Jeffrey Herf: Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (1985)

4 October 2013, dusan

“In a unique application of critical theory to the study of the role of ideology in politics, Jeffrey Herf explores the paradox inherent in the German fascists’ rejection of the rationalism of the Enlightenment while fully embracing modern technology. He documents evidence of a cultural tradition he calls ‘reactionary modernism’ found in the writings of German engineers and of the major intellectuals of the Weimar right: Ernst Juenger, Oswald Spengler, Werner Sombart, Hans Freyer, Carl Schmitt, and Martin Heidegger. The book shows how German nationalism and later National Socialism created what Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, called the ‘steel-like romanticism of the twentieth century’. By associating technology with the Germans, rather than the Jews, with beautiful form rather than the formlessness of the market, and with a strong state rather than a predominance of economic values and institutions, these right-wing intellectuals reconciled Germany’s strength with its romantic soul and national identity.”

Publisher Cambridge University Press, 1985
ISBN 0521338336, 9780521338332
251 pages

Reviews: R.J. Overy (English Historical Review), Geoff Eley (Telos).
Commentary: Thomas Rohkraemer (Contemporary European History).

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Kontekst Archive 06/07/08 (2008) [English/Serbian]

25 December 2010, dusan

Gallery Kontekst represents one of the politically most important initiatives in Belgrade in the field of contemporary art. Through critical approach to the social reality and persistence to initiate
discussion on topics that are rarely discussed and thus take part in struggles against most conservative social processes, the team of *Kontekst Gallery *created unique space in the cultural-artistic scene in Belgrade. Some of the issues that Kontekst and people involved in its work dealt with (in collaboration with other artists, theorists, cultural workers and activists) are sex work (“Sex, Work and Society” project), Serbian nationalism and wars in Yugoslavia (especially through censored exhibition “Exception, contemporary art scene of Prishtina”), racism in Serbia (especially in relation to Roma community through actions against demolition and fencing of a Roma slum during the international sport event Universiade), contemporary mechanisms of surveillance (“Control and Resistance on the Street” project), privatization and illegal appropriation of public space (“Fifth Park-Struggle for the Everyday” project), homophobia (collaboration with QueerBelgrade festival), critical approach toward the process of the expansion of the European Union and its mechanisms of exclusion (Without Borders? project), etc.

The publication features interviews and program selection from 2006 to 2008.

Editors: Vida Knežević, Ivana Marjanović
Translation Novica Petrović, Vida Knežević, Ivana Marjanović
Publisher: Kontekst, Belgrade, 2008
ISBN 978-86-87291-01-0
208 pages

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Red Thread journal, Nos. 1-3 (2009-2011) [English/Turkish]

12 September 2010, dusan

“The project Red Thread is envisioned as an active network and platform for exchange of knowledge and collaboration of artists, curators, social scientists, theorists and cultural operators from the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa, and beyond. It aims to create and widely disseminate new knowledge about paradigmatic socially engaged art practices in a wide geopolitical context, thus challenging the predominance of Western narratives in official art histories and exhibition making. Through initiating research, meetings, panel discussions and an active online site for exploring both historical and contemporary approaches that deepen and challenge broader relations of art and society, Red Thread intends to reopen the issues of joint modernist legacies and histories between various so-called “marginal” regions, and attempts to create new approaches to deal with questions of auto-histories, self-positioning and reinterpretation of art history.

The title of the project indicates a critical cultural and artistic engagement that has been present in the peripheral zones of the European modernistic project in different conceptual manifestations since the 1960s, when the crisis of the project of Western monolith high modernism in its relation to ideas of social progress became apparent. Metaphorical meaning of the expression ‘red thread’ suggests not only way out of labyrinth, but also a fragile, elastic link between different intellectual, social and artistic experimentations that share a desire for social change and the active role of culture and art in this process.

Red Thread is conceived as a possibility for starting a long-term communication and establishing new international platforms for artists and cultural workers from the regions considered to be part of supposedly shrinking but still corporeally very real geographical margins. Even if today one feels that there is no region excluded from the international art circuit, there still remains the issue of control, the unresolved and continuing play of inclusion and exclusion. In that respect, focusing primarily on regions of the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and North Africa, the project is conceived as an active site for rethinking the questions of production, definition, and presentation of the artwork and the artists’ identity in the globalized (art)world. It will explore the rules of conduct established in the Western art system, and question how the circulation and reception of information is regulated and how we can (and can we really) challenge it.”

Editors in Chief: WHW/What, How & for Whom collective members Ivet Ćurlin, Ana Dević, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović
Co-editors of the first issue: Prelom Kolektiv members Dušan Grlja, Vladimir Jerić and Jelena Vesić
Members of the Board: Meltem Ahıska, Ruben Arevshatyan, Erden Kosova
Managing Editor: Balca Ergener

Issue 1: PDF, HTML
Issue 2: “Sweet 60s”: PDF, HTML
Issue 3: PDF, HTML