brumaria distribuye como socio colaborador la versión impresa de e-flux journal
Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle
The Anthropocene is “the age of man” that announces its own extinction. In other words, the Anthropocene thesis posits “man” as the end of its own destiny. Therefore, while the Anthropocene narrative keeps “man” at its very center, it marks the death of the posthuman and of antihumanism, because there can be no redeeming critical antihumanist or posthuman figure in which either metaphysics or technological and scientific advances would find a way to reconcile human life with ecology. In short, images of the Anthropocene are missing.
Powerful interests still deny the existence of the Carbon Liberation Front. Those authorities attentive to the evidence of this metabolic rift usually imagine four ways of mitigating its effects. One is that the market will take care of everything. Another proposes that all we need is new technology. A third imagines a social change in which we all become individually accountable for quantifying and limiting our own carbon “footprint.” A fourth is a romantic turn away from the modern, from technology, as if the rift is made whole when a privileged few shop at the farmer’s market for artisanal cheese. None of these four solutions seems quite the thing.
The idea of duty-free art has one major advantage over the nation-state cultural model: duty-free art ought to have no duty—no duty to perform, to represent, to teach, to embody value. It should not be indebted to anyone, nor serve a cause or a master, nor be a means to anything. Duty-free art should not be a means to represent a culture, a nation, money, or anything else. Even the duty-free art in the freeport storage spaces is not duty free. It is only tax-free. It has the duty of being an asset.
The Islamic State stands in stark opposition to the only three-year-old Rojava Revolution and its stateless democracy. The Islamic State’s ambition for an endlessly expanding caliphate—its total state—in its terrifying conquest and brutal patriarchal policies of cultural assimilation, subjection, and enslavement of women seems to form the bizarre mirror image of the total state of the security apparatus of the Coalition of the Willing’s never-ending War on Terror and its radical and violent disregard for other states’ and peoples sovereignty.
“Nostalgia for the kingdom of water” drove the sojourners, but when they finally reached home, nothing was as it was promised to be. Adachi realizes that, by the end, the largest collateral damage of the JRA project is its own members. The cities that were the stage for their actions—Dhaka, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Hague—survived, but men did not. Zaoui reminds us that “Anabasis is not the tale of a ruin of the ruined, but of a ruin of ruiners, or people who are the chief architects of their own ruin.”
To the extent that the object of critical theory is the mode of governance, or the distribution of power, critical theory addresses this object through cultural forms or products, as manifestations and critiques of power relations. That is, on the one hand cultural productions are symptomatic of these relations, while on the other analytic of them—having the potential of intervention and critique, again with a specific placement and angle, or, if you will, method of intervention and mode of address. Critical writing is thus a sort of double or shadow, whose task is not only to trace the work, but also to respond to it and to separate the symptom and the analysis, as well as to unpack the overlaps, contrasts, mergers, and mutations of these two moments and movements. And this is a radically different task than that of art advising—or that of the aesthetic judgment of yore, for that matter!
Today, Péladan is not well known for his curatorial work, not because he was so far ahead of his time that, say, his contemporaries did not understand him, but rather because, when it came to positioning himself successfully in art with an enduring place in history, he made several “mistakes.” Among other things, despite Péladan’s hard work and the genuinely large influence he enjoyed in his day, he did not do enough, and above all was not sufficiently convincing, to ensure that he would be “right” in art history. He did not persevere long enough in his practice, he was not successful enough in assembling a coherent group of artists, and he was not well connected to the market. Furthermore, he was so extremely pompous and so obviously contradictory that it made it difficult for anyone to take up his cause openly and in earnest.