obrist-hans-ulrich

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 to determine one’s own circumstances. At stake is really a way of liberating the means to decide one’s own way of living, of being ...

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What is contemporary art? First, and most obviously: why is this question not asked? That is to say, why do we simply leave it to hover in the shadow of attempts at critical summation in the grand tradition of twentieth-century artistic movements? The contemporary delineates its border invisibly: no one is proud to be “contemporary,” and no one is ashamed. Indeed, the question of where artistic movements have gone seems embedded in this question, if only because “the contemporary” has become a single hegemonic “ism” that absorbs all proposals for others. When there are no longer any artistic movements, it ...

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Issue 18 of e-flux journal marks the beginning of our third year of publishing, and the start of a “Letters to the Editors” feature, with reader responses to issues or individual essays published in the journal. To offer your own response, write to journal@e-flux.com… Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle History in the Making Peter Friedl Concepts Are Mental Images: The Work as Ruin Marta Jecu In Defense of the Corrupt Intellectual Hassan Khan Generic Objects Gean Moreno and Ernesto Oroza In Conversation with Antonio Negri Hans Ulrich Obrist Letters to the Editors: Eleven Responses to Anton Vidokle’s “Art Without Artists?”

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Could it be that contemporary art is neoliberalism in its most purified form? At the center of our December issue is a constellation of unusually frank essays mounting an indictment of contemporary art’s complicity with gentrification and capital accumulation, with processes of divestiture and exploitation… Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle Exhaustion and Senile Utopia of the Coming European Insurrection Franco Berardi Bifo A Letter from Donetsk: Art Amidst the Roses Ekaterina Degot Contemporary art does not account for that which is taking place Liam Gillick In Conversation with Hakim Bey Hans Ulrich Obrist Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism, Part I Martha Rosler Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to ...

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Surprisingly few people have flinched at the way Osama bin Laden was disposed of. Even for the most wanted man in the world, one imagines that it would have been both ethically and politically more expedient to stage a trial before his execution, similar to the way it was done in the case of Saddam Hussein. But such an expectation would risk overlooking the degree to which, for states and individuals alike, much political activity now takes place outside of official channels and beyond the jurisdiction of formal legal bodies… Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle Radicalism as Ego Ideal: Oedipus ...

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In the February 2009 issue of e-flux journal, Luis Camnitzer suggested in his essay “Art and Literacy” that a core problem in education (particularly for artists) can be traced back to an early stage when one is taught to read and write, in that order.1 On one level, it is simple common sense to suppose that one can only begin to write after learning how to read. But, at the same time, this ordering also takes for granted that consumption must necessarily come before production—only after you consume knowledge will you then be capable of producing it. It is a fundamental ...

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The films of Adam Curtis—a BBC journalist by vocation, but a filmmaker and information archeologist in practice—appear as conspiracy theories wrapped in historical facts wrapped in social desires. These films remind us that dominant historical narratives are not only subject to rewriting but also sites of intense confusion, ideology, and intrigue. By fusing together narrative and reportage, Curtis’s films enter an ecstatic and playful sphere where themes of power, coercion, technology, morality, and freedom assume a life of their own. This issue of e-flux journal features a rare in-depth interview with Curtis by Hans Ulrich Obrist, coinciding with the filmmaker’s first ...

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On some days it is more apparent than others that the ground is shifting below our feet. On a clear day, we can see the horizon that tells us we are in the midst of a global regime change, yet we do not yet know the face of the new power just beyond it. But what we can see is the limit of an economic regime that has dangled vast advances in symbolic spheres of information and communication, in capital flows and even human movement across the globe. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before we realized the ...

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Sitting at home, you dream of living in places you barely know. And yet, you feel like a tourist in your own city. Maybe you should get out more. But when you do go out, you barely recognize anything. It’s a problem: everything important happens somewhere else. You are more attached to political struggles and events in other places. All the food you eat is imported. All your closest friends and family have moved away to live or work in countries where they don’t speak the language. You might as well join them, but then again that’s what brought you ...

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Projections of the future that were made in the past are often striking in their bold naïvete—didn’t people understand then that future projections always end up looking like caricatures of past concerns? But whereas these projections do little to actually activate the future they foresaw, they do function as expressions of pure intention, and in this sense they are probably not so naïve. Rather, they indicate a certain bold willingness on the part of people of a certain time to define in explicit terms exactly how the future should function, and indeed, most of these projected futures never come to pass—they remain ...

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More than ever, architects today are called upon to build gestural landmarks and grandiose signature buildings. But architecture was never only about building. It is also about the flows of people, information, and resources that shape space. Today, the practice of architecture often confronts situations where these flows cannot be reduced to modernist managerial approaches to systematizing, structuring, and mastering the potentials of space. In a two-part “Architecture as Intangible Infrastructure” issue of e-flux journal edited together with Nikolaus Hirsch, the intangible and immaterial flows that today appear to exceed the language of building proper are shown by a number of ...

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Art cannot solve the problems of 2017, Alexander Kluge says to Hans Ulrich Obrist in this issue, but it can start solving the problems of 2036. Though it may begin in the affective work of mourning, art moves towards a rational archeology and a realistic anticipation. We could call this “futurist realism,” a vision of the coming decades as a series of problems to be solved, rather than as a source for transcendent salvations or damnations of whatever fashion. Unlike the ecstatic or dispirited futurisms we are accustomed to, futurist realism looks forward with no false regrets. Bad-faith futurism, by ...

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The desire to move viewers out of the role of passive observers and into the role of producers is one of the hallmarks of twentieth-century art. This tendency can be found in practices and projects ranging from El Lissitzky’s exhibition designs to Allan Kaprow’s happenings, from minimalist objects to installation art. More recently, this kind of participatory art has gone so far as to encourage and produce new social relationships. Guy Debord’s celebrated argument that capitalism fragments the social bond has become the premise for much relational art seeking to challenge and provide alternatives to the discontents of contemporary life. ...

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If there were ever to be a ‘weather report’ for our times, an audit of the climate in which we have grown accustomed to live, it would use the word ‘turbulence’ often. We inhabit the vortex of storms, and smell sunshine. We are always prepared for rain. Our cities are sites of flood and fire. We live between tremors, power cuts and voltage surges. Agitations emerge and abate on our streets and on the airwaves, as if by accident. Books are burned, blogs are blocked, bourses dance mad tarantulas. We fly with seat belts fastened. Predictions are pronounced and dissembled ...

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