen, which will open in March. The text will also be included in Contour’s print publication. It has been informed by my seminar “Legalize Everything!” at the Dutch Art Institute,  which focuses on intersections between critical legal theory, aesthetics and politics.

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In this context I will also organize a public symposium in the DAI’s “Roaming Assembly” series, which will take place in Huis Oostpool in Arnhem on Sunday, February 12 from 1:30 to 7:30 PM. Contributors are Zachary Formwalt (in collaboration with a group of DAI students), Frederic Schwartz, Judy Radul and Kobe Matthys (Agency).

Top image by Zachary Formwalt.

Daan van Golden, 1936-2017

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Daan van Golden, Malevich Sleeping, 1989.

Almost a Thing

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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: Speech Gestures

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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).

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.