Hans Ulrich Obrist

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Bifurcating means: reconstituting a political economy that reconnects local knowledge and practices with macroeconomic circulation and rethinks territoriality at its different scales of locality; developing an economy of contribution on the basis of a contributory income no longer tied to employment and once again valuing work as a knowledge activity; overhauling law, and government and corporate accounting, via economic and social experiments, including in laboratory territories, and in relation to cooperative, local market economies formed into networks and linked to international trade; revaluing research from a long-term perspective, independent of the short-term interests of political and economic powers; reorienting digital ...
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This document in front of you is the result of a conversation over lunch, which took place in the early days of Corona in Berlin. Back then, we were simply wondering: in a time in which people are, either by policy or good faith, forced to restrict their spatial radius of interaction to a bare minimum, how do we actually deal with food? Not only in the sense of what we choose to eat conceptually, but how we choose it, literally. Where do we get it, how do we prepare it, and what does something essential like food mean to ...
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PublisherSALT2018
A curatorial archive is much more than a curator’s archive; it is also an instrument and working place for the curator and/or the institution that hosts the archive. This publication aims to promote the idea that curatorial archives should be considered not only as resources for objective research, but also as systems or operational structures where curatorial visions are set out. In other words, a place where practice is expressed and takes shape; a salon where it is possible to enter into discussion with individual and collective methodologies…
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Publishere-flux2009
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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Publishere-flux2020
It is April now, which T. S. Eliot once called the cruelest month. In Eliot’s April, lilacs rose from the ground as if to mock the dead of World War 1. Today, as the pandemic rages on, many lives are on pause, while many others end. And yet, the flowers bloom. We might say that this issue of e-flux journal asks how Covid-19 preys on existential vulnerabilities through essays written well before the current crisis, and others in response to it. If Covid-19 has merged the biological and the political, how then do we reconcile the strengthening of national borders to ...
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Publishere-flux2010
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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Publishere-flux2010
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. Robert Smithson’s well-known indictment of art institutions as lobotomizing apparatuses—neutralizing all that is placed within their walls—remains relevant today. But can we say, even in a Smithsonesque manner, that this problem now extends far beyond art museums? What if the edifying and embalming functions of museums and art institutions simply serve to double a latent tendency within ...
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Publishere-flux2010
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. We would like to see a way out of this, but questioning whether cultural work can actually have a real effect on power relations, or whether capital, public or private, should really be a measure of art’s civic or cultural value in the first place, only serves to accelerate the endless cycling—consuming life, finding work, making ...
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Publishere-flux2011
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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Publishere-flux2011
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. 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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Publishere-flux2012
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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Publishere-flux2012
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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