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The Disobedience of the Word
The Disobedience of the Word

Sina Dell’Anno

Punk / Philology

“He always read Priam instead of ‘prime,’ so well had he read his Homer.” Georg Christoph Lichtenberg paints the portrait of a philologist who has lost touch with the world through reading the classics too closely. The comedy of the aphorism lies not in just the misreading alone, but in the fact that the philologist exchanges the everyday ‘prime’ for the much more exotic name of the Trojan king; as if the textual-critical maxim lectio difficilior had gone over into...
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Dieter Mersch

Digital disrupture

We really need an analysis of algorithmic conditions and their paradoxes and ambiguities that gives them an adequate framework and horizon. But instead we currently seem to be finding an algorithmic solution of the algorithmic, much as digital solutions are being offered for the problems of the digital public sphere, in the way that IT corporations, for example, use exclusively mathematical procedures to evaluate and delete “fake news,” inappropriate portrayals, or the violation of personal rights. This tends to result in a circularity that leaves the drawing of boundaries and raising of barriers solely to programming, instead of restoring them to our ethical conscience and understanding of what the social could mean today. The machine, by contrast, remains alien to any mechanical limitation—just as its inability to decide lies in the impossibility of self-calculation. The nucleus of digital culture should instead be sought where the cultural of culture is located:...

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Maria Filomena Molder

So many egoists call themselves artists…

“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.

Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...

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Topics
  • Observing the Spectator

    Observing the Spectator

    • optical illusion
    • mirror
    • gaze
    • observer
  • Color and meaning

    Color and meaning

    Who is afraid of Red, Yellow, Blue…?

    • color
    • image and imagery
    • semiotics and semiology
    • monochrome
    • chromatics / colour science
  • minima oeconomica

    minima oeconomica

    Analysen und Kritik moderner Ökonomie, deren Wissenschaft und Legitmation im Zeitalter der Finanzialisierung

    • discourse history
    • financial markets
    • economization
    • economy
    • economics
    • financial crisis
  • The Subject of Capitalism

    The Subject of Capitalism

    • migration
    • subjectification
    • capitalism
    • cognitive capital
Current Texts

Alexander García Düttmann

What does “emancipatory” mean today?

Pretending one more time that the world can still be saved and asking whether art contains an emancipatory potential can be a meaningful endeavour only if illegitimate attempts at appropriating this emancipatory potential are thwarted. Its usurpation, which amounts to its abolition, must be prevented. Critique that deserves its name must first and foremost struggle against false pretenders, not against those who do not even claim to be pretenders. The efficiency of critique’s propaedeutic character should be sought in this struggle against false pretenders. If one fears that its negativity may entail a dangerous impotence and if for this reason one wishes to supplement it with a justifying and constructive “affirmationism”, mindful of the fact that it was once meant to prepare the outline of a metaphysics purged of precritical dogmatism, then one risks forgetting that critique ceases to hurt and can no longer trigger an impulse the instant that...

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  • morals
  • political aesthetics
  • contemporary art
  • critical theory
  • aesthetics
Current Texts

Sandra Frimmel

Why should this be art?

I Hate the Avant-Garde. When an artist as self-ironic and self-reflective as Yuri Albert makes such a statement about art, then skepticism is called for. Like his overall series Elitist-Democratic Art, the title deliberately plays with simple affirmations and negations, and at the same time exhibits the inherent receptive dilemma of the series: a (large) part of the artistically trained viewers see these shorthand works as abstract forms, without understanding the text, and only the few who can read (Russian) shorthand perceive a text, which for them doesn’t necessarily have to be art. I Hate the Avant-Garde was created in 2017, after a sketch made in 1987 in reaction to a changed situation in the reception of nonconformist art. With the beginning of perestroika, unofficial art that had hitherto been excluded from the state-run art scene—that is, from the official infrastructure of museums and exhibition spaces, and from art scholarship...

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  • writing
  • democracy
  • avant-garde

 

Marking the passage from misfortune to good luck
Marking the passage from misfortune to good luck

Elisabeth Bronfen

The Elevator—A Heteropia

An even more strikingly risky moment, which for Don anticipates both a personal and a professional crisis, occurs at the open door of an elevator in the fifth season. After Megan has confessed to him that she wants to stop working at the agency so as to fully concentrate on her acting career, he accompanies her to the elevator, where he takes leave of her by demonstratively giving her a passionate kiss before the door closes. Then, as though this...
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  • America
  • Labor
  • everyday life
  • 1960s
  • architecture
Current Texts
Humanity is a metahuman concept.

Rolf Bossart, Milo Rau

Humanity is a metahuman concept.

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  • artistic practice
  • postmodernism
  • re-enactment
  • transhumanism
  • art theory
  • realism