Issues
Issue #60
With: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, Mike Pepi, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Porter McCray, Hito Steyerl, Ali Shamseddine, John Rich, Arseny Zhilyaev, Jonas Staal, Anna T., and Coco Fusco
The museum may now be assuming a new function in the network. It is being reformatted as a recording device, a flexible memory machine that can store culture like a bank, artworks like a storefront, politics in the form of data. And each of these can be exchanged with one another as currency: the political movement can be turned into an activist archive, sold as an artwork, then exhibited as data, then sealed off in a vault with cultural artifacts for safe keeping. Museums in China are built...
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10 Essays December 2014
Why Do We Look for Data in the Museum? In Art Project 2023 , João Enxuto and Erica Love imagine the future of the Google Art Project, the search giant’s effort to reproduce images from the world’s top museums as it develops over the next decade. The multimedia performance documents the slow erosion of the museum under the logic of corporate interests and the breathless adoption of digital innovation by none other than Google, whose stated goal is to “organize the world’s information...
Subjectivity and Automation The history of the last fifty years can be read from the point of view of the relation between subjectivity and automation, the replacement of a living process by a technological artifact whose performances replicate the logical and functional succession of human acts. In the history of capitalism, this replacement has a double goal: increasing workers’ productivity and subduing the political force of organized workers. In the last decades of the...
Porter McCray was the director of the MoMA International Program during the 1950s, when several important exhibitions of modern American art traveled through major European cities in the early years of the Cold War. He died on December 1, 2000. In recent years, he has become responsible for the traveling exhibitions of the Museum of American Art in Berlin. This essay is based on a presentation given by Porter McCray for Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program in Beirut in January, 2014, on...
A while ago I met an extremely interesting software developer who was working on smartphone camera technology. Photography is traditionally thought to represent what is out there by means of technology, ideally via an indexical link. But is this really true anymore? The developer explained to me that the technology for contemporary phone cameras is quite different from traditional cameras: the lenses are tiny and basically crap, which means that about half of the data being captured by the...
A Compressed Archive One of the first acts the Syrian people performed when they rose up against the Assad regime was to destroy photographs and public monuments depicting Hafez al-Assad, Bassel al-Assad, and Bashar al-Assad. They proceeded to replace the national flag with another one from a bygone era. The other thing the Syrians destroyed was the notion of dynastic legacy. The relentless and predictable growth of such a legacy dictated how the Syrians occupied themselves in their...
The exhibition starts with the [following] topic: “The serfdom system had been based on the corvée exploitation of the peasant by the noble landowner.” The main content is expressed by means of a mock-up: there is a peasant plowing with an authentic ancient plough; over him, there is a symbol of noneconomic violence—an authentic three-tailed whip, and beside it, a landowner, one belonging to a type of parasitizing lord. In front of the model the material is structured according to [these]...
Continued from “ To Make a World, Part I: Ultranationalism and the Art of the Stateless State ” A photo by Moussa Ag Assarid, writer and representative of the Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad, or MNLA (National Liberation Movement of Azawad), shows a seemingly deserted space, with only a hand-painted sign stuck in the ground. A flag. A claim. An idea. We see no state in terms of infrastructure—neither roads nor buildings—but we see the idea of a state. We see the...
Since at least the sixteenth century, individuals who could in today’s terminology be referred to as LGBTQ+ or queer have been creating their own linguistic registers. The “closet,” for one, is a linguistic formation that only dates back to the mid-twentieth century, as we may be aware. What is perhaps less known is how these languages were produced in the context of the secrecy that the proverbial closet provides, and what parallels within that space can be drawn with Édouard Glissant’s...
The detention of Cuban artist Tania Bruguera and the Cuban government's actions to prevent her performance from taking place in Havana's Revolutionary Plaza have made international news headlines in the past week. Public outrage about the censorship of the performance and concerns about Bruguera's whereabouts have circulated in social media outside Cuba, but little in depth consideration of the context and implications of the performance has been available in English. The treatment of the...
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