October 11, 2013 - e-flux journal - issue 48: Pieces of the Planet Issue One out now
October 11, 2013

issue 48: Pieces of the Planet Issue One out now

e-flux journal issue 48: Pieces of the Planet Issue One out now
with Jalal Toufic, Anton Vidokle, Oxana Timofeeva,
Hu Fang, Walid Raad, Walter Benjamin, Rijin Sahakian,
and participants of Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program.

www.e-flux.com/issues/48-october-2013

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

Once there was an idea of a vast human family ready to realize humanistic ideals and internationalist partnerships like the United Nations, and some people called it Globalism. But then the idea got bundled with a way of carrying the sentiment of internationalism over to economics, turning jurisdictional partnerships and trade relations into pretty much the same thing. And its name sounds less like a principle than a process—a making global, a globalization of the earth. And since at least the 1980s it was decided that this is how we would all come together, with the globe as market and the market as globe. But at the same time it is impossible to deny what globalization has confronted us with: our own planet—not as an abstract idea but as a massive geological material fact. Now we live the sensation of tracing our hand over a globe on a tabletop, only the globe is the actual earth itself.

Around the same time this massive reach was first being celebrated, it was also starting to show its limits. The many borders that dissolved in the 1990s did not take long to return in other places and even multiply—between sects, tribes, classes, and of course nation-states. And yet the planetary view of the earth is still there, just split into two entities—a system inhabited by humans on the one hand and, on the other, a big spherical body that is profoundly indifferent to us. Our all-encompassing mastery immediately hits a wall when we realize we know nothing about ourselves on this thing. It is as if the moment the world shrank into the palm of our hand, it also exploded into trillions of tiny microcosms.

In the meantime we need to figure out what to do with all these scattered pieces that seem to be held together by tape, and are likely to explode again into smaller micro-microcosms. And what would they look like? Some of them look like the pieces of world that were not included in the world before, or at least that of the internationalist project. Other pieces look like rogue bits of information left by the road—old game consoles, used batteries, deleted mail, libido, some recordable CDs of soft rock, an old tribe, a fake sect, expired film stock, an animal carcass, or Danish modern furniture with bad upholstery.

But then there is another kind, and these are basically all artworks. These are the action paintings of the planet. They are historical counter-narratives. They are exceptions. One piece wants to join with other pieces to heal the scars of breaking off. Another little Promethean piece wants to explode again and again to make infinitely more of itself. Yet another wants to retire with a good pension on a plinth. These little worlds come in editions you can buy, but their volatility makes them impossible to possess. And that keeps them somewhat market friendly, but a really horrible challenge to historians who at this point can only watch as historical narratives multiply faster than they can ever hope to keep track.

This issue of the journal is one of several issues to be developed in parallel with Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program, with its third edition starting in November as a free, experimental school based in Beirut led by Jalal Toufic and Anton Vidokle.

—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle


Jalal Toufic—Middle Eastern Films Before Thy Gaze Returns to Thee—in Less than 1/24 of a Second
Cinema would appear to disadvantage Muslim filmmakers steeped in their religion’s tradition if one pays inordinate attention to the kind of cinema’s temporal atomicity facet, which makes cinema very close to the predominant Islamic conception of time but about which comparatively little has been written in works on the basic cinematographic apparatus.

Anton Vidokle—Energy of Kosmos is Indestructible!!!
Museums should be moved to cemeteries. Libraries should become nurseries for the resuscitation of writers. Armies, factories, farms, hospitals, and universities should work together to achieve the common task of immortality. All the productive forces of humanity should aim to achieve the return of every resurrected human being. Each person with his or her own individual consciousness.

Oxana Timofeeva—Communism with a Nonhuman Face
I would rather like to claim that the class struggle has to be carried forward by those who appear as nonhumans, or even as unhuman monsters, like the Hollywood aliens that symbolized communism during the Cold War. Revolution does not have a human face. It goes beyond the human and human rights, towards animality.

Hu Fang—Dear Navigator, Part I
My parents believed that martyr’s blood could be exchanged for today’s blissful living, and their energy shaped the future and afterlife for which they hoped. But we have already been dispersed from the powers of the collective, atomized into scattered and aimless particles, returned to chaos.

Walid Raad—Walkthrough (Part I)
Let’s imagine that you are a state pension fund manager in Marseille and you are interested in investing in contemporary art from the Middle East to diversify your portfolio and because you keep hearing that this market is consistently outperforming the S&P 500. But you know nothing about contemporary art from the Middle East. Wouldn’t it be valuable if you had somewhere to go where you could talk to someone who knows a lot about this kind of art—someone who could advise you on which artworks to buy, when to buy them, and how much to pay for them?

Walter Benjamin—The Making of Americans
While walking through MoMA, a majority of the American museumgoers there probably had no idea that what they were seeing was not Europe’s present, but its past. Although all the artworks were from Europe, hardly anyone was aware that the story told through the arrangement of the museum’s exhibits was not European; it was not a European interpretation of modern art. Instead, it was a story told by an American—namely, Alfred Barr. This story did not merely preserve the memory of European modern art, but in fact reinvented it by categorizing artists according to “international movements” instead of “national schools.”

Rijin Sahakian—A Reply to Nato Thompson’s “The Insurgents, Part I”
If the piece were simply naive, one might be able to write it off as a misguided attempt to raise the profile of community activism by putting the weight of the military’s uses and acknowledgement of culture behind it. However, a much deeper set of problems quickly surfaces.

Chapter Zero
We are a group of people who have gathered in Beirut despite the postponement, due to the political situation in Lebanon, of the program in which we were supposed to participate. Some of us are based here, and some chose to come with no regard for the sudden changes in the school’s schedule.


The print edition of e-flux journal can now be found at:
Amsterdam: De Appel / 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 Arts 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: Capacete / 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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