Category: Volume 8, Issue 3

From the Editors

The texts and artist project in the present issue refl ect on the relationship between aesthetics and social constructivism, or the appearance and elaboration of new forms of social and political organization. Taken together, they represent something of a departure from the kinds of historical—often institutional and archival—reconstructions that we often publish, by considering the names and visual forms of still inexistent modes of political subjectivity. At the risk of making an overly broad generalization, we might say that rather than interrogating the relationship between formal conventions and institutional norms within the context of really existing socialism or third-world internationalism,
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Thresholds of the Visible. Activist Video, Militancy, and Prefigurative Politics

The formation of a Peoples’ Assembly and occupation of the city of Oaxaca (Mexico) in 2006 has been widely considered a rebirth of the Commune and was also one of the first widely video-recorded uprisings of the 21st century. As media practice, activist videos approximate an identity of creative art/work and socio-political change but also warrant consideration of their formal aspects. How do stylistic choices help or hinder reflecting on the not-quite-here-yet of prefigurative politics? In contrast with video art, graffiti, and performance protest, activist videos overwhelmingly adhere to evidentiary forms. Carefully edited, they invite viewers to view crowdsourced … Read more

Whitewash as Affective Platform: Art and Politics of Surface in the Work of Yto Barrada and Hassan Darsi

Whitewash when read through affect is a site of fleeting documentation, a temporary archive of becoming, an ephemeral glimpse into what might become, different. By reading slowly and carefully the work of contemporary artists Yto Barrada and Hassan Darsi, this article hopes to show how their attention to whitewash in urban Morocco is about registering and producing a moment of as-yet-unrealized possibility and potential ontological transformation. From the creation of potemkin worlds for passing dignitaries to the presentation of a worker’s body slowly whitewashing a decaying building in a neoliberal authoritarian city, Barrada and Darsi document whitewash as the space
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Regioning Differences: Translation and Critical Cartography

The remapping of  cartographies of knowledge, the reorientation of genealogies of comparison, the zoning of what might be through of as “the great unthought” (associated by N. Katherine Hayles with “the cognitive nonconciousness”), all have been fully underway for quite some time in critical and curatorial practice. Literary theory has also been much taken up by the cartographic turn.

Contingency Plans: Art Collectives, Shared Pseudonyms, and Theories of Collectivity

This review considers Jacopo Galimberti’s Individuals Against Individualism: Art Collectives in Western Europe (1956–1969), 2017, and Marco Deseriis’s Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous, 2017 and the theories of collectivity that inform them (multitude, inoperative community, and transindividuality). While Galimberti looks at how collaborative practices model new strategies for collective action, and Deseriis examines forms that allow multiple actions and ideologies to flow through them, they authors share a desire to move beyond representation to model, enact, and realize real change in the world. Taken together, these two books afford us the opportunity to evaluate the critique … Read more

Encounters—Ongoing

The series of drawings, Encounters – ongoing stems from chance meetings on leisurely road trips around the mountains of Lebanon. The drawings act as markers of my conversations with landowners, farmers, and people directly working in the fields. The formal particularities of drawing, and specifically the use of ink washes, allows for an approach that is both intuitive and intentional. This approach reproduces the spontaneity of these accidental or brief exchanges with people who have a vested interest in Lebanese land. Each conversation is represented by a simple tree branch, or a fragment of a (flowering) plant, belonging to the … Read more

Introduction to Arman Grigoryan’s “What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” (1993) and “What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” (1996)

The document presents two separate articles with the same title –“What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” – by artist Arman Grigoryan and art critic Nazareth Karoyan, published in Armenia in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Translated from Armenian and introduced by Angela Harutyunyan both articles have been formative for the development of contemporary art in Armenia. While presenting diverging views on the meaning of hamasteghtsakan (translated as collectively created), the concept was circulated as a definition for a broad range of post-medium artistic practices in late Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia. These practices formed an oppositional discourse to both Socialist Realism and Armenian National … Read more

What is Hamasteghtsakan Art

The document presents two separate articles with the same title –“What is Hamasteghtsakan Art” – by artist Arman Grigoryan and art critic Nazareth Karoyan, published in Armenia in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Translated from Armenian and introduced by Angela Harutyunyan both articles have been formative for the development of contemporary art in Armenia. While presenting diverging views on the meaning of hamasteghtsakan (translated as collectively created), the concept was circulated as a definition for a broad range of post-medium artistic practices in late Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia. These practices formed an oppositional discourse to both Socialist Realism and Armenian National

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