Julia Bryan-Wilson: Fray: Art and Textile Politics (2017)

25 March 2018, dusan

“In 1974, women in a feminist consciousness-raising group in Eugene, Oregon, formed a mock organization called the Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society. Emblazoning its logo onto t-shirts, the group wryly envisioned female collective textile making as a practice that could upend conventions, threaten state structures, and wreak political havoc. Elaborating on this example as a prehistory to the more recent phenomenon of “craftivism”—the politics and social practices associated with handmaking—Fray explores textiles and their role at the forefront of debates about process, materiality, gender, and race in times of economic upheaval.

Closely examining how amateurs and fine artists in the United States and Chile turned to sewing, braiding, knotting, and quilting amid the rise of global manufacturing, Julia Bryan-Wilson argues that textiles unravel the high/low divide and urges us to think flexibly about what the politics of textiles might be. Her case studies from the 1970s through the 1990s—including the improvised costumes of the theater troupe the Cockettes, the braided rag rugs of US artist Harmony Hammond, the thread-based sculptures of Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, the small hand-sewn tapestries depicting Pinochet’s torture, and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt—are often taken as evidence of the inherently progressive nature of handcrafted textiles. Fray, however, shows that such methods are recruited to often ambivalent ends, leaving textiles very much “in the fray” of debates about feminized labor, protest cultures, and queer identities; the malleability of cloth and fiber means that textiles can be activated, or stretched, in many ideological directions.

The first contemporary art history book to discuss both fine art and amateur registers of handmaking at such an expansive scale, Fray unveils crucial insights into how textiles inhabit the broad space between artistic and political poles—high and low, untrained and highly skilled, conformist and disobedient, craft and art.”

Publisher University of California Press, 2017
ISBN 9780226077819, 0226077810
326 pages
via slowrotation

Review: Holland Cotter (New York Times, 2017).

Video interview with author (with Lynne Cooke, NGA, 60 min, 2017)

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (18 MB)

Processed World, 1-33 + 2.001 + 2.005 (1981-2005)

15 February 2018, dusan

Processed World is an anarchist magazine about the absurdity of modern office work. The magazine was founded in 1981. No new issues have been produced since 2005.

The magazine is about the absurdity and futility of modern employment practices in which a large number of college-educated people are often forced to seek temporary work with no worker benefits. The magazine details the subversive attitudes and sense of humor required for workers to be able to get through the day when forced to perform dull, degrading and boring work as wage slaves doing modern office work such as working as a computer programmer, word processor, call center operator, data entry operator, telemarketer or file clerk.

The print magazine was widely distributed to and read by office workers in Downtown San Francisco during the years the print magazine was published from 1981 to 1992.

Writers that have had work published by the magazine include Chris Carlsson, Fred Rinne, Adam Cornford, John Norton, Jesse Drew, and Donna Kossy. The magazine featured cartoons by artists such as Tom Tomorrow, Jay Kinney, and Paul Mavrides. (Wikipedia)

Publisher Processed World, San Francisco, 35 numbers, 1981-2005
via fcr

Commentary: Jacob Silverman (Baffler, 2014)

HTML
PDF and other formats (Internet Archive)

David Graeber, Marshall Sahlins: On Kings (2017)

22 January 2018, dusan

“In anthropology as much as in popular imagination, kings are figures of fascination and intrigue, heroes or tyrants in ways presidents and prime ministers can never be. This collection of essays by two of the world’s most distinguished anthropologists—David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins—explores what kingship actually is, historically and anthropologically. As they show, kings are symbols for more than just sovereignty: indeed, the study of kingship offers a unique window into fundamental dilemmas concerning the very nature of power, meaning, and the human condition.

Reflecting on issues such as temporality, alterity, and utopia—not to mention the divine, the strange, the numinous, and the bestial—Graeber and Sahlins explore the role of kings as they have existed around the world, from the BaKongo to the Aztec to the Shilluk and beyond. Richly delivered with the wit and sharp analysis characteristic of Graeber and Sahlins, this book opens up new avenues for the anthropological study of this fascinating and ubiquitous political figure.”

Publisher HAU Books, Chicago, 2017
Creative Commons BY License
ISBN 0986132500, 9780986132506
xv+536 pages

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (8 MB)