Issues
Issue #10
With: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, Sherif El-Azma, Luis Camnitzer, Paul Chan
​, Céline Condorelli, Peter Friedl, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Hito Steyerl
What does the democratization of image production really accomplish beyond opening channels of communication? Ironically, the liberation of the voice as a means of announcing oneself and one’s views can be seen as a way of absorbing the brunt of more pressing questions concerning the distribution of actual material resources, as an escape from the pursuit of more equitable relationships with regard not just to representation, but also to the distribution of property and knowledge—the power...
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8 Essays November 2009
Psychogeography is a practice that rediscovers the physical city through the moods and atmospheres that act upon the individual. Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of psychogeography is the activity of walking. The act of walking is an urban affair, and in cities that are increasingly hostile to pedestrians, walking tends to become a subversive act. The psychogeographer is a “non-scientific researcher” who encounters the urban landscape through aimless drifting, experiencing...
Today, of course, she would have gone to university, found an outlet for her intelligence, disciplined her seething imagination and probably ended rich and successful. —P.D. James 1 The most trivial pedagogical approaches to literacy are based on the recognition and execution of signs without any consideration for the communication processes that generate those signs. In learning how to write, the first step was always to fill pages with letters. In art, it was to fill pages...
The first piece of art I ever bought was a small painting of a dead DJ. Walking down the street in New York one day, I came across a man selling small- and medium-sized portraits of slain hip-hop artists, casually displayed on the sidewalk. They were painted in bright, simple colors. The one that caught my eye was Tribute to Jam-Master Jay , which I assumed to be the title because it was written in thick gold paint on the lower left corner of the painting. Months before, Jay, the DJ for the...
Life Always Escapes
Céline Condorelli
What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing. —Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition 1 1. Life Always Escapes 2 One way of addressing the question of how to live together is through what we may or may not have in common. Thinking about the common and the in-common, hence, becomes a way of asking how we might find ways of building and sustaining social relations, not through economic transactions, but by...
Secret Modernity
Peter Friedl
At the start of his official state visit in June 2009, revolutionary leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, meanwhile the world’s longest-serving head of state, gave the Italian audience a lesson in matters of colonial history. He had a slightly retouched black-and-white photograph pinned to his uniform, and the entire country found out that depicted on it Omar al-Mukhtar, leader of the Libyan resistance against the Italian colonial regime. The famous photo shows the nearly seventy-year-old man after...
Ever Spero
Hans Ulrich Obrist
] In memory of Nancy Spero (1926–2009) Dum spiro, spero (While I breathe, I hope) “The one thing that artists must possess above all other qualities is immense courage,” the filmmaker and anthropologist Jean Rouch once said to me. Nancy Spero, who died on October 18th in Manhattan at the age of 83, was a woman who possessed immense courage, both in her art and in her life. For more than half a century, this courage propelled a practice of enormous...
The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution. The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances,...
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