Apropos Appropriation: Why stealing images today feels different, Jan Verwoert


Appropriation, first of all, is a common technique. People appropriate when they make things their own and integrate them into their way of life, by buying or stealing commodities, acquiring knowledge, claiming places as theirs and so on. Artists appropriate when they adopt imagery, concepts and ways of making art other artists have used at other times to adapt these artistic means to their own interests, or when they take objects, images or practices from popular (or foreign) cultures and restage them within the context of their (...)

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Esthetic Entities, Florin Flueras


Esthetic Entities

Retroactive self-referentiality

In the last 10 years entities with a complex esthetic operativity emerged in the zones of dance and visual arts of Bucharest. Attempts of understanding them are mostly made by insiders, as is the case of this text. Apart from the necessity to grasp what are you part of, to figure these entities out, self-reflection functions as an engine that self-constitutes them. The entities expand in the direction in which they conceptualize themselves, they are shaping themselves through self-reflection. Self-conceptualization is an internal dynamic for substantiating an esthetic entity, but once a dynamic of self-referentiality is in place, this often extends to the outside. In Postspectacle, one of the esthetic entities, a constant practice is to introduce strange feedback loops, altering, expanding or breaking some of the implicit conditions at work in the respective situations. In the case of Kunsthalle Batiștei, another esthetic entity, a self-referential intervention is made in the basic layer of identity formation, in the correspondence between the name and the project. There is an operation of forced association with a group of institutional practices that enters in a strange relation with its own behaviors, producing some institutional fog around its identity.

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Link to Florin Flueras website
Link To Post-Spectacle website


Bringing Us Close at A Distance, Nina Djekić


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Objects can form a reflective surface through which we look at each other indirectly. As an interface they can offer us a way to affect each other, without needing to express an intention directly. In certain situations, such as exhibitions, relating to each other through another presence allows for a dance of proximities and distances that would in other circumstances be uncalled for or met with suspicion.

How much do we forget about each other and how much are we reminded of each other’s proximity when we get attracted to an object that exerts some form of gravitational pull on us, be it a work of art or a beautiful scarf in a shop or an object of worship. Do we consciously move to re-­‐constitute our relations to each other?

The presence of artworks in a museum gives us an agency to move in that space, our presence there makes sense because of something outside of us. When the artworks are absent, we too lose our reason to be there. This particular constellation loses the gravity it needs to keep itself together (alive).

In some temples in Japan, the presence of secret Buddha statues hidden in darkness attracts pilgrims and others to experience the very unique atmosphere created by its presence -­‐ some say they encounter the Buddha itself. A temple could also be a place where the secret Buddha was once situated, still possessing enough of that specific energy to be differentiated from other temples. Even in absence it can still attract.

It is often things that bring us together and give us a reason to keep each other’s company when we otherwise wouldn't have even met. There is a specific intimacy in the moment when we encounter a work of art (or object) that affects us alongside a stranger, a friend or a lover. It is those very things that affect us, that affect our presence with each other. Every step we make from that moment on becomes a small dramatic gesture, a gesture of distancing oneself into a new situation. As art critic and theorist Michael Fried complained, museums are theatrical, like any other place can be, the difference is whether we are conscious of it or not, if we are conscious of being ourselves theatrical.


Art as Occupation: Claims for an Autonomy of Life, Hito Steyerl


Lets start with a simple proposition: what used to be work has increasingly been turned into occupation.

This change in terminology may look trivial. In fact, almost everything changes on the way from work to occupation. The economic framework, but also its implications for space and temporality.

If we think of work as labor, it implies a beginning, a producer, and eventually a result. Work is primarily seen as a means to an end: a product, a reward, or a wage. It is an instrumental relation. It also produces a subject by means of alienation.

An occupation is not hinged on any result; it has no necessary conclusion. As such, it knows no traditional alienation, nor any corresponding idea of subjectivity. An occupation doesn’t necessarily assume remuneration either, since the process is thought to contain its own gratification. It has no temporal framework except the passing of time itself. It is not centered on a producer/worker, but includes consumers, reproducers, even destroyers, time-wasters, and bystanders—in essence, anybody seeking distraction or engagement.

Link on e-flux


The Terror of Total Dasein, Economies of Presence in the Art Field, Hito Steyerl


“The International Artists’ Strike in 1979 was a “protest against the ongoing repression of the art system and the alienation of artists from the results of their work.” Djordjevic mailed invitations to numerous artists around the world, asking if they would be willing to take part in the general strike. He received thirty-nine, mainly unsupportive responses from the likes of Sol Lewitt, Lucy Lippard, and Vito Acconci. Susan Hiller replied: “I have, in fact, been on strike all summer, but it has not changed anything and I am anxious to begin work again, which I shall do very soon.” 1

“Dear Goran, Thanks for your letter. Personally I am already on strike of producing any new form in my work since 1965 (i.e. 14 years). I don’t see what I could do more – Best Regards (Daniel) Buren.”2

When legendary conceptual artist Goran Djordjevic tried to rally artists to go on a general art strike in 1979, some of them responded that they were on strike already – i.e. did not produce work or new work. But it made no difference whatsoever. Clearly, at this time this seems to have confounded received ideas of what a strike was and how it worked. A strike was supposed to drain needed labour power from employers, who would then need to make concessions to workers demands. But in the art field things were different.

1- http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/hazlitt/longreads/investigation-reappearance-walter-benjamin
2- https://www.stewarthomesociety.org/features/artstrik26.htm

The Terror of Total Dasein, Economies of Presence in the Art Field, Hito Steyerl, DIS Magazine


Welcome to this Situation: Tino Sehgal in Berlin, Jörg Heiser


"In 2009 I went to Brussels to see a Tino Sehgal show at Galerie Jan Mot. It was not long after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and everything was being read as an expression of crisis. This was also my approach to an oeuvre I had been following for around seven years (in the early 2000s, after some time working in contemporary dance, Sehgal had begun realizing his works in an art context). In this case, however, the crisis in question affected the inner dynamic of the work itself: This is Critique emulated all of the fundamental critiques of Sehgal’s approach, from the charge of luddism (to this day, Sehgal’s works may not be photographed or otherwise technically documented) to that of anti-object purism (to this day, there are no objects or even written documents purchased, collected or archived in connection with Sehgal’s work)."

Welcome to this Situation: Tino Sehgal in Berlin, On the occasion of his two surveys in Amsterdam and Berlin, two variations on Tino Sehgal, Jörg Heiser, first published in Issue 21, August 2015


Delegated Performance: Outsourcing Authenticity, Claire Bishop


This essay is presented on delegated performance in which nonprofessionals are hired to perform at a particular time on behalf of the artist on his or her instructions. The author stated that this social turn started since 1990s in contemporary art against the tradition of 1960s and 1970s where artists like Chris Burden, Vito Acconci and Gina Pane performed themselves. The author referred to the trend of live installation started in Europe in 1990s in which guards for exhibition were hired. The Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan assembled a soccer club of foreigners to play local matches in 1991.

Bishop, Claire, "Delegated Peformance: Outsourcing Authenticity" (2012). Faculty Publications and Research. Paper 45. (link)

Originally published as Bishop, Claire. "Delegated Performance: Outsourcing Authenticity." October no. 140 (Spring 2012): 91-112. (http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/octo)


Law Facing up to the Dematerialisation of the Work of Art - Judith Ickowicz


"This text is an abstract of a PhD in private law submitted in 2009 at Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. We are publishing it not only because it adresses the legal understanding of the dematerialisation of the arts and immaterial artworks, but also because we think that it opens a discussion on the material status of the current forms of immaterial labour in the arts, which result in neither material nor immaterial artworks (Editors' Note)."

Law Facing up to the Dematerialisation of the Work of Art - Judith Ickowicz
Article and Editors´ note from TkH No. 10, Journal for Performing Arts Theory, published by TkH - Centre for Performing Arts Theory and Practice, Belgrade 2005.



Zombies Of Immaterial Labour: The Modern Monster And The Death Of Death, Lars Bang Larsen, in e-flux Journal #15


"My proposal, perverse or braindead as it may be, is that the zombie begs a materialist analysis with a view to contemporary culture. Such an analysis is necessarily double-edged. The zombie is pure need without morality, hence it promises a measure of objectivity; we know exactly what it wants—brains, flesh—because this is what it always wants. Abject monstrosity is naturally impossible to render transparent, but abjectness itself harbors a defined function that promises instrumentality (of a blunt and limited kind, admittedly). In this way we may proceed to address contemporary relations of cultural production, at the same time as we reflect on the analytical tools we have for doing so.
Thus the following is an attempt at a sociological reading of the zombie that draws its necessity from the pressure that the capitalization of creativity has exerted on artistic practice and spectatorship in the recent decade. But it is also the inevitable subversion of the conclusions of such an analysis, as we begin to return to artistic thinking."

Lars Bang Larsen, Zombies of Immaterial Labor: The Modern Monster and the Death of Death, in e-flux journal #15 - April 2010


"Presence" in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation, Amelia Jones


Jones, Amelia, „Presence“ in: Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation in: Art Journal, Vol. 56, No. 4, Performance Art: (Some) Theory and (Selected) Practice at the End of This Century, Winter 1997, pp. 11-18, published by: www.jstor.org

I was not yet three years old, living in central North Carolina, when Carolee Schneemann performed Meat Joy at the Festival of Free Expression in Paris in 1964; three when Yoko Ono performed Cut Piece in Kyoto; eight when Vito Acconci did his Push Ups in the sand at Jones Beach and Barbara T. Smith began her exploration of bodily experiences with her Ritual Meal performance in Los Angeles; nine when Adrian Piper paraded through the streets of New York making herself repulsive in the Catalysis series; ten when Valie Export rolled over glass in Eros/Ion in Frankfurt; twelve in 1973 when, in Milan, Gina Pane cut her arm to make blood roses flow (Sentimental Action); fifteen (still in North Carolina, completely unaware of any art world doings) when Marina Abramovic and Ulay collided against each other in Relation in Space at the Venice Biennale in 1976 (fig. 1). I was thirty years old-then 1991-when I began to study performance or body art1from this explosive and important period, entire- ly through its documentation. I am in the slightly uncomfortable but also enviable position of having been generously included in this special issue. Presented, in the words of the editor, as a sort of oral history, the issue is based on the premise that one had to be there-in the flesh, as it were-to get the story right. I was asked to provide a counternarrative by writing about the "problematic of a person my age doing work on perfor- mances you have not seen [in person]." This agenda forces me to put it up front: not having been there, I approach body artworks through their photographic, textual, oral, video, and/or film traces. I would like to argue, however, that the problems raised by my absence (my not having been there) are largely logistical rather than ethical or hermeneutic. That is, while the experience of viewing a photograph and reading a text is clearly different from that of sitting in a small room watching an artist perform, neither has a privileged relationship to the historical "truth" that are (perhaps usefully, perhaps not) laden with person of the performance (more on this below).