No. 18

e-flux journal

September 24, 2010

Issue #18
September 2010

Available online:
e-flux.com/journal

Issue 18 of e-flux journal marks the beginning of our third year of publishing, and the start of a “Letters to the Editors” feature, with reader responses to issues or individual essays published in the journal. To offer your own response, write to journal [​at​] e-flux.com.

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Robert Smithson’s well-known indictment of art institutions as lobotomizing apparatuses—neutralizing all that is placed within their walls—remains relevant today. But can we say, even in a Smithsonesque manner, that this problem now extends far beyond art museums? What if the edifying and embalming functions of museums and art institutions simply serve to double a latent tendency within culture itself, one that wants to hold on to things and remember them? Surely, if we were to demolish all art institutions, they would reemerge; and anyhow, as Toni Negri suggests in this issue, society needs institutions—the alternative is much worse.

In “History in the Making,” Peter Friedl considers the image as a marker of death—not only that of images’ subjects, but of historical events that are altered and staged through this supposedly documentary medium. From the Paris Commune, to Neda Soltani, to the Spanish Civil War, to Courbet, to Robert Capa, the issue is not only that selective framing produces deliberate misreadings, but that “all images lie when they are not read right.”(see full essay here)

Hassan Khan recuperates the figure of the corrupt intellectual as an opportunity to understand a condition of being simultaneously empowered by and embedded in the limitations of cultural practice. While the corrupt intellectual may be the worst kind of coward, this figure also heralds a capitulation to popular, or populist, sentiment, to the malleable force of the crowd, that you or I may not only have already recognized, but implicitly internalized… (see full essay here)

How can the multitude constitute a singularity, asks Antonio Negri in Hans Ulrich Obrist‘s conversation with the philosopher. How can the wild, dangerous creativity that exists in the metropolis be harnessed to mobilize people? How does “all that rationalist art” represent the link between Surrealism and Fordization? And how can we rediscover the common as a space of resistance? (see full essay here)

Marta Jecu looks to the works of artists such as Carlos Bunga, Gutai, Ei Arakawa, and Sancho Silva to explain how the uses of space and time that followed from post-conceptual practices are most usefully considered in light of how they function within the realm of the virtual. How do we understand works that utilize spatial realignments and temporal processes to constitute an embodied potentiality that surrounds, and often evades, the exhibited material? (see full essay here)

Gean Moreno and Ernesto Oroza articulate the world of generic objects sculpted by the brutally abstract flows of trade logistics, global exchange, and abject necessity. They key into a type of formal engagement that not only bypasses and supersedes modes of display, but also considers concrete object-production in terms of a kind of “meta-author” working at the intersection of small-scale need and worldwide processes of industrial standardization. “What is most interesting about the generic quality is that it clarifies objects as compressed and manipulable energy and information, free of the magical cloak of meaning and added value with which the fairy dust of sanctioned creativity wraps them. (see full essay here)

Finally, Maria Rus Bojan, Beatrice von Bismarck, Liam Gillick, Jens Hoffmann, Adam Kleinman, Sohrab Mohebbi, Nato Thompson, Vivian Rehberg, Dorothee Richter, Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, and Tirdad Zolghadr reply to Anton Vidokle’s polemical essay “Art Without Artists” from issue 16, which warned against curatorial ambition usurping or erasing the work of artists in spaces of art. (see full essay here)

—Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle

The print edition of e-flux journal can now be found at:

Amsterdam: De Appel / Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten / Antwerp: M HKA / Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst / Austin: Arthouse at the Jones Center / Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery / Barcelona: MACBA / Basel: Kunsthalle Basel, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst / Bergen: Rakett / Beijing and Guangzhou: Vitamin Creative Space / Berlin: b_books / Berliner Künstlerprogramm – DAAD / do you read me? / NBK, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein / Pro qm / Berlin and Zurich: Motto / Bologna: MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna / Bristol: Arnolfini / Brussels: Wiels / Bucharest: Pavilion Magazine / Cairo: Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) / Townhouse Gallery / Calgary: The New Gallery / Chicago: Graham Foundation / The Renaissance Society / Dublin: Project Arts Centre / Dusseldorf: Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen / Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum / Frankfurt: Portikus – Städelschule / Genève: Centre de la Photographie / Glasgow: CCA Centre for Contemporary Arts / Sculpture Studios / Graz: Grazer Kunstverein / para_SITE Gallery / Hamburg: Kunstverein / Hobart / INFLIGHT / Istanbul: BAS / DEPO / Platform Garanti / Cologne: Kölnischer Kunstverein / London: Gasworks / ICA / Serpentine Gallery/ Visiting Arts / Los Angeles: REDCAT / Lisbon: Maumaus, Escola de Artes Visuais / Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija / Luxembourg: Casino Luxembourg / Marfa: Ballroom Marfa / Madrid: Brumari / Pensart / Mexico City: Proyectos Monclova / Montreal: ESPACE PROJET Art Contemporain + Design / Munich: Museum Villa Stuck / Walther Koenig Bookshop, Haus der Kunst Munich / New Delhi: Sarai-CSDS / New York: e-flux / Independent Curators International (ICI) / Printed Matter, Inc / Nottingham: Nottingham Contemporary / Omaha: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts / Paris: Centre Pompidou / castillo/corrales – Section 7 Books / Portland: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, (PICA) / Publication Studio / Prishtina: Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina / Riga: Kim? / Rio de Janeiro: Capacete / Rotterdam: Witte de With / Salzburg: Salzburger Kunstverein / San Antonio: Artpace / São Paulo: Master in Visual Arts, Faculdade Santa Marcelina / Seoul: The Books / The Book Society / Sherbrooke: Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University / Sydney: Artspace / Ramecourt: Performing Arts Forum, St Erme Outre et Ramecourt / Stockholm: Bonniers Konsthall / Index / Konstfack, University College of Art, Craft and Design / Stuttgart: Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart / Tallinn: Kumu Art Museum of Estonia / Toronto: Mercer Union / The Power Plant / Torun: Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun / Utrecht: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst / Casco-Office for Art, Design and Theory / Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia / Vilnius: Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) / Warsaw: Zachęta National Gallery of Art / Wiesbaden: Nassauischer Kunstverein (NKV) / Zagreb: Gallery Nova / Zurich: Postgraduate Program in Curating, Zürich University of the Arts / White Space.