Dora García: Inserts in Real Time

The aforementioned publication on the occasion of Dora García’s exhibition at Antwerp’s M HKA (this is actually how they spell their name) has materialized. Inserts in Real Time. Dora García: Performance Work 2000-2023 is a catalogue of the artist’s performance pieces, accompanied by writings by García herself, a conversation with curator Joanna Zielińska, and essays by Bojana Cvecić and myself. I’ve largely stopped buying big monographic exhibition catalogues, and one does wonder who actually reads these things—but Inserts in Real Time is one of those carefully crafted and well-edited volumes that just about justify the existence of the entire genre.

In retrospect, my text “Enacting Red Relations: On Dora García and Performance” seems like the completion of an unplanned trilogy of monographic essays that revolve around issues of performance, acting and (in Andrea Fraser’s psychoanalytically informed term inology) enactment. The “series” started with “‘Not Stone’: Acting in and with Louise Lawler’s Pictures” (in the Museum Ludwig’s catalogue Louise Lawler: Adjusted, 2013) and continued with “Andrea Fraser: Institutional Analysis’ (in the catalogue of Fraser’s 2015 exhibition at the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg). Those earlier text can be found on this site’s articles page—which I really should update one of these days.

(Very funny, Dora and Sophie!)

Rest in Peace, Kobe Matthys

foto Johannes van Assem

I’m deeply saddened to hear that the brilliant and wonderful Kobe Matthys has lost his long battle with cancer (though trite and contested, the metaphor does not feel inappropriate here). In 1992, Kobe founded Agency, a practice revolving around an ever-expanding archive of “things” that had been subject to intellectual property disputes; such things were presented and discussed by Agency in various types of assemblies. I have discussed of few of these pieces in some of my writings, including Objections, and there’s more to come in Personafications. Given Kobe’s condition, Agency became a not-for-profit association in 2019, so the archive in Saint-Gilles (Brussels) has a legal status that will hopefully protect it, enabling Kobe’s associates to keep the legacy of Agency alive. If anything, I would say that Kobe’s Lebenswerk has not yet received the sustained attention it deserves. To be continued…

Like Kobe, I like filing things in boxes (though my shelves are less tidy). My archival box for Agency contains, aside from various publications and correspondence, some photos that bring back memories… However, although I’m sure I took a picture at the time, my most vivid recollection of any Agency assembly is not represented here: Sanne Oorthuizen dressed as a penguin. It seems that some memories are unarchivable.

Grey Room no. 91: Plan and Council

The new issue of Grey Room contains my article “Plan and Council: Genealogies of Calculation, Organization, and Transvalation.” Responding to the renewed discourse on socialist calculation and economic planning in the context of Big Data, this text revisits debates on plans and on workers’ councils, with particular focus on the role of aesthetics and visualization—from Gerd Arntz and Otto Neurath in the 1920s and 1930s to recent projects by artists such as Jonas Staal and Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann. If the texts appears to resonate somewhat with my recent October essay on organizational aesthetics, this is not entirely coincidental: the plan is that they become the basis for consecutive chapters in the second volume of Forms of Abstraction—at some point, if there is enough interest to warrant the effort.

Images: Gerd Arntz in Die proletarische Revolution (1927); Make Amazon Pay campaign designed by Jonas Staal.

Dora García

Dora García’s exhibition She Has Many Names is a on view at the M KHA in Antwerp till May 21. Unlike the artist’s Reina Sofia show in 2018, this is not exactly a survey—but it is a very substantial and cogent selection of works, with a focus on performance, drawing, and films. Every Wednesday to Sunday, various pieces are performed in conjunction with the exhibition, or as part of it. Some are easily recognizable as performances; others are surreptitiously woven into the exhibition’s temporal fabric of crisscrossing pathways.

I have contributed an essay titled “Enacting Red Relations: On Dora García and Performance” to the accompanying publication, Inserts in Real Time, which K. Verlag is about to send to print, and which will be available by May:

Inserts in Real Time is the first monograph on the performance work developed by artist Dora García over the past twenty years. The book contains a conversation between the artist and curator Joanna Zielińska; a selection of her performance scripts; her performances to date, listed, illustrated, described, and contextualized; and three newly commissioned texts—by art historian Sven Lütticken, performance theorist Bojana Cvejić, and Dora García.

All photos taken during the opening.

October no. 183: Organizational Aesthetics

Issue no. 183 of October contains my article “Organizational Aesthetics: On Certain Practices and Genealogies.” This text examines organizational forms in art since the 1990s. With this obviously a partial and partisan mapping, I hope to open a fruitful line of inquiry. The text is part of my ongoing Forms of Abstraction project, and will form the basis of a chapter in the second volume, Personafications—which, I hasten to add, will not be for tomorrow, or even for next year. These things take time.

Image: opening of Jeanne van Heeswijk’s Trainings for the Not-Yet (2019).

Philipp Gufler

I contributed a short essay to a new limited-edition book by artist Philipp Gufler, A Shrine to Aphrodite, which focuses on his mirror paintings and associated performances and films dealing with reflection and narcissism. From the text: “Gufler’s ‘mirrorical’ art passes through the looking glass; his spaces are traps for the gaze. The reflective surfaces and diaphanous scrims in his oeuvre function as projection screens and as obstacles in games of identification and disidentification; recognition and misrecognition; self-performance and self-alienation.“

Images: book launch at San Serriffe in Amsterdam,

Reenactment Again, Again

There’s yet another reenactment volume out, On Reenactment: Concept, Methodologies, Tools, edited by Cristina Baldacci and Susanne Franco. This time I’ve been roped in via the format of a “duet”—i.e., an interesting and enjoyable conversation—with Susanne. The publication is open access; the conversation can be found here, and the entire table of contents here.

Image: Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, (No) Time, 2020.


Objections, which I’ve known for such a long time as a potential book in the form of various types of files, has been actualized and materialized. While I’m obviously already finding little mistakes that are entirely my own fault, thanks to graphic designer Rogier Delfos I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. I abhor the design fetishism that plagues the Dutch cultural field, but this is a wonderful example of graphic design as a practice of visual and material articulation, rather than as either generic or showy packaging.

The book’s page on the Sternberg Press website: here. MIT Press (the US distributor): here. MIT Press mentions “March 2023” as the publication date, but I’m assuming/hoping that it will not take that long for the American distribution to start… According to the Sternberg page, shipping will start on November 3.