Visual Culture

The Economy of Affordances

Contributor Joy Zhu
The New Normal think-tank student, activist, and philosopher Joy Zhu reinterprets the concept of affordance in terms of the Chinese concept of yuanfen, which contains critical moments that turn two mutual but mismatched needs into one that is matching, creating an immanent, productive relation of cooperative subsistence. Based on this interpretation, Joy reveals a new concept of efficiency, different from the naturalistic one, demonstrating it through the preservation of outdated technologies in Siberia.

Beyond Resolution

Contributor Rosa Menkman
What finally sits in front of you, Beyond Resolution, is an independently developed and published work – a collection of different types of texts ranging from short stories to basic optics and a manifesto like text, accompanied by a collection of artworks that I developed during the time of writing, presented in an a- chronological order. The organisation of this publication could be considered modular; the chapters can be read independently. However I did choose to order them the way they are for a reason: to present a consistently additive flow…

Qalqalah #3

For its third issue, Qalqalah continues to circulate ideas and practices, and to exchange resources concerning artistic and cultural issues in the ongoing hope of broadening its reach beyond familiar readers. By publishing the articles quarterly, the Reader renews its format to better resonate with the interrogations posed by the artists and theoreticians invited by KADIST, Bétonsalon and Villa Vassilieff. Conceived closely with the teams at the three art centers, I have been entrusted to conceive of the editorial line of this composite issue as Associate Editor. By the small displacement that this perspective confers in relation to the programming ...

Crossbenching: Toward Participation as Critical Spatial Practice

“At the heart of this book is a simple and profound proposition: to ‘do’ architecture is to immerse oneself in a conflictual process of material production—participation is not a productive encounter of multiple practitioners and stakeholders, but a set of conflicts, negotiations, maneuvers, and swindles between and within a multiplicity of agents, human and nonhuman alike—equally including architects, clients, financiers, and builders, say, but also silicon, plastic, concrete, each with its conflicting aims and different material means to achieve them. Every building is thus the materialization of such encounter. So, despite the hubris of the field, none of the parties ...

Black Archives Editorial 001: The Impulse to Collect

What drives someone to build an archive? What feeds their impulse to collect? Who will find value in this preserved history? In Black Archives’ first issue, we explore these foundational questions through the I. Henry Phillips collection, Marion Stokes’s story, and personal family reflections from the Black Archives community. We map the points where the personal intersects with the political and uncover how living with a sense of history helps to create legacy. Both a blueprint and a mirror, this issue challenges us to consider how we will tell and preserve our own stories.

Unpacking My Library, or, The Autobiography of Teddy

As the author recently moved to Manhattan, he fulfilled a lifelong dream: to write his own version of Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” while reorganizing his 10,000 volumes. Unpacking My Library, or, The Autobiography of Teddy is the tale of this uprooting, a series of meditations on place, time, and loss. In the course of this displacement, the author explores memory and nostalgia as he en­counters a Pulcinella pincushion doll, a roly­ poly Daruma, and the strangest and most intimate of interlocutors with whom the book is co-authored: his first Teddy Bear.

Politigram & the Post-left

Contributor Joshua Citarella
What begins as a casual engagement with funny memes can rapidly metastasize. The most common path for this particular group seems to arrive at something called Cyber-nihilism, a blend of Landian techno-pessimism, Primitivist anxiety and Transhumanist detachment. Enough time spent in this space culminates in a type of ideological Stockholm syndrome. Many of these ideas already exist on a continuum tilted towards nihilism; joining a doom cult is not too far a leap.

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…

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 ...

AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams

Contributor Joanna Zylinska
AI Art ultimately considers the socio-political and psycho-political stakes of redesigning the artistic apparatus, with all its production and display institutions – from art schools and artists’ studios through to galleries and festivals – for the public at large. in recognising that the reception of technological art, especially of the kind that uses or at least engages with al, requires some degree of technical competency, it asks what is being unveiled and obscured by the current artistic discourse around AI. Going beyond aesthetic experience and the sense of ‘fun’ that is often associated with technology-driven art, it considers art’s role ...

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, ...

Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain

The blockchain is Janus-faced. On one side its traits of transparency and decentralization promise much in terms of fairness and accountability, but on the other its monetary roots born as a financial payment system, albeit grounded in open-source software, mean its implementations are often stridently capitalistic. Furthermore, those involved in its development seem to oscillate between radical ethical standpoints and reductionist technological determinism. The blockchain engenders what has been called a ‘digital metalism’1 with the ability, like a modern philosopher’s stone, to transmutate life through a distributed ledger. That such a pecuniary minded technology is being touted as a new ...

Basement Bourgeoisie: The New Rules of Luxury

Contributors Hayley Ard, Shabana Ebrahem
This unspeakable horror was prepared by Stylus, a “global innovation research and advisory firm, which works with businesses to stimulate innovation and growth”. Full of quotes like “Globally, 69% of UHNWIs have become more conscious about displaying their wealth in public over the past decade,” it’s a guide to trends in maintaining wealth and well-being while assuring nobody resents you for it. There are suggestions for how luxury brands can stand out through charity or “meaningful minimalism” and coerce the desired UHNWI’s to their brands. Also included are tips for where and how to hide when society crumbles. In times ...

Becoming Istanbul

Becoming Istanbul is a critical dictionary exploring the problematics of Istanbul. Made up of 152 entries focusing on transformations to the city, clichés used by observers to evaluate these transformations, and commonplace complaints and conditions, Becoming Istanbul invites the reader to question and critique popular discourses. This collection of original writings, seeking to examine Istanbul from different perspectives, has brought together a diverse selection of writers, including architects, musicians, urban planners, orchestral conductors, activists, sociologists, economists, film critics, authors, museum directors, geographers, reporters, anthropologists and historians.

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