This autumn will be our fifteen-year anniversary. Since the beginning of e-flux, discussion and dissemination of urgent artistic and social ideas have been at the center of all our activities. However, until now we have taken a fairly traditional approach to developing this content: through commissioned essays, exhibition reviews, or press communiqués. This month, we are launching a new platform for in-depth open discussions pertaining to art and society. We call it e-flux conversations.
Not everyone likes social networks. But at the same time the art and culture fields have been long understood as being part of an economy specializing in producing social relations rather than goods and services. Exhibitions, conferences, symposia, openings, parties, and lectures are what we make. We are connected. We know what’s going on. We are aware. And sometimes it looks like this connectedness is more important than artworks and exhibitions themselves. Some see this as a privileging of art-world glitz over content, but that seriously underestimates how art’s content is already networked. It moves between people. It does not completely congeal in art objects and exhibitions, nor in social networks. It’s distributed.
Maybe we can try to imagine together what it might look like to have a social exchange platform that reflects what we actually want to say to each other.
With this in mind, we are starting e-flux conversations with a hybrid editorial model, inviting a revolving cast of resident editors—artists, philosophers, journalists, gardeners, documentarians, designers, architects, politicians, and conspiracy theorists—to initiate and lead a series of discussion threads together with a panel of their colleagues over the course of a few weeks. There are already many questions to discuss in the forum: Does Accelerationism lack an economic theory? After a text by Jonas Staal: What is the task of the cultural worker? And, as Ekaterina Degot asks:
Slavoj Žižek has said again and again that the eternal marriage between capitalism and democracy has ended, but perhaps we must say the same of the supposedly eternal marriage between contemporary art and progressive thinking?
We are starting by launching the beta version today, Saturday, October 18 with Karen Archey’s live coverage of the Serpentine’s Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist in collaboration with Gustav Metzger. Participants include Etel Adnan, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Ed Atkins, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Stewart Brand, Federico Campagna, Jimmie Durham, Jack Halberstam, Susan Hiller, Trevor Paglen, Elizabeth Povinelli, Paul Chan, Adam Curtis, Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson, William Gibson, Joanne Kyger, Franz Mon, Yoko Ono, and Laura Poitras. We will end up wherever you take the conversation.
To join the conversation: e-flux.com/conversations
—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle