May 15, 2012 - e-flux journal - e-flux journal issue 35 out now
May 15, 2012

e-flux journal issue 35 out now

e-flux journal issue 35
out now

With contributions by
Sotirios Bahtsetzis, Irmgard Emmelhainz,
Boris Groys, Bilal Khbeiz, John Miller,
and Elizabeth A. Povinelli

What if history actually did end with the fall of communism and the end of the cold war, as Fukuyama claimed, and we are now enjoying some kind paradise of liberal democracy with no better political framework to strive towards? Or, what if a recognition of exploitation and social inequities actually is leading to a massive workers’ revolution that will reclaim the means of production and lead to a more equal distribution of resources and power—whether Marxist, democratic, or otherwise? Indeed, we are unsure whether we are still inside of an idea of progressive social emancipation and human self-realization that defined the modern era, or whether we have truly, actually surpassed these questions. The popular uprisings of 2011 only complicate the issue further with their ability to mobilize massive social movements with a near-total absence of political ideology in any traditional sense. It almost seems as if the entire world got the gist of all the postmodern and postcolonial ideas that came after 1968 to theorize an era of dreary political prospects.

What is clear is that, in spite of an enormous amount of action and movement, we remain unable to think in terms of totality—whether collectively, socially, or ontologically. And it remains hard to say whether this is because we choose not to, for fear of authoritarian implications, or because something much larger has seized us and rendered us too frightened or simply incapable of thinking and dreaming on such a scale. In her essay in this issue of e-flux journal, Elizabeth Povinelli advances a fascinating proposal that, because we are all “trapped in an enclosure” of a single system now more than ever before, any sensuous modes of being to be found within this system are tied precisely to negotiating its horizon. Furthermore, in this issue Boris Groys interrogates the contemporary artist’s reliance on critical theory to explain what is to be done, how to do it, and why, and he relates this to a privileging of action hardwired within the ethos of critical theory itself. In place of philosophical contemplation, theory animates life and performs the fact that one is alive and full of energy. In place of a rationality that could extend beyond the self to become total and universal, theory confronts us with the finiteness of our lives, and thus with a paradoxical urgency to act now, before it is too late.

—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle


In this issue:

Elizabeth A. Povinelli—After the Last Man: Images and Ethics of Becoming Otherwise
If democracy is the back of history, there seems to be no front to neoliberal being. How do we think about the sources of the political otherwise when being seems trapped in an enclosure rather than having a front or a back? Where are the sensuous modes of becoming within the global circulations of being that have defined modern politics and markets, if not in a horizon?

Bilal Khbeiz—Dubai: A City Manufactured by Curiosity
To employ engineers, educators, and doctors as the makers of the future, is to transform them into artists—and they will defend their products like valuable works of art. In the meantime, the citizen becomes a viewer, watching his or her country on a screen rather than living in it. Rather than emigrating abroad, the citizens immigrate inwards, as if into a secret. As they do this, they cease to be visible, yet they can always see the masterpiece their land has become.

Boris Groys—Under the Gaze of Theory
Critical theory criticizes not only philosophical contemplation, but any kind of contemplation, including aesthetic contemplation. For critical theory, to think or contemplate is the same as being dead. In the gaze of the Other, if a body does not move it can only be a corpse. Philosophy privileges contemplation. Theory privileges action and practice—and hates passivity. If I cease to move, I fall off theory’s radar—and theory does not like it.

Sotirios Bahtsetzis—Eikonomia: Notes on Economy and the Labor of Art
It is pertinent to us that art permanently assumes its position as acheiropoieton—a slow and mute icon—offering the impression that it is situated outside the world of labor (semio-time) as part of a particular economy. In this regard, the economy of the artwork might be the hidden equivalent of both the governmental machinery and the economic control power within our alienated society.

Irmgard Emmelhainz—Between Objective Engagement and Engaged Cinema: Jean-Luc Godard’s “Militant Filmmaking” (1967-1974), Part II
For Godard and Miéville, “objectivity” requires that images hide their own silence, a “silence that is deadly because it impedes the image from coming out alive.” They thus work with the imperative to ask of images: “Who speaks?” And for them, all images are always addressed to a third: “Une image c’est un regard sur un autre regard présenté à un troisième regard.”

John Miller—Politics of Hate in the USA, Part III: Posse Comitatus, Grassroots Rebellion, and Secret Societies
Of all the far right factions, the Posse Comitatus may be the largest. A true grassroots movement, it is also the most amorphous and the hardest to pin down. James Ridgeway compares its organizational flexibility with that pioneered by the SDS, yet it also takes the anti-Federalist logic of states’ rights to a topical extreme. “Posse Comitatus” literally means “power of the county” in Latin. The name refers to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which forbids the use of US military and national guard forces as civilian police forces.


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 Auckland: split/fountain Austin: Arthouse at the Jones Center Baden-Baden: Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden Belgrade: Cultural Centre of Belgrade 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? / NBK, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein / Pro qm Berlin and Zurich: Motto Bern: Kunsthalle Bern 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 / 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 Ghent: S.M.A.K 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 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 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: 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: Mercer Union / The Power Plant Torun: Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun 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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