The Distance Plan #5

What is the relation between charisma and information? How fast can a well-turned phrase move? How does it age? In this issue of The Distance Plan we consider how, occasionally, facts or argumentative claims float free from their point of origin to become hyper-portable and cross-disciplinary. We call these memorable, animated phrases “charismatic facts” and suggest they can be found at the intersection of flair and research, savvy and data, linguistic craft and political utility. Though charismatic facts may remain lightly tethered to, and therefore validated by, their authorial or institutional home, they are at the same time un-ordinary in ...

Foreign Language Index

The inaugural issue of the Foreign Language Index (FLI) stems from discussions with art historians, curators, critics, artists, and students about the state of contemporary art history. Many lamented the increasing hegemony of anglophone scholarship, which can be traced to the rise of online content and the concentrated attention economy, along with the de- mise of both regional print publishing and foreign language acquisition. The dominance of English pervades the entirety of art history, but it is particularly pronounced in the contemporary field insofar as contemporary art is often meant to address a global audience, using English as a means ...

New Models Podcast 06: TEENAGE RADICALS

Teenagers rule memetic warfare, producing some of its most viral and also radical content. In this ep. New Models speaks with artist JOSHUA CITARELLA (prev. of thejogging.tumblr) who, after lurking the more radical political spaces of social media from 2012-18, is out with a new (soon to be) book, “Politigram & the Post-Left.”

Extract and Preserve: Underground Repositories for a Posthuman Future?

Underground nuclear and military materials have been the subject of international commissions, tribunals, and wars. Yet subterranean facilities also commonly inventory a similarly volatile, though less noxious, resource: information. SubTropolis’s central location, solidity, and security have drawn technology companies, who host data centers in the mine’s massive pillared rooms. Many underground garrisons and command centers of the Cold War era have likewise become “data bunkers.” Given that industrial metaphors of “mining” and “smithing” have long pervaded the discourses of intellectual labor, it should be no surprise that we’re now data mining inside our mines. And alongside the subterranean servers and ...

Decolonising Archives

The e-publication Decolonising Archives aims to show how archives bear testimony to what was, even more so than collections. Archives present documents that allow one to understand what happened and in which order. Today Internet technology, combined with rapid moves made on the geopolitical chessboard, make archives a contested site of affirmation, recognition and denial. As such, it is of great importance to be aware of processes of colonialisation and decolonisation taking place as new technology can both be used to affirm existing hegemonic colonial relationships or break them open.

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 ...

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.

Concentration

In this anthology, edited by Fiktion’s cofounder Ingo Niermann, nineteen writers and researchers address a fiercely contested commodity in digital society: concentration. Ingeborg Harms, Quinn Latimer, Arthur Jacobs, and Raoul Schrott write about the circumstances under which a text or activity can completely draw us into its spell, Dirk Baecker and Amy Patton about a shifting concentration, Jenna Sutela and Elvia Wilk about one that carries us into the spherical, Charis Conn about concentration violently induced; Nina Bußmann writes about the uncertainty as to whether she is currently concentrating or distracting herself; Sophie Jung, Emily Segal, and Alexander Tarakhovsky make ...

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