March 5, 2014 - e-flux journal - issue 53 out now
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March 5, 2014

issue 53 out now

e-flux journal issue 53
out now


with Antonio Negri, Benjamin Bratton, Ane Hjort Guttu, Elizabeth Povinelli, Kim Turcot DiFruscia,
Reza Negarestani, Mary Walling Blackburn,
Brian Kuan Wood, 
and the Cluster network

www.e-flux.com/issues/53-march-2014 

e-flux journal iPad edition is now available.
Free download here.

One common explanation for why intellectual property makes no sense in an era of file-sharing uses the example of what happens when you copy a file on a computer. Copy-Paste: a second file has been produced, but the original is unaltered. Now it has a sibling, a partner, a twin. And if they keep reproducing themselves in this way, no problem. Which is to say that, at least in the digital domain, the entire calculus of scarcity is very different from the material domain. The difference between a single entity, two entities, or a billion is almost nil. Under these circumstances, as the argument goes, reintroducing laws of scarcity by limiting access is simply backward.

But this is not to say that people go unaltered by this kind of proliferation. And it is definitely not to say that scarcity goes away and all people become wealthy just because we can get our hands on lots and lots of computer files. No, it’s just to say that the nature of what we consider a resource has been profoundly redistributed across domains of knowledge and whatever its material base has become. Original and counterfeit mutually melt. Some things can be reproduced ad nauseam while others simply decay. It is where the simulacrum is no longer deceptive in its distance from the real but just really confusing when it comes to trying to locate actual resources.

To be more precise, it is forcing such a high level of abstraction that productive and reproductive forces become indistinguishable from each other. In a response in this issue to the “Manifesto for Accelerationist Politics,” Antonio Negri identifies this particular level of abstraction as the place that must be occupied. Cognitive labor is already abstract, and it is under the auspices of this abstraction that its output is left by the roadside to be swept up by capital and taken elsewhere. Strangely, we are faced with a scenario in which not only the Left, but also capitalism suffers from retrograde approaches to technology. And yet, as the relation of the human to technology is being rewritten seemingly on its own, the urgent task becomes one of locating the places where the most crucial abstract and immaterial effects register themselves in life. It is a question of form.

The artist Mary Walling Blackburn has pointed out that it becomes very interesting to think about overpopulation in this scenario. She was actually pregnant at the time. Overpopulation implies a capacity that has reached its limit, a bloat that is taxing resources. But what is it that is being overpopulated, and how is the capacity reached? Let’s try to look at it differently—by way of the family. The family is the place where public and private mash together. It is the interface of both. It is a shelter from society. It forges subjectivity, for better or for worse. It is universal even if it doesn’t assume a singular form. The family can be a living hell, a mafia, a black market, a restaurant, or a network of solidarity. And the purpose of any kind of solidarity is to form a micro-society whose bonds are strong enough to resist external pressures from outside. And ideally these strong bonds surpass the calculus of exchange. Giving and receiving mesh. Everything is shared according to a logic that is taken for granted. One family member is crippled and the other one is healthy as an ox, that’s just how it is. You don’t need a doctor to tell you what to do. You simply figure it out. Even in the most miserable family where everyone hates everyone else, there is some care and there is support. Without that, there is no family.

But a form of care that is bountiful and not subject to any measurement is also not infinite. It may be absolute in its commitment, but it is not infinite in its capacity. If we look at what is happening to family relations at the moment, we may start to see the place where the reproduction of humans and the replication of effects go to war over your love, over your time, over your vital energies. The family marks the point of indistinction where the cozy conservatism and organic purity of human reproduction and the replication of culture exert the most profound and discernible stresses. It is where China, now easing its one-child policy, might consider instituting its one-artwork policy. It is where gallerists and collectors may want to reconsider keeping it all in the family. But it is also where I can become you and you can become me. It is also where we can always pay the rent and where dinner and everything else will sort itself out, somehow.

—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle

In this issue:

Antonio Negri—Reflections on the “Manifesto for Accelerationist Politics”
With all due respect to those who still comically believe that revolutionary possibilities must be linked to the revival of the working class of the twentieth century, such a potentiality clarifies that we are still dealing with a class, but a different one, and one endowed with a higher power. It is the class of cognitive labor. This is the class to liberate, this is the class that has to free itself.

Benjamin Bratton—The Black Stack
One of the useful paradoxes of the User’s position as a political subject is the contradictory impulse directed simultaneously toward his artificial over-individuation and his ultimate pluralization, with both participating differently in the geopolitics of transparency. For example, the Quantified Self movement is haunted by this contradiction. At first, the intensity and granularity of a new informational mirror image convinces the User of his individuated coherency and stability as a subject. He is flattered by the singular beauty of his reflection, and this is why QSelf is so popular with those inspired by an X-Men reading of Atlas Shrugged.

Ane Hjort Guttu—How to Become a Non-Artist
The meaning was equally clear or unclear regardless of whether it was a conscious work or not. I no longer saw the difference in principle between the egg cup arrangement, the cauliflower, and the remote control.

Kim Turcot DiFruscia—Shapes of Freedom: A Conversation with Elizabeth Povinelli
Certain statements do not have practical traction in the world. Why don’t we think that removing social welfare is a form of state killing? Especially when the neoliberal state says that its way of “caring” will make life unviable for many. “Life is going to get much worse,” we are told, “but just wait and then things will get better.” Why do we think of this as care and not as state abuse? How long are we willing to give late-liberal forms of care-as-enervation before we are willing to call them a form of killing?

Reza Negarestani—Labor of the Inhuman, Part II: The Inhuman
Inhumanism is exactly the activation of the revisionary program of reason against the self-portrait of humanity. Once the structure and the function of commitment are genuinely understood, we see that a commitment works its way back from the future, from the collateral commitments of one’s current commitment, like a corrosive revisionary acid that rushes backward in time. By eroding the anchoring link between present commitments and their past, and by seeing present commitments from the perspective of their ramifications, revision forces the updating of present commitments in a cascading fashion that spreads globally over the entire system.

Mary Walling Blackburn—Sister Apple, Sister Pig: Speculative Annotations
The Unthinkable Book casts about for a perverse narrator: the one that reads childishly about unchildish things to a child. This impossible book casts about for a notional listener: callow yet capable of parsing a spirit from its surgical remains (read: abortion), a listener willing to toddle through a simulated moral universe dependent on a child protagonist’s nascent sense of agency as tempered by imagination.

Brian Kuan Wood—Is it Love?
Love is in this sense not an elevated romantic phenomenon but the economization of empathy. Love is immaterial capital in the absolute in a sphere of value relations where capital and labor are no longer the main operators or arbiters of value. As unfixed capital summons higher and higher symbolic registers into the arena of exchange, its increasing abstraction puts it constantly on the prowl for a lower base to peg value to.

Cluster—How to Begin Living in the Trees?
For the majority of young girls and boys, this is their first encounter with an art space. They are totally lost. They have no idea what to expect. They are trembling. How this initiation happens is extremely important, so we really try to work hard on it. Courage is important, having the courage to tremble.

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 Brisbane: Institute of Contemporary Art 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 / Galeri Zilberman / 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) / McNally Jackson Books / 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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