E-Flux Conversations: Paranoid Subjectivity and the Challenges of Cognitive Mapping – How is Capitalism to be Represented?

The most shocking thing about the Edward Snowden revelations is not so much their content as the fact that they have been met with little interest or surprise; not because people are unconcerned about the erosion of civil liberties, but because they thought that they knew all of this already. The internet now seems to produce a mode of hyper-connectivity, short-circuiting any separation between public and private. Along with the internationalisation of finance and other aspects of globalisation, this can make it feel as if everything has become completely interconnected, and there is nowhere left to hide from the encroachment of capital.

We submit that this state of hyperconnectivity induces a kind of paranoid subjectivity. Marx showed that there is something inherent to capitalism which makes it very difficult to see past its surface effects to its essential structure. While this was already true in his time, today the vast scale of the networks governing contemporary existence makes this aspect of capitalist society a near-constant feature of everyday experience. As abstraction reaches into every crevice of our existence, art increasingly adopts a style that Emily Apter has called oneworldedness: “a delirious aesthetics of systematicity … held in place by the paranoid premise that ‘everything is connected’”. on Paranoia.pdf2 (912.0 KB)

‘Onewordledness’ is poignantly and hilariously expressed in Hito Steyerl’s video Liquidity Inc. (2014), which deliberately confuses various meanings of the word liquidity (physics, finance, climate, martial arts), showing intricate, but unfathomable links between seemingly unrelated spheres. Steyerl’s work is the latest in a long line of artistic and theoretical reflections on (and of) paranoid subjectivity since the 1960s. From the novels of Thomas Pynchon, paranoia movies such as The Conversation and the films of Adam Curtis, to the rise of systems theory, and notions of the ‘network’ (Luhman), much art and theory from the US and Europe in this period has reflected an increasing interest in modes of cognition either contend with or break down due to the increasing scale of social abstraction. The popular television show The Wire (2002-2008) is a key example, being centered on a dense web of connections which traverse the US city of Baltimore, uniting all of its diverse spheres into a violent and tragic situation that the character Omar simply calls ‘the game’.

In this conversation, the third and last in a series that we, David Hodge and Hamed Yousefi, are organizing for e-flux conversations, we would like to critically consider the political consequences of ‘oneworldedness’. Fredric Jameson once said that “Conspiracy [...] is the poor person’s cognitive mapping in the postmodern age … the degraded figure of the total logic of late capital, a desperate attempt to represent the latter’s system”.JamesonF86a_CognitiveMapping.pdf1 (155.3 KB) But what if capital’s abstractions interpolate subjects who are unable to undertake a critical cognitive mapping? Can art help to induce new forms of subjectivity, which might be better equipped to trace the totality?

Yet again, we have another fantastic group of contributors, who will take it in turns to write a post every weekday:

Martin John Callanan ( http://greyisgood.eu) is an artist whose practice involves “researching the individual’s place within systems”. His work has been exhibited and published internationally and he lectures at Slade School of Fine Arts, UCL, London.

Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London. His most recent book is Cartographies of the Absolute (with Jeff Kinkle) – see: https://cartographiesoftheabsolute.wordpress.com.

Sarah Brouillette is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently researching “a sort of cultural history of neoliberalism”, focusing on UNESCO as a core case study.

Tom Eyers is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, U.S.A. He is the author of three books including Speculative Formalism: Literature, Theory, and the Critical Present (Forthcoming, 2015).

Join the conversation

44th International Film Festival Rotterdam

The 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam will take place 21 January – 1 February 2015, and include Martin John Callanan’s Departure of All and Text Trends, and Thomson & Craighead’s Flipped Clock in the Signals: 24/7 programme.

24/7 will focus on the changing world & technology, and how the attention economy is affecting our lives, how we consume information and how it dominates not only our waking but also our sleeping moments. Our experience of time is mutating at the speed of light, due to the glass fibre and wireless networks that keep us entangled. How this affects our sense of reality now and its impact in the near future is one of the most important discussions in the world today.

In the late 1990s, when Google was barely one year old and was still a privately held company, its future CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt was already articulating the context in which such a venture would flourish. Schmidt declared that the twenty-first century would be synonymous with what he called the ‘attention economy’, and that the dominant global corporations would be those that succeed in maximizing the number of ‘eyeballs’ they could consistently engage and control.

24/7 is focussed on stimulating discussion on this ‘attention economy’, the global thirst for information and the daily data consumption and mass synchronisation of work and leisure rhythms which are synonymous with this. We are working, communicating and consuming whenever and wherever we happen to be in the world. Divisions between night and day, between rest and work are gradually disappearing. Our experience of time is mutating at the speed of light, due to the glass fibre and wireless networks that keep us entangled.

Therefore 24/7 forces the audience to step out of the cinema, into hotels. A hotel is just like a cinema, a place where one checks in to step out of the daily routine. They are open 24/7 and strongly associated with our need for sleep. While examining the ever-changing world of the 21st Century, this programme challenges the traditional notion of a film ‘slot’ by raising the question of what we now class as a ‘normal duration’.

Films in Signals 24/7
Departure of All at IFFR
Text Trends at IFFR
Signals: 24/7 programme PDF

Made possible with support from the British Council Travel Grant Fund

Mapping Spaces book edited by Ulrike Gehring

Mapping Spaces

This large survey book builds on the ZKM Karlsruhe exhibition tracing the multifaceted relationship between art, science and technology in Dutch landscape art around 1650. Long before digital satellite imagery, Dutch artists used modern systems of remote sensing. Their art works provide valuable insights into past exchanges of knowledge that anticipate the techniques of mapping used today.

Includes Martin John Callanan’s A Planetary Order.

Hardcover: 500 pages
Publisher: Hirmer (1 Dec. 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-3777422305
Dimensions: 25.5 x 3.8 x 29.4 cm

How to Construct a Time Machine, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

23 January – 22 March 2015

Preview 22 January 2015 / 6-10pm

MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA.
Admission is free

www.mkgallery.org

January 2015 MK Gallery presents How to Construct a Time Machine (23 January – 22 March 2015), an exhibition of over twenty-five historical and contemporary works that explore how artists play with media in innovative ways to transform our experience of time.

What is time? How do we order the past, the present, and the future? Why are artists interested in time? How is art a machine, vehicle, or device for exploring time? How is art a means by which time ‘travels’, and how does art permit us to travel in time? Consideration of these and other questions has provided the exhibition rationale for guest curator, Dr Marquard Smith, Head of Doctoral Studies/Research Leader in the School of Humanities at the Royal College of Art, London.

The show’s title is taken from an 1899 text by the avant-garde French writer, Alfred Jarry, written in direct response to H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Time Machine (1895). Wells invented and popularised a distinctively modern, fictional concept of time travel, with the time machine as a vehicle that could be operated ‘selectively’.Jarry’s response crafted a pseudo-scientific fiction that presents the time machine and time travel as an instance of ‘the science of imaginary solutions’.

Taking this idea of the time machine, time travel, and perhaps even time itself as an instance of ‘the science of imaginary solutions’, the exhibition is divided thematically across the galleries and includes works by John Cage, Martin John Callanan, Jim Campbell, Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Matt Collishaw, Ruth Ewan, Tehching Hsieh, the Lumière Brothers, Chris Marker, Kris Martin, Manfred Mohr, Melvin Moti, Nam June Paik, Katie Paterson, Elizabeth Price, The Otolith Group, Raqs Media Collective, Meekyoung Shin, Sun Ra, Thompson & Craighead, Mark Wallinger and Catherine Yass, amongst others.

Film work ranges from George Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), an iconic silent movie which follows a group of astronomers as they explore the moon, to Thomson & Craighead’s The Time Machine in alphabetical order (2010), a complete rendition of the 1960s film version of the Wells’ novella re-edited into alphabetical order.

Sculptural work includes Mark Wallinger’s Time and Relative Dimensions in Space (2001), an aluminium version of Dr Who’s ‘Tardis’ police box that simultaneously disappears into the space-time continuum and reflects its own surroundings, and Ruth Ewan’s We Could Have Been Anything That We Wanted to Be (2012), a decimal clock which divides the day into ten (rather than twenty-four) periods, echoing a bold 18th century French Republican attempt to redefine and rationalise the day.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, designed by Herman Lelie, featuring an extended Introduction by the exhibition’s curator and a translation of Jarry’s How to Construct a Time Machine, together with essays by Dutch cultural theorist and video artist Mieke Bal and radical philosopher Peter Osborne. The exhibition will be supported by a range of related events including tours by the curator and artists, seminars, academic conferences, and film screenings.

Download PDF News Release
Download PDF invite

www.mkgallery.org

Art and the Internet new book

Out now, the new survey book Art and the Internet features Martin John Callanan, Brighid Lowe, Thomson & Craighead.

Art and the Internet is a much-needed visual survey of art influenced by, situated on and taking the subject of the internet over the last two and a half decades. From the early 1990s the internet has had multiple roles in art, not least in defining several new genres of practitioners, from early networked art to new forms of interactive and participatory works, but also because it is the great aggregator of all art, past and present. Art and the Internet examines the legacy of the internet on art, and, importantly, illuminates how artists and institutions are using it and why. Art and the Internet features newly commissioned essays about the history, development and future of art and the internet from leading writers and curators in the field. By breaking down art on and about the internet into distinct forms as chapters – such as “Net.Art”, “social media influenced art”, “Post-Fordist art”, “activist art”, “surveillance-related work”, “post-internet art”, “internet-enabled participatory, interactive and video art” – the book deals with these challenging categories, with each illustrated by the work of leading practitioners. A selection of reprinted essays and manifestos, along with new interview material, offers an alternative chronology of the internet via the changing ‘of the time’ opinions from the late 1980s until today. The newly commissioned essays foreground the wider cultural context of the subject, laying out a longer history in art, design, technology and software that pre-dates the internet’s wider use, illuminating the cultural conditions and modes that made way for contemporary art using the internet. The changing role of the artist online is discussed. A concluding essay examines how the multifarious global art worlds use the internet, from activism to voyeurism to marketing, featuring organisations such as Rhizome and e-flux and their predecessors, illuminating how the internet has irrevocably altered the art world as a whole. As such, Art and the Internet is an essential book for all those interested in art whether directly involved in internet art or not.

Departure of All, Noshowspace, Bethnal Green, London

noshowspace, Departure of All

27 September – 26 October 2013, noshowspace, 13 Gibraltar Walk, Bethnal Green, London

noshowspace is pleased to present Departure of All, Martin John Callanan’s first solo exhibition in London.

Callanan is intrigued by systems present in society that shape our lives yet remain largely unobserved. In a process of research he makes simple and direct requests to international organisations and authorities, including open data sources. Through collating and presenting the often excessive results his work becomes an all inclusive, all embracing reflection of our wider world. In Departure of All Callanan will be showing Wars During My Lifetime, Grounds and a new work titled Departure of All.

Departure of All is a flight departure board displaying flight information for every departure happening from all international airports around the world. The familiar wait in front of the departure board is replaced with an accelerated stream of flight departure times, given poignancy by the fact they are real flights that can be mapped to real places in real time. The world as one airport.

In Grounds, a work of long term research started in 2003, Callanan seeks to negotiate permission to take a single photograph in buildings important to society but where photography is not permitted. His ongoing photographic archive currently contains about 2000 locations from across the world, a selection of which are on show.

Wars During My Lifetime is a newspaper, listing every war fought during the course of the artist’s life. It is an evolving work first published in 2012, a third edition is published on the occasion of this exhibition.

Martin John Callanan (b. 1982) lives and works between London and Berlin. Recent exhibitions include ‘Open Cube’, White Cube, Mason’s Yard, London (2013); ‘Along Some Sympathetic Lines’, Or Gallery, Berlin (2013); Whitstable Biennale (2012); Harrach Moya Gallery, Palma (2012) and ‘Deed Poll’, a performance at Whitechapel Gallery London (2012). Callanan graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art in 2005 and is currently a Teaching Fellow in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.

A publication accompanies the exhibition with contributions from Pau Waelder and Domenico Quaranta.

Part of Art Licks Weekend

Press Release (PDF)

Possession at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

Possession

14 March – 26 May 2013

“7 Days in June” a 10.5m long, floor based print work from Susan Collins’ Seascape Series is included in this international group exhibition curated by Brian Curtin and Steve Dutton, which also includes Slade alumna Tintin Cooper

Location: Main Gallery, 8th floor
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
939 Rama 1 Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330

Please click here to download a PDF version of the Exhibition Catalogue (10MB)
Please click here for more information

Directory Of Fictitious Telephone Numbers – Impossible Transmissions

An aseptic space. One white table and on it a printed directory, accompanied by an apparently normal looking telephone. It would seem the right environment to make a call. And calls are, in fact, made. The phone operates automatically, dialling random numbers from the many listed in the phone book . The diffused audio allows visitors to listen to the classic dialling sounds, followed by a precise dead tone or a message saying, in varying languages, ‘the number you dialled does not exist’. The process repeats itself tirelessly; another number, another country, another language. A loop of sounds and dead time; a form of a dance, a ritual. A monologue or perhaps a soliloquy. No matter which of the many available numbers are dialled, it is certain that no calls will ever be answered because the list of numbers is officially exposed as The International Directory of Fictitious Telephone Numbers – an extensive list of numbers certified as non-existent and neatly divided into geographic areas of the world. The compilation of this phone book includes official requests from telecommunication regulators in different countries. The artwork, resulting from research by the British artist John Martin Callanan and presented first in Spain and then at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, is indefinitely offered as a resource for use in drama or film productions so that unsuspecting people aren’t disturbed by inquisitive viewers. Art in defence of privacy?

Benedetta Sabatini

Data as Culture: Open Day 16 March 2013

Data as Culture: Open Day

 

Your chance to get hold of issue #3 of Text Trends newspaper.

The Open Data Institute (ODI) and MzTEK invite you to the Data as Culture Open Day.

The Data as Culture collection is set in the offices of the ODI, and aims to bring tangible interventions into the
mass accretion of data around us. This is an opportunity to see the artworks in the collection and speak to the curators and some of the artists.

Informal presentations from 2.30pm – 4pm, refreshments provided.

Find out more about the artists and the collection visit: theodi.org/culture/collection

Data as Culture: Open Day
16 March 2013, 12pm – 6pm.
Open Data Institute, 3rd Floor, 65 Clifton Street, London, EC2A 4JE

Along Some Sympathetic Lines, Or Gallery, Berlin

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

23 February – 27 April 2013
Opening 7pm, 22 February 2013

Or Gallery, Oranienstr 37, Berlin 10999, Germany

Or Gallery is pleased to present Along Some Sympathetic Lines, an exhibition of artwork by London-based artist Martin John Callanan, and an archive project by curator Liz Bruchet. The exhibition considers the poetic possibilities of data and its documentation, and the tenuous process of making meaning.

Martin John Callanan is an artist researching an individual’s place within systems. Callanan generates and reworks photographs, letters and electronic data into evidence of exchanges – between the individual, the institution and the networks of power that intertwine them. The exhibition presents four of the artist’s series: The Fundamental Units, the result of amassing millions of pixels of data, to photographs, in microscopic detail far beyond the capacity of the human eye, the lowest monetary unit of each of the 166 active currencies of world, only to enlarge and print them to vast scale; Wars During My Lifetime, an evolving newspaper listing of every war fought during the course of the artist’s life; Grounds, an ongoing photographic archive which charts ‘important places’ in the world where security restrictions limit the image to the carpeted, tiled or concrete floors; and Letters 2004-2006, Callanan’s correspondence with various heads of states and religious leaders which implicate them in conversations that question their very rationale of their authority. These acts of excavating, accumulating and visualising data draw out the sympathetic aspects within documentation and in so doing, mark and disrupt the underlying power dynamics.

A second gallery features an archive project by London-based curator Liz Bruchet. The display of ephemera from the personal archive of the curator’s grandfather, a Canadian insurance salesman and aspiring radio presenter, takes its inspiration from a found audio recording – part monologue, part autobiography, and part radio show – made in 1974. Harnessing the impulses of the collector, archivist and biographer, the curator reasserts her role as custodian and caretaker to nurture narratives and give weight to the subjective remnants of one man’s life.

This exhibition is curated by Liz Bruchet.

The exhibition is possible with the generous support of Or Gallery, the National Physical Laboratory, and UCL European Institute.

With thanks to Galeria Horrach Moya, (Hiper)vincles, Whitechapel Gallery, Book Works, David Karl, and Pau Waelder.

Martin John Callanan: On Systems and Processes (de sistemas y procesos)

art.es arte_contemporáneo_internacional a

Article and interview with Pau Waelder in the forthcoming issue of Art.es #53

Press release

art.es international_contemporary_art announces the publication of its issue #53, with the following contents:

• art.es Project #44: Marina Núñez, Necrosis. (2013), digital image.
Cover and 22 inside pages. As always, an exclusive for the magazine (the originals belong to the art.es Collection).
Introductory text: Susana Cendán: Marina Núñez: “Everything has to do with the monsters”.

• Reflections:
- China’s Long March (4/10) (Zhang Fang).
- Meschac Gaba: Trying to change African society (Abdellah Karroum).
- A quantum reflection of Bakalhau (Cod Fish) (Fernando Galán).

• Media Art:
- Martin John Callanan: On Systems and Processes (Pau Waelder).

• Interview:
- Rafa Macarrón: “the solitude of man before the universe inmensity” (Fernando Galán).

• Film:
- Lipsett: a personal dilemma (Jorge D. González).

• Work_and_Word:
- Marco Ayres (Portugal)
- Simón Vega (El Salvador)
- Luis Gordillo (Spain)
- Pipo Hernández (Spain)
- Natxo Frisuelos (Spain)

• Exhibitions:
- The sublimation of detail: José Ferrero (Madrid) (Terry Berne).
- Bunga: beyond space: Carlos Bunga (Santa Mónica, California, USA) (Béatrice Chassepot).
- The descent into Marina Núñez’s hells (Valladolid, España) (Alfonso León).
- Reinterpreting art’s recent history: Roger Gustafsson (Madrid) (Fernando Galán).
- If you like small things: group show (A Coruña, España) (Nilo Casares).

• Museums
- Critical museology (2/2): On the limits of institutional art criticism (and critical museology as established discourse (Jesús Pedro Lorente)

• What’s going on in… Toronto? (John K. Grande).

• Books:
- “La Movida”, counterculture and normalization (La Movida, au nom du Père, des fils et du Todo Vale) (Juan Albarrán).

art.es is a 100 % bilingual magazine (English/Spanish) with contributions from the world over, and aimed at the entire world of genuinely contemporary art.

art.es focuses on established art as well as the latest creative iniciatives emerging from every corner of the planet. It informs and reflects on topics of interest, but with a fresh language and crisp design which are comprehensible to both specialists and amateurs. It has over 90 specialized collaborators and correspondents covering each and every geographical and thematic area of the contemporary art world.

Framing the digital: materialising new media (31 Jan 2013)

Professor Susan Collins gave a UCL Lunch Hour Lecture about SCEMFA.

How are artists translating or materialising digital works for gallery and physical situations? Professor Collins shows a snapshot of works coming out of the Slade and the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) over the past decade that explore the material of the digital. This lecture explores a range of groundbreaking perspectives and manifestations.

Art and the Internet, Joanne McNeill and Domenico Quaranta

art and the internet Joanne McNeill   Domenico Quaranta

 

Martin John Callanan’s artworks Location of I and I Wanted to See All the News From Today featured in the forthcoming book Art and the Internet by Joanne McNeill and Domenico Quaranta.

Art and the Internet is a much-needed visual survey of art influenced by, situated on and taking the subject of the internet over the last two and a half decades. From the early 1990s the internet has had multiple roles in art, not least in defining several new genres of practitioners, from early networked art to new forms of interactive and participatory works, but also because it is the great aggregator of all art, past and present. Art and the Internet examines the legacy of the internet on art, and, importantly, illuminates how artists and institutions are using it and why.

Black Dog Publishing, August 2013
Paperback, 240 pages, 300 b/w and colour ills, 280 x 230 mm
ISBN 9781907317989

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