Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder, Shusha Niederberger (eds.): Aesthetics of the Commons (2021)

6 February 2021, dusan

“What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a ‘pirate’ library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art can play an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic; that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially.

Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that take up this challenge in different ways. What unites them, however, is that they all have a ‘double character.’ They are art in the sense that they place themselves in relation to (Western) cultural and art systems, developing discursive and aesthetic positions, but, at the same time, they are ‘operational’ in that they create recursive environments and freely available resources whose uses exceed these systems. The first aspect raises questions about the kind of aesthetics that are being embodied, the second creates a relation to the larger concept of the ‘commons.’ In Aesthetics of the Commons, the commons are understood not as a fixed set of principles that need to be adhered to in order to fit a definition, but instead as a ‘thinking tool’—in other words, the book’s interest lies in what can be made visible by applying the framework of the commons as a heuristic device.”

Contributors: Olga Goriunova, Jeremy Gilbert, Judith Siegmund, Daphne Dragona, Magdalena Tyzlik-Carver, Gary Hall, Ines Kleesattel, Sophie Toupin, Rahel Puffert and Christoph Brunner.

Publisher diaphanes, Zürich, January 2021
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 License
ISBN 9783035803914
275 pages

Review: Gerald Raunig (transversal, 2021, DE).

Project website
Book launch
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF

See also Open Scores: How to Program the Commons (2020).

McKenzie Wark: Sensoria: Thinkers for the Twenty-first Century (2020)

8 December 2020, dusan

“A survey of the key thinkers and ideas that are rebuilding the world in the shadow of the Anthropocene

As we face the compounded crises of late capitalism, environmental catastrophe and technological transformation, who are the thinkers and the ideas who will allow us to understand the world we live in? McKenzie Wark surveys three areas at the cutting edge of current critical thinking: media ecologies, post-colonial ethnographies, and the design of technology, and introduces us to the thinking of seventeen major writers who, combined, contribute to the common task of knowing the world. Each chapter is a concise account of an individual thinker, providing useful context and connections to the work of the others.

The authors include: Sianne Ngai, Kodwo Eshun, Lisa Nakamura, Hito Steyerl, Yves Citton, Randy Martin, Jackie Wang, Wang Hui, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Achille Mbembe, Eyal Weizman, Cory Doctorow, Benjamin Bratton, Tiziana Terranova, Keller Easterling, Jussi Parikka, Deborah Danowich and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.

Wark argues that we are too often told that expertise is obtained by specialisation. Sensoria connects the themes and arguments across intellectual silos. The book is a vital and timely introduction to the future both as a warning but also as a roadmap for how we might find our way out of the current crisis.”

Publisher Verso Books, London, July 2020
ISBN 9781788735063, 1788735064
296 pages

Reviews: J.J. Charlesworth (ArtReview, 2020), Lindsay Lerman (Entropy, 2020), Travis Diehl (LA Review of Books, 2020), Jessica Caroline and Emily Colucci (Filthy Dreams, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

HTML

Matthew Fuller, Olga Goriunova: Bleak Joys: Aesthetics of Ecology and Impossibility (2019)

21 April 2020, dusan

Bleak Joys develops an understanding of complex entities and processes—from plant roots to forests to ecological damage and its calculation—as aesthetic. It is also a book about “bad” things, such as anguish and devastation, which relate to the ecological and technical but are also constitutive of politics, the ethical, and the formation of subjects.

Avidly interdisciplinary, Bleak Joys draws on scientific work in plant sciences, computing, and cybernetics, as well as mathematics, literature, and art in ways that are not merely illustrative of but foundational to our understanding of ecological aesthetics and the condition in which the posthumanities are being forged. It places the sensory world of plants next to the generalized and nonlinear infrastructure of irresolvability—the economics of indifference up against the question of how to make a home on Planet Earth in a condition of damaged ecologies. Crosscutting chapters on devastation, anguish, irresolvability, luck, plant, and home create a vivid and multifaceted approach that is as remarkable for its humor as for its scholarly complexity.

Engaging with Deleuze, Guattari, and Bakhtin, among others, Bleak Joys captures the modes of crises that constitute our present ecological and political condition, and reckons with the means by which they are not simply aesthetically known but aesthetically manifest.”

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2019
Posthumanities series, 53
ISBN 9781517905521, 1517905524
xxviii+192 pages

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (6 MB)