Commonist Aesthetics

Open! has launched a new series of essays on "commonist aesthetics" (that's not a typo). I'm on Open's editorial board, which involves meetings at Jorinde Seijdel's kitchen table a couple of times per year, and I wrote a brief introduction. At this stage we don't know exactly how long this series will run, and exactly where it will take us, but we have some excellent authors lined up.

Come Spring: Paul Chan & Hito Steyerl

On April 11, Paul Chan's exhibition at the Schaulager in Basel will open; the next day sees the opening of Hito Steyerl's show at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. I wrote texts for publications accompanying both shows. More incisively than most, these two artists engage with the mutations and contradictions of contemporary cultural production and circulation. 

For Hito's show, I wrote a catalogue essay "Postcinematic Essays After the Future," a short version of which has has appeared in the museum's newsletter, Radically Yours. The catalogue is to be published by Sternberg Press. My texts deals with the migration of the essay from text to video to live performance, and with Hito's notion of "circulationism" as the digital sequel to productivism. In addition, I engaged in an e-mail conversation with Hito for Metropolis M that has just been published in the April-May issue under the title "Glitches of an Exhibition." (Although the title is still in English, the actual text was translated English, or from International Disco Latin, into Dutch.)

Paul's Schaulager exhibition features Volumes, his installation of 1005 mounted and painted book covers. The show is accompanied by three different publications, published by Paul's Badlands Unlimited. One of these is called the New New Testament - a massive volume collecting all Volumes, with short accompanying texts. I contributed a brief essay on Paul's various book- and font-related works and activities, and with changes in publishing and the status of writing at the far end of the Gutenberg Galaxy. 

Top Image: still from a rough edit of Hito Steyerl's Liquidity Inc. (2014). Bottom image: detail of Volumes (2012) and the New New Testament cover. 

History in Motion review

History in Motion has been reviewed by Tom Holert on the Open! web site. I won't try to respond to this insightful and incisive review right now, other than to say that his entirely predictable and fully justified point about the dearth of explicit discussion of postcolonial, feminist and queer temporalities in History in Motion is well-taken. Self-imposed limitations are needed to keep things manageable, but they come at a cost - and demand to be negated in the next phase of the ongoing process of self-education and autocritique that any scholarly or theoretical practice should be.