Anton Vidokle

Launched in 2008, e-flux journal is a monthly art publication featuring essays and contributions by some of the most engaged artists and thinkers working today. The journal is available online, in PDF format, and in print through a network of distributors. – http://www.e-flux.com/journal/
Publishere-flux2008
Following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, doctor and New Age guru Deepak Chopra commented on CNN that perhaps the worst thing for terrorist groups would be for someone like President-elect Obama to befriend the Muslim world and turn them against terrorists—simple as that! Such a statement is symptomatic of the idea that power today should, whenever possible, be exercised through attraction and seduction rather than through direct coercion. Joseph Nye, one of the intellectual fathers of neoliberalism, has termed the genteel, salesman-like diplomacy that emerged after the Cold War “soft power”: the ability of a political body such as ...
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 ...
Publishere-flux2019
Today one may complain that life has been reduced to points in a matrix of relations—cities, territories, and historical narratives prematurely refined into categories of known and unknown, real and virtual, concrete and abstract space. And yet, when we need to locate a crucial resource (or ourselves, for that matter) who can afford not to search the grid for what everybody knows to be there?—the Italian restaurant, the emergency room, the ancestor, the terrorist. This is not simply about seeing; by definition, navigation organizes timescales and orders of magnitude that cannot be visualized simultaneously. Furthermore, in attempting to map and ...
Publishere-flux2019
Federica showed up for her appointment with the person who had agreed to purchase her soul. Thus begins Franco “Bifo” Berardi and Massimiliano Geraci’s novel Morte ai Vecchi (Death to the old), in which a device called KapSoul delivers “waves of empathic excitement” to young people before they descend into orgiastic violence against the elderly. The first serial installment of the translated novel is published in this issue of e-flux journal, with further installments coming in the near future. Also in this issue, Jonas Staal illuminates the Martian designs of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, with their unabashedly extractive colonial ambitions. But Staal also reminds ...
Publishere-flux2019
There is a certain plasticity of meaning inherent in any use of language. If that weren’t the case, poetry and literature would not exist. There would only be contracts, scientific formulas, shopping lists, and so forth. Journalism would be properly factual—there would be no fake news or disinformation. All utterances would document isolated events, never evoking larger patterns or tapping into hidden desires. But then the question arises: Even if language could be cleansed of all ambiguity and spin, what role would images play? If language is the problem, images can only be worse. Against a backdrop where postmodern slippages in ...
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-flux2020
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a “global” art world began to form. Sure, there were already a number of world’s fairs and established international biennials, but this would be different. From the 1990s onward, national boundaries would dissolve, centers and peripheries would level out, and the internet would host worldwide cultural exchange. In many ways this really did happen, but some other things also happened. As people and ideas began to move across borders, money did too. Faced with an unmanageable planetary scale, capital became a more efficient regulator of flows than laws or nations. Suddenly, capital rose ...
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
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 ...
Publishere-flux2010
Repeated attempts to dismantle the aura of value and rarity surrounding art objects have been, for the most part, unsuccessful. Why is that? The majority of these attempts throughout the twentieth century have consisted of infiltrating the economy of care, custodianship, conservation, and considered attention granted to art objects upon entry into the art establishment. While the introduction of impostors into this ecosystem in the form of real-world doubles (such as Duchampian readymades) served to short-circuit the aura of authenticity within spaces of art, over time these impostors nevertheless began to perform the function of ritualizing a general sense of disbelief with ...
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 ...

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