Artists Space

Materials, Money, Crisis

April 28, 2012, 3pm

An afternoon of presentations by artists Sam Lewitt and Melanie Gilligan; Nathan Brown, a researcher and lecturer in philosophy, poetics and technology; architectural critic and writer Craig Buckley; and anthropologist Benjamin Lee.

Exchange value tends toward its pure state as the idea that circulates through the system, this is something that is realized rather than perverted by finance capital. Production materials are thus left to a contingent logistical future: invisibly linking and betting against complex contracts that hedge technical processes and obsolescence, raw matter and poisonous waste, final products and food shortages, promises of payment, their derivatives, speculations in the art market, etc. The geography of global production continues to expand, even as value contracts to its idea and the paid labor force shrinks. Perhaps this modulation of expansion and shrinkage allows us to generate different forms of material equivalence other than those given advertising space for marketing? For instance, what are the ties that bind the multitude of fingertips stimulating tactile touch screens in NY with the neurotoxin numbed, nerve damaged hands that come from cleaning agents used on production lines in Szchengen? How might we think the material structure of the interface here as a heuristic device for something like a geo-conceptual contraction of production, circulation and consumption?

– Sam Lewitt

Nathan Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Program in Critical Theory at the University of California, Davis. His research and teaching focus on 20th and 21st century poetry and poetics, continental philosophy, and science/technology studies. He is currently at work on two book projects, The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science and Materialist Poetics and Absent Blue Wax (Rationalist Empiricism). He has contributed to publications such as Radical Philosophy, Qui Parle, and The Speculative Turn (Ed. Levi Bryant, Graham Harman, and Nick Srnicek).

Craig Buckley is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, where he is also the Director of Print Publications. His writing and criticism have appeared in Grey Room, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and other publications.

Melanie Gilligan is an artist and writer based in London and New York City. Gilligan produces performance-based works that examine relationships between politics, aesthetics, and their political economy. Gilligan scripted and directed Crisis in the Credit System (2008), a four part drama dealing with the credit crisis. Other performances have included Prison of Objects, Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Visual Arts 08; Prairial, Year 215 (2007), Greene Naftali, New York; and The Miner's Object (2007), a storytelling performance at Tate Britain, London. Melanie Gilligan has also contributed to art magazines and journals such as Texte zur Kunst and Artforum. She has participated in group exhibitions at Tate Britain, London; Lisson Gallery, London; and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York.

Benjamin Lee is Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. His publications include From Primitives to Derivatives (coauthor, 2004); Derivatives and the Globalization of Risk (coauthor, 2004); "The Subjects of Circulation," in U. Hedetoft and M. Hjort (Eds.), The Postnational Self: Belonging and Identity (2002); "Cultures of Circulation: The Imaginations of Modernity," Public Culture (coauthor, 2002); "Peoples and Publics," Public Culture (1998); Talking Heads: Language, Metalanguage, and the Semiotics of Subjectivity (1997); "Critical Internationalism," Public Culture (1995); "Going Public," Public Culture (1993); Semiotics, Self, and Society (coeditor, 1989); Developmental Approaches to the Self (coeditor, 1983); Psychosocial Theories of the Self (editor, 1982); The Development of Adaptive Intelligence (coauthor, 1974).

Sam Lewitt is an artist based in New York. He has had solo exhibitions at Daniel Buchholz Gallery, Cologne; Miguel Abreu, New York; and Franco Soffiantino Arte Contemporanea, Turin. His work, Fluid Employment, which employs the medium Ferrofluid, a mixture of magnetic particles suspended in liquid that is used in a wide variety of technological applications, including computer hard drives, audio speakers, educational tools, and military aircraft, is currently on view at the Whitney Biennial 2012.