ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE PAINTING

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Mihnea Mircan & Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, eds.

With contributions by Haseeb Ahmed, Ignacio Chapela, Justin Clemens, Georges Didi-Huberman, Jonathan Dronsfield, Christopher Fynsk, Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, Natasha Ginwala & Vivian Ziherl, Adam Staley Groves, Sean Gurd, Adam Jasper, Susanne Kriemann, Brenda Machosky, Mihnea Mircan, Alexander Nagel, Rosalind Nashashibi, Tom Nicholson, Jack Pettigrew, Raphaël Pirenne, Susan Schuppli, Lucy Steeds, Jonas Leonard Tinius, Marina Vishmidt, Christopher Witmore, and Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll

A 2010 archeological study found that the prehistoric Gwion Gwion paintings in Australia, whose chromatic vividness contrasts with their age and their exposure to sun and rain, are inhabited by “living pigments.” A symbiotic biofilm of red cyanobacteria and black fungi sustains a process of permanent self-painting, while also etching the pictures deeper into the quartz wall. The texts commissioned for the reader respond, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, to an idiosyncratic temporality and economy—or ecology—of signification. Descending from an inscrutable past to the same extent that they are made now, in a radical contemporaneity, the Gwion Gwion are examined as an allegorical metabolism that generates new articulations of “art” and “life,” contamination and purity, prehistory and modernity, bacterial and human colonies, lost knowledge and scientific advancement—collaborative relations between antonyms, altered schemas of “origin” and “identity.”

Now out-of-print – last copies.

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ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE PAINTING
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