Author: IVC Author

Intimacy and Annihilation: Approaching the Enforcement of U.S. Colonial Rule in the Southern Philippines through a Private Photograph Collection

By Silvan Niedermeier A blurred grey-tone photograph. Probably taken from a boat. We see lightly rippled water, a landline with several mountain peaks, and billowed clouds in the sky. Whiteness emanates from a point behind the clouds in the upper midst of the picture indicating the position of the sun vis-à-vis the photographer and viewer. At first glance, one might guess that the photographer took this picture to capture the sublime scenery in front of him or her. Yet, why did she or he keep this photograph despite its apparent visual deficits? Maybe, the photographer wanted to remember the situation in which she or he took the picture or keep it as a memorabilia of the very view depicted. Or else, the taker of the image attached a certain aesthetic value to the picture as such. Our guessing continues until we view the backside of the slightly curled photograph. Suddenly, while reading the handwritten words, the image on the front side makes more sense; that is, its connotations begin to unfold, start to pierce and …

Visual Unreliability and the Questioning of Security Measures in Homeland

By Greta Olson Having just begun its sixth season, Showtime’s spy thriller Homeland was greeted by television critics as a new type of critical post-‘9/11’ text when it premiered to great fanfare in 2011. The series has documented the United States’ sense of its continuous vulnerability to terrorist threats as well as the country’s ongoing obsession with security in the post-attack era. In this sense Homeland bears similarities with earlier ‘9/11’ texts such as the series 24 and the film World Trade Center. Nonetheless, the series appeared to provide critique of some post-‘9/11’ anti-terrorist policies and incursions on civil rights. The novelty or, as I will argue, the post-ness of Homeland as compared to dominant ‘9/11’ texts like 24 or the film Zero Dark Thirty was demonstrated by the series’ comparatively critical depictions of torture as a form of gathering intelligence. Rather than effective, torture was shown to be inferior to more humane and psychologically refined forms of learning about security risks. For instance, in “The Weekend” (SE 01 E07), CIA Division Chief Saul Berenson …

False Positives

False Positives, 2015, Esther Hovers   The project False Positives is about intelligent surveillance systems. These are cameras that are able to detect deviant behavior within public space. False Positives is set around the question of normal behavior. It aims to raise this question by basing the project on eight different ‘anomalies’. These so-called anomalies are signs in body language and movement that could indicate criminal intent. It is through these anomalies the algorithms are built and cameras are able to detect deviant behavior. The eight different anomalies were pointed out to me by several intelligent surveillance experts with whom I collaborated for this project. The work consists out of several approaches; photographs and pattern drawings. Altogether these form an analysis of different settings in and around the business district of the European capital: Brussels. The eight anomalies can be found within the images. The viewer is challenged to act as an intelligent surveillance system does and question the behavior of the different people within the photographs. Each photograph is a build-up of several moments; …

Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone

Reviewed by Kristin Flade, Free University Berlin Hochberg, Gil Z. Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. Paperback. 224 pp. “There is, in other words, no war without the spectacle of war.” In Visual Occupations, Gil Hochberg, Professor for Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at UCLA, sets out to examine what it is to see, what it is to be seen and what political potentials acts of vision might carry if brought into focus sharply enough. She “explores various artistic (cinematic, photographic, literary) attempts to expose and reframe the conditions of vision that underlie the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (3), contextualizing and connecting Palestinian and Israeli artistic interventions with readings of specific military technologies, architectural forms, and mechanisms of control and resistance at different points in time since 1948. Through which visual configurations does this conflict appear, she asks in her introduction, and cautions her readers a few lines later against taking the “conflict as our point of departure,” instead urging them to “explore the very making of the conflict—its …

Hans Richter’s Rhythmus Films in G: the Collective Cinematographic

Written by Erin McClenathan Filmmaker Hans Richter was one of the founding contributors to G: Materials for Elemental Form-Creation (G: Material zur elementaren Gestaltung) and the only to stay his tenure as editor through the journal’s entire six-issue run from July 1923 to April 1926.1 The G-group did not intend for their Berlin-based publication to uphold the tenets of a particular style or movement but to model a process through which the reader might recognize—and ideally gain the ability to shape—a unified aesthetics of the everyday. The collaborators’ mission, according to the statement embedded in the masthead of G’s first issue, was “[t]o clarify the general situation of art and life. We choose materials with that in mind. Articles and works that seek clarity—and not merely expression. Everything can be of use to creative work and the creative worker.”2 The diversity of topics that the multinational and multilingual panel of contributors submitted to G during its relatively short lifespan attests to the collectivist genesis of the project, from articles by Mies van der Rohe on “Industrial Building” …

Alone Together

Artwork by Erika Raberg. Alone Together, 2014, HD video, single channel projection, 3 minutes, looped. Artist Statement Alone Together considers the idea of partnership in opposition. Drawing from footage filmed from the VIP section of a boxing tournament, it visually isolates a specific gesture from boxing matches in which the appearance of intimacy emerges briefly within an aggressive, hyper-masculinized space. The video alternates between providing information through sound and through sight. Most of the time, the viewer sees nothing but hears the background noise from the stadium, and when this gesture does appear, it does so in silence, and only for a moment. Referred to as clinching, it is a moment of remarkable sculptural tension between bodies that looks like an intense embrace. These moments occur when, at the height of their exhaustion, one fighter pulls the other close to him in order to have the briefest moment’s reprieve from the fight. In order to rest they must lean into one another. The men push each other to extreme physical exhaustion and in doing so …

Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image

Reviewed by Najmeh Moradiyan Rizi, University of Kansas Laura U. Marks. Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015. Hardcover. 416 pp. In recent decades Arab independent and experimental filmmakers have presented the world with some of the most distinctive artistic works through their various cinematic practices. The scholarly and close readings of these works, however, have remained less-studied. Laura U. Marks’s latest book, Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image, is a singular contribution in this regard, providing a thorough analysis and a historically rich account of some of the experimental films and media arts coming from the Arab-speaking world. The significance of Marks’s study shows itself not only in the uniqueness of the subjects discussed, but also in its push of the notion of experimental beyond the medium of film to “low-end video formats to HD to mobile and online platforms” (2) in terms of materiality. This new perspective to moving images challenges the conventions of narrative in order to include “experimental narrative, essay films, [and] experimental documentary” (2) …

Mike Kelley: Educational Complex

Reviewed by Kirin Wachter-Grene, New York University Miller, John. Mike Kelley: Educational Complex. London: Afterall Books, 2015. Paperback. 124 pp. John Miller’s monograph Mike Kelley: Educational Complex is part of the Afterall Books One Work series, which claims, “a single work of art can literally transform, however modestly, the way we look at and understand the world.” Indeed, one of Miller’s crucial insights is the extent to which the late contemporary artist Mike Kelley was a master of institutional critique, inspiring his viewer to question the social order inherent to education and subject formation. Educational Complex, the centerpiece of Kelley’s 1995 show “Toward a Utopian Arts Complex” presented at New York’s Metro Pictures gallery—now residing in the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection—is an all-white 57 3/4 × 192 3/16 × 96 1/8 in architectural model. The form evokes institutionalism, and the ghostlike appearance implies forgotten spaces, memory, and trauma, real or imagined. The model is an amalgam of what Kelley could remember of the floor plans of the schools he attended from elementary through CalArts, as well as his …

Representing Anti-Vaccination: From James Gillray to Jenny McCarthy

The natural body meets the body politic in the act of vaccination, where a single needle penetrates both. – Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation1 In the 1802 colored etching for the Anti-Vaccine Society, “The Cow-Pock—or—the Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation!,” James Gillray, a political cartoonist, sensationalizes the scene of inoculation. Depicted in the center of the frame is Jenner using his lancet to penetrate the arm of a seated working woman. Surrounding them is a crowd of vaccinated patients who are in various states of bovine transformation – some growing horns and even erupting miniature cows like smallpox buboes from their bodies. The contemporary anti-vaccination movement first gained momentum in part due to a widely-circulated 1998 paper,2 written by Andrew Wakefield and published in The Lancet, which claimed a connection between the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite the exposure of Wakefield’s unethical distortion of experimental data and the later retraction of the paper by the journal, many, including high-profile celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Donald Trump, have continued to be public proponents …

“Bold German graphic design”: Arts et métiers graphiques and New Typography

Written by Kristof Van Gansen In this paper, I consider the way the French graphic arts magazine Arts et métiers graphiques (Graphic Arts and Crafts, 1927-1939) responded to New Typography, a form of typography that had its origins in the Central European avant-gardes and that strove for maximal clarity, submitting the form of printed matter to its function, and how this response is typical of the magazine’s cautious stance towards international avant-garde art—a position characteristic of France in the interwar period. A central work of New Typography is Die neue Typographie (1928),1 written by the German typographer Jan Tschichold, who is generally seen as one of the most important designers of the first half of the twentieth century. While other artists such as László Moholy-Nagy had already published on this new conception of design, Tschichold distilled and elaborated their ideas in what he wanted to be a theoretical and practical handbook for printers and designers that was in tune with the modern age of the machine and the engineer. In France, New Typography never really took off, …

Amending Rachel Whiteread’s Water Tower: Infrastructure as Art, Art as Infrastructure

By James Middlebrook Some commissions are obtained by indirect or unusual means. Several years ago, luck and other factors resulted in the author of this paper obtaining a design commission that was not sought after. Of particular note, in this case the commissioning client did not foresee that the commission would add on to a famous contemporary art installation piece. This scenario involved an artwork that intelligently works in a surreptitious manner – so much so, that client and viewers alike may not have recognized the work’s extents. Not only is it unclear just where the artwork ends, but the client initially did not acknowledge that working on the project’s context meant working on the artwork itself. The additions to this particular project were diminutive in physical scale, consisting mostly of four ladders, a number of steel railings, and an expanse of metal grating. It started as a simple work order from the Building Services Department at the Museum of Modern Art, but in retrospect, the conceptual depth of this project far exceeds that of …

Examining Amsterdam RealTime: Blueprints, the Cartographic Imaginary and the Locative Uncanny

Written By Ned Prutzer In Human Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions, Lucy Suchman argues that all plans or blueprints are contingent upon different modes, styles, and visions that precede the plan itself. Plans are rendered “abstractions over action” rather than final, complete, or faithful articulations of action.1 There are myriad contexts, actors, institutions, and agencies producing effects that are unanticipated by the blueprint. The ways in which plans often fall short is thus a worthwhile site of analysis. I want to focus on this notion of blueprints’ failure in precision to identify broader modes of representation underpinning locative art projects while critiquing their faith in precision and objectivity. For Amsterdam RealTime, an early locative art project from 2002, locative artist Esther Polak traced subjects’ movements with geospatial technologies as they walked, biked, or drove through Amsterdam. An animation of each subject’s traces results. When aggregated onto a screen, these traces draw out the Amsterdam city grid as the subjects have enacted it. Amsterdam RealTime was displayed as the final installment of the Maps of …

No-Stop City

By Alan Ruiz “Significant economic growth has taken place and productive forces have expanded (technology, the destructive control of nature) without disturbing the social relationships of production. […] Development hasn’t kept pace across the board. And this results in the magnitude of the inequality of growth and development.”1 Written in 1968, Henri Lefebvre’s observation foreshadows the consumption of the urban commons under present-day globalization, in which growth accelerates in disproportionate relationship to equality. Within today’s pandemic of gentrification, the urban economy undergoes a kind of standardized resuscitation in which developers perform facelifts and apply repeatable spatial formulas with successful track records – all to the effect that places becomes non-places and, more troubling, these non-places become places. This kind of development, a commodified and seemingly homogenized spatial condition produced by capital, or what Lefebvre called abstract space, seems almost modernist as a normative mode of urban development, yet emblematic of our present neoliberal moment. It was modernism, after all, that presented the universalist goals that embraced industrialization and standardization. As Marion Von Osten observes, modernism …

The BLUEPRINT/Product Disparity: Learning from Lofty Plans and Humble Products

Artwork By Robert Watkins Where do art and academia meet? Can academic writing be artistic? Are academic journals art? Journals like Kairos, Digital Humanities Quarterly, Computers and Composition Online, and InVisible Culture (among others) like to push the boundaries of what is art and what is academia. Some may argue that they don’t push the boundaries of what separates the two so much as showcase how art and academia intersect. These questions drive my work. My current work, the academic-ish comic, “The Blueprint/Product Disparity: Learning from Lofty Plans and Humble Products” only attempts to answer this on a meta-level. Years ago, I became fascinated with the visual and its effectiveness in presenting data. Work from visual gods like David McCandless and Scott McCloud made me realize how clunky alphabetic text can be in representing ideas. I wanted to write about using comics and infographics as academic mediums. My intention was never to undermine the power of the written word by any means. I worried that using traditional text to promote visuals might seem hypocritical and …

The Rhythmic Event: Art, Media, and the Sonic

Reviewed by Eddie Lohmeyer Ikoniadou, Eleni. The Rhythmic Event: Art, Media, and the Sonic. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014. pp. 136. Along with a number of Deleuzian media theorists who have sought to map the affective function of digital technologies in recent years and think through how our engagement with such media might spur new senses and temporalities beyond a subject’s well-constituted cogito, Eleni Ikoniadou asks us to rethink our perceptions of the auditory and the sonic in her book The Rhythmic Event: Art, Media, and the Sonic. Her purpose here is clear. Joining in recent dialogue regarding non-conscious, affective experience that results in the flows between digital media and surrounding bodies, Ikoniadou explores the concept of rhythmicity and its impingement upon the body through sonic occurrences in digital sound art. To Ikoniadou, rhythm mediated through instances of digital sound brings underlying sensory and temporal experiences to the surface of human perception. This occurrence operates at a remove from Western society’s presumption that the “auditory” must be heard modally as well as measured through …

The Intervals of Cinema

Reviewed by Zachary Tavlin, University of Washington Jacques Ranciére. The Intervals of Cinema. Translated by John Howe. London and New York: Verso Books, 2014, 154 pp. Jacques Ranciére’s The Intervals of Cinema, a loose collection of essays on film and filmmakers ranging from Hitchcock to Costa, opens with an excellent preface in which Ranciére writes about cinephilia and his experience of learning to love film through “a play of encounters and distances which can be discerned through . . . three memories.” These disparate memories are his first viewing of Rossellini’s Europa ’51; his obsessive reading of books and magazines on cinema from which he tried to learn (simultaneously) “cinema theory, Marxism and the Italian language”; and his experience in the back room of a pub in Naples where he watched Nicholas Ray’s Run for Cover “on a sort of badly hung sheet” (1). The uncomfortable relation between an innocent love of cinema and the ‘higher’ aspirations of aesthetics, politics, and theory that emerges from these recollections is the book’s primary tension, and it is …

The New Prophets of Capital

Reviewed by Lyle Jeremy Rubin Nicole Aschoff. The New Prophets of Capital. New York: Verso. 2015. Paperback. 160 pp. The only thing more treacherous than a satanic minion is a false idol. For radical critics of society, the latter functions as a craftier version of the former. While the social Darwinist on Wall Street isn’t doing anyone favors, it’s the “socially conscious” reformer who’s really mucking things up, especially if that reformer is a tech billionaire who shrouds her Protestant work ethic in a wardrobe of defiant feminism (i.e., the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg), an entrepreneurial grocer who sells his free market fundamentalism as “organic,” (i.e., the CEO of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey), a rags-to-riches entertainer who preaches the bootstrapping gospel in a language of compassion and warmth (i.e., Oprah Winfrey), or a multibillionaire power couple attempting to save the world by showering various sectors of the global economy with the remains of their pocketbook (i.e., Bill and Melinda Gates). As the sociologist Nicole Aschoff explains in The New Prophets of Capital, …

Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience

Reviewed by Ryan Watson W.J.T. Mitchell, Bernard Harcourt, and Michael Taussig. Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013. Paperback. 152 pp. How does one properly theorize and historicize a movement like Occupy that is inherently shape-shifting, leaderless, intimately tied to specific contexts and places, and still evolving? In Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience, three scholars from different disciplines, Bernard Harcourt (Law/Political Science), W.J.T. Mitchell (Visual Studies), and Michael Taussig (Anthropology), contribute to an emerging discourse about the role that Occupy might play as both a tactic and metonym for an inchoate type of political refusal—a form of “disobedience” that signals a new way of challenging entrenched forms of power. The text, comprising three interlinked essays, is what Mitchell refers to as a “stab at a second draft” of history that moves from the specificity of events in Zuccotti Park in the fall of 2011 to more general thoughts on the concept of occupation and the possibilities of revolutionary change. Mitchell’s thoughtful introduction elucidates some of the productive tensions that emerge from …

“I am Kenji” and the Indignity of Wearing the Others’ Look

Figure 1. “I AM KENJI,” Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/IAmKenjiGoto (Accessed March 8, 2015). On January 20, 2015, ISIS released a ransom video featuring two Japanese hostages identified as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa. That same day, Goto’s friend Taku Nishimae started a Facebook page titled “I am Kenji,” and subsequently posted a photograph of himself holding a letter-sized card bearing the same three words (Figure 1). The accompanying text invited others to do the same to “show that we are united.”1 Nishimae’s photograph is difficult to look at, not only because his fatigued face betrays his shock and distress at the news of his friend’s captivity, but also because it foreshadows a photograph that ISIS would release five days later. “Foreshadowing” might be an inaccurate word choice given that the photograph in question was likely a conscious mimicking of Nishimae’s image, if not of its model, namely, the mass spectacle of the anti-terror marches staged in the wake of the assassinations of the cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hebdo whose slogan Je suis Charlie (“I am Charlie”) …

Performing the Document in Francis Alÿs’s Re-enactments (2001)

Written By Emily Rose Lyver-Harris On November 4, 2000, Francis Alÿs illegally purchased a gun from a shop in downtown Mexico City. [1] He then left the shop, loaded gun in hand, and walked through the streets of the city. Twelve and a half minutes later, Alÿs was pursued by the police – he was quickly apprehended, pinned against the police car, searched, and taken away for his arrest. This event constituted the first part of Alÿs’s Re-enactments (2001) – a work in which the artist sought to execute a performance and then carefully recreate it based on the documentation of the performance. The script was simple: he was to buy the gun and move through the streets until something occurred to interrupt him. Alÿs’s initial performance, from his first grasp of the gun until his arrest, was filmed by his collaborator, artist Rafael Ortega, and this footage became the basis for the performance’s reproduction. Alÿs and Ortega replicated the initial performance the same day, a project only possible because Alÿs managed to evade punishment for his …

Opacity and Sensation in Reynier Leyva Novo’s Historical Installations

Written By Guillermina De Ferrari In revolutionary Cuba, history is never about the past. In the early days of the Revolution, state-sponsored cultural production paid much attention to the nineteenth century with one objective: to suggest that the struggle for Independence from Spain in the 1890s hadn’t been fully accomplished until the 1959 Revolution. The most evident examples of this official narrative can be found in the films produced by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC). The ICAIC, established in March 1959 to produce documentaries about the Revolution, was one of the earliest and most prolific cultural institutions founded by the new government. In the early years, ICAIC produced films like Lucía (1968), directed by Humberto Solás. Lucía focuses on the War of Independence and the student uprisings in the 1930s during the US-backed Machado regime (famously photographed by Walker Evans and by Constantino Arias) as battles in the more significant Revolution.1 True independence, this and other films seem to suggest, was finally gained thanks to the brave “barbudos” of Sierra Maestra led by Fidel …

The Problem of Nonhuman Phenomenology: or, What is it Like to Be a Kinect?

Written By Anne Pasek New materialism presents an ambitious revision of key philosophical and political concepts, most notably that of the divide between human and nonhuman agents. In order to move critical inquiry outside of the labyrinths of language so that it might also attend to the material effects and actions of the nonhuman world, threads of human exceptionalism must be untangled from some of the West’s most basic ontological principles. From Bruno Latour’s expansion of the concept of agency to include nonhuman agents to Karen Barad’s concept of the post-human performativity of intra-acting matter, there has been a rapid expanse of scholarship that attests to the influential role the material plays in the mechanics of human operations, and indeed the need to dethrone the human from its central place in ethical, philosophical, and political concerns.1 This project also often intersects and extends to analyses of the human as an explicitly material being, one physical entity amongst others, adding a new emphasis on models of human embodiment, animation, and situated perception to a robust and on-going literature …

Afterthoughts on Queer Opacity

Written By Nicholas de Villiers What can a celebrity body be if not opaque? And yet what if the whole point of celebrity is the spectacle of people forced to tell transparent lies in public? We have already mentioned what we take to be a central chord in our culture of “knowingness”—the reserve force of information, the reservoir of presumptive, deniable, and unarticulated knowledge in a public that images itself also as a reservoir of ever-violable innocence. The economics of knowingness help us ask new questions about the transparent lies that constitute celebrity as well. —Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Michael Moon, “Divinity: A Dossier, a Performance Piece, a Little-Understood Emotion” ‘I think there are four kinds of gays in Hollywood,’ explains Howard Bragman, CEO of the PR firm Fifteen Minutes. ‘There’s the openly gay; the gay and everybody knows it but nobody talks about it; the married, closeted gay who doesn’t talk about it; and the screaming ‘I’ll sue you if you say I’m gay’ person.’ In other words, the no closet, the glass closet, the …

Art Documents: The Politics of Visibility in Contemporary Photography

Written By Jayne Wilkinson Photography has long been regarded for its power to make visible and to document the unseen and the unknown aspects of our world. As the technological force par excellence of the past hundred and fifty years and as a medium however defined, the processes that shape what we have come to understand as the photographic universe1 challenge the ways we see and understand the world around us. Photographic representation offers a kind of deferred sight, a way to see after the fact what was not visible in the moment. Whether analogue, digital, formal, vernacular, reportage, conceptual, social or any of the wide range of forms that photography now takes, the properties of the photograph make visible, or reveal, something not seen in the first instance. This production of visibility acts as a mirage, one that simultaneously obscures and reveals the social and political relations embedded within the processes of production. In addition to the immediate relations between photographic producer, object, and viewer there are also relations that exist external to the visible …

Knit for Defense, Purl to Control

Written By Jacqueline Witkowski “Sometimes the war news seems so abstract and it’s hard to imagine what it’s like for soldiers—knitting helped make it real to me.” 1 Left in the visitor’s notebook, this statement commented on Sabrina Gschwandtner’s Wartime Knitting Circle (2007), an interactive installation that invited the audience to sit down with the artist and other gallery attendees to discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while choosing from a variety of “wartime” knitting patterns: squares for blankets to send to Afghanistan and stump socks for those who suffered from casualties. In 2012, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.—a Smithsonian dedicated to American craft from the 19th century to present—unveiled the exhibition, Craft Futures: 40 Under 40, of which Gschwandtner’s work was a part. Curator Nicholas R. Bell argues that it was this generation—the forty artists featured—who were the most directly influenced by the events of September 11, 2001 (as the oldest were 29 years old and the youngest only 17). Bell states “the 9/11 attacks fundamentally altered the experience of everyday life for …

The Color of Silence

Artwork By Shalom Gorewitz Artist’s statement: Hidden Revelations  “Vision begins with a fault in this world’s smooth facade.” -Howard Nemerov I’m staring at a blank wall.  There is a window in between.  I am inside looking out. I’m staring at a television set.  There is a screen in between.  I am outside looking in. I’m moving my eyes from the keyboard to computer screen and back.  Peripheral vision shows surroundings.  I am simultaneously inside and out. My eyes are closed and I’m painting.  I’m neither inside or out. The painter is always making decisions about how much to cover and leave uncovered. Each mark has some level of transparency.  Form or nothingness, gestures given and withheld. There are shades of every color except black and white.  All pictures share the foundations of foreground, background, above, below, seen, unseen. Painting is always about layering.  Figurative or abstract, there is only the illusion created by strokes of color. “Why are black and white not part of the color chart?” asked Wittgenstein.  Why are they considered color at all?  …

Seeing / Being Seen

Artwork By Justin Nolan Seeing / Being Seen is a reflection on tourism, spectacle, and surveillance. The ubiquity of cameras at cultural sites like Times Square has shifted the memorializing function of the camera. The camera as a tool for experiencing place is nothing new but it becomes much more pervasive when digital cameras allow for almost limitless recording. The ritual of photographing oneself at cultural sites is often more important than the resulting photographs. The role of the camera becomes complicated in places like Times Square, which are so highly surveilled. Tourists point hundreds of cameras up at billboards and lights while at the same time nearly as many cameras are pointed down at the crowd. Autonomous, ubiquitous, and tacitly accepted by the crowd as necessary, the function of security cameras is not questioned and often the cameras themselves are hidden from public view. With cameras above and cameras below, the process of seeing and being seen becomes reciprocal. I first visited Times Square in 2000 and each time I returned I noticed an increasing …

Internal Frontier

Artwork By Kasia Ozga Artist’s Statement: Non-EU immigrants to France seeking long-term residency permits are required to obtain x-rays in order to be cleared for processing. Every day, the government asserts its right to peer into and catalogue the innermost parts of our bodies, in order to determine who gets to stay within its borders and who is unfit to remain. The works explore how our identities are formed as we pass through and reflect on the many borders, physical as well as mental, that we have each crossed in the past and must cross on a daily basis. In the x-ray images, the physical site of transit is inscribed within the body, rather than something that we pass through unharmed. The experience of passing from one area to another stays with the migrant, and becomes part of how he experiences the world. The works’ ambiguity underscores the dual symbolism of the border as a barrier and as a springboard, simultaneously inhibiting and enabling interactions between individuals and select geographic locations. Frontière interne I consists of …

Pay for Your Pleasures

Reviewed by Kirin Wachter-Grene Cary Levine. Pay For Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013. Hardcover. 211 pp. Cary Levine’s first book, Pay For Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, uses three of America’s most transgressive artists to reconsider the concept of “transgressive” art. The first book to offer a sustained study of these Los Angeles artists, “bad boys” entering the art world in the 1970s and rising to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, is, on one hand, a deeply researched biographical account of Kelley, McCarthy, and Pettibon, respectively, reinforced by interviews between author and artist. Levine places their considerable bodies of work, through the 1990s, in sociopolitical context and considers the artists both individually and together, linking their work through critical frames of gender, sex, and adolescence. His book is also one of the first to engage with all three artists’ involvement in underground music scenes, the effect such sonic subcultures had on their work, and the themes and methods running across and through the …