Tehching Hsieh

Lifeitself-frontLifeItselfcover

Life Itself
Edited by Daniel Birnbaum, Stefanie Hessler, Carsten Höller & Jo Widoff

Anyone undertaking a study of the concept of “life” in our culture will observe that it never gets defined as such, writes Giorgio Agamben. Instead, he claims, this indeterminate thing – life itself – gets articulated and divided time and again through a series of oppositions that give it a function in the sciences without ever being defined as such. These theoretical and literary articulations are what this book is about, and what the 173 texts by authors, scientists and philosophers from all times and all disciplines will try to answer.
Ernst Haeckel, speculative biologist and naturalist, coined key concepts as phylum and ecology. In the years 1899-1904 he published Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature), one hundred prints depicting organisms many of which were first described by Haeckel himself, who with this project took an unusual step from science to art. His sketches thus create a bridge between this book and the exhibition at Moderna Museet, appearing in the margins of both. Otherwise there is no art in this publication and the division of labor strict: the exhibition is art?s chance to answer the topic spelled out in the subtitle to Life Itself: “On the question of what it essentially is; its materialities, its characteristics, considering that attempts to answer this question by occidental sciences and philosophies have proven unsatisfactory.”

Exhibition featured the work of Giovanni Anselmo, Olga Balema, Hicham Berrada, Joseph Beuys, Karl Blossfeldt, Constantin Brancusi, Victor Brauner, Nina Canell, Lygia Clark, Trisha Donnelly, Monica Englund, Valia Fetisov, Dirk Fleischmann, Katharina Fritsch, Ernst Haeckel, Barbara Hauser, Tamara Henderson, Eva Hesse, Damien Hirst, Tehching Hsieh, Pierre Huyghe, Carsten Höller/Rosemarie Trockel, On Kawara, Josh Kline, Hilma af Klint, Edward Krasinski, Mark Leckey, Helen Marten, Henri Michaux, Barnett Newman, Otobong Nkanga, Katja Novitskova, Philippe Parreno, Giuseppe Penone, Leo Reis, Ulf Rollof, Rachel Rose, Anri Sala, Sebastian Stöhrer, Sturtevant, Paul Thek, Rosemarie Trockel, Rosemarie Trockel/Günter Weseler, Christine Ödlund.

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Life Itself
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TIME
Amelia Groom (Ed.) - Documents of Contemporary Art series


What does ‘contemporary’ actually mean? This is among the fundamental questions about the nature and politics of time that philosophers, artists and more recently curators have investigated over the past two decades. If clock time — a linear measurement that can be unified, followed and owned — is largely the invention of capitalist modernity and binds us to its strictures, how can we extricate ourselves and discover alternative possibilities of experiencing time? Recent art has explored such diverse registers of temporality as wasting and waiting, regression and repetition, deja vu and seriality, unrealized possibility and idleness, non-consummation and counter-productivity, the belated and the premature, the disjointed and the out-of-sync — all of which go against sequentialist time and index slips in chronological experience. While such theorists as Giorgio Agamben and Georges Didi-Huberman have proposed “anachronistic” or “heterochronic” readings of history, artists have opened up the field of time to the extent that the very notion of the contemporary is brought into question.

This collection surveys contemporary art and theory that proposes a wealth of alternatives to outdated linear models of time.
Artists surveyed include Marina Abramovi, Francis Alys, Matthew Buckingham, Janet Cardiff, Paul Chan, Olafur Eliasson, Bea Fremderman, Toril Johannessen, On Kawara, Joachim Koester, Christian Marclay, nova Milne, Trevor Paglen, Katie Patterson, Raqs Media Collective, Dexter Sinister, Simon Starling, Hito Steyerl, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tehching Hsieh, Time/Bank.
Writers include Giorgio Agamben, Mieke Bal, Geoffrey Batchen, Hans Belting, Walter Benjamin, Franco Berardi, Daniel Birnbaum, Georges Didi-Huberman, D gen Zenji, Peter Galison, Boris Groys, Brian Dillon, Elena Filipovic, Joshua Foer, Elizabeth Grosz, Adrian Heathfield, Rachel Kent, Bruno Latour, George Kubler, Doreen Massey, Alexander Nagel, Jean-Luc Nancy, Daniel Rosenberg, Michel Serres, Michel Siffre, Nancy Spector, Nato Thompson, Christopher Wood, George Woodcock, Mark von Schlegell.

Edited by Amelia Groom.

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