Issue #30
With: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Hito Steyerl, Claire Tancons, Grant Kester, Paul Chan
​, Jalal Toufic, and Sotirios Bahtsetzis
Americans against capitalism? Arab nations toppling autocrats through peaceful protests? 2011 has been a year of massive popular uprisings—on a completely unexpected scale and from populations that were thought to have been thoroughly subdued. Commentators have predicted that discontent in the Arab world would soon come to a head for so many years that it was beginning to seem unlikely, just as others had begun to dismiss the political potency of popular demonstrations in fiscalized Western…
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8 Essays December 2011
At the end of 2010, I finished writing a book about the cultural collapse of the most important mythology of capitalist modernity: that of “the future” and its associated myths of energy, expansion, and growth. 1 While I was writing, I sensed a possibility that the economic crisis could be deepening. But what actually happened in the summer of 2011—the extraordinary crash of global financial capitalism and the beginning of the European insurrection that exploded in London, Athens, and Rome…
I want you to take out your mobile phone. Open the video. Record whatever you see for a couple of seconds. No cuts. You are allowed to move around, to pan and zoom. Use effects only if they are built in. Keep doing this for one month, every day. Now stop. Listen. Lets start with a simple proposition: what used to be work has increasingly been turned into occupation. 1 This change in terminology may look trivial. In fact, almost everything changes on the way from work to…
While some commentators and journalists have dismissed Occupy Wall Street as carnival, lawmakers and police officers did not miss the point. They reached back to a mid-nineteenth century ban on masking to arrest occupiers wearing as little as a folded bandana on the forehead, leaving little doubt about their fear of Carnival as a potent form of political protest. New York Times journalist Ginia Bellafante initially expressed skepticism about “air[ing] societal grievance as carnival,” but…
Discipline and Punish I paint this way because I can’t join the shooting in Santo Domingo. —Ricardo Carreira (1965) 1 In 1968 the Argentine artist Graciela Carnevale presented a new work entitled Acción del Encierro (Confinement Action) as part of the Ciclo de Arte Experimental exhibition in Rosario, organized by the Grupo de Arte de Vanguardia de Rosario. 2 The work was participatory, drawing on the then-emerging genres of performance art, installation, and…
A Lawless Proposition
Paul Chan
There is a Daoist saying that goes, “Whatever can be taught is not worth learning.” It is a sobering thought, perhaps even a little cruel, as any insight that rings true feels. I don’t take it to mean that one should stop listening to others. Philosophically, Daoists are realists: they want to see things as they are in the world. And the reality is that, just because you stop listening, doesn’t mean people will stop talking—to you, at you, about what to do, how to do it, when to do it, who…
To be fully alive and then die physically, a state most people mistakenly view as being ours in general, a given, is actually an exceptional state. What would it take to achieve what we assume our condition to be? It would take no less than being resurrected by the Christ, “the life” (John 11:25). Yes, to be fully alive and then die physically is not the condition of all humans, but is rather the exceptional condition of the New Testament’s brother of Mary and Martha, the one who was…
Continued from “The Time That Remains, Part I: On Contemporary Nihilism” in issue 28. To live is therefore also, always, to experience in the past the eternal amplitude of a present. —Alain Badiou 1 Is there a way out from the compulsive repetition that is symptomatic of our times? Boris Groys has defined the specific artistic gesture of the universalistic, messianic avant-garde through what he calls “the weak gesture of avant-garde” in opposition to the strong…

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