Art Against Art, Berlin

Art Against Art
Issue #3

 

EDITORIAL

If a cultural “renaissance” would hypothetically take place, it would require each and every artist to subjectively fight their own decay – opting out of the easy options that contribute to it. Regressive accelerationism, idleness, non-participation, the transformation of the self into geography, the consolidation of a speculative form of branding, conformity, normalization, parasitical absorption of information without surplus on it, speculative mass production, opportunism, self design rather than social design, emphasis on passive free flows, arto-biography without entitlement, reactionary comfort-seeking, unnecessary self indulgence, tautological mirrorings of the market in place of relevance, trolling, rubbish, depression, herd justification of stasis – in terms of game theory, the probability of each and every single artist avoiding any of these modes of participation (which have been offering them traction in varying degrees) – seems to be a long shot. The only way one can collectively encourage “renaissance” is by rewarding negentropy and providing personal merit to the artists who create it.

Of course in game theory, if each individual pursues their private interests, the collective outcome is always worse than if the individual agreed upon a common collective value as true. At best there is a personal advantage in an art world fit for no-one rendering it a solitary place, at worst there is a social darwinism that eventually takes hold of every individual as victim one by one in order of rank. This kind of fierce survival of the fittest system is not actually sustainable as Hobbesians or speculators rely on a majority quotient of Kantians to exist in order to gain an advantage. This means that those who rely on others to produce art (or intellectual ideas or progress for them) are dependent on growth produced by others to sustain themselves. Without growth from somewhere, there is nothing to grab. Without traction, one will see the stagnation of ideas that we are already witnessing, which will embed itself further into our culture.

The danger is…

– The Editors

CONTENTS

Editorial
Mitchell Algus – The Culture of Consensus
Philip Sandifer – Haunt the Future
Image spread by Roy Ascott
Patricia MacCormack – Art: Inhuman Ecstasy
Image spread by Justin Shoulder
Manuel Gnam – What to do with Ambiguity in Art when the Poles Shift
Iain Spence – The Quest for Wholeness Within Atavistic Pop Culture
Artist edition by Matthew Langan-Peck

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Art Against Art
Issue #2

EDITORIAL

When considering the art field as being a raft in speculative time, the tendency is to seek comfort in numbers, regressive ideas such as another return to painting[1] or hedging bets on all sides whilst pursuing an unreasonable personal growth fetish.

These are classic reactions to a perceived risk that arises as a result of readjusting to new data. Uncertainty, if left unmediated, will pose a risk not just to market stability but to conceptual stability as it becomes more and more difficult to differentiate between artists and ads; artworks and hype-objects; or content and sponsored content – keeping us in a state of high drama too complex to decode. For example artists who consciously use marketing strategies as art are contextually mixed up with masses of artists who simply run a marketing strategy. Or, equally, galleries with a reputation for long-term quality regularly use their weight to inflate very short-lived speculative art. It is in these differences that art barters itself off very quickly to sometimes uninteresting effects holding us in a certain inappropriate narrative if we are not careful.

Up until a hundred years ago, it was normal to assume that all art aimed at “beauty” or varying degrees of “representation” and that anything but, would not be considered art. Later, after The Fountain, this evolved into the politics of mass production leading to whatever fallacy that we have today – perhaps a speculative bias targeted at an erroneously projected future consensus. It may be worth considering ditching all retroactive rhetoric about “safe places” in favor of heightening one’s own form of perception (perhaps even through enhancement), to adapt to the new environment and to filter through informational debris.

Inside the art world […]

The Editors

CONTENTS

Editorial

Kenny Schachter – Art After the Apocalypse

Linda Yablonsky – Plus Ça Change

A Conversation with Michael Gross – Quid pro Quo – How the sausage gets made at the Met

Joseph Walsh – An Image that is Nothing to be Desired

Image spread by Natasha Vita-More

Paul Mason – Eleven Theses on Postcapitalist Art

Christian J. Haye – More Art

Casey Jane Ellison – 2 Ones Chat and Then End

Armen Avanessian – Present Tension: Notes on Preemption, Hyperstition,
Contemporary Art and the Post-Contemporary Condition

Artist edition by Phillip Zach

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Art Against Art
Issue #1

 

London, Paris, New York, Milan, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Palo Alto – art is moving faster than capital like a god wind that no-one can stop let alone control. Meanwhile a lot of art writing and ‘critical theory’ is stuck in the comfort zone of the 70-90s when there actually was an avant garde or subculture.

For art writing to get back on track it needs to shake out of this nostalgia and start engaging with the nuances of what is going on by covering the new breeds of involvement that have emerged since 2009 – the new sincerities and ironies, the more subtle art practices and social variations of market participation that have developed to deal with the institutional grip. For some time an aesthetic suspension of disbelief helped to provide an alibi that allowed us to participate as if we did believe the market was the key to “validation”, but then quickly vanished into feelings of depression after any agency seemed like an impossibility. As the contradictions got wider, different problems have emerged such as whether art is concurrent with the transitional moments of our present culture or technology, or whether art altogether has reached its informational limit.

The art world has slowly transitioned from modernist pretensions that seem like delusional excuses to the public, to developing a new sensibility – one of silent, shared communion, retributions and confessions. It has taken the step into a reality that is more in keeping with the real world of business, design and branding than creating stark ‘alternatives’. Beyond short-term pragmatism and adaptability, how can artists aesthetically work alongside their authentic desire to participate in a logic of the market that by necessity must scale? How can we realistically judge the work of art institutions if they are frozen into following instrumental logics rather than relevance? With the availability of information online, there is no way these logics are not transparent to a committed internet user.

Narratives like these happened in Pop Music years ago. Just as the Music Industry had to face up to its own protocols, the Art Industry needs to be judged on its changing developments; the ways art is being used as a financial instrument, art’s new marketing techniques, art as representation of different sociological interests, art as access to power, status, fame, participation and the rest of it. Until art writing gets really into these driving forces, it won’t be able to say anything interesting about art. It also won’t be able to grow or be writing that anyone really wants to read.

Art Against Art marks a turning point – the one that says by breaking from the overbearing logic of what seems like an inevitability, we can get closer to the conceptualizations we would like society to experience but don’t.

The Editors

CONTENTS

Editorial

Marion Maneker – Art is Not an Asset, It’s a Reserve Currency

Ben Vickers – Strange Objects and Their Discontents

Martin G Fuller – A Sociology of Art for Artists

Steven Shaviro – Feed

Taslima Ahmed – Left to the Mercy of Roussel

Image spread by Michael Farin

Roberto Ohrt – Needle and Balloon

Manuel Gnam – Centralization and Globalization of Art leading to One Global Hierarchy That Creates Less Options and Forms a Function of Limited Growth

Carles – Creativity vs. Scalability

Artist edition by Megan Marrin

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