Visual Culture

Transition to Nowhere: Art in History after 1989

Today, after Post-Communism has ended in chaos and confusion, we are entitled to ask: was it a condition, or a transition; a rise or a decline; progression, regression or simply a time-lag? Has it ever shaped its own form of social being, a unique mode of economic production, a politics of its own, a culture? Or was it just another interregnum of history, full of morbid symptoms we cannot get rid of? Most of the essays in this book search for answers to questions in works of art. Not because art possesses a superior knowledge on history, but because the knowledge ...

Those Who Are Dead Are Not Ever Gone: On the Maintenance of Supremacy, the Ethnological Museum and the Intricacies of the Humboldt Forum

The institution of the ethnological museum seems to be in the midst of a serious crisis of choking. The delicacies that most of these museums have acquired, which is to say co-opted, which is to say ingested, seem to have collectively missed the track to the esophagus and got stuck in the respiratory tract. They have been stuck there for as long as the history of mass collections, acquisitions and looting, for as long as the ruthless and ongoing extraction of cultural property in the former colonies outside of Europe. A twelve-act essay on the maintenance of supremacy, the ethnological ...

Future Art Ecosystems: Art x Metaverse

What we know today as ‘the internet’ has historically been accompanied by a particular class of high-definition visions for its future. In this luminous world, a boundless 3D space, digital beings would interact through new forms of collectivity and partake in new modes of making, sharing, learning and trading. The idea of the metaverse—broadly defined as an always-online and persistent spatial virtual world—is being resurrected through a fundamental shift in digital infrastructure. This development includes the relatively recent advent of consumer-level technologies such as video game engines and immersive hardware, and is accelerated by a bearing within the games industry towards ...

Conceptualism – Intersectional Readings, International Framings

This e-book offers the findings of the conference ‘Conceptualism – Intersectional Readings, International Framings: Situating “Black Artists & Modernism” in Europe After 1968’ at the Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, 7–9 December 2017, presented by Black Artists & Modernism in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum. The conference and the accompanying e-publication gathered artists, curators and academics to consider two broad, overarching questions: Firstly, how to rethink conceptualism intersectionally and internationally as a strategy rather than as a movement; and secondly how to situate ‘black artists’ and ‘modernism’ within Europe? The conference and corresponding publication includes key note lectures by Iris Dressler and ...

China as an Issue: Artistic and Intellectual Practices Since the Second Half of the 20th Century, Volume 1

China as an Issue is an ongoing lecture series organized by the Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum since 2018. Chinese scholars are invited to discuss topics related to China or the world, as well as foreign scholars to speak about China or international questions involving the subject of China. Through rigorous scrutinization of a specific issue we try to avoid making generalizations as well as the parochial tendency to reject extraterritorial or foreign theories in the study of domestic issues. The attempt made here is not only to see the world from a local Chinese perspective, but also to observe China ...

Towards a Philosophy of Photography

Media philosopher Vilém Flusser proposed a revolutionary new way of thinking about photography. An analysis of the medium in terms of aesthetics, science and politics provided him with new ways of understanding both the cultural crises of the past and the new social forms nascent within them. Flusser showed how the transformation of textual into visual culture (from the linearity of history into the two-dimensionality of magic) and of industrial into post-industrial society (from work into leisure) went hand in hand, and how photography allows us to read and interpret these changes with particular clarity.

Futures and Fictions

In what ways could we imagine a world different from the one in which we currently live? This is the question addressed by the essays and conversations in Futures and Fictions, which explore possibilities for a different “political imaginary”. With discussions around decolonization, new Afro- and other futurisms, post-capitalism, science fiction, and new kinds of social movements – and the intersections of these with contemporary art practice and visual culture – Futures and Fictions creates a space for alternate narratives and image-worlds that might be pitched against our neoliberal present. With contributions from Mark Fisher, Ursula Le Guin, Kodwo Eshun ...

Seeing, Naming, Knowing

In Detroit, driving at night north up Woodward Avenue, a long, wide boulevard, one’s eye is caught by emerald green lights, perched on the topmost corners of gas station signs, laundromats, corner stores, peep shows, groceries, and churches. They blink quickly, three times in a row. Their green makes for strange beacons, at first eerie, then comforting, not a warning, but an invitation. The green lights are part of Project Green Light Detroit, an initiative undertaken by the Detroit Police Department to create safer businesses through a “public-private community partnership.” Business owners buy real-time cameras which generate feeds that run continuously ...

A Catalog of Formats for Digital Discomfort

Due to physical distancing measures under COVID-19, we are finding ourselves in what can be identified as an increased condition of gathering on- line. This condition includes learning situations, as well as moments to share and exchange our views, analyses, approaches, results, prototypes and proposals in a wide spectrum of academic and para-academic situations. Through the imposition of closed, proprietary, exclusive and over-optimised commercial formats for so-called “webinars”, this situation is rapidly resulting in the settlement of a monoculture in mediated gatherings. GAFAM & co are taking over research and educational ecosystems, while turning all interactions into business transactions. It ...

A Slow Gradual Ooze

A conversation with Steven Warwick aka Heatsick about his March 2016 show Neutral at Exile in Berlin, followed by the text of his play Neonliberal, in which a gaggle of animated superfoods travel around Fortress Europe seeking the hip and the accelerated; and an exclusive Heatsick track, StaylienZ.

Accessibility in the Arts: A Promise and a Practice

Accessibility in the Arts: A Promise and a Practice is an accessibility guide geared toward small-scale arts nonprofits and the potentially expansive publics these organizations serve. It details specific ways in which disabled people are excluded from cultural spaces and offers possible solutions to those barriers. Moving away from historical and juridical definitions of accessibility, this guide considers the unique capacity of small scale arts organizations to meet the needs of disabled communities. It engages principles of disability justice to think through what can urgently be done to create more equitable and accessible arts spaces…

Aesthetic Politics in Fashion

Aesthetic Politics in Fashion outlines critical studies in the present cross-sections of fashion, art, politics, and global capitalism. Critically examining contemporary collaborations of artists, media, and fashion labels, this groundbreaking anthology locates fashion within ecological and ethical discourses, postcolonial styles, and critical reflections on whiteness. Contributions from a distinguished group of international scholars debate fashion as a cultural phenomenon at the inter- section of artistic, creative, economic, and everyday practices. Aesthetic economies, the production of space, and alternative aesthetic politics are explored from interdisciplinary angles: art history, cultural science, sociology, design, and fashion studies. Aesthetic Politics in Fashion advances theorizing ...

Aesthetics of the Commons

What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a ‘pirate’ library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art can play an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic; that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially. Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that ...

After the High/Low Debate

Contributor Andreas Huyssen
Andreas Huyssen is the Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he served as founding director of the Center for Comparative Literature and Society (1998-2003). He chaired the Department of Germanic Languages from 1986-92 and again as of 2005. He is one of the founding editors of New German Critique, the leading journal of German Studies in the United States (1974-) and he serves on the editorial boards of October, Constellations, Germanic Review, Transit, Key Words(UK), and Critical Space (Tokyo). In 2005, he won Columbia’s coveted Mark van Doren teaching award. His research and teaching focus ...

The Age of Total Images: Disappearance of a Subjective Viewpoint in Post-digital Photography

In The Age of Total Images, art historian Ana Peraica focuses on the belief that the shape of the planet is two-dimensional which has been reawakened in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and the ways in which these ‘flat Earth’ conspiracy theories are symptomatic of post-digital image culture. Such theories, proven to be false both in Antiquity and Modernity, but once held to be true in the Medieval Period, have influenced a return to a kind of ‘New Medievalism’. By tracing visual representations of the planet across Western history and culture, Peraica provides support for a media-based explanation behind ...

All the News I Read About Climate Change in 2014

“…And I was like—yes it is! Part of my broader project as an artist is thinking about how the term climate change can be redefined and expanded to enable people to understand its relevance. So climate change is redefined as an issue of inequality, or social justice, and also urban design and planning. So if I go by that broader definition, I don’t see why I should exclude those things here.” Amy Howden-Chapman in conversation with the Newspaper Reading Club, 2015

The Amme Talks

The Amme Talks is a conversation between poet and machine. In 2003, poet Ulf Stolterfoht and a chatbot named Amme (which means “wet nurse” in German) met in Berlin. For one week, Stolterfoht interrogated Amme: not just a chatbot, actually, but a steel-and-glass construction with a computer interface, which is connected to a glass of milk, a robotic arm that tips over the glass, and a tube that releases water, as if urinating. Stolterfoht asked Amme—the creation of artist Peter Dittmer—about the nature of authorship and the agency of language; he intended to turn the answers into an essay on poetics. ...

The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows

As the revolutions across the Arab world that came to a head in 2011 devolved into civil war and military coup, representation and history acquired a renewed and contested urgency. The capacities of the internet have enabled sharing and archiving in an unprecedented fashion. Yet, at the same time, these facilities institute a globally dispersed reinforcement and recalibration of power, turning memory and knowledge into commodified and copyrighted goods. In The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows, activists, artists, filmmakers, producers, and scholars examine which images of struggle have been created, bought, sold, repurposed, denounced, and expunged. As a ...

Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique

‘Institutional critique’ is best known through the critical practice that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s by artists who presented radical challenges to the museum and gallery system. Since then it has been pushed in new directions by new generations of artists registering and responding to the global transformations of contemporary life. The essays collected in this volume explore this legacy and develop the models of institutional critique in ways that go well beyond the fi eld of art. Interrogating the shifting relations between ‘institutions’ and ‘critique’, the contributors to this volume analyze the past and present of ...

Art Beyond Digital

Digital technology has interfered in all the spheres, private, public and professional, of our society and shaped them. Artists have always used the techniques or technologies of their time to express themselves. To each appropriated innovation thus corresponds a range of works. Yet, it takes time for the art world to integrate new practices and new media. Impatient, the most fervent advocates of digital art have structured themselves into international communities by organizing dedicated events. Their practices have now matured and the public is culturally ready to welcome their creations as it already does in festivals. At the same time, ...

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