Boris Groys

PublisherFiktion2015
In this anthology, edited by Fiktion’s cofounder Ingo Niermann, nineteen writers and researchers address a fiercely contested commodity in digital society: concentration. Ingeborg Harms, Quinn Latimer, Arthur Jacobs, and Raoul Schrott write about the circumstances under which a text or activity can completely draw us into its spell, Dirk Baecker and Amy Patton about a shifting concentration, Jenna Sutela and Elvia Wilk about one that carries us into the spherical, Charis Conn about concentration violently induced; Nina Bußmann writes about the uncertainty as to whether she is currently concentrating or distracting herself; Sophie Jung, Emily Segal, and Alexander Tarakhovsky make ...
Publishere-flux2019
On November 7, 1929, the Museum of Modern Art “opened in a five-room rented space with an ‘historical’ exhibition of (European) Post-Impressionist art, titled ‘The First Loan Exhibition: Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh.’” MoMA’s founding director, Alfred Barr, had the idea that modern works that passed a test called “Torpedo in Time” would, after some fifty years, be considered historical and transfer to the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the time, Gertrude Stein also famously quipped that the very idea of a museum of the modern was an oxymoron. In short, MoMA was more of a kunsthalle ...
Publishere-flux2009
About a year ago, while trying to develop a wiki archive for contemporary art at e-flux, we encountered a small technical problem in deciding how to implement a simple menu structure to allow readers to navigate such an archive. We thought first to organize it according to movement. Yet there have been no significant movements in the past twenty years, and artists have not been interested in organizing themselves around any. By medium? But contemporary artists work with their materials in a variety of different, and more often hybrid, ways. By geographic region? Well, that approach is probably better suited ...
Publishere-flux2010
In a recent BBC documentary on “objectum sexuals”—people who have loving relationships with inanimate objects—Erika Naisho Eiffel spoke about her love affair with an archer’s bow: “We were just such a great team because we had that connection on every single level. I’d almost swear that my blood flowed from my arm and went right into him. And it felt like the molecules in him were flowing right back into my arm.”1 It’s no surprise that, before their love waned, Naisho Eiffel was a record-breaking world champion archer—a love story indeed. But more importantly, Naisho Eiffel’s example seems to suggest ...
Publishere-flux2010
The tension in contemporary culture formulated in terms of a hackneyed clash between premodern tradition and fully modernized enlightened subjects has proven to be a dangerous one—and it has easily given way to patently racist scenarios in which premodern tribal types (such as the EU citizens who happen to be Roma) invade fully modern Western metropolises. It seems much more useful, and interesting, to consider these conditions to be one and the same—two sides of a single, irreconcilable anxiety with regard to cultural tradition, the promises of modernism, and the shortcomings of both. From this singular vantage point, we can ...
Publishere-flux2009
The nature of artistic speculation is, in part, to create new spaces and defer their use to others. While the pioneer gets first dibs in deciding the ideologies and governing principles of the spaces he creates, he is seldom present to see his planning in practice—he is off to new adventures while the subject must find ways of translating this vision into something inhabitable. Beyond the issue of governance, these circumstances beg the deeper question of the potential for simply inhabiting existing spaces, for properly addressing important questions that have already been asked before seeking the questions of the future. ...
Publishere-flux2011
Let’s be clear about something: it is infuriating that most interesting artists are perfectly capable of functioning in at least two or three professions that are, unlike that of art, respected by society in terms of compensation and general usefulness. And compensation—which is money—is not only for feeding lavish lifestyles or taking spontaneous beach vacations. Ask anyone who has children or sick relatives in a country without good health care—which could by now be almost any country, as the administration of life is deferred more and more to the private sphere of personal finance. This only makes the question of ...
Publishere-flux2011
This month in e-flux journal, we are pleased to present a special issue focusing on Moscow Conceptualism, guest-edited by Boris Groys in conjunction with an exhibition of the work of Andrei Monastyrski and Collective Actions, curated by Groys and on view at e-flux until January 6, 2012… Preface Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle Introduction—Global Conceptualism Revisited Boris Groys Performing Objects, Narrating Installations: Moscow Conceptualism and the Rediscovery of the Art Object Ekaterina Degot One and Three Ideas: Conceptualism Before, During, and After Conceptual Art Terry Smith Soviet Material Culture and Socialist Ethics in Moscow Conceptualism Keti Chukhrov Art without Work? Anton Vidokle Moscow Romantic Exceptionalism: The Suspension of Disbelief Sarah Wilson Zones of ...
Publishere-flux2012
What if history actually did end with the fall of communism and the end of the cold war, as Fukuyama claimed, and we are now enjoying some kind paradise of liberal democracy with no better political framework to strive towards? Or, what if a recognition of exploitation and social inequities actually is leading to a massive workers’ revolution that will reclaim the means of production and lead to a more equal distribution of resources and power—whether Marxist, democratic, or otherwise? Indeed, we are unsure whether we are still inside of an idea of progressive social emancipation and human self-realization that defined the modern era, ...
Publishere-flux2009
Much of the tension within the sphere of contemporary art is generated by the insularity of the art context, which often prompts artists to be on the lookout for other situations. The museum is too exclusive, the artwork overly framed, the discourse too removed from everyday life. And yet, attempts to liberate artworks from their conditioning often finds them still connected to the art context by a rigid tether. Boris Groys has suggested that in order for art to be shown in public spaces and still maintain its status as art, it must by necessity be more conservative than art ...
Publishere-flux2012
After an all-night conversation with an old friend, you are ready to start the revolution together. But the next day, discussing the finer points over breakfast, you realize no, it’s impossible—in fact, this friend is actually a fascist. Her sentiment is right but her strategies could be disastrous. In order for the revolution to succeed, you will probably have to kill her. And this friend is thinking the same thing of you—a cowardly ideologue who hides behind an antiquated idea of historical progress in order to feel like a good person. Your grand political project from last night draws closer ...
Publishere-flux2013
Celebrating the arrival of 2013 on New Year’s Eve, many people must have wondered why they still existed. Wasn’t the world supposed to end on December 21 with the Mayan apocalypse?.. Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle The End of Neonationalism: On The Comparative Certainty of Extraterrestrial Life and its Significance for Humankind (Earth and the Solar System Section) The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind Epistemological Gaps between the Former Soviet East and the “Democratic” West Keti Chukhrov Freedom from Everything: Freelancers and Mercenaries Hito Steyerl Allegories of Art, Politics, and Poetry Alan Gilbert Conceptual Art and Eastern Europe: Part II Zdenka Badovinac, Eda Čufer, Cristina Freire, ...
Publishere-flux2013
In April, Mark Epstein from the Cooper Union Board of Trustees announced the end of fully subsidized education across the college’s art, engineering, and architecture schools. It was a closing chapter in a ferocious battle in the college since it announced its insolvency in 2011. But it may be the beginning of something else… Editorial—‟Language and Internet” Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle International Disco Latin Hito Steyerl English and All That Martha Rosler After the Social Media Hype: Dealing with Information Overload Geert Lovink The Whole Earth: In Conversation with Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke Ana Teixeira Pinto Towards a Post-Secular Aesthetics: Provocations for Possible Media in Afterlife ...
Publishere-flux2013
Where do artifacts go when they are destroyed? They enter a void of historical erasure, of fabricated narratives and convenient amnesia. We used to call that place a museum. But what happens when a museum is itself destroyed, when it is burned or looted, when icons and artifacts turn to dust or fall back into the hands of people? Can we still access them, and do we even want to? As Boris Groys points out in this issue:.. Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle Becoming Revolutionary: On Kazimir Malevich Boris Groys The Insurgents, Part I: Community-Based Practice as Military Methodology Nato Thompson Visions of Eternity: Plastic ...
Publishere-flux2013
Dear Readers, welcome to the fiftieth issue of e-flux journal. It marks our official five-year anniversary. It’s hard to believe. To celebrate this, we invite all of you who happen to be in New York next Tuesday, December 17, to a party we are organizing at China Chalet. Join us for drinks and music, we will be there from 9pm until the night ends… Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle From the Blue Planet to Google Earth Ursula K. Heise Entering the Flow: Museum between Archive and Gesamtkunstwerk Boris Groys Towards the Possible Film (A Script with Some Notable Interruptions) Shezad Dawood If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed? No Jalal Toufic Captives ...
Publishere-flux2014
Spring is here, so we are naturally thinking about sex all the time. It was a busy winter with many personal calamities and meltdowns, and this only makes now a better time to think about sex. Big beautiful interspecies sex. Instrumentalized sex. Makeup sex and breakup sex. Overman sex and that business with the eunuch. Tender Marvin Gaye sex and also the weird stuff. Sex as the symbolic drainage area for desires that exceed and escape the society, but also as the visceral pelvic thrust behind those desires that glue the whole contraption together when it is actually hopelessly falling apart. ...
Publishere-flux2014
In the summer of 1989, Francis Fukuyama published his infamous essay declaring the global triumph of free-market liberal democracy over communism as the end of ideology as such. Not only that, but he also claimed the world was on the cusp of realizing what Fukuyama’s mentor Alexandre Kojève called the “universal homogenous state,” which would be the climax of a particular Western idealist tradition stretching back to Hegel. It would be the endpoint of a human consciousness based in accumulative historical progress that also grounded the thinking of Marx himself, who pegged his own philosophy to a conception of time ...
Publishere-flux2015
In Djibril Diop Mambéty’s 1992 dark comedy Hyènes, an extravagantly wealthy woman returns to her poor village seeking revenge. Her target is the man who humiliated her in her youth by getting her pregnant and abandoning her. It is not only death that she wants, but also justice. She will not murder the man by her own hand, as Charles Tonderai Mudede explains in this issue, but instead asks the village to mete out capital punishment, to murder him for his wrongdoing. In exchange, she will make the town wealthy. As the village reflects upon its principles, the people of ...
Publishere-flux2009
The processes of the factory have entered the museum in ways that Warhol and Duchamp could never have dreamed: the amount of art production now by far exceeds what can be processed or understood, and this often creates a degree of mistrust and an absence of common points of reference with which to not only discuss, but also to gain anything from the sheer volume of artworks placed on display today. The time to engage and digest work is often replaced by additional work—it just keeps coming down the line… Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle Concerning Matters to be Left ...
Publishere-flux2016
The freeport method of art storage presents its critics with a problem. Is it something new? Or something old? What could be less surprising than an international aristocracy hiding treasures in a cave someplace? The CEO of the Geneva Freeport might have overcharged his Russian Oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, by one billion dollars for thirty-five paintings, according to Sam Knight’s recent, riveting account. Rybolovlev had himself acquired a large slice of the collective ownership of the means of production in 1992, when he was twenty-nine, in the form of Uralkali, a mining company developed by the State Planning Committee of the USSR ...
Publishere-flux2016
Early in the new century, it is already clear that the vanguards of the last one were less a singular, sequential telos than a symptomatic cycle. Movements like impressionism, abstraction, conceptualism, or symbolism are more like weather patterns that recur under certain circumstances than historical exceptions never to be repeated. There are everyday sprinkles of impressionism which relate to a Monet in the same way that the average rainstorm relates to a hurricane. In “Towards the New Realism,” Boris Groys examines the revival of what is still the most suggestive and polyamorous of these commitments, the pursuit of the real. ...
Publishere-flux2017
Division is the characteristic habit of humanity: ēthos anthropōi daimōn, as Heraclitus had it. Demons for division, we divide and are divided. Taken over by divisions within ourselves, the demonic appears as the divided self. Wherever the self realizes an apparent struggle, whenever one is possessed by another, the demon is present. Possession dramatizes self-production as a fight for local control. Demonology is the science of these heteronomous selves, these others inside us. “From the beginning,” Boris Groys writes in this issue, “the contemporary artist is demonic: he is possessed by himself and cannot be relieved of his demons.”  
Publishere-flux2017
The critique of bureaucracy slithers like a sewer—hidden, warm, and necessary—beneath the aging towers of the twentieth-century intellectual metropolis. Arising first as one answer to The Question—namely, what happened in the USSR?—bureaucracy eventually came to replace the bourgeoisie as the preferred explanation for why everything was the way it was. To this day, pseudonyms for bureaucracy remain highly fashionable pieces of conceptual hyperbole. Any characterization of instituted sociality as uniform unfreedom—the spectacle, the body without organs, libidinal economics, Empire, Bloom—has its origins in the bureaucratic obsession with control, as distinct from the bourgeois obsession with ownership. In “The Great Accelerator,” Oleksiy ...
Publishere-flux2017
Indentured to the past, we drag our inherited identities through a forest of networks bursting with mysterious intellectual fruit. We’re not sure which concepts are poisonous and which are safe. History is like a mistranslated phrasebook full of old-fashioned illustrations which everyone makes fun of on the internet. Attempts at organization feel fanciful and absurd: eclectic inventories of apocalypse-kitsch. In “A Palace of Unsaids,” Rob Goyanes considers the work of mourning under twenty-first century conditions. Does it matter if we show up to the wrong shift at the memorial-factory as long as we do our time? Those that insist on mourning ...
Publishere-flux2017
Imagine a big roll call. Names of nations, creeds, and genders are called out. Everyone is supposed to join their kin. Several hours later the crowd is all divided up into groups and subgroups, all neatly arranged on a large grid. There is just one person left. And this person says, “Sorry guys, I’m with the universe. Where do I go?” The universe? It does not figure on the grid. Today, the most important question is not what belongs to whom but who belongs to what—as in what kind of group. Sameness trumps equality. Similarity beats solidarity. Reality is a battlefield. ...

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