Two books that have been in the making for quite some time are beginning to feel rather real. Once intangible potential, they are now well and truly in the process of being actualized. One in particular, the critical reader Art and Autonomy, has had a prolonged gestation period. The book which will be published by Afterall as part of their critical reader series; I served as the main editor, working with an editorial team and a number of research assistants. While there were other causes, in part the prolonged process was due to my insistence on rethinking the “critical reader” format in ways that made everything so much more complicated than it needed to be. However, it looks as though it’s going to pay off in the end. For the time being Art and Autonomy is now semi-out-of-my-hands, thanks to other capable hands.
A smaller project, also scheduled for this autumn, is my “solo” book Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy (Sternberg). The book is a collection of five reworked essays from recent years, including one text on autonomy that is based on the autonomy reader’s introduction, but goes beyond it. In turn, to a greater or lesser extent all these essays have been reworked from their previous incarnations. At the end of the Gutenberg age, book production is frantic and the results are often obsolete before they hit the shelves; and yet, making a book still feels more definitive than publishing an article. Even if previous (online) versions may continue to circulate more freely than those published in book form, the latter matter. Things seem to be progressing very smoothly, apart from Luc Besson’s production company, EuropaCorp, categorically refusing us permission to reproduce a still from Besson’s film Lucy. It was probably unwise to ask in the first place, but high-res images are otherwise hard to come by. As a negative image of our regime of intellectual property, this would almost deserve to be one of those empty “permission withheld” non-illustrations that you see from time to time.
Image: Lucy (2014). Source.