Artists Space

Cartographies of the Absolute

Alberto Toscano & Jeff Kinkle, with Melanie Gilligan

Discussion
October 10, 2014, 7pm

This event serves as a prelude to the publishing of Cartographies of the Absolute, and continues the address of art’s figuring of capitalist ideology that formed a central concern within the recent Artists Space exhibition Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism. Toscano and Kinkle will present key sections of the book, and then discuss its concerns with artist Melanie Gilligan, whose episodic films have sought to address a capitalist imaginary through familiar modes of televisual and cinematic representation.

A blue and white book cover depicting a stylized map of detroit radiating out from the center "slums," to an encircling zone of "middle class," out to "affluent suburbs." Several arrows point out in each direction of the semicircle, beginning in the "slums" and headed outwards, labeled as "police payoffs," "job discrimination," "mortgage money," and more.
Alberto Toscano & Jeff Kinkle - Cartographies of the Absolute. Zero Books, 2015. [A blue and white book cover depicting a stylized map of detroit radiating out from the center "slums," to an encircling zone of "middle class," out to "affluent suburbs." Several arrows point out in each direction of the semicircle, beginning in the "slums" and headed outwards, labeled as "police payoffs," "job discrimination," "mortgage money," and more.]

Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle’s forthcoming book, Cartographies of the Absolute, addresses the proliferation of works in the visual arts, film and literature that seek to tackle the representation of contemporary capitalism. Their research, which began in 2009 with a collaborative text on the HBO series The Wire, forms a critical survey of works that “totalize” current conditions and look to “thematize those facets of social existence which are particularly symptomatic of the trends and tensions in today’s political economy: financial markets, logistical complexes, commodity chains, and so on.” Inherent in this turn to figuration is the fundamental paradox of a desire to represent that which is ordinarily invisible; an “absolute” capitalist system resistant to being contained and comprehended in a single overview.

Alberto Toscano is a cultural critic, social theorist and philosopher who lectures in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production (2006), and Fanaticism: The Uses of an Idea (2010). He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and has translated several works by Alain Badiou to English.

Jeff Kinkle is a writer, translator and law student based in New York. He earned a PhD from the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London in 2010. He is a member of the SITE Magazine editorial board and co-founder of the artist group Sakerna with Emanuel Almborg.

Melanie Gilligan is an artist and writer based in New York. She has a connected series of forthcoming solo exhibitions in the Netherlands at Casco, Utrecht; De Appel, Amsterdam; and De Hallen in Haarlem. Her work has been exhibited at the Chisenhale Gallery, London; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; ICA, London; and mumok, Vienna. Her writing has appeared in magazines and journals including Texte zur Kunst, Artforum, Mute, and Grey Room. She was a fellow with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in 2004-5.