© Marnicq Roebben and Stefan Voicu, #05 Package for Baldessari, containing the container which contains the shit, the USB, the letter we wrote and the 4 previous photographs, from the series We Will Not Make Any More Conceptual Art
“In order to formulate a binding stand with regard to the photographs in the exhibition, one must first acknowledge that the word “photography” today refers to a very broad spectrum of rather loosely connected practices. Any attempt to define photography as a differentiated, independent ontological category can no longer rely on the Barthean scheme of “that-has-been” or “that-has-been-there” with regard to the photograph; it must refer to photography itself as a “has-been-there” and also, perhaps, as “has-been.” Hence, all the works in the exhibition—as reflexive, dynamic, and universal as they may be— outline not only feasibility, a state of mind, or a cross section, but mainly the possibility of Israeli photography in relation to adjacent disciplines and in relation to itself.
And if it “has-been” at all, then in most cases what has been here is not an act of photography or an instance of being photographed (these are all restricted to an anecdote and are bound to the here-and-now, to the there-and-then). The sole event that has been and may be again in the future, is the emergence of a photograph (sometimes as a tableau), and the way in which this event and the circumstances that preceded it were registered in matter; for when we dub the photograph a mere image, we are confusing one real world with another, one concrete universe with another. Ultimately, every photograph transpires in a three-dimensional world (or four-dimensional, if we consider the temporal dimension as substance), and is made of real materials. It cannot be reduced to a state of semblance only. As a mere image, every photograph strives to lure the viewer into a rectangle, a frame, as an extra-spatial, extra-temporal pillory, as an experience whose apathy captures every viewer in the limbo of a vectorial world.
The most important question that ought to be asked about photography is not a question of inherence (What is the meaning? An infinite presence, according to aesthetic formalism, or an ideologydriven, use-dependent mobile state), but rather a question of specificity: What kind of physical space and what kind of social space do different photographs generate and sustain around themselves? An image space? A material space? Or a space of diffusion where these work together like two lobes of a single brain? Oscillating like a pendulum between appearance and disappearance, as concurrent presence within and without a picture, as both the part and its maker—the exhibition, through the works it brings together, strives to lay the groundwork for reading the use of abstraction tools in photography not necessarily as a reference to the real world, but mainly as concretizations of the pictorial possibilities contained within photography. Every image needs a real existence, and a real world cannot be transformed into a world of images only. It is here that the true significance of these photographs lies, for they embody the understanding that every image always and necessarily relies on its constituent materials.”
written by Yanai Toister, Tel Aviv, July 2009
“Nearly a decade later, Fillette would figure prominently in a photographic portrait of Bourgeois by Robert Mapplethorpe. The portrait, in which the (then-) seventy-year-old artist smiles mischievously for the camera while carrying the sculpture in the crook of her arm, was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art as the frontispiece to its catalogue for Bourgeois’s 1982-83 retrospective. What MoMA printed in its catalogue, however, was a tightly cropped detail of the portrait focusing on Bourgeois’s face. Fillette was excised from the image altogether.14 By placing Mapplethorpe ‘s 1982 photograph (and its cropping by MoMA) in dialogue with Bourgeois’s prior appearance at the New School, we can begin to see Fillette within a wider history of sexuality, censorship, and cre- ative subversion. Mapplethorpe ‘s role in the culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s both contributes to and complicates that history.”
source: “Artists sometimes have feelings”, by Richard Meyer
“We assert that sexual as well as any other subject matter is entirely the artist’s concern and that museums have no right to impose their puritanical and sexist – unbalanced, therefore unhealthy – timidity and coyness upon us all and upon future generations and we demand that sexual subject matter, as it is part of life, no longer be prevented from being part of art. And since the woman has traditionally been exposed in her full nakedness and sexuality in all the great museums of the world, so should the male be uncovered, as sexually on display as the woman; the erect penis therefore, as it is part of life, will no longer be prevented from being part of art. If the erect penis is not ‘wholesome’ enough to go into museums it should not be considered ‘wholesome’ enough to go into women. And if the erect penis is ‘wholesome’ enough to go into women then it is more than ‘wholesome’ enough to go into the greatest art museums.”
excerpt of statement by Anita Steckel (woman artist), distributed to other women artists on March 8, 1973 in NYC.
“And yet, the absence of the subject does not have to be interpreted as a deficiency. Quite the opposite, it could indicate a new quality in the revolution, in a henceforth molecular revolution, and the primacy of multiplicity within it. When the subject is missing, it has not just gone amiss, as a gap (still) gaping and begging to get closed. In view of the composition of the molecular revolution there is no need for unification, or for the representation of a unified (class) subject by leaders, party and vanguard. The rejection of the primacy of the class, or of a specific class (be it the proletariat, or a middle-class threatened by decline) does not in any way imply tuning out the hierarchizing differentiation that takes place more radically than ever in current capitalist production. Differential capitalism striates the differences, hierarchizes and valorizes them. And yet molecular multiplicity raises no hopes in any of the imaginings of resistance against this machinic-differentiating capitalism that undertake to homogenize and totalize differences. Even in their negative manifestation there is no way back ahead of multiplicity, but only its dis/continuous unfolding.
But even the subject, the one, the whole, where it is no longer absent, is not the consequence of a process of collecting, forming, unifying the many, the singular, the dispersed, to be composed into a molar block. It does not follow a logic of addition, but one of subtraction. It must first be extracted from the uncountable multiplicity, detached, dis-counted in order to be one. The one emerges only when the logic of counting, classifying and identifying lays its grids on the multiplicity; when the uncountable is domesticated in the process of counting.
The subject can appear only through subtraction from the multiple.”
excerpt from Making Multiplicity: A Philosophical Manifesto, by Gerald Raunig. continue reading here
More of Cláudio‘s work here
On the night of October 15th, as I was leaving the demonstration, a guy shouted at me. As I looked back he asked me if I spoke english, I nodded, he grabbed a paper bag and gave me a book. He turned, walked away and cut the corner just in time for me to thank him. I opened the book and this was it!!! Thank you Alexander!
“In the beginning of 1999 we published a little book called What to do? 54 Technologies of Resistance Against Power Relations in Late-Capitalism (in Vienna, and before that in Moscow.) This book is a collection of a number of semi-anecdotes and semi-reflections about the possibilities of political and cultural resistance under the condition of a globalized market and multiculturalism. The centre of our examination were so-called technologies of resistance: familiar and traditional methods of political struggle and cultural resistance, as well as individual ‘transgressive’ techniques. On the one hand we tried to analyze critically technologies such as demonstrations, sit-ins, hunger strikes; on the other hand we discussed the effectiveness of showing your ass in front of your enemy, throwing eggs and spitting on your opponent’s dress. Resistance must take into consideration concrete circumstances of place and time and must act from very precise strategies and tactics of local struggle, if it wants to be effective. Borrowing from Foucault, who spoke about the ‘specific intellectual’ we suggested the term ‘local and specific resistor.’ Such a resistor doesn’t act from universal concepts or out of the doctrines of parties or groups, but struggles against these very doctrines and keeps moving endlessly, not knowing what he or she will do tomorrow. In combating the current art-system, local scandals, interventions, leaflets, graffiti etc. may be effective at a certain moment but useless in another context. Soft subversion, a heritage inherited from the 1980s, is no longer adequate, and the hidden undermining of the political context of the enemy is obsolete and has finally degenerated either into cynicism or into conformism and strategies of success and survival within the system. ‘War is necessary!’ was our answer to the question ‘What to do?’
However, the term ‘technologies of resistance,’ which we have used untill now, no longer satisfies us. From now on we want to talk not about technologies but about anti-technologies of resistance. After the works by Artaud, Bataille and Foucault, Lacoue-Labarthe, it becomes clear that the Greek term ‘techne,’ which denotes a mimetic ideal in the sphere of art and is directly connected with the art of politics, still subordinates itself to political and aesthetic activities in modern society. Techne implies a model of society that is based on the hegemony of certain technologies of power and on the subjection of the will of individuals in a direction favorable to the elite. Technologies are the skills and abilities which guarantee the functioning of knowledge and power in very different fields – from a shoemaker’s business to the construction of intercontinental ballistic missiles, from artistic collages to espionage satellites. Power relations produce technologies and distribute them partly through dictatorship, partly through seduction, but always in the interest of the ruling order. Even if one or another technology is employed in the service of resistance, at a certain moment it inevitably turns out to be the hostage of power and, deriving from power relations, it permanently return us to them. Technologies serve the oldest and most productive game of power, where its myths get the ‘final’ and ‘competent’ confirmation from experts. Nowadays techno-myths serve the neo-liberal elites, repressive tolerance, and the new Right. We no longer want to speak about ‘technologies of resistance’ because we associate the term ‘technologies’ with ‘power’ rather than ‘resistance.’ Anti-technologies of resistance are necessary!
This is a great manifesto by Alexander and Barbara. continue reading here
W.A.G.E. (Working Artists & the Greater Economy) manifesto here
The insights of American anarchist ecologist Murray Bookchin into environmental crisis hinge on a social conception of ecology that problematises the role of domination in culture. His ideas are becoming increasingly relevant to those working with digital technologies in the post-industrial information age, as big business daily develops new tools and techniques to exploit our sociality across high-speed networks (digital and physical). According to Bookchin, our fragile ecological state is bound up with a social pathology. Hierarchical systems and class relationships so thoroughly permeate contemporary human society that the idea of dominating each other and the environment (in order to extract natural resources or to minimise disruption to our daily schedules of work and leisure) seems perfectly natural, in spite of the catastrophic consequences for future life on earth (Bookchin, 1991).
This essay presents We Won’t Fly for Art, a media art project initiated by the artist Marc Garrett and I in April 2009, in which we used online social networks to activate the rhetoric of Gustav Metzger’s earlier 2007 protest work, Reduce Art Flights, in order to reduce art-world-generated carbon emissions (Furtherfield, 2009). In this reprise we pledged not to fly for art if others joined us and themselves propagated the pledge. We Won’t Fly for Art is described here in the context of the Furtherfield Media Art Ecologies programme (running since 2009) of review, debate, exhibitions, events, and infrastructural interventions that focus particularly on the networked context of artistic process and production.1 It pays attention to the dynamic interactions, connectedness and interplay between entities and environments: artist, viewer/participant, distributed materials and material and social contexts (Bascompte, 2007). This project links with others in the field and demonstrates both a particular approach to collaborative working and some shared theoretical and artistic processes.
Metzger suggests that:
the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra of environmentalism be transformed and integrated into a more radical spectrum of consideration of humanity’s destructive potential… [inviting] voluntary abandonment – a fundamental, personal, bodily rejection of technological instrumentalization and a vehement refusal to participate in the mobility increasingly endemic to the globalized art system. (Andrews, nd)
We Won’t Fly For Art, our networked remix of RAF, explored how the rhetoric of Metzger’s manifesto might take effect in the social and material domains using artists’ social networks to propagate its ideas. We hoped that, in turn, it would change behaviours, bringing about a reduction in flight-related carbon emissions. Garrett and I published our manifesto in Pledgebank, a website that allows users to set up pledges and then encourage other people to sign up to them. The manifesto functioned as a simple participatory algorithm, a pyramid pledge for exponential growth which, if successful, could change how the contemporary art world felt and operated for millions of art workers on the ground.
The pledge begins:
We will not take an aeroplane for the sake of art. For the next 6 months we will find other ways to visit and participate in exhibitions, fairs, conferences, meetings, residencies. We will not fly for inspiration, nor to appreciate, buy or sell art. But only if 6 others will do the same AND replicate this pledge.
This is a public art experiment in the de-escalation of carbon-fuelled, high altitude, high velocity, global art careering. For six months we choose to cover less physical distance, move more slowly between destinations, to look future-ward with more attention to the view from the ground, the network, and ways to connect with others around the world. (Catlow & Garrett, 2009)
excerpt of essay by Ruth Catlow, in Culture Machine