PERFORMANCE ART AFTER TV
Television is video, video is television; they are part of the same technological dispositif. What is a video artist, if not a television producer without a channel at his disposal? The formal characteristics of much video art are hardly compatible with the dominant regime in tv programming; video art has developed its own modes of distribution, mostly based on tapes or dvds sold in limited editions. In the 1970s, René Berger distinguished between macro-tv (broadcast television), meso-tv (local cable) and micro-tv (video); at most, some artists managed to infiltrate and utilize the meso level of local cable tv, whose democratic potential was never fully realized. While in general it failed to penetrate even this level, video art at its best pushed the logic of television to a point where the medium’s potential and its failings, its complexity and its contradictions, were illuminated.
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The Coming Exception
The artwork has long been understood as a political-economic anomaly, while art practice is sometimes seen as a stand-in for liberated human activity. With value itself seemingly in a state of crisis, might the artwork prefigure a world beyond it? From Ruskin and Whistler to Harun Farocki, Sven Lütticken charts the trajectory of an exception.
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Sven Lütticken on Asger Jorn, Fraternité Avant Tout. The Danish artist and Situationist wrestles with Engels and Nietzsche.
Once deemed extinct, the play instinct now pervades the worlds of work and leisure. Can it be turned to radical ends? Sven Lütticken seeks clues in Schiller and Debord, Neuschwanstein and computer games.
Attending to Abstract Things
From the philosophe De Brosses in the eighteenth century to the abstract expressionist Barnett Newman and the conceptualist Sol LeWitt in the twentieth—via Hegel, Creuzer and Marx—the fates of the fetish and the commodity, in critical thought and art.
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Amid rhetorical dust-storms over purported Islamist threats to Western values, Sven Lütticken finds antecedents for contemporary struggles over the image in Judaic and Protestant bans on idolatry. Multiple meanings of the veil and varying forms of iconoclasm, under the aegis of the spectacle.
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