October, 174: A Questionnaire on Decolonization (2020)

22 March 2021, dusan

“The term decolonize has gained a new life in recent art activism, as a radical challenge to the Eurocentrism of museums (in light of Native, Indigenous, and other epistemological perspectives) as well as in the museum’s structural relation to violence (either in its ties to oligarchic trustees or to corporations engaged in the business of war or environmental depredation). In calling forth the mid-twentieth-century period of decolonization as its historical point of reference, the word’s emphatic return is rhetorically powerful, and it corresponds to a parallel interest among scholars in a plural field of postcolonial or global modernisms. The exhortation to decolonize, however, is not uncontroversial-some believe it still carries a Eurocentric bias. Indeed, it has been proposed that, for the West, de-imperialization is perhaps even more urgent than decolonization.

What does the term decolonize mean to you in your work in activism, criticism, art, and/or scholarship? Why has it come to play such an urgent role in the neoliberal West? How can we link it historically with the political history of decolonization, and how does it work to translate postcolonial theory into a critique of the neocolonial contemporary art world?”

Respondents include Nana Adusei-Poku, Brook Andrew, Sampada Aranke, Ian Bethell-Bennett, Kader Attia, Andrea Carlson, Elise Y. Chagas, ISUMA, Iftikhar Dadi, Janet Dees, Nitasha Dhillon, Hannah Feldman, Josh T. Franco, David Garneau, Renee Green, Iman Issa, Arnold J. Kemp, Thomas Lax, Nancy Luxon, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Saloni Mathur, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Alan Michelson, Partha Mitter, Isabela Muci Barradas, Steven Nelson, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Alessandro Petti, Paulina Pineda, Christopher Pinney, Elizabeth Povinelli, Ryan Rice, Andrew Ross, Paul Chaat Smith, Nancy Spector, Francoise Verges, Rocio Zambrana, and Joseph R. Zordan.

Edited by Huey Copeland, Hal Foster, David Joselit, and Pamela M. Lee
Publisher MIT Press, Fall 2020
Open access
ISSN 0162-2870
123 pages

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Catherine Flood, Gavin Grindon (eds.): Disobedient Objects (2014)

3 March 2021, dusan

“This book explores the material culture of radical change and protest – from objects familiar to many, such as banners or posters, to the more militant, cunning or technologically cutting-edge, including lock-ons, book-blocs and activist robots. Focusing on social movements since 1980, the book features an introductory essay by the curators examining the history of objects in protest and activism, followed by six essays that look at particular objects, and the contexts in which they are used. It demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design. Accompanies the V&A exhibition Disobedient Objects, July 2014 to February 2015.”

With essays by Mark Traugott, Anna Feigenbaum, Francesco Raparelli, David Graeber, Nicholas Thoburn, and Ana Longoni.

Publisher V&A Publishing, London, 2014
ISBN 9781851777976, 1851777970
144 pages

Exh. review: Richard Taws (West 86th, 2014).
Book review: Thomas Snow (Object, 2015).

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Andreas Malm: How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire (2021)

13 January 2021, dusan

“Why resisting climate change means combatting the fossil fuel industry

The science on climate change has been clear for a very long time now. Yet despite decades of appeals, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and peaceful demonstrations, we are still facing a booming fossil fuel industry, rising seas, rising emission levels, and a rising temperature. With the stakes so high, why haven’t we moved beyond peaceful protest?

In this lyrical manifesto, noted climate scholar (and saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines) Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop—with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools. We need, in short, to start blowing up some oil pipelines.

Offering a counter-history of how mass popular change has occurred, from the democratic revolutions overthrowing dictators to the movement against apartheid and for women’s suffrage, Malm argues that the strategic acceptance of property destruction and violence has been the only route for revolutionary change. In a braided narrative that moves from the forests of Germany and the streets of London to the deserts of Iraq, Malm offers us an incisive discussion of the politics and ethics of pacifism and violence, democracy and social change, strategy and tactics, and a movement compelled by both the heart and the mind. Here is how we fight in a world on fire.”

Publisher Verso Books, London, January 2021
ISBN 9781839760259
136 pages
HT pht

Interviews with author: Wen Stephenson (LA Review of Books, 2021), Politics Theory Other (2021, audio).

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