Amber Case, Facing Forward, Manuel DeLanda

Facing Forward (lecture series) [updated]

De Appel Arts Centre/W139/Stedelijk Museum (and others) are presenting a highly interesting series of lectures under the heading of’Facing Forward’. Tonight Manuel DeLanda and Amber Case will discuss the post-human and virtual status of contemporary state-of-the-art technology. Other confirmed speakers include James Elkins, Paul Chan and Rem Koolhaas.

You can find more info on the subsequent talks and workshops on 

Yesterday’s Facing Forward talks of Amber Case and Manuel DeLanda were both very cyborgian – in both a socio-material and ‘genetic alghoritmic’ sense. They presented a sort of taxonomy of the future; a dissection of what-come-about but is still-not-yet present. Working as a ‘cyborg anthropologist’ Case talked of virtual intimacy, simulated presence etc. and sketched a very personal, but gloomy image of the way in which technology now, in the present, can be seen studied as if we ourselves are a foreign tribe (caring for and loving our electronic apparatus) – provided that the anthropologist can no longer ‘go back to his own world’ and reflect on the weirdness and otherness of this modern tribe, but is intimately wrapped up in it her/himself. She ended her talk by arguing for a much more entangled use of technology – a use in which the existence of technology is not something we stand up against and with regard to which we have to emphasize our human humanity, but can play with, relate to in a quasi-unconscious way.
Manuel DeLanda kindly disrupted this approach by going into the use of genetic alghorithms in art, design and architecture – surprisingly without much reference to Deleuze (as he did in one of his previous talks on this topic; see below). As he formulated it, his task was to introduce genetic algorithms to artists as a way to experiment with the, so to say, force of the virtual, the sought-for unexpectedness and randomness of algorithms. Apparantly, DeLanda is working on a new book on the history and philosophy of chemistry – and given yesterday’s talk I can’t wait to read it.

Art Criticism, Sven Lütticken

Dutch coup d’état in art and culture?

From the international call for response to the recent dramatic cuts in arts funding in the Netherlands, as published on e-flux: Please sign the online letter/petition which will be handed over to the State Secretary here. For some fierce but thoughtful articles on the recent governmental plans read Sven Lütticken’s article here, or BAVO’s article here.   

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Art Criticism, Boris Groys, Difference, Durkheim, Fashion, Gabriel Tarde, Repetition

Gabriel Tarde and Boris Groys on mass culture

Recall the equally interesting as well-known statement from art critic Boris Groys in which he hails the future as tautology; ‘modern civilization is characterized by her ability to meticulously reproduce the existing’. That is to say, there exist a great contemporary potential (and, seemingly, will) to repeat the present. Making this a claim about the practices of modern art in relation to consumerism, Groys shares Koolhaas’ exploration into the increasing colonization of the modern city by the generic. In several studies – most notably, perhaps, Art Power – Groys has shown how recent developments in all sectors of culture and technology have not only produced generic cities, cars and commodities, but has caused literature, the visual arts and music to reproduce itself ad infinitum. Continue reading

Art Criticism, W139

Allegories of Good and Bad Government: [session 3] What Project Will Art and Politics Share?

W139 launched this new series of discussion under the heading of ‘Allegories of Good and Bad Government’. The next session will take place on the 13th of May, i.e. this Friday. After having debated the history and present of the relation between art and politics, this session looks at the future of both projects. It made me think of Stenger’s analysis of the relation between the mechanism of representation in science and politics and – successively – Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour’s exibition at the ZKM in Karlsruhe. This exibition, in short, made explicit the phenomenon of re-presentation as an active act of ‘making public’ and as opposed to representation as a mechanism of procedural democracy. Where re-presentation asks for a performative stance (the making and carrying out of new identities of beings), representation always embodies a lack at the heart of what it aims at (i.e. with regard to its shared project with art, politics here merely serves as a taming of abundance and difference).
Looking forward to the session. For information, see W139’s website here.