Lectures and screenings in May

Lectures and screenings in May


Lale Willan, propaganda machine 4, 2017.

May 8, 2018
Lectures and screenings in May
311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
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Join us at e-flux for our May programs featuring Luce deLire; Eric Baudelaire, Alia Ayman, Brian Kuan Wood, and Sarah Rifky; Emanuel Almborg, Maria Chehonadskih, and Alexei Penzin; Keti Chukrov; and The Otolith Group, George Lewis, and travis.


Lecture-performance: Luce deLire, “Post-#metoo: My, Your, Our Pink Totalitarianism”
Friday, May 11, 7pm

What would “sexual freedom beyond the rule of commodities” look like? By way of starting a conversation, this lecture-performance will take up the task of answering this question from the far end of a discursive nightmare. Across the board, a specter is roaming politics. Be it in debates on allegedly “socialist” economics, on gender equality, on #metoo, on queerness, on cultural appropriation (#danaschutz), on Black Lives Matter, or on gun control, some notion of “freedom” is utilized against a tacit fantasy of “leftist totalitarianism”the figure of the pink totalitarian. A remnant of anti-communism without communists, this figure projects or fantasizes an imposition of rights-based oppression from the left that keeps people from the “things they want to do.” She is so easy to attack if only because nobody defends her; let alone had anybody ever articulated such a position.

In this lecture, the specter of a postmodern, queer-feminist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist totalitarian will take shape. Her name: Comrade Josephine, impersonated by Luce deLire. Josephine will recount the history of freedom in the twentieth century as the history of commodification, via the example of the discourse of “modern art.” She will then make concrete proposals regarding actual “pink totalitarianism.” If successful, she can function as a theoretical “bad bank.” We may then re-direct our attacks against liberal and leftist positions that aim at unruly restriction of somebody’s “freedom” towards Comrade Josephine, and hence map our distance rather easily.

Film screening: ArteEast presents: Eric Baudelaire, Also Known as Jihadi
With a recorded broadcast by the filmmaker and live responses by Alia Ayman, Brian Kuan Wood, and Sarah Rifky
Wednesday, May 16, 7pm

Eric Baudelaire’s award-winning film features the story of Aziz, a young man from the Parisian suburbs, and his journey to join al-Nusra Front in Aleppo to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Aziz himself never appears throughout the film; his story is construed though the landscapes he saw in his life, from France to Syria and back, juxtaposed with documents—court records, police reports, surveillance and interrogation transcripts. The film’s title and genre both call on Masao Adachi’s A.K.A Serial Killer (1969), which interrogates a cinematographic approach known as landscape theory. Landscape theory, developed out of Marxist film criticism of the 1970s, posits that all surrounding landscape is an expression of dominant political power. Also Known as Jihadi was shot in multiple locations including France, Spain, Algeria, and the Syrian border in Turkey, and was produced in the aftermath of the Bataclan attacks that took place in Paris in October 2015.

The screening at e-flux will feature a recorded broadcast by the filmmaker, and live responses by Alia Ayman (filmmaker and PhD student, NYU), Brian Kuan Wood (e-flux journal), and Sarah Rifky (ArteEast).

Film screening and talks: Emanuel Almborg, Maria Chehonadskih, and Alexei Penzin, “Thinking Matter, Thinking Body, Talking Hands”
Thursday, May 24, 7pm

“Thinking Matter, Thinking Body, Talking Hands” is a film and discursive program relating to the work of Marxist philosopher Evald Ilyenkov. The evening will feature a lecture by philosopher Alexei Penzin on Ilyenkov’s essay “Cosmology of the Spirit,” followed by a screening of artist Emanuel Almborg’s film Talking Hands (2016), and a conversation between Almborg and philosopher Maria Chehonadskih.

Penzin’s lecture will take llyenkov’s early speculative work on the “entropic death of the universe” as a starting point from which to salvage the powers of “thinking matter,” while Almborg’s film and conversation with Chehonadskih will engage with llyenkov’s later work on pedagogy, theories of (dis)ability, and the “thinking body”. While both lecture and film propose a materialist understanding of thinking outside the individual, one is located in matter and the universe, and the other in sensuous activity with objects and between people, leading to unique understandings of communism.

Lecture: Keti Chukhrov, “What Makes Communism Unbearable, or a Few Notes on the Political Economy of the Common Good”
Saturday, May 26, 6pm

It is traditionally thought that the demise of the project of communism was due to the bureaucratization of the commons. Another supposed basis was the supremacy of ideology over grass-roots democracy, which had failed to maintain its agency subject to the rule of party apparatuses. The libertarian interpretation instead defines communism completely as the language of ideology, imposed on society from above, while material life has always craved freedoms, including those of commerce and circulation. In both cases the distinction is between the falseness of communism as an ideology and the genuine empirical dimension of the commons as movement. Such an interpretation prevails in the work of Louis Althusser, Étienne Balibar, Antonio Negri, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, and others. This, however, does not evade the classical construct of bourgeois modernity which divides society into negative apparatuses and subversive liberating acts, and that remains seminal since Althusser’s and Michel Foucault’s analyses of ideology.

Boris Groys was the first to allege in his book The Communist Postscript that communism was not a futurist utopia—rather, it had already taken place. Paradoxically then, the demise of communism was due to the excess of its components, rather than to their insufficiency and lack. Can it be then, that amidst capitalism, communism has always functioned as an abstract “deity”? And, that the historical socialist experiment of embodying such a “deity” could not but fail amidst capitalism’s libidinal quest for power, instead of the common good?

Film screening: The Otolith Group, The Third Part of the Third Measure
New York premiere with Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar, George Lewis, and travis
Tuesday, May 29, 7pm

From the late 1960s until his death in 1990 at the age of 49, Julius Eastman, the queer African-American avant-garde composer, pianist, vocalist, and conductor wrote and performed compositions whose ecstatic militant minimalism initiated a black radical aesthetic that revolutionized the East Coast new music scene of the 1970s and 1980s. No recordings of Eastman’s compositions were released during his lifetime.

In January 1980, Julius Eastman was invited by the Music Department at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, to present his compositions Crazy Nigger (1978), Evil Nigger (1979), and Gay Guerrilla (1979) at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. A number of African-American students and one faculty member at Northwestern University objected to the titles of Eastman’s compositions. The titles of Eastman’s compositions were redacted from the concert program printed by the Music Department. Before the concert, on January 16, 1980, Eastman delivered a public statement that responded to these objections. The speeches delivered by Dante Micheaux and Elaine Mitchener in The Third Part is the Third Measure (2017) are based on each performer’s modified verbatim transcriptions of Eastman’s Northwestern University statement.

The New York premiere at e-flux will feature a discussion with The Otolith Group’s Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar, and responses by music scholar George Lewis and artist and performer travis.

Admission is free; no RSVP necessary. Seating is first come, first served. 
Events will be livestreamed on e-flux.com/live.
For a list of our upcoming programs, visit our website. For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

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Book launch: Russian Cosmism
Editor Boris Groys in conversation with Claire Bishop and Anton Vidokle

e-flux lectures: Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen, “Eight Theses on Covfefe”
Post-postmodernism in the context of possible world theory

e-flux lectures: Rory Rowan, “Beyond Colonial Futurism”
Portugal’s Atlantic Spaceport and the Neoliberalization of Outer Space

New on e-flux podcasts; available for listening on iTunesSpotify, and Soundcloud

Elvia Wilk and Rachel Ichniowski on Parts of Speech
e-flux journal contributing editor Elvia Wilk and e-flux Digital Projects Manager Rachel Ichniowski discuss issues of power abuse in the artworld. The conversation references Wilk’s recent essays “The Grammar of Work” and “No More Excuses,” both published by frieze.

Cooking Sections on how food infrastructures shape the world
The artist duo Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe) on the occasion of the launch of their book The Empire Remains Shop at e-flux, in conversation with e-flux journal Art Director and artist Mariana Silva. “Empire shops” were first developed in London in the 1920s to teach the British to consume foodstuffs from the colonies and overseas territories. Although none of the stores ever opened, they were intended to make previously unfamiliar produce and products—sultanas from Australia, oranges from Palestine, cloves from Zanzibar, and rum from Jamaica—available in the British Isles. The Empire Remains Shop speculates on the possibility and implications of selling the remains of the British Empire in London today.

David Kim and Yazan Khalili on Hiding Our Faces Like a Dancing Wind
Artist Yazan Khalili discusses his video currently on view in the exhibition Being: New Photography 2018 at MoMA, with lawyer and curator David Kim. “How do we disappear in the digital age? This is a [video] that works with the facial recognition technologies in smart devices and its historical background in the colonial practices.” You can find an additional converstaion between Kim and Khalili on the impossible legality of an artwork in e-flux journal #90.

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May 8, 2018

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