Harun Farocki’s cinema of ruptures – Serious Games

“I try to let the film think.”

Harun Farocki (9 January 1944 – 30 July 2014) was a filmmaker, author, and film theorist. He was deeply influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Jean-Luc Godard. Farocki’s films investigate the processes through which images and the messages they carry are constructed, transmitted, and perceived; as well as the ability of recorded images to convey the realities of war.

The Anti-fascist school primer (Cartilla escolar antifascista)

By Mauricio Amster and Walter Reuter

The Anti-fascist school booklet was devised as a learning notebook for reading, writing and calculation, but also as an artistic publication by the Popular Front Government at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The Cervantes Institute (Instituto Cervantes) organised an exhibition on this historical document, which also served as a tribute to its creators: the Polish-born graphic designer Mauricio Amster and the Berlin photographer Walter Reuter.

Link: https://cultura.cervantes.es/belgrado/es/cartilla-escolar-antifascista.-la-obra-maestra-de-mauricio-amster-y-walter-reuter/162037

Psychoanalysis and the New Rhetoric reviewed by Gorica Orsholits

Freud, Burke, Lacan, and philosophy’s other scenes by Daniel Adleman and Chris Vanderwees

Psychoanalysis and the New Rhetoric is a collaborative work emerging from several years of conversations between Adleman – a rhetorician – and Vanderwees – a psychoanalyst. Their dialogue represents a thoughtful fusion of psychoanalytic practice and theory with new rhetoric, rather effectively combining the work of Freud, Burke, and Lacan as main theoreticians, with many others also included. Rhetoric and psychoanalysis are disciplines that have been, or still are, on the margins of established scientific and institutional domains.


Biennale Arte 2024: Foreigners Everywhere / Stranieri Ovunque

Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, the title of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, is drawn from a series of works started in 2004 by the Paris-born and Palermo-based collective Claire Fontaine.
Foreigners Everywhere was a series of neon signs in several different languages. Named for Stranieri Ovunque, an anarchist collective from Turin, the work embodies and projects the ambivalence of their name into various sites and contexts. Lacking context, the neon suggests a factual statement, xenophobic threat, and evokes the estrangement of feeling foreign in a global society, a circumstance legible by the targeted populations.


Soft and weak like water

The 14th Gwangju Biennale

7 April – 9 July 2023

The 14th Gwangju Biennale proposes to imagine our shared planet as a site of resistance, coexistence, solidarity and care by thinking through the transformative and restorative potential of water as a metaphor, a force, and a method. Soft and weak like water celebrates an aqueous model of power that brings forth change, not with an immediate effect but with endurance and pervasive gentleness, flowing across structural divisions and differences. Embracing contradictions and paradoxes – as “there is nothing softer and weaker than water, and yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things” (Dao De Jing, chap.78) – the Biennale’s theme highlights the capacity of art to permeate deep into the individual and the collective, which enables us to navigate through the complexities of the world with a sense of awareness and direction. 

Planetary Times

Considering the shared future of human civilisation requires a broad perspective that encompasses different or even conflicting views across borders. By exploring artistic practices that respond to the ongoing crises of humanity through the lens of relational cosmology that emphasises change, fluidity, and indeterminacy, Planetary Times imagines the Earth as a site of shared connections and removed boundaries that is entangled with the era of the Anthropocene. Such imaginary crossroads reveal a connected planetary viewpoint, beyond the perspectives that centers the human. The crisis of civilization brought forth by climate emergency, manifest in unprecedented droughts, forest fires, and floods around the world, prompts a fundamental reconsideration of unequal models of production and consumption, multinational corporations and late capitalist economic infrastructures and emphasises the significance of solidarity across borders. By presenting works that propose diverse and multifaceted responses to the crises that affect the entire world, this node sheds light on a ‘planetary’ perspective that moves beyond the ‘global’. In so doing, it seeks to move away from homogenous perspectives to value the lived, everyday experiences of artists and their activist possibilities.


States of Violence – Exhibition in London (March 24. 2023 to April 8. 2023)

The exhibition ‘States of Violence’ exposes top government cables leaked by Julian Assange and brings together the work of leading artists and agitators, unveiling forms of government oppression. The rebellious show is presented by the non-profit London-based arts organization a/political, marking an outstanding collaboration with WikiLeaks — the well-known NGO that operates a whistleblowing news site. 
‘States of Violence’ battles for our freedom of speech in the modern era we are going through, exposing top-secret government cables and classified media, never before available in hardcopy in the UK. The works created by iconic names such as Ai Weiwei, Dread Scott, and The Vivienne Foundation, among others, put the spotlight on global power structures, releasing material for the darkest truths of our modern reality. The display also includes hard copies of documents leaked in 2010 by Wikileaks whistleblower and activist Julian Assange, also fighting for his freedom, as he has been detained at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019.

‘SECRET + NOFORN’ by Institute For Dissent and Datalove 

Source: https://www.designboom.com/art/states-of-violence-exhibition-top-government-cables-julian-assange-wikileaks-02-24-2023/

Review of A new dawn for politics by Alain Badiou; by Gorica Orsholits

A new dawn for politics is a collection of Alain Badiou’s writings from 2016 and 2020 which comprise essays and lectures on the ideological and political situation worldwide and in France.


Internationale Situationniste journal

Online archive of English translations of Internationale Situationniste, aka International Situationist: the journal of the Situationist International.

Détournement as Negation and Prelude

Détournement, the reuse of preexisting artistic elements in a new ensemble, has been a constantly present tendency of the contemporary avant-garde, both before and since the formation of the SI. The two fundamental laws of détournement are the loss of importance of each detourned autonomous element — which may go so far as to completely lose its original sense — and at the same time the organization of another meaningful ensemble that confers on each element its new scope and effect.

Détournement has a peculiar power which obviously stems from the double meaning, from the enrichment of most of the terms by the coexistence within them of their old and new senses. Détournement is practical because it is so easy to use and because of its inexhaustible potential for reuse. Concerning the negligible effort required for détournement, we have already noted that “the cheapness of its products is the heavy artillery that breaks through all the Chinese walls of understanding” (A User’s Guide to Détournement, May 1956). But these points would not by themselves justify recourse to this method, which the same text describes as “clashing head-on against all social and legal conventions.” Détournement has a historical significance. What is it?

“Détournement is a game made possible by the capacity of devaluation,” writes Jorn in his study Detourned Painting (May 1959), and he goes on to say that all the elements of the cultural past must be “reinvested” or disappear. Détournement is thus first of all a negation of the value of the previous organization of expression. It arises and grows increasingly stronger in the historical period of the decomposition of artistic expression. But at the same time, the attempts to reuse the “detournable bloc” as material for other ensembles express the search for a vaster construction, a new genre of creation at a higher level.

The SI is a very special kind of movement, different in nature from preceding artistic avant-gardes. Within culture, the SI can be likened to a research laboratory, for example, or to a party in which we are situationists but nothing that we do can yet be situationist. This is not a disavowal for anyone. We are partisans of a certain future of culture and of life. Situationist activity is a particular craft that we are not yet practicing.

Thus the signature of the situationist movement, the sign of its presence and contestation in contemporary cultural reality (since we cannot represent any common style whatsoever), is first of all the use of détournement. Examples of our use of detourned expression include Jorn’s altered paintings; Debord and Jorn’s book Mémoires, “composed entirely of prefabricated elements,” in which the writing on each page runs in all directions and the reciprocal relations of the phrases are invariably uncompleted; Constant’s projects for detourned sculptures; and Debord’s detourned documentary film, On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Period of Time. At the stage of what the “User’s Guide to Détournement” calls “ultradétournement, that is, the tendencies for détournement to operate in everyday social life” (e.g. passwords or the wearing of disguises, belonging to the sphere of play), we might mention, at different levels, Gallizio’s industrial painting; Wyckaert’s “orchestral” project for assembly-line painting with a division of labor based on color; and numerous détournements of buildings that were at the origin of unitary urbanism. But we should also mention in this context the SI’s very forms of “organization” and propaganda.

At this point in the world’s development, all forms of expression are losing their grip on reality and being reduced to self-parody. As the readers of this journal can frequently verify, present-day writing invariably has an element of parody. As the “User’s Guide” notes: “It is necessary to conceive of a parodic-serious stage where the accumulation of detourned elements, far from aiming to arouse indignation or laughter by alluding to some original work, will express our indifference toward a meaningless and forgotten original, and concern itself with rendering a certain sublimity.”

This combination of parody and seriousness reflects the contradictions of an era in which we find ourselves confronted with both the urgent necessity and the near impossibility of initiating and carrying out a totally innovative collective action — an era in which the most serious ventures are masked in the ambiguous interplay between art and its necessary negation, and in which the essential voyages of discovery have been undertaken by such astonishingly incapable people.


Translated by Ken Knabb (slightly modified from the version in the Situationist International Anthology).

Source: https://libcom.org/article/internationale-situationniste-journal

The Loss of Object and Practice of Philosophy as Art: Interview with Byung-Chul Han

Byung-Chul Han

Byung-Chul Han in his latest book  – Undinge (Nonobjects) claims that the age of object is over. “Today we are in the transition from the age of objects to the age of nonobjects. Information, not objects, now defines our environment. Under no circumstances do I want to praise old, beautiful objects. That would be very unphilosophical. I refer to objects as resting places for life because they stabilise human life. The same chair and the same table, in their sameness, lend the fickle human life some stability and continuity. We can linger with objects. With information, however, we cannot. In Undinge I have made the proposition that nowadays we perceive reality primarily in terms of information. As a consequence, there is rarely a tangible contact with reality. Reality is robbed of its presence. We no longer perceive its physical vibrations. The layer of information, which covers objects like a membrane, shields the perception of intensities. Perception, reduced to information, numbs us to moods and atmospheres. Rooms lose their poetics. They give way to roomless networks along which information spreads. Digital time, with its focus on the present, on the moment, disperses the fragrance of time. Time is atomised into a sequence of isolated presents. Atoms are not fragrant. The informatisation of reality thus leads to a loss of space and time.

If we want to understand what kind of society we live in, we have to comprehend what information is. Information has very little currency. It lacks temporal stability, since it lives off the excitement of surprise. Due to its temporal instability, it fragments perception. It throws us into a continuous frenzy of topicality. Hence it’s impossible to linger on information. That’s how it differs from objects. Information puts the cognitive system itself into a state of anxiety. We encounter information with the suspicion that it could just as easily be something else. It is accompanied by basic distrust. It strengthens the contingency experience. Fake news embodies a heightened form of the contingency that is inherent in information. And information, due to its ephemerality, makes time-consuming cognitive practices such as experience, memory or perception disappear. So my analyses have nothing to do with nostalgia.

Effectively more artists than philosophers read my books. Philosophers are no longer interested in the present. Foucault once said that the philosopher is a journalist who captures the now with ideas. That’s what I do. Moreover my essays are on their way to another life, to a different narrative. Artists feel addressed by that. I would entrust art with the task of developing a new way of life, a new awareness, a new narrative against the prevailing doctrine. As such, the saviour is not philosophy but art. Or I practise philosophy as art.”

Source: https://artreview.com/byung-chul-han-i-practise-philosophy-as-art/