Conversation & Book Launch
Wednesday, May 20, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street
Artists Space Books & Talks hosts a conversation between artist collective Lou Cantor, art historian David Joselit, and philosopher Reza Negarestani, moderated by artist Abraham Adams. The event marks the release of the publication Turning Inward (Sternberg Press, 2015), a collection of texts and essays edited by Lou Cantor and Clemens Jahn, to which Joselit and Negarestani contributed. Departing from metaphors of center and periphery that organized arts discourse in the twentieth century, Turning Inward addresses the spatial logic of globalization and its attendant breakdown of distinctions among modes of discourse from the visual arts to urbanism, politics, education, and philosophy. A group of works curated by Adams will be presented during the release, responding to themes raised by Joselit and Negarestani in the book.
This visual counterpart to the discussion—including works by John Miller, Mary Walling Blackburn, Lou Cantor, Rafael Kelman, Starship magazine, Harm van den Dorpel, Josh Tonsfeldt, Andrew Ross, and Time Farm—will address problems of excess that have long characterized epistemology, since information surpassed individuals’ ability to assimilate it. The contemporary explosion of organized access to excess drives what Joselit observes in After Art to be a not-yet-fully-realized departure from efforts of avant-garde formal innovation toward a kind of “cultural diplomacy.” This ethics of circulation and exchange in place of simple escalation is resonant with the project of philosophy as described by Negarestani: an “enabling alienation,” that forces us from “home” ideas of goodness and truth as ideal objects toward “piecemeal” projects of “navigation.” The works presented propose a use of craft subordinated to epistemic concatenation; like geometric coordinates, what they create is not a new object but a virtual vector in the movement of concepts.
Abraham Adams is an artist based in New York. His work, addressing para-poetic performance and discourse in the expanded field, has been performed and exhibited at the Poetry Project in New York and Galerie Barbara Weiss in Berlin. Formerly the associate editor of Zone Books and an editor of Ugly Duckling Presse and 6x6 magazine, he is now a frequent contributor to Artforum and has essays forthcoming with Harper’s and Triple Canopy.
Lou Cantor is a Berlin-based artist collective founded in 2011, whose main scope of interest is grounded in intersubjectivity and interpersonal communication. Lou Cantor’s practice explores the polysemic minefield of contemporary communication, where medium, message and meaning constantly fold back into each other. Previous group exhibitions include the First Prinzessinnengarten Outdoor Sculpture Triennial, Berlin, 2013; 7th Berlin Biennale, 2012; New National Art, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, 2012; and the Villa Tokyo, 2011.
David Joselit is Distinguished Professor of Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His art-historical work has approached the history and theory of image circulation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from a variety of perspectives, spanning Marcel Duchamp’s strategy of the readymade, to the current conditions of contemporary art under dual pressures of globalization and digitization. He is author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910–1941 (MIT Press, 1998), Feedback: Television Against Democracy (MIT Press, 2007), and After Art (Princeton University Press, 2012). Joselit is also an editor of the journal OCTOBER and a frequent contributor to Artforum.
Reza Negarestani is a philosopher based in New York. His current project is focused on rationalist universalism beginning with the evolution of the modern system of knowledge and advancing toward contemporary philosophies of rationalism, their procedures as well as their demands for special forms of human conduct. He is the author of Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials, 2009, and has contributed to journals including Collapse and CTheory and anthologies such as The Medium of Contingency (Ridinghouse, 2011). Negarestani has lectured at numerous universities and institutes, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CUNY Center for the Humanities, and the Fridericianum, Kassel.