October 13, 2010
No. 19 out now
Issue #19 October 2010 Available online: e-flux.com/journal
The tension in contemporary culture formulated in terms of a hackneyed clash between premodern tradition and fully modernized enlightened subjects has proven to be a dangerous one—and it has easily given way to patently racist scenarios in which premodern tribal types (such as the EU citizens who happen to be Roma) invade fully modern Western metropolises. It seems much more useful, and interesting, to consider these conditions to be one and the same—two sides of a single, irreconcilable anxiety with regard to cultural tradition, the promises of modernism, and the shortcomings of both. From this singular vantage point, we can perhaps discern something like a primary limit—which can also be a raw material—guiding our very ability to produce, or even reflect, culture today. On a visit to Mount Gyeryong, Chan-Kyong Park encounters a sensation that seems similar to what is called “the sublime” in Western aesthetics, and may very well be. But is this sensation actually available, or is the sublime in this case more of an imprecise way of describing something familiar to traditional culture, something whose name has been forgotten? And how to explain its strange familiarity? While an alleged disconnection from tradition is commonly considered to result from a modern break, could it be that not only this break, but the very remoteness of tradition itself is one of modernity’s primary myths? (see full essay here) An author who has written and spoken extensively on the withdrawal of tradition, Jalal Toufic revisits the storytelling of A Thousand and One Nights, Inci Eviner’s Harem, Francis Bacon, and the book of Genesis as an algebra of phantasmatic depiction and hallucination—an economy or scenario in which blood is recurrently traded for images and distortions of dreams and projections. (see full essay here) Svetlana Boym outlines a condition she has termed “off modern,” whose lateral movements, fuzzy logic, edgy geography, and broken technology speak to an artificial intelligence of improvised and individuated maneuvers over and around established modern regimes. It is a way of seeing one’s own reflection through the screen of a “black mirror”—the film noir of perception itself. (see full essay here) Diedrich Diederichsen looks to the economy of self-directed, self-motivated, self-determined labor that is a relic or orphan of the generation that witnessed 1968, and its belief in wild emancipatory ideas and the potential for life to be full of intensity and abandon. But now that much of this generation has reached middle age, and those who have clung to these values find them to exist only in precarious freelance labor markets far removed from punk rock and radical leftist politics, what remains of the life lived with intensity? And how did a hope for this life constitute a will to power that transformed into something else far removed from its original intentions? (see full essay here) In “Marx After Duchamp, or The Artist’s Two Bodies,” Boris Groys begins with Duchamp’s readymade as the thing that liberated the artist from the manual labor of producing art objects by hand. However, it seems that the artist liberated from having to produce objects is now placed in the position of having to maintain entire museums to present his or her non-objects. And it should come as no surprise that the shift in the location of work away from the handmade object to, say, pure idea, has paralleled the proletarization and exploitation of intellectual and artistic labor—with or without objects or bodies. (see full essay here) —Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle The print edition of e-flux journal can now be found at: Amsterdam: De Appel / Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten / Antwerp: M HKA / Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst / Austin: Arthouse at the Jones Center / Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery / Barcelona: MACBA / Basel: Kunsthalle Basel, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst / Bergen: Rakett / Beijing and Guangzhou: Vitamin Creative Space / Berlin: b_books / Berliner Künstlerprogramm – DAAD / do you read me? / NBK, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein / Pro qm / Berlin and Zurich: Motto / Bologna: MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna / Bristol: Arnolfini / Brussels: Wiels / Bucharest: Pavilion Magazine / Cairo: Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) / Townhouse Gallery / Calgary: The New Gallery / Chicago: Graham Foundation / The Renaissance Society / Dublin: Project Arts Centre / Dusseldorf: Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen / Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum / Frankfurt: Portikus – Städelschule / Genève: Centre de la Photographie / Glasgow: CCA Centre for Contemporary Arts / Sculpture Studios / Graz: Grazer Kunstverein / para_SITE Gallery / Hamburg: Kunstverein / Hobart / INFLIGHT / Istanbul: BAS / DEPO / Platform Garanti / Cologne: Kölnischer Kunstverein / London: Gasworks / ICA / Serpentine Gallery/ Visiting Arts / Los Angeles: REDCAT / Lisbon: Maumaus, Escola de Artes Visuais / Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija / Luxembourg: Casino Luxembourg / Marfa: Ballroom Marfa / Madrid: Brumari / Pensart / Mexico City: Proyectos Monclova / Montreal: ESPACE PROJET Art Contemporain + Design / Munich: Museum Villa Stuck / Walther Koenig Bookshop, Haus der Kunst Munich / New Delhi: Sarai-CSDS / New York: e-flux / Independent Curators International (ICI) / Printed Matter, Inc / Nottingham: Nottingham Contemporary / Omaha: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts / Paris: Centre Pompidou / castillo/corrales – Section 7 Books / Portland: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, (PICA) / Publication Studio / Prishtina: Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina / Riga: Kim? / Rio de Janeiro: Capacete / Rotterdam: Witte de With / Salzburg: Salzburger Kunstverein / San Antonio: Artpace / São Paulo: Master in Visual Arts, Faculdade Santa Marcelina / Seoul: The Books / The Book Society / Sherbrooke: Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University / Sydney: Artspace / Ramecourt: Performing Arts Forum, St Erme Outre et Ramecourt / Stockholm: Bonniers Konsthall / Index / Konstfack, University College of Art, Craft and Design / Stuttgart: Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart / Tallinn: Kumu Art Museum of Estonia / Toronto: Mercer Union / The Power Plant / Torun: Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun / Utrecht: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst / Casco-Office for Art, Design and Theory / Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia / Vilnius: Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) / Warsaw: Zachęta National Gallery of Art / Wiesbaden: Nassauischer Kunstverein (NKV) / Zagreb: Gallery Nova / Zurich: Postgraduate Program in Curating, Zürich University of the Arts / White Space.