Dieter Roelstraete

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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 ...
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Publishere-flux2010
Things would be much simpler if there existed a consistent means of evaluating art’s capacity to provide a concrete value for people. It’s a problem to which capital provides the most immediate solution—beyond the mundane routine of the art market, Brandeis University’s (ongoing) attempt to close their Rose Art Museum and liquidate its entire collection stands as a particularly unfortunate example of how a priceless collection of art, given the right circumstances (total financial meltdown), still finds its price. One is also reminded of the tragic decision by Middlesex University to close its renowned philosophy department in order to cut ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Publishere-flux2013
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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Publishere-flux2009
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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This year’s Annual is published in tandem with a long-term installation of The Serving Library’s collection of (mostly) framed objects at 019, an artist-run exhibition, performance and work space in a former welding factory in Ghent, Belgium. Apparently, the sole common denominator of the objects in the collection — which range from paintings, photographs, and record sleeves, to a can of green paint, a German car license plate, and an ouija board — is to have appeared as illustrations in an issue of The Serving Library Annual or one of its immediate antecedents, Bulletins of The Serving Library or Dot Dot ...
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PublishersSternberg Presse-flux2010
This book began as a two-part issue of e-flux journal devoted to the question: 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? A single hegemonic “ism” has replaced clearly distinguishable movements and grand narratives. But what exactly does it mean to be working under the auspices of this singular ism? Widespread usage of the term “contemporary” seems so self-evident that to further demand a definition of “contemporary ...

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