Issue #31
With: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, Keller Easterling, Gean Moreno, Gregory Sholette, Sven Lütticken, and Grant Kester
As we continue to reflect upon the chain of political upheavals of 2011, it may be interesting to consider a particular shift in the status of information technology, now that it has been deployed as such a powerful force in facilitating the rise of a new popular voice. But first, how did this happen? How did a form of communication—developed in the late 1950s with a well-funded US Defense Department initiative in response to the Sputnik threat, then blossoming in the hands of…
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6 Essays January 2012
An Internet of Things
Keller Easterling
I. An “internet of things” describes a world embedded with so many digital devices that the space between them consists not of dark circuitry but rather the space of the city itself. The computer has escaped the box, and ordinary objects in space are carriers of digital signals. This capacity seems to finally fulfill the dream of artists and architects of the mid- to late twentieth century, among them Jack Burnham, Cedric Price, Archigram, and Christopher Alexander, who experimented…
For capitalism to sustain itself, to reproduce indefinitely, it needs to incrementally gobble up more and more. It must continually overturn any balanced cycles, as they can lead to stagnation and lost opportunities for growth. Extinctions are drawn to it like filaments to a magnet. The imperative to grow and the need for unrestricted license to devastate are two sides of the same coin—not only mutually dependent but structurally essential. Yet, however deplorable, growth and devastation can…
In the third chapter of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick , the novel’s protagonist, Ishmael, enters the Spouter Inn in search of passage onto a whaling ship. He soon encounters an age-darkened oil painting in the entranceway and becomes perplexed. The canvas is so covered in scratches and smoky residue that it’s all but impossible to make sense of. Throwing open a window to gain more light, Ishmael attempts to describe what he sees: what most puzzled and confounded you was a long,…
General Performance
Sven Lütticken
Rather than signaling the end of the labor regime that has marked the past decades, the current crisis is the becoming-explicit of its internal contradictions. As the Constructivist critic Nikolai Tarabukin put it: the future art under communism would be work transformed. 1 From the 1970s on, this goal has increasingly been realized in unexpected ways, as new forms of labor have emerged that redefine work in performative terms. In recasting performance as action, the current activism not…
→ Continued from “The Sound of Breaking Glass, Part I: Spontaneity and Consciousness in Revolutionary Theory” in issue 30. There is no possibility of escape … —Graciela Carnevale, “Project for the Experimental Art Series” (1968) Let me go, I’m an artist. —Protestor being arrested during a 1968 demonstration at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires 1 As I noted in the first part of this essay, revolutionary action in the Leninist…

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