333 Winter 2020–21 issue

Flash Art International

December 14, 2020
December 14, 2020

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The concepts of biopower and biopolitics are now used extensively by political theorists. They refer to the broad field in which biological factors are drawn into the social domain as targets of political intervention and sites of ethical contestation. “Our present day and age is based on a biopolitics of populations,” points out Pierre Bal-Blanc in his fourth episode of “The Curatorial Gaze.” Across the pages of this winter issue of Flash Art, there are three words that resonate throughout: coexistenceidentity, and protest.

While codes to define new standards of identity are being rewritten, populist authorities still distrust the idea of a diversified coexistence of individuals, inciting resistance in physical and digital realms and spreading confusion about who or what to follow or unfollow. Today’s internet overflows with satires of the internet, as Adam Jasper points out in his cover story on artist Nora Turato, who “nails the disingenuity of our days” with her spoken-word ventriloquism of the Internet. 

The illusion that reality may be construed via the internet generates rifts, produces shoddy knowledge, and emphasizes the difficulties of coexisting within society. We live under a constant barrage of problematic content, as we see in KARLA (2020), Omer Fast’s dialogue with a content moderator for an online video platform; or in the false narratives of South Central Los Angeles that Lauren Halsey pushes back against; or in the regressive horror genre tropes that Misha Green’s historical melodrama Lovecraft Country recalibrates through the lens of Black history. It is also implicated in the “passive seeing” that Shaun Leonardo would remedy through “slow, contemplative grappling with the image.” 

This issue invites readers to pay attention to the stereotypes that infect our gaze. All the artists and authors featured here are forcing boundaries, trying to imagine a new world in the here and now. William J. Simmons rethinks concepts of ugliness and identification in Cindy Sherman’s work, critiquing an outworn “politics of identification: as the oppressed, as a femme person, as queer.” Charlie Robin Jones considers Prada’s SS21 collection for its rehabilitation of the ugly and abject in the service of a new collectivity. 

Also in this issue: Dean Kissick talks with Daniel Lopatin a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never about his new studio album Magic Oneohtrix Point Never; a Questionnaire on “Queer Correspondence”; a new visual project on CDLM by Matthew Linde; a heartfelt Letter from the City by Charles Gaines; and a new column, TELL EVERYONE, with some thoughts on Lana Del Rey

Reviews: Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit at SculptureCenter, New York / Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way at ICA, Los Angeles / Robert Smithson: Primordial Beginnings at Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris / JUNQUE at Massimo De Carlo, London / Alex Da Corte: Helter Shelter or: The Red Show! or… at Sadie Coles HQ, London / Tarek Atoui Waters' Witness at Fridericianum, Kassel / Raphael Hefti: Salutary Failures at Kunsthalle Basel / PUSH THE LIMITS at Fondazione Merz, Turin

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