e-flux journal issue 51
out now

e-flux journal issue 51
out now

e-flux journal

January 7, 2014

e-flux journal issue 51
out now

with Walid RaadLindsay CaplanGean Moreno
McKenzie WarkPierre Dardot and Christian Laval,
Melissa Gronlund


e-flux journal iPad edition is now available.
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Thanks to everyone who came out to our fifth anniversary party in December. It’s 2014 now and we are still hungover. But we want to tell you about a very strange thing that happened to us there. Late in the night we met a young Chinese artist through a friend, and she told us about a recurring nightmare of hers. What happens most nights is this: each time she produces an artwork, a giant barbarian with a long beard appears wielding a sword as long as a person is tall. And with the rounded blade of the sword, he slices her work in two.

According to her description, the barbarian seems to be asleep, waiting for the moment the work is complete to wake up and appear. And when he slices through her work, each resulting piece suddenly becomes a different thing: one side shatters instantly, but as it shatters, it melts and shape-shifts—mostly into decorative or useful objects of various kinds. Some become souvenirs meant to decorate a bookshelf or mantle above the fireplace, like a piece of the Berlin Wall or a mug with a cathedral on it. Other bits turn into Biedermeier sofas and lightly-used Ikea shelving units, into clay pots and porcelain vases and discount store pans and blenders and kitchen utensils for scrambling eggs.

While this might seem unusual, what happens next is much stranger. Once the barbarian has sliced through the artist’s work, the other part bursts into pure blinding light, like a gigantic paparazzi camera flash turning into a religious epiphany. And then the work is gone forever.

After the brilliant light washes over everything and fades away, some of the useful objects are left scattered around, giving the impression of a destroyed living room full of things bought off Craigslist. And the artist told us that the flash of light also has the effect of erasing her memory, so that she is unable to recall the work that was just destroyed, much less how to go about remaking it.

This dream seemed significant, and so we wanted to know who she thought this barbarian might be. Was the barbarian a critic, framing the work and creating meaning effects to harness its untapped energy? Was he a collector converting the work into mute investment furniture? Was he a right-wing hardliner making a massive budget cut? A curator with an incisive observation? A bearded hipster experimenting with his cool new sword? An impoverished neighbor from the countryside trying to use the work for firewood?

The artist could not say for sure who this barbarian was, and now the dance floor was starting to fill up and we were all being jostled around. Someone spilled a drink. Several conversations started at once. Does anyone have cigarettes? The young artist felt like dancing, and right before she headed to the dancefloor, she leaned in and screamed to us over the music: “I just remembered! The barbarian says something before he leaves!” By now we could barely hear each other. “He stares straight at me and he says: As You Free People Eat All The Light And Call It Creation We Will Copy Your Clumsy Lies Into Funky Pop and Hire Your Best Spies as Our Own Discount Cinematographers!” At least, it sounded something like that.

—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle

In this issue:

Walid Raad—Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989–2004)
In the history of psychiatry, no two people have ever experienced the exact same psychotic episode at the same time. And I doubted that this situation was a historical exception. I then became convinced that I was not in fact in the midst of a psychotic episode but that my assistant, my framer, and my printer were behind all of this. I became convinced that, without telling me, they had decided to make everything small.

Lindsay Caplan—Framing Artwork
Art is not simply the place where desires get expressed and monetized. It is also where desires get fulfilled and monetized. There will always be a remainder, and that remainder is the libidinal investment in art as a space different from other spaces, and in creativity as a more expansive ideal of production. The persistence of this remainder demands a critique of artistic labor that goes beyond the terms offered by political economy, a critique that takes seriously those desirous investments that become entwined with—but are not reducible to—art’s institutions and economic engines.

Gean Moreno—New Ancestors: A Conversation with McKenzie Wark
Tiny things won’t save us from big things. It’s more a question of realizing that this hierarchy of scales simply doesn’t exist. Thought has gone from thinking difference to thinking universality, as if these corresponded to different scales, to little and big. But they don’t. Carbon atoms and the biosphere directly communicate.

Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval—The New Way of the World, Part I: Manufacturing the Neoliberal Subject
The self’s new norm certainly consists in flourishing. To succeed, you must know yourself and love yourself. Hence the stress on the magical expression “self-esteem,” key to all success. But these paradoxical statements about the injunction to be oneself and love oneself as one is are inscribed in a discourse that imposes a specific order on legitimate desire. Management is an iron discourse in a velvet vocabulary.

Melissa Gronlund—Return of the Gothic: Digital Anxiety in the Domestic Sphere
Cadavers became the best way to look at representation and, in particular, recent technologies of representation. There is the push in industrial cinema toward high definition and 3D, and at the same time the body of cinema is falling away: there is no celluloid, no tape, no DVD. All you are left with are these reams of code, which, to a certain extent, simply haunt different media.

The print edition of e-flux journal can now be found at:
Amsterdam: De Appel arts centre / Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten Andratx: CCA Andratx Antwerp: M HKA Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Athens: OMMU Århus: Aarhus Art Building Auckland: split/fountain Austin: Arthouse at the Jones Center Baden-Baden: Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre Barcelona: Arts Santa Monica / MACBA Basel: Kunsthalle Basel, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst Beijing and Guangzhou: Vitamin Creative Space Beirut: 98weeks Belgrade: Cultural Center of Belgrade Bergen: Bergen Kunsthall / Rakett Berlin: b_books / Berliner Künstlerprogramm – DAAD / do you read me? / Haus Der Kulturen der Welt / NBK, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein / Pro qm Berlin and Zurich: Motto Bern: Kunsthalle Bern / Lehrerzimmer Bialystok: Arsenal Gallery Bielefeld: Bielefelder Kunstverein Birmingham: Eastside Projects / Ikon Gallery Bologna: MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna Bregenz: Kunsthaus Bregenz Bristol: Arnolfini Brussels: Wiels Bucharest: National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest (MNAC) / Pavilion Unicredit Cairo: Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) / Townhouse Gallery Calgary: The New Gallery Cambridge: Wysing Arts Center Castello: Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló (EACC) Chicago: Graham Foundation / Logan Center, University of Chicago / The Renaissance Society Cologne: Kölnischer Kunstverein Copenhagen: Overgaden Derry: CCA Derry~Londonderry Dubai: Traffic Dublin: Dublin City, The Hugh Lane / Project Arts Centre Dusseldorf: Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum Farsta: Konsthall C Frankfurt: Städelschule / Portikus Gdansk: Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Łaźnia Genève: Centre de la photographie Ghent: S.M.A.K.Giza: Beirut Glasgow: CCA Centre for Contemporary Arts / Sculpture Studios Graz: Grazer Kunstverein / Kunsthaus Graz / para_SITE Gallery Grijon: LABoral Centre for Art and Creative Industries Hamburg: Kunstverein Helsinki: Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Hobart: CAST Gallery / INFLIGHT Hong Kong: Asia Art Archive Istanbul: BAS / Cda–Projects / DEPO / SALT Iași: theartstudent at the University of Fine Arts, Iași Innsbruck: Galerie im Taxispalais Johannesburg: Center for Historical Reenactments Kristiansand: SKMU Sørlandet Art Museum Kansas City: La Cucaracha Press Klagenfurt: Press Kunstraum Lakeside Leeds: Pavilion Lisbon: Maumaus, Escola de Artes Visuais / Oporto / Kunsthalle Lissabon Loughborough: Radar, Loughborough University Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija Llandudno: Mostyn London: Architectural Association / Bedford Press / Gasworks / ICA / Serpentine Gallery / The Showroom / Visiting Arts Los Angeles: REDCAT Luxembourg: Casino Luxembourg Madrid: Brumaria / CA2M / Pensart Maastricht: Jan van Eyck Academie Marfa: Ballroom Marfa Melbourne: Monash University Museum of Art / World Food Books Mexico City: Proyectos Monclova Milan: Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Hangar Bicocca Milton Keynes: Milton Keynes Gallery Minneapolis: Walker Art Center Moncton: Fixed Cog Hero (a bicycle courier company) Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture Moscow: Garage Center for Contemporary Culture 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 Oslo: Kunstnernes hus Oxford: Modern Art Oxford Padona: Fondazione March Paris: castillo/corrales – Section 7 Books / Centre Pompidou / Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers Philadelphia: Bodega Pori: Pori Art Museum Porto: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves Portland: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) / Publication Studio Prague: Dox Centre for Contemporary Art Prishtina: Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina Providence: AS220 Reykjavik: Reykjavik Art Museum Riga: Kim? Rio de Janeiro: A Gentil Carioca Rome: MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma / Opera Rebis Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute / Witte de With Saint-Nazaire: Le Grand Cafe, Centre d’art Contemporain Salzburg: Salzburger Kunstverein San Antonio: Artpace São Paulo: Kunsthalle São Paulo / Master in Visual Arts, Faculdade Santa Marcelina Sarajevo: Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Art Seoul: The Books / The Book Society Sherbrooke: Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University Skopje: Press to Exit Project Space Sofia: ICA Sofia / Sofia Art Gallery St Erme Outre et Ramecourt: Performing Arts Forum St Louis: White Flag Projects Stockholm: Bonniers Konsthall / IASPIS / Index / Konstfack, University College of Art, Craft and Design Stuttgart: Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart Sydney: Artspace Tallinn: Kumu Art Museum of Estonia The Hague: Stroom Den Haag Toronto: Art Metropole / Mercer Union / The Power Plant Torun: Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun Toowoomba: Raygun Contemporary Art Projects Trieste: Trieste Contemporanea Umeå: Bildmuseet, Umeå University Utrecht: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst / Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory Vaduz: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein Valletta: Malta Contemporary Art Foundation Vancouver: ARTSPEAK / Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia / Fillip / Motto / READ Books, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art and Design Vienna: Salon für Kunstbuch, Belvedere Gallery Vigo: MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo Vilnius: Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) Vitoria-Gasteiz: Montehermoso Kulturunea Visby: BAC, Baltic Art Center Warsaw: Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki / Zachęta National Gallery of Art Wiesbaden: Nassauischer Kunstverein (NKV) Yerevan: Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, NPAK Zagreb: Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic / Gallery Nova / Institute for Duration, Location and Variables, DeLVe Zurich: Postgraduate Program in Curating, Zürich University of the Arts / Shedhalle / White Space.

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January 7, 2014

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