Art/Aesthetics · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Theory

How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Scandalous: A Reader on Art and Ethics

Recent encounters between art and real life, the ubiquity of images of violence and humiliation in visual culture and the media, and the persistence of controversial debates on public and participatory art projects are raising fundamental questions about the importance of ethical decisions in art and curating. How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Does “good censorship” exist? Are ethical decisions seen as more urgent in participatory art?

This reader introduces current notions of ethics in several contexts related to the cultural field. Responding to the instrumentalization of ethics as a privileged tool of neoliberalism, the reader claims the need for an ethics that critically reflects the mechanisms of contemporary global power structures. The contributions discuss models of subjective and situational ethics and pit them against a canon of unquestioned principles and upturned notions of ethics and human rights.

Texts by Petra Bauer and Annette Krauss, Franco Bifo Berardi, Galit Eilat, Ronald Jones, Maria Karlsson and Måns Wrange, Nina Möntmann, Peter Osborne, Marcus Steinweg, Nato Thompson; conversations between Simon Critchley and Miguel Á. Hernández-Navarro, Renzo Martens and T. J. Demos

Scandalous: A Reader on Art and Ethics
Nina Möntmann

Text and Image via Sternberg Press

Art/Aesthetics · Human-ities · Social/Politics

Nato Thompson and Eyal Weizman sit down to discuss the politics of space, aesthetics, and “Institutional Critique 2.0.”

Critical spatial practice, forensic aesthetics, and Institutional Critique v. 2.0: What do these terms mean, and what tools do they give artists, architects, and activists in their aesthetic and political pursuits? Eyal Weizman and Nato Thompson are both writers, curators, and activists expanding these terms in discourse and in action. Both are also poised to publish books this summer. Thompson’s new book, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Age of Cultural Production, considers art production in an age of American neoliberalism and how artists might liberate grassroots political organizing, social networking, and even the history of art from the grasp of consumer capitalism. Weizman, meanwhile, explores the rise of the humanitarian sphere and how contemporary warfare and occupation have distorted its initial tenets of compassion and proportionality in The Least of All Possible Evils. Here, Weizman and Thompson join Anna Altman to discuss how cross-pollinating disciplines can generate new research methods, new positions of power, and new political aesthetics.

Read it HERE

Art/Aesthetics · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Design · Technology

New Aesthetic, New Anxieties

The New Aesthetic was a design concept and netculture phenomenon launched into the world by London designer James Bridle in 2011. It continues to attract the attention of media art, and throw up associations to a variety of situated practices, including speculative design, net criticism, hacking, free and open source software development, locative media, sustainable hardware and so on. This is how we have considered the New Aesthetic: as an opportunity to rethink the relations between these contexts in the emergent episteme of computationality. There is a desperate need to confront the political pressures of neoliberalism manifested in these infrastructures. Indeed, these are risky, dangerous and problematic times; a period when critique should thrive. But here we need to forge new alliances, invent and discover problems of the common that nevertheless do not eliminate the fundamental differences in this ecology of practices. In this book, perhaps provocatively, we believe a great deal could be learned from the development of the New Aesthetic not only as a mood, but as a topic and fix for collective feeling, that temporarily mobilizes networks. Is it possible to sustain and capture these atmospheres of debate and discussion beyond knee-jerk reactions and opportunistic self-promotion? These are crucial questions that the New Aesthetic invites us to consider, if only to keep a critical network culture in place.

New Aesthetic, New Anxieties

Art/Aesthetics · Blog-Sites · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Philosophy · Social/Politics · Theory

Grassroots Modernism: Issue 8 of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest

The articles within this issue 8 of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest attest, as a collection, to our belief in the utility of a multiplicity of approaches. A multiplicity of tactics is sometimes used to pragmatically cover for unsolvable differences in what is to be considered as appropriate action within a single protest. We do not use it as a cover though, instead we suggest (as many others have) that it is rich layers of often antagonistic relationships within generally broad trends that make a movement more successful, not less. Nevertheless, to intelligently understand the impact of potential actions is the task of all involved in the movements.Let us explore this multiplicity to its most creative, least reductive potential.

Excerpt from Issue 8’s editorial. Continue HERE


Marc James Léger – Join a Political Group

Marco Cuevas-Hewitt – Towards a Futurology of the Present
Notes on Writing, Movement, and Time

Meg Wade – Grassroots Modernism as Autonomous Ethos and Practice

Jaleh Mansoor – Poetics, Commitment
Ayreen Anastas’s M*Bethlehem and Pasolini Pa Palestine

Mattias Regan – Playing (with) the Impossible
Modernism’s Populist Poetics

Victor Tupitsyn – Socialist Modernism and Beyond

Ron Sakolsky – The Surrealist Adventure and the Poetry of Direct Action
Passionate Encounters Between the Chicago Surrealist Group,
the Wobblies and Earth First!

Gabriel Mindel Salomon – The Subjective Object
Or Harry Hay in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
(originally published in the Journal of Radical Shimming)

Ian Milliss – Losing My Self
Some anecdotes about anonymity

Gavin Grindon – Surrealism, Dada and the Refusal of Work
Autonomy, Activism and Social Participation in The Radical Avant Garde
(originally published in the Oxford Art Journal). Note: Link opens to PDF

Olive McKeon – Oh What A Mess I’ve Made
On Aesthetics and Political Praxis

Sue Bell Yank – Re-casting Institutional Memory
The Slow Breakdown of the Art/Politics Divide

Survival Kit Collective – Survival Kit Collective
Arcosantian economics, Biospherian aesthetics: a kit for grassroots ecological projects

Protest and Stagnation – Self-generated Discourse in the Context of the
Austrian Student protests of 2009/2010

Khristopher Flack – Anywhere is Everywhere
Reclaiming Community through production in the Rural Northeast

Tim Jensen – On the Emotional Terrain of Neoliberalism
The opposite of despair is not hope, the opposite of depression is not happiness

Libertad Guerra – Uncommon Commonalities
Aesthetic Politics of Place in the South Bronx

Luis Guerra – The Bomb Case
An Uncelebratory Task

Christopher Lee – Frontlining Currency
Speculative Numismatics” as Antagonistic Graphic Design

Public Laboratory – DIY mapping, Popular Participation
Ecological and political monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond

Ultra Red – Andante Politics
Popular Education in the Organizing of Unión de Vecinos

Journal of Aesthetics & Protest

Art/Aesthetics · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Theory

Rethinking Robert Smithson

In many ways, the artistic debates prevalent in the 1970s are recurring in our time: the relation between art and ecology, the position of the artist within a information and media society and the crisis of (neo)liberalism. Although the societal context and diameters of these discussions have changed profoundly, their basis can be found in the period from 1965 to 1975, considered a paradigmatic shift in art and society. But how well do we actually know our immediate past and what can we learn from it? Smithson’s artistic heritage provides an interesting and relevant case study in this respect. Rethinking Robert Smithson aims to open up a discussion about current concerns in art and theory at the intersection of art historical debate and contemporary art practice. Along the line of two thematic approaches related to Smithson’s work, Art and Ecology and The Cinematic Condition, topical concerns in artistic practice are reconsidered by internationally renowned theorists and artists.

Rethinking Robert Smithson
Text via Alauda Publications