contemporary art

December 17, 2015

Ben Woodard: Embracing the Digital

. . . art tries to represent nature. Not necessarily in a direct sense, like you paint a nice field and in that painting, you’ve represented it one to one; embracing that you’re capturing something very fundamental there.. But even in abstract painting and various forms of sculpture or digital art; that what you’re really trying to capture is a representation of the process of representation itself. That’s basically how Schelling discusses art. To say that art represents nature, you’re not saying that art represents a representation of nature in an image, but that an image is actually pointing to the processes within nature that creates not only what we would call natural objects – plants or animals – but also thought. So art in a sense, is thought’s attempt to capture itself as a creation of nature, as creation.

July 3, 2015

Superconversation 43: Mohammad Salemy responds to Federico Campagna, “After Nihilism, After Technic: Sketches for a New Philosophical Architecture”

The art world shows how the engine of capitalism rather than running on notions of production and labor, or the concept of supply and demand, is actually fueled by capitalization, or how much one is prepared, or rather has been prepared, to pay the price today in order to receive a profit tomorrow. What guarantees future profits in the financial markets as well as the art world is not the logical algorithm of growth but the social power that can be systematically mobilized in both environments to enforce today’s prices and to guarantee a higher return in the future.

June 20, 2015

Superconversation 34: Ashkan Sepahvand responds to David Hodge & Hamed Yousefi, “Provincialism Perfected: Global Contemporary Art and Uneven Development”

The Supercommunity Agency, a formal moniker for the millions of intricately networked, constantly mutating social constellations that composed the Government of Earth, transmitted its deliberations over a period of a few months, finally drafting a conclusive decision: humanity would mobilize itself towards the TOTALwork, the voluntary commitment to see through the extinction of the human species altogether. Everyone was to renounce biological reproduction – no more new generations, no more strife against the future, no more investment of desire to find itself better fulfilled in those to come. The species would die out together . . . A concession was made within the Supercommunity: for those who longed for a child, a new birth would be accompanied by the enforced sacrifice of the parents. Soon, even those children who grew up into the Supercommunity once the TOTALwork was well underway would no longer know that it was even possible to reproduce. Sterilization procedures had greatly helped. Sex was just that, sex. Work was creativity, without the anxiety of accumulation and inheritance.

June 19, 2015

Superconversation 33: Joshua Johnson responds to Liam Gillick, “Weapons Grade Pig Work”

While the genres of the past have been exhausted by the revolutions of modernity, the particular practices and functions of our theoretical knowledge provide normative criteria for judging the intent of artistic gestures. An art which takes seriously the constructive application of its role as a cognitive mediator, and responds to the specific content of the special sciences, may no longer speak to the debased average man, but it might join the chorus of that anonymous anyone who is a vector of liberation.

July 2, 2015

Notes for “Stereoscopy, Exit, and Escape”

A portion of these notes were delivered as a guest lecturer for Diann Bauer and Patricia Reed’s “Art and its Reason(s)” class at the New Centre for Research and Practice on June 8th, 2015. I have since added to them and cleaned up the presentation. The intent of this material was to present a broad outline of Wilfrid Sellars philosophy and make suggestions as to how we might think of some of his positions in relation to problems with recent art practice, and in what ways it may help us reconsider certain positions on art. For the most part it remains focused on Sellars’s philosophy with a few suggestive remarks on how it may be applied to art which could surely be expanded. In composing these notes I relied not only upon Sellars’s own texts, but the indispensable commentary of the late Jay Rosenberg, Willem deVries and Tom Triplett’s reading of Sellars’s “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”, Steven Levine’s insightful criticism of Sellars’s positions, and Johanna Seibt’s process ontology reading of Sellars.

June 11, 2015

Superconversation 27: Mohammad Salemy responds to Gertrude Stein, “The Making of Americans”

Mohammad Salemy tells us a story of “a group of men and women . . . meeting to discuss the future. . . [A] gathering of a variety of odd characters [Alfred McCormack, Abby Aldrich, Clement Greenberg, John Foster Dulles, David Rockefeller, George Orwell, Alfred Barr, William Stephenson, Eleanor Roosevelt, James Connan, and William Phillips discuss] the charged intersection of art, money, literature, geopolitics, and counterintelligence.”

June 2, 2015

Superconversation 20: Adam Kleinman responds to Mohammad Salemy, “Art After the Machines”

“. . . art too only has a capacity for compassion, or empathy, and likewise, it only has a capacity to act as a manual, or a record, to give guidance and so on . . . At present, the only fear computing devices present to me though is not that they are mind-numbingly complex, it is that no matter how complex they seem, each runs by a strict textualism predicated on a very close reading of code and metrics. The real quandary isn’t then what should art and science learn from each other vis-à-vis computing, the question is: are our interlinked machines turning more and more into an association of Prousts and Hugos, or into an army of literal minded Antonin Scalias?”

May 27, 2015

Superconversation 16: Xenia Benivolski responds to Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.), “Online Digital Artwork and the Status of the ‘Based-in’ Artist”

How can someone account for any group of mobile workers?
To which class of mobility do artists belong?
Is it necessary to depend upon citation to be told who we are?

May 26, 2015

Superconversation 15: Jessie Beier responds to Arseny Zhilyaev, “Second Advents. On the Issue of Planning in Contemporary Art”

[T]o echo Zhilyaey, “[p]erhaps uncovering the cosmos [the itch] as a space for restoring—or even inventing—order and the main goal of humankind’s efforts will give us another way to avoid the dark end of everyday contingencies (para. 7).”

With this itch in mind, here are some questions we might consider further:

What is the role of planning in the creation, distribution, and reception of contemporary art?
How might we reformulate processes of planning in contemporary art towards new political and
philosophical demands?
How might technological intervention aid in the recapitulation of processes of planning in contemporary art?

May 23, 2015

Speculation, Acceleration, and the In-Between

. . . the #Accelerate Manifesto, both in form and content, is also indicative of the limited utility philosophy might have in a crisis situation like that of 2008 and on, hence, the need for a full-fledged turn away from speculative philosophy towards proper political economy. However, it is important to note that this political turn was filtered mostly through speculative realism, on the positive side, because of their shared emphasis on materiality & the place of technology, and on the negative, through SR’s spectacular failure in offering a new epistemology and the accelerationist demand for one. And yet, SR did offer a way out of Continental theory loops, via the works of Ray Brassier and Reza Negarestani, mostly through their defense of the idea of Enlightenment and reason or what later was called neorationalism . . . their brand of realism offers a new way of thinking about the political that is not overdetermined and therefore limited by Western anarcho-Marxist cynicism towards government institutions and social planning, or the dominant discursive politics of poststructuralism or the Latourian hegemonic hyper-relativism that insists everything is a network.


Moscow, January 1st, 2019

Written in 2013 for the blog Communists In Situ, “Moscow January 1st, 2019” charts the dystopian future of global capitalism, unwittingly painting an accurate picture of the crumbling US empire in the post-Trump era while pointing to the radical dangers embedded in the neoreactionary nightmare of state secession and techno cosmopolitanism.   KADASHEVSKAYA HOTEL 26 Kadashevskaya […]

Against Curating

NOTE: Against Curating was first published by the German Daily Zeit in German language. The English version on &&& Platform matches the original in all but the title, which the Zeit editors had decided to change to “Get Rid of Curators.” Curating is undemocratic, authoritarian, opaque and corruptible. Without giving reasons, without discussion, curators choose […]

#AltWoke Companion

What Is #AltWoke? #AltWoke is: The Catalytic Left. Post-Landian Left-Accelerationism. Team Reza Negarestani. ‘The Dark Insurrection.’ Direct action hacktivism. Free market socialism. Apocalyptic communism. Intersectional xenofeminism. Environmentally conscientious nihilism. Libidinal Marxism. Platform stacktivism. IoT urban policy. High post-post-structuralism. The Corporate Undercommons. Gratuitous neologism and nomenclature trolling. Lifestyle branding as political ideology & vice versa. AltWoke™: […]

The Persian Empire & the Question of Democracy in Herodotus’s Histories

Political debates surrounding the question of democracy versus elite despotism has an interesting history. As a Persian, I find the passages 80-87 from Herodotus’ Histories demonstrating how these debates predate modern Europe and are rooted, at least in written text, in the struggle between Persia and Greece for civilizational hegemony: 80. And now when five […]

Nick Land & Accelerationism

This is Nick Land, one of the most important philosophers of the last 20 years, and one the most innovative thinkers on the subjects of cybernetics and late capitalism. He is also one of the theorists of NRx, and is one of accelerationism’s primary figureheads. Nick Land didn’t always belong to the Right. Initially, he […]