Freeportism as Style and Ideology?

Freeportism as Style and Ideology?

Freeportism as Style and Ideology?
May 20, 2016

The freeport method of art storage presents its critics with a problem. Is it something new? Or something old? What could be less surprising than an international aristocracy hiding treasures in a cave someplace? Is thinking in terms of freeportism a movement towards emancipation, or away from it?

Following Hito Steyerl, Stefan Heidenreich argues in “Freeportism as Style and Ideology” that the freeport might be a new mode of representation, replacing the one that ruled from the end of the Bretton Woods era up until the Great Recession. Like other such modes, freeportism has a value-form, post-internet art, that is optimized for contemporary accumulation, and an ideology, speculative realism, that attempts to transform its novel configuration of forces and relations into a new metaphysics.

To celebrate the launch of issue 73 of e-flux journal, which includes the second half of Heidenreich’s essay, we are convening a panel to discuss the problems and possibilities of freeportism at the conceptual and institutional levels.

Join us for a discussion between Kari Altmann, Julieta Aranda (via Skype), Hayal Pozanti, and Brad Troemel.

Kari Altmann is an American artist, producer, director, curator/writer, performer, photographer, filmmaker, and musician. She is focused on the survival tropes and hybrid ecologies of communal fantasy images, DIY soft power, and “sharing culture.” The aesthetics of her works, in kinetic states of life and mutation, fragility and strength, materiality and immateriality, often hang in the tension of intricate forces behind the image, around the object, embedded in the content, or moving through the network. Besides her individual art practice, she is a longstanding ghost-art-director and producer for many nearby community startups, and has a history as a facilitator in different collective experiments and alternative spaces. Though Altmann has been influential in architecting the catch-all genre of art and music now labeled “post-internet,” she keeps a safe distance from the tag as its aggregation and global interpretation spin out of control, recognizing how things spawn and lose agency in today’s informational and product-driven climate. Hers was always a more holistic push toward reconfiguring boundaries that others (at least in the art industry) eagerly reconstructed or fell back on. Sometimes she uses this wildness to extract new versions of works, as her art and codes travel global contexts and come back changed. Mostly she uses it to push vocabularies and aesthetics into new or more flexible horizons; to constantly explore and seed authentic new devices, many of which seem tangible but escape capture. For now., etc.

Julieta Aranda is an artist and editor of e-flux journal.

Hayal Pozanti was born in Istanbul and lives and works in New York City. Her work relies on “Instant Paradise,” an invented alphabet used as a personally standardized encryption system. Embedded within her shapes are bundles of mined data relating to cyborg anthropology, a framework for understanding the effects of technology on humans and culture.

Brad Troemel is an artist and writer living in New York. He’s the co-creator of the blog Jogging, a viral platform that featured thousands of widely shared artworks from over a thousand participants. Much of his work mixes different forms of exchange value, as his past projects have involved organic foods, cryptocurrencies, digital black markets, precious metals, and rare American coins. Since 2008 his writing has focused on how art is understood and produced in light of social media. He is currently collaborating on an Etsy store called UV Production House, which combines advertising images to create digital composites of potential products that are then shipped to buyers through Amazon Prime as parts, tools, and tutorials to be assembled. 

For more information, contact program [​at​]

Julieta Aranda is an artist and an editor of e-flux journal.

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