The Political Uncanny

Feng Zheng Jie

"In a more Freudian idiom, it is a feeling prompted by the return of the repressed. Freud did, however, discuss the uncanniness of the life-like automaton, Olympia, that figures in Hoffmann’s tale, ‘The Sandman.’ The disturbed protagonist, Nathanial, is taken in by the doll and falls in love with her. Freud explained that since children do not strictly distinguish between the animate and the inanimate, they are inclined to think their dolls or stuffed animals are alive. As adults, then, the sight of a life-like automaton or automatic human behavior reactivates the infantile belief that we thought we had surmounted. Nevertheless, Freud argued, it is not Olympia that makes … [Read more...]

Know Thy Enemy

Balthusar Burkhard

"The general public now draws its notion of art from advertising , MTC videos, video games, and Hollywood blockbusters. In the contemporary context of media generated taste, the call to abandon and dismantle the museum as an institution has necessarily taken on an entirely different meaning than when it was voiced during the avant-garde era. When people today speak of "real life" what they usually mean is the global media market. And that means: the current protest against the museum is no longer part of a struggle being waged against normative taste in the name of aesthetic equality but is, inversely, aimed at stabilizing and entrenching currently prevailing tastes." Boris Groys "The … [Read more...]

Shark Tank

Rinko Kawauchi

"Of all the arguments put forward with respect to it {art}, virtually no references are made to music, literature, cinema, dance or photography. Almost all of them bear instead on an object definable as that which succeeds to the place of painting, i.e. the arrangements of objects, the photographs, the video apparatuses, the computers - and sometimes even the performances - that occupy the spaces on whose walls portraits were previously to be seen. It would be wrong, however, to criticize these arrangements for their 'partiality'. Indeed, "art" is not the common concept that unifies the different arts. It is the 'dispositif' which renders them visible. And painting is not merely the name of … [Read more...]

Odds & Ends

Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, 1987, Jean Nouvel architect

“But you can’t allow a contradiction to stand! — Why not?… Ludwig Wittgenstein "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money." Walt Disney When Luis Barragan won the Pritzker Prize in architecture, the jury wrote "A stoical acceptance of solitude as man's fate permeates Barragán's work. His solitude is cosmic, with Mexico as the temporal abode he lovingly accepts." I remember when I first became aware of Barragan, I was probably about eighteen. I fell in love with the pink walls, the water, the sun off the blue or yellow facades, and the stables at Cuadra San Cristobal seemed the stage of a modernist play, a sort of tropical … [Read more...]