Issue #51
With: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, Walid Raad, Lindsay Caplan, Gean Moreno, Pierre Dardot, Christian Laval, and Melissa Gronlund
Thanks to everyone who came out to our fifth anniversary party in December. It’s 2014 now and we are still hungover. But we want to tell you about a very strange thing that happened to us there. Late in the night we met a young Chinese artist through a friend, and she told us about a recurring nightmare of hers. What happens most nights is this: each time she produces an artwork, a giant barbarian with a long beard appears wielding a sword as long as a person is tall. And with the rounded…
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6 Essays January 2014
In 2005 the Sfeir-Semler Gallery opened in Beirut, in an industrial quarter called Karantina. Some of you already know that Karantina was the site of a brutal massacre of civilians in 1976. I am not going to talk about this here. The Sfeir-Semler Gallery opened on the fourth floor of a large former warehouse. It is an 800-square-meter space, with clean four-meter-high, sixty-centimeter-thick white walls, smooth concrete floors, and diffuse northern lighting all around. It is the…
Framing Artwork
Lindsay Caplan
My premise is this: that the ways in which we describe and understand artistic labor are integrally tied to how we imagine what artworks should do in the world. Underlying the idea of artistic production as authentic, voluntary, and self-valorizing, for example, is the utopian promise that art is prefigurative, that it can posit in an experimental, provisional way the liberatory modes of being we wish for everybody. Another idea—that art production is exploitative, alienated, precarious, and…
Gean Moreno: Survivors of the strange hallucination that was called the End of History, we seem to be speaking again, and brazenly, of the Outside—an outside to the existing socioeconomic arrangement, an outside to existing forms of everyday life, an outside to the authority of institutionalized discourse. It is in relation to the reassertion of this figure or trope of the Outside that I read your contribution to Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation , and in particular…
The conception of society as an enterprise made up of enterprises comprises a new subjective norm, which is no longer precisely that of the productive subject of industrial societies. The neoliberal subject in the process of being formed, some of whose main features we wish to delineate here, is the correlate of an apparatus of performance and pleasure that is currently the subject of numerous works. There is no absence of descriptions of hypermodern, uncertain, flexible, precarious, fluid,…
When telegraph lines were first installed in the US and Europe in the mid-1800s, people complained of sightings of ghosts traveling along the wires. In 1848, two sisters in a village near Rochester, New York claimed that rapping coming from the floorboards of their bedroom were Morse-code messages from the dead. Telephones and electric machines were viewed with suspicion, and theater performances often portrayed them as vessels of magical powers. Such supernatural interpretations of emerging…

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