Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam

Jan Verwoert
COOKIE!

This new volume brings together a selection of Jan Verwoert’s most recent writings.

COOKIE! is a sequel to Verwoert’s Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want (edited by Vanessa Ohlraun, 2010), and third in a series of books published with the Piet Zwart Institute.

If we don’t merely reduce art to clever code play in the arenas of representation, how do we speak about what is at stake? In response to this question, Verwoert addresses the forces at the heart of the tragicomedy that making, showing, and critiquing art implicates us in. He honors the basic joys of turning one thing into another, and the miracles of rhythm and rhyme that characterize the residual level of mimetic magic in art. In this key, the unverifiable is practiced daily: bodies are remade, feelings transfigured. As Alina Szapocznikow wrote, the mouth chews and out comes sculpture. Verwoert’s COOKIE! renders visible the endless emotional labor of setting the stage (for others), poses the thorny question of whether there could ever be a labor union for con-artists (like us), and gestures toward an ethics of disappointment to battle false expectations and as a way to come to terms with the fact that, no matter how you look at it, criticism hurts.

Edited by Vivian Sky Rehberg and Marnie Slater
Copublished with Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy Design by Nienke Terpsma

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Jan Verwoert
Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

 

Edited by Vanessa Ohlraun

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want
brings together a selection of recent writings by art critic Jan Verwoert for the first time. Published in collaboration with Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the book galvanizes central themes Verwoert has been developing in pursuit of a language to describe art’s transformative potential in conceptual, performative, and emotional terms. He analyzes the power of public gestures to constitute communities as well as the pressure to perform that governs the sphere of creative labor, in order to show how particular artists perform gestures and invoke community differently. Exploring the emotional power games that shape social relations, Verwoert looks for an alternative ethos of action and feeling, asking: How can a modernist approach to artistic form as a means of social critique be expanded to fully avow its subliminal affective undercurrents, and produce a pleasurably crooked form of criticality in art and writing?

“If we perceive the pressure to perform to be innately linked to the regimentation of options, to imagine the ethos of a resistant practice implies an exploration of the conditions, situations, and potentialites that lie beyond the option menus and the exclusivity of the yes and no. In artistic practice this dedication to imagining other ways to perform and other ways to enjoy consumption means claiming the imagination and the aesthetic experience as a field of collective agency where workable forms of resistance can be devised.”

Co-published with Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy

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Steve Rushton
Masters of Reality

Masters of Reality brings together the first collection of texts by Steve Rushton. Second in a series of publications on contemporary art inaugurated by the Piet Zwart Institute, the book explores the interrelations between art, anthropology, social sciences, psychology, media, politics, and economy. Central to Rushton’s research is an investigation into the conception of feedback, social control, and the culture of “self-performance.” Through his writings and collaborative work with artists, he has developed and articulated a thorough analysis of the techniques and processes of information management and subjectivization in Western society since the second half of the twentieth century.

The structure of this book articulates a clear relationship between diverse subjects and sources, drawing from archival materials produced within a broad range of discursive fields and practices: military experiments in social psychology, press statements by various politicians and governments, anthropological research data, theories of cybernetics, writings by thinkers such as Henri Bergson and Gregory Bateson, television culture, and work by artists and writers such as Ant Farm and Don DeLillo. These investigations take structural form through three strands: the first comprises texts on art and media linked to theories of cybernetics, the second thread shows texts that emerge from Rushton’s collaborative projects with Rod Dickinson and Thomson & Craighead, and the third is a collection of fictional and allegorical texts, giving narrative form to the thinking, observations, and analysis found throughout the book.

Co-published with Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy

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Alexis Villiant (Ed.)
Options With Nostrils

Contributions by Kathryn Elkin, Anthony Huberman, Raimundas Malašauskas, Nathaniel Mellors, Marco Pasi, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Dieter Roelstraete, Aaron Schuster, Alexis Vaillant, and Giles Bailey, Martijn in’t Veld, Serena Lee, Arvo Leo, Susana Pedrosa, Linda Quinlan, Lee Welch, Camilla Wills, Timmy van Zoelen

Options with Nostrils brings together a collection of previously unpublished essays, both theoretical and visual, by artists, curators, a writer, a scholar, and a group of postgraduates from the Piet Zwart Institute’s Fine Art programme in Rotterdam, who together founded the “Office for the Unknown.”

Published as the outcome of a one-year-long project which curator Alexis Vaillant developed upon the invitation of Vanessa Ohlraun at Piet Zwart Institute in 2010, it investigates notions of the unknown and the unpredictable and looks at ways in which these notions enable a critical view on the conditions of art making within what one may call the “contemporanism” we live in. Revealing this process, the publication presents a series of proposals, ideas, shifts, and continuities. Labyrinthine in structure and outlook, Options with Nostrils aims to destabilize the belief that there is an order of things in response to which the artist holds a decisive position, maybe because, as Sarat Maharaj has said, “the artist has an unknowability, the ability to unknow.”

Co-published with Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam
Design by Sanghon Kim

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