Iris Dressler reflects on the project Peace Treaties: a critical journey through the micro-histories that analyse the formal representations of peace by the means of law, politics, history and art since 1516.
The artist, curator and writer Pedro G. Romero opened Peace Treaties —the excellent exhibition he conceived within the programme for Donostia-San Sebastián European Capital of Culture— with a reflection on the white flag. What else could we expect from an artist who dedicates a (...)
An icaro is a sacred chant sung or whistled by shamans of Amazonian tribes during ceremonies for imbibing ayahuasca. Though they do contain some words, they have no intelligible meaning as they come from dreams, visions and states of consciousness which are a consequence of the consumption of "master plants". Icaros go much further than their etymology and their power lies in the voice that intones them: what really matters is the intonation, the vibration of the vocal chords, the (...)
"Sida la flecha. Suma y sida. Sida del vaticano... quien va a Sevilla, perdió su sida..." is a fragment of the audio that tags along with me like a soundtrack on my walkthrough of Anarchivo Sida at Tabakalera. The performer-actioner Miguel Benlloch, together with Tomás Navarro and Rafael Villegas—aka Las Pekinesas—are the artists featured in a video of the SIDA DA performance (1985) held in the epicentre of counterculture in Granada in what is possibly the earliest artistic action documented in (...)
Goshka Macuga and Anna Boghiguian discuss with Grant Watson their artistic approaches to the figure of the poet Rabindranath Tagore. History, education and culture are represented through the codes of the exhibition space and from the speculation and the experimental.
The following conversation takes place between curator Grant Watson and the artists Goshka Macuga and Anna Boghiguian. Both artists work with historical archives in different ways, Macuga often through a consideration of (...)
Peter Osborne analyses how the archival status of the work of art has been gradually distanced from its own definition as document, generating a renew agency. In this sense, Osborne reflects on the future of the archive itself and the practice of collecting.
‘Only in isolated instances has it been possible to grasp the historical content of a work of art in such a way that it becomes more transparent to us as a work of art.’ Walter Benjamin, 1937
It is hardly news to point out that in (...)
Laura Valles reflects on Iman Issa’s artistic practice in which subjects such as familiarity, mimesis and fiction are presented in the form of a display. Issa’s work seems to demand a responsibility to the forms capable of generating a speech act.
“Come back and make up a good-bye at least. Let’s pretend we had one”, Clementine says to Joel in a scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the 2004 film with a story by Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry that reminds us that it’s not so easy (...)
The Post-Cold War world loved to share the illusion that the system of nation-states is declining, and is not the major force anymore in the time of globalization. Reality, however, has taken a different turn. Since the end of WWII, the idea of the nation-state has never been so influential as it is today. The rise of neo-nationalism along with normative national cultures is a common phenomenon in Europe as a response to the consequences of global capitalism, such as outsourcing and local (...)
José Díaz Cuyas has a conversation with Dario Gamboni about the notion of vandalism as a political weapon within the contemporary art, but also about iconoclasm towards images nowadays, which are marked by mass media technology making the representation of violence and its impacts its leit motive.
José Diaz Cuyás: You’re one of the first art historians to take an interest in vandalism. As early as 1983 you dedicated a monograph to a paradigmatic case, which had happened three years beforehand, (...)
Ellef Prestsæter, Michael Murtaugh, Nicolas Malevé and Matthew Fuller have a conversation with Asger Jorn on an attempt to review the definition of comparative vandalism, among other things, but also of computational vandalism and its capacity for devaluating and reinventing culture itself.
The Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism (SICV) was founded by Asger Jorn shortly after leaving the Situationist International in 1961. It was the name of an association combining the forces of (...)
Taking Walter Benjamin’s essay A critique of violence as starting point, Geoff Cox analyses the notion of violence as an idea inherent to language and software, and questions its uses and ethical consequences.
There is an inherent violence of software. Our network operations are dominated by violent acts against us in the form of viruses, spam, phishing, and botnets, and more to point violence is encoded in software itself. Like language, we enter informational infrastructures (...)
María Virginia Jaua: One of the first approaches commonly practiced when reading a work of art is tracking what influences it is indebted to. In you, we see direct references to various artists such as Félix González-Torres and to cultural proposals like American cinema, but also to the critical theory that is heir of cultural studies - such is the case with Judith Butler in the realm of feminist theory. There are artists who aim for their artistic, cultural and theoretical influences to (...)
David Campany and Jeff Wall discuss, among other things, the infinite possibilities that photography has when the photographer is in the domain of occurrence, and how the resulting images are susceptible to become a tableau.
David Campany: Jeff, in the past you have spoken of picture making as a set of challenges that often float free, or almost free, from subject matter. You explore a certain pictorial form or method and the ostensible subject matter may be secondary. It’s close to the (...)
THERE WAS ONCE A MINE OF GOLD IN PERU, LATER IT BECAME A COPPER MINE, AND NOW THEY SELL THE WATER THAT COLLECTS IN THE BOTTOM. The Album and the Letters The starting point for the project Nitrate was a photo album called Oficina Alianza and Port of Iquique 1899 and a series of letters. In the first of the letters a worker from the saltpetre mines in Iquique wrote to the English investor, Lord Aldenham, on 18 July 1900, inviting him to accept the album as a souvenir paying testimony to the (...)
No curators, but ‘convenors’. No artists, but ‘researchers’. Not a biennial, but an ‘assembly’. No exhibition galleries, but ‘institutes’. Presenting work by just under fifty participants in a series of modestly sized exhibitions scattered across eleven cultural venues, the first edition of the Bergen Assembly tried to avoid biennial-speak at all costs. There was no sight of the dilapidated industrial buildings that have become the signature of the many biennials proliferating across the world. Nor (...)
Raluca Voinea, Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuș talk about the representation and the performative re-staging of more than one hundred artworks and historical events occurred in and out of the Venice Biennale 2013.
In January 2013, Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuș’ proposal for the Romanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale was selected by an international jury following a public competition. In less than four months they had to prepare a project which was unique in the history of the (...)
Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz analyses Bonnie Camplin’s work in which her invented life engages with a way of life and of DIY art production through an interdisciplinary practice and a systematically precarious and hostile environment.
"The only hero able to cut off Medusa’s head is Perseus, who flies with winged sandals; Perseus, who does not turn his gaze upon the face of the Gorgon, but only upon her image reflected in his bronze shield." Following several aborted attempts to commence this text (...)
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez analyzes how the networks of residency programmes for artists and curators have increased rapidly, growing in numbers along with other phenomena of contemporary art such as biennials, curatorial programmes, and the greater professionalisation of artists through in PhD programmes.
Over the last twenty years, the networks of residency programmes for artists and curators have increased rapidly, growing in numbers along with other (seemingly globalised) phenomena of (...)
Concrete Geographies: Nomads is a photographic project that provides a number of possible navigations, introducing ideas of how architecture serves as a mode of control and division, used by those in power against communities that are deemed unwelcome in the order of their schemes.
Xavier Ribas’s Nomads (2008) is a body of work and a subsequent publication (Bside Books, 2012) that does more than narrativise a story. The work consists of elements of an installation that includes a (...)
Matthew Fuller talks about how digital computer, and therefore digital image and computational text, fundamentally changed the nature of knowledge and of power nowadays.
We are living through a period, arising in roughly the nineteen-forties, starting with the introduction of the digital computer that fundamentally changes the nature of knowledge and of power. In particular, it mutates the nature of the human species’ means of self-reflection. If, historically, text and image were the (...)
Liz Kotz analyzes Bernadette Mayer’s work against the tide of the canonical interpretations on the use of photography in conceptual art. She understands Mayer’s images as personal, subjective and historical records.
As we approach nearly fifty years’ hindsight on the emergence of “conceptual art” practices, many aspects of this legacy continue to be unsettled and in play. While certain academic orthodoxies about conceptual art and so-called “photo-conceptualism” tend to dominate critical (...)
Like every year in London around mid October, Frieze Art Fair kicks in and all hell breaks loose. The number of reviews and commentaries across the international art press keeps growing with every edition, along with the urgency to cover not just the fair (two fairs now, in fact, with the recent addition of Frieze Masters) but also the parties and off-programme events that the local institutions and galleries host during the week. But, what exactly are we judging when we consider Frieze (...)
In the work Yto Barrada has made in the last decade in Tangier—the city that, along with Paris, witnessed her growth and training as an artist—photography is used as an instrument of experience and exploration. Meaning emerges from the confrontation between form and concept, contact and distance, imagination and reason in this precise space and historical moment.
In the work Yto Barrada has made in the last decade in Tangier—the city that, along with Paris, witnessed her growth and training (...)
Go Down, Moses is a photobook about a particular region in the south of the Sinai Peninsula.
Go Down, Moses is a book about a place. A good place to start is with the subtitle: A book on South Sinai. This book is about, and limited by, a particular region in the south of the Sinai Peninsula. ‘South’, however, is not merely a matter of geographic coordinates or borders. The ‘South’ here is a territory marked by a practice: tourism. One thing that makes South Sinai different from the northern (...)
Jürgen Bock in conversation with Ângela Ferreira on the relationship between her artistic practice and the colonial history that has followed her career based on the contradictions of the discourse of Modernity.
Jürgen Bock: Ângela, you were born in 1958 in the capital of Mozambique, when the country was still a Portuguese colony and Maputo was called Lourenço Marques. You studied economics and art in South Africa, when the struggle against Apartheid was at its peak. Since the 1990s you have (...)
Laura Vallés reflects on Aspen magazine "the magazine in a box", edited by Phyllis Johnson between 1965-71 in New York, and designed by artists such as Andy Warhol, Brian O’Doherty or Dan Graham.
In the early 1960s, it was still possible, broadly speaking, to assign a work of art to a specific category such as painting or sculpture. That said, artists from the historic vanguards had already defied these discrete compartments passed down through tradition by proclaiming new means of (...)