This article analyses the concept of authenticity of experience as it arises in the recent criticism of Marina Abramović, and in Sanja Iveković's art since 2000. The controversy around Abramović's participation in the 2011 Los Angeles MOCA gala demonstrates the limitations of a concept of ethics within contemporary art that is based on authenticity, in particular because of the commodity status of experience within high-profile performance and participatory art. Iveković's artworks Looking for Mama's Number (2002) and The Disobedient (2012) are useful in this context because they materialize an ethics not based on authenticity. They do so by problematizing the recovery of experience, particularly as it pertains to political commitment, in a way that is consistent with reflections on the ideological status of historical narrative from within critical left-wing histories of the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Iveković's recent emphasis on the unknowability of experience can be seen as a tactical response to the conditions of global art reception that shape the interpretation of her work, as well as that of Abramović.
This article examines the contested agency of colour in twentieth-century South Asian nationalism and its afterlife in the postcolony. Questioning the entanglements of chromophobia and chromophilia it focuses on colour's volatile status as it veered between poetic and political acceptance by Abanindranath Tagore, Gandhi's seeming abhorrence of any colour but white, Rabindranath Tagore's claim to colour blindness and recourse to inky cosmopolitanism and Nandalal Bose's experiments with muralism in relation to art writing. Tainted by its association with colonial Britain and subaltern exploitation could colour be redeemed? Experimenting with local materials, artists began to devise alternative, sometimes radical chromatics that literally invoked the power of the earth. Post-Independence India's most self-proclaimed colourist – disaffected Marxist Jagdish Swaminathan – sought to provincialize Western ideas of abstraction in his mystical, chromophilic practice. Seen through the lens of subaltern labour and contemporary artistic practice, colour has a distracting, coercive materialism that must be accounted for.
This article examines the coalitional documentary by Jean-Luc Godard and the Left Bank group, Loin du Vietnam, from the perspective of their treatment of Algeria earlier in the 1960s. The author considers how SLON's first feature marks a departure from modern cinema's emphasis on colonialism as a source of existential malaise for the alienated bourgeois individual. Loin du Vietnam cultivates a pluralist aesthetic, which aims to make the North Vietnamese struggle directly intelligible within the currents of intellectual and industrial contestation taking place across France. After a close analysis of the film, however, the author also identifies strong points of continuity between the representations of Algeria and Vietnam, illuminating how the history of the former explicitly conditions the political consciousness through which Godard and the Left Bank presented the first war ever broadcast on television. Algeria recurs as nodal point of memory across militant French cinema's engagements with the ‘Third World’, and the article concludes by isolating Godard's work as a chief example.
This article offers a critical reading of a teleological tendency that informed and still exercises a considerable influence on many analyses of Turkish-German cinema. These analytical tools define Turkish-German migrant cinema as a ‘cinema of duty’, which creates a stereotypical image of the Turk carrying a ‘burden of representation’, and seek to replace these narratives with those that ostensibly liberate Turkish Germans from this burden by celebrating instead the ‘pleasures of hybridity’. The author's intention in this article is to offer a more developed reading of these previously denigrated stereotypes and to argue that in their afterlives stereotypes of the guest worker represent much more than simple arrested images. All of this is related to a reading of Sülbiye Günar's 2002 film Karamuk, which has been ironically examined as one of the rare Turkish-German films to move away from the outdated stereotype of the Turkish guest worker. However, this article sets out to argue contrarily that the film stages the pliancy of the stereotype by stripping it from the Turk in order to observe its subtle reappearance in the unsuspecting German, and thus reveals novel performances of stereotypes that complicate categories of ethnicity and identity.
The present postmodern cultural and linguistic (re)presentation of the Yoruba world finds an invaluable transethnic expression within the space of Nigerian hip hop, a fact that has escaped sustained critical commentary. While this urban youth development suggests a transgression of conventional cultural boundaries, it ironically inscribes a statement of aesthetic and philosophical dynamism locating the Yoruba world as open to multicultural adaptations and self-critical interrogations of ethnic heritage. This article explores the adoption of hip hop by urban Yoruba youth as a development informed by the global transcultural gaze energized by the imperatives of late capitalism, a combustible impulse that defies the cartography of modernist containment. It reveals how hip hop empowers Yoruba youth to re-cast themselves within the Nigerian nation-state and the economy of the traditional Yoruba culture. This influences a sense of transethnic bonding among Nigerian youths and challenges youth invisibility, just as it draws new terms for gender relations and the openness of this Yoruba set of humanity to other cultures.
Artists have become exemplary urban advocates, agitators and problemsolvers, but how do we contextualize these actions alongside a contemporary moment that treats urbanization as one of our most powerful collective narratives? As the city becomes a strategic site within neoliberal policy agendas and activist interventions alike, it is timely to reconsider contemporary art's ‘urban question’ (Castells). First, this article argues that we must return to the central urban question that animates art's diverse undertakings: the city as the concentration of myriad inequalities. Second, we must better attend to the strengths and risks of art's modes of response. Art's urban practices can reproduce and reinvent the dominant urban order; they can realize the city as surface and depth, and they can work with and against hegemonic cultural globalization. This article presents three concepts (ambivalent urbanism, thick urbanism and soft solidarity) to account for the critical labour of contemporary art. Finally, it turns to expansive urbanization and the future of art under a planetary urbanism that challenges our contemporary intervention toolkit.
Friedrich Nietzsche describes Human, All Too Human, his third book to be published within his own lifetime, as a work of liberation: one that seeks to strip away the increasingly malignant influences – of Richard Wagner and Arthur Schopenhauer particularly – that he perceives as infecting his work. In this article, the author argues that it is more than just a rejection of these individual thinkers however, but instead represents a broad critique of the relationship between bourgeois art, Romantic conceptions of creativity and the modernizing demand for productivity. Realizing that the role of the artist increasingly mimics the oppressive, dispiriting temporality of industrialized labour, the author contends that Nietzsche attempts to develop a more moderate conception of artistic culture built in large part upon the philosophy of Epicurus, seeking to identify a mode of creative practice that is not degraded by the exigencies of the industrial tempo of work, and displaying a surprising sympathy toward the working masses incongruous with his output as a whole.
This article reconsiders the politics and aesthetics of aftermath photography. Many critics have argued that the emerging, experimental genre of documentary photography ‘abstracts’ and renders ‘sublime’ the traumatic historical events that it takes as its subject matter. While these terms accurately reflect the aesthetics of aftermath photography, their politics cannot, the author argues, be so easily dismissed. The article reconsider the genre through Gene Ray's theories of the sublime and Rosemary Laing's photograph welcome to Australia (2004) in order to offer a better understanding of what is at stake in this new mode of documentary photography.
This article describes Dak'Art's role as a platform for critical global views. The author examines the biennial's origins and development in recent years, and shows, by interpreting some of the exhibited artworks from 2008, 2010 and 2012, that Dak'Art represents an alternative kind of global exhibition that shifts the perspective from insistent demands of the north to critical global viewpoints. Many of the artworks communicated messages critical of the European Union, particularly with regard to historical and contemporary problems with borders and boundaries. Pan-African unity was often proposed as an alternative solution. The biennial redefines the concept of internationalism through this Pan-African orientation, and serves as a platform for tackling urgent contemporary issues around politics, ethics, globalization, identity and postcolonial conditions.
Third Text is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.