Dietrich & Schlechtriem, 2019

Julian Charrière’s new solo exhibition Silent World is a meditation on the undersea realm as an oneiric atmosphere: a space that is central to our imagination precisely because of its unfamiliarity and indistinct aspects. Marshalling photography and video, the exhibition stages encounters between human outlines and their visible dissolution. The works include images of free-divers captured inside an aquatic cave in Mexico’s Cenotes, half of their bodies obscured as they penetrate what is known as a chemocline and enter an opaque layer of bottom water, a soup of sulfurous bacteria. Through the iconographic unconscious of these images, the divers’ descent into a literal abyss conjures up a sea of metaphorical allusion. Despite this profusion, however, it is a silent world—as no individual can comprehensively speak for it. Yet that does not stop us from trying. Charrière’s exhibition borrows its title from an early underwater film by Jacques Cousteau, the first of its kind to bring moving images from the ocean depths to screen. Since this important opening-up of the visual imaginary of the undersea realm, consolidated by today’s high-definition broadcast documentaries, it is tempting to think that we (including those who have never practiced scuba) know this place. The fact is, however, that the ocean is largely still mystery. As Charrière’s new work seems to suggest, deeper engagement with this space may yet reorder perceptions of who we are.
Hatje Cantz, 2018

As the storm advances, a line across the sea, we try to keep the cameras steady. There will not be a second take. Any minute the torrent will arrive and threaten our mechanics. The gusts grow more impressive, setting objects rolling across the crater ridge like tumbleweeds, alerting us to the fact that the surface of this pulverized reef is strewn with debris, issuing from countless other ground zeros of human enterprise. A glass ball skips towards the water. A few meters away another, larger and green, begins to move. Both are fishing lures from the early twentieth century. Next, a pink flip flop quivers through the air – half a drunken foam butterfly – before slapping into one of our tripods, as if admonishing us for standing our ground. Shards of polystyrene begin to emerge from the the sand, resembling shrapnel from crashed airplanes, or exploded munitions. A drop. Another. It’s clearly time to think about waterproofing, and for want of anything more appropriate we yank what looks like a bat wing from the ground—a strip of black fabric attached to a pair of spokes: the last functional part of an umbrella—and fashion it into a visor. Deluge. Above us, the storm and the sunset meet like two opposing phalanxes on a battlefield. The first—blue, electric, and liquid. The second—flame. They connect in a clap of thunder–lightning and sun converging, molecules crackling in waves of energy which surge and break against against one another. The sun turns the raindrops magma, and the clouds a conflagration. Everything is charged with light.
Juliana Leite: Orogenesis, Trolley Books, 2019

When tectonic plates collide, the lateral pressure either forces surface material upwards along both sides of the fault line, forming mountain ranges, or causes one of the plates to buckle beneath the other, creating volcanoes. This process is termed orogenesis. Earthquakes and fiery mountains have always captured the cultural imagination, figuring prominently in origin myths, as a metaphor for political upheaval and psychological turmoil. Vesuvius is a paradigmatic case of a volcano that has destroyed and yet preserved a world. Perhaps it has even been creative, in terms of its cultural significance. As a sculptor, Leite often gives solid form to gestures and dynamic motions, such as climbing or reaching. Invoking the birth of mountains, the title of this exhibition proposes analogies between geologic configurations of matter and postures assumed by the human body.
Nordenhake, 2019

It would take approximately two thousand years for the earth’s longest continuous political empire to finally learn, the hard way, that it was not the center of the world. No eponymous ‘middle kingdom’, but a periphery to others with comparable self-regard. A state which, as the loss of the Opium Wars, the looting and despoil of the irreplaceable Summer Palace, and the indignity of foreign concessions on home soil would establish, was now one among many. This lesson struck at the root of Chinese life. Thereafter: civil war, the waning of imperial style, and heterogeneous visions of modernization. The founding of the People’s Republic of China (in 1949) established a final rupture, abolishing the throne and, eventually, with the onset of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (in 1964), rejecting the past’s material trappings—temples were smashed, scrolls burnt, and countless artworks destroyed in a paroxysm of (manipulated) historical-self-loathing. And yet, despite this, analogous to the syncretic manner whereby animist iconography haunts Buddhist art, aspects of imperial style could never be completely excised. Like aesthetic muscle memory, certain elements could not help but return, here and there—a decorative motif, on a bowl, perhaps, where no one was looking for ideology; elsewhere, still...
Julius von Bismarck: Talking to Thunder
Hatje Cantz, 2019

Julius von Bismarck’s account of being struck by lightning while asleep in his car has the quality of a bar-room tale. But when set alongside his other creative work, featuring thunderbolts, fire, and crashing waves, its symbolic potential becomes apparent. In fact, this found work of autobiography illuminates the images that appear throughout this volume.
Jonny Niesch
Verlag Für Moderne Kunst, 2019

A glimmer. A colorful figure slides into view: striking, well proportioned, and without wrinkles—totally put together, so all the more exciting. A flash of eye. A pupil. It is pure flattery, and seduction. But there is something strange about this vision, like mascara on a statue, or a piece of sculpture made to be slipped inside a person—holding your gaze, and the room. It is pure androgeny; a double performance, and you are fascinated. It is theatre, and the question of your own role is not immediately answered. Nor do you know what this thing wants with you. You remember a playbill mentioning Jonny Niesche being dragged through shopping mall cosmetics departments, by his mother, in the 1980s, secretly falling in love with powder colors and mirrors; that it mentioned him (or was it you?) rapt at the sight of David Bowie, preening on stage, somewhere. As you keep looking, you begin to fall into character…
Art Asia Pacific, 2019

Two-Headed Venus. A 25-year-old pregnant female human and herself as a 90-year-old have ingested a tortoise’s brain. Shameless Venus. A 20-year-old female human has ingested a mole’s brain. Queen with Leopards. A 150-year-old female human has ingested a manatee’s brain. Seated Lady of Çatalhöyük. A 40-year-old female human has ingested the brain of a hedgehog. Venus of Frasassi, A 10-year-old female human has ingested a rabbit’s brain. Venus of Hohle Fels, A 70-year-old female human has ingested a sloth’s brain.
Berlin Art Link, 2019

At 52°33’44.1”N 14°03’12.8”E, a precise Global Positioning System coordinate provided by Google Maps, the blindfold is removed. As you warily tread the muddy ground, your eyes adjust to bright white fluorescent light. A trickle of water catches your ear. You arrive, surrounded on all sides by windowless white walls, in a truncated thatch of forest. The smell of damp earth slows your pace as you navigate the terrain of fallen logs and low growing shrubs. Venturing beyond the first enclosure, a well-trampled corridor opens onto another white-walled room. The sound leads you along a stream fringed by greenery towards a small waterfall, whose pool offers a rippling reflection of the harsh ceiling lights. Every leaf is thrown into sharp relief against the saturated hues of the forest floor.
Alexander Levy, 2019

Across sculpture and video, Egor Kraft’s new body of work marshals both emerging visualization technologies and historical source material. The result is a hybrid vision – traversing model and monument, code, the corporeal, and the hyperreal. In Content Aware Studies the artist explores the expanded mode of objecthood in the digital era, deploying the new powers of virtual and physical prototyping technology. Performing an archaeology of future-pasts, this new exhibition is an engagement with art history, emerging tools, and the horizons of 21st Century culture.
Felix Luque Sánchez
Presse du Reel, 2020

A black monolith, pulsing light and sound. Its geodesic form seems to be alive, perhaps, or possessed by some kind of agency—demonstrating reactive qualities that portend something to be revealed. Its shiny surface beckons the curious viewer, responding to their closer proximity with sound—buzzing, broken and babbling. Sometimes its sonic range, and rhythms, appear to approximate human speech. Is it a monologue? Or is it kin—communicating, however partially, with us? We see the outputs but don’t know what is driving them. Is that rising pitch (and flashing light) a threat of some kind?
Mazzoli Gallery, 2018

A streak of madness appears to run through today’s politics, environment, and visions of human subjectivity. It is tempting to imagine that its kernel might be discerned, and perhaps removed. Christian Fogarolli’s STONE OF MADNESS explores this desire through a process of (historical) displacement. Through a series of works that situate an archaic technical and psychological paradigm within an up-to-date stylistic frame, his first solo exhibition in Berlin stages a strange explanatory logic—perhaps casting new light on our own unreason.
Akbank 36th Contemporary Artists Prize Exhibition, 2018

The 2018 Akbank 36th Contemporary Artists Prize Exhibition showcases works by 18 finalists, across a variety of media – including painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance. Together, this juried selection highlights the breadth of techniques and intellectual agendas playing out in Turkey’s emerging art scene. The featured artistic positions investigate a host of contemporary concerns. Reflections on how new technologies are redefining everyday life, affecting the way we learn, what we know, and how we feel, feature prominently. Additionally, timely meditations on the fate of place, and landscape, in a culture saturated with representation abound. Cutting across both of these tendencies, and registering more perennial concerns, explorations of language and sense making are present. So, too, engagements with the power of suggestion, and influence. Celebrating new talents, and offering them a platform, the Akbank 36th Contemporary Artists Prize Exhibition looks towards the future of art, today.
Evan Roth, 2018

Millions of years prior, our water-dwelling ancestors crawled out of the ocean and began to settle the land. Just as their fins would beget paws, our appendages have developed, and multiplied – as prostheses. Having used them to embrace, probe, smooth, constrict, and reform the earth; having beaten the sky, we reach back to the aqueous. At the shoreline our electric and fibre-optic tentacles submerge; pushing down and outwards into the deep, crossing the Atlantic, the Pacific, and a hundred other littorals, only to surface elsewhere. A body; a landscape: both. For most of us these cables are phantom limbs – invisible though constitutive of our experience. Others are only too aware of just what they are, and what they are capable of touching.
Dittrich & Schlechtreim, 2018

The directors of our ‘new’ economy prefer a loose, informal mise-en-scène. Amid the beanbags of Palo Alto and a rash of Ashtanga Yoga, labour is dressed as leisure. Some see this camouflage as pointing towards the end of work itself. Others, in a more prosaic fashion, simply view it as fostering increased productivity. Either way, the spectre of control is repressed. As this repression spreads beyond the walls of offices, a contemporary question entails: Am I at work or not?
Ethan Cohen Gallery, 2017

North Korea’s official art is a problem. It is a problem because it is a national project, born of a state whose ‘modern’ cultural performance is wedded to a failed experiment in total design. It is a problem because, today, its internationalist ideological posture appears hopelessly – indeed, aggressively – provincial. It is a problem because its intended audience appears pathetic (wretched), to the same degree that its supreme commissioner seems pathological.
Das Weisse Haus, 2017

But we are not just people. We are animals, plants and microbes too. Our ‘world of habit’ has for too long proposed a we that represses ecology, locating non-human others beyond the pale of home. But this habit, this abode, ‘is becoming uninhabitable’. Its walls, as Flusser proposed, are perforated – bearing news/gifts/threats from beyond. What news? Waking dreams: A knocking at the door, for want of its own home; a breach in the firewall and a listener on the phone. There are termites in the floorboards and cockroaches in the cupboards.
Sies+Hoeke, 2016

A Great Acceleration, first exalted by the avant-gardes; lauded as the ‘racer’s stride’ and the ‘new beauty’ of ‘eternal, omnipresent speed’. ‘Hymn to the man at the wheel and the sleek flight of planes’ – where, today, instant coffee is already hot and being served. Burning jet fuel. Instant messaging. A ‘flash’ crash in the market. Moore’s Law. Server farm CO2 emissions in millions of kilos per second…
5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, 2016

The old creed of discrete entities and fixed borders stands mortified. Like the unhappy martyr Saint Sebastian it is shot through. No longer self-contained, its human form is invaded by synthetic genes and psychotropic drugs, or recast as a flow of data staked out by alienating economic functions. As a body of state, or ‘local’ domain, it is punctured by extra-territorial currents. If we discard the anthropomorphic lens, it is a Pacific Ocean tide receiving an influx of radioactive particles and petroleum based polymers, or a mountain unsettled by some violent injection of pressurized water and sand. Everything is touched; everything is probed. This is the broken ground upon which our contemporary cultural life treads, beset by all too frequent encounters with yawning chasms – denaturing sinkholes that threaten to swallow not only established values and concepts, but ecosystems, species and perhaps the whole world.
Kaleidoscope, 2016

Marguerite Humeau’s new body of work is a witches brew of contemporary pharmacology and synthetic industrial materials. Through unnatural conjunctions and sculptural effect, the artist endeavours to cast a spell over the apparent origins of sentient life – to conjure a world without mankind. This is a world in which, following evolutionary mutations affecting anatomy, elephants possess the capacity for complex spoken language. This is a world in which every human who has ever lived is but a background soundtrack, a ghostly chorus from who knows where. This is FOXP2: Showroom Biologique, the artist’s latest installation-cum-opera, fusing the visual language of design boutiques, natural history displays, CGI renders and biotech.

The Minimalist-inspired surface design of today’s consumer electronics represses the issue of complexity, offering the general public a material/spatial ideology of resolution and containment. And yet, today, boundaries between synthetic and living flesh, code and creature, social and virtual bodies, are highly unstable. As ever more objects are drawn into networks, what once might have been an individual object is, instead, a node; closed systems are cracked, and weird new conjunctions obtain. For artists attuned to this condition, such as Martin Roth and Dorian Gaudin, a pressing task presents itself: to explore emerging travesties of spatial organization and material identity. Furthermore, while doing so, to investigate agency, authorship, and – ultimately – control.
Galerie Tschudi

Between 1946 and 1958, at a remote Pacific Atoll, 23 of the most powerful manmade explosions in history occurred. During this period, bombs delivering a combined fission yield of 42.2 megatons were detonated. The force of one of these, Castle Bravo, was enough to vaporize two islands and gouge a massive crater – measuring 800 metres in diameter – out of the primordial reef. Another threw a fleet of 70 captured and decommissioned WW2 battleships – some of them up to 250 metres long – up into the air. A few were ripped to shreds. Others, like the USS Saratoga and the HIJMS Nagato – storied flagships of the US and Japanese navies – eventually sank to the bottom, where their rusting hulks remain today.
Rare Earth Catalogue, Sternberg Press / Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

The question of periodization is a key aspect of the historical enterprise. What separates one moment in human endeavor from another? How do we knit past events together into narratives that account for why one thing happened and not something completely different altogether? What things or objects should we analyze in order draw conclusions about the spirit of an age? These are not new questions, but prioritizing one periodic frame above others can feel rather arbitrary, given the complexity of prevailing techno-cultural conditions. How, then, might we approach the issue of what is contemporary through an exhibition? Can we ground our attempts to represent this period in something more tangible than references to the immaterial or virtual—figures whose ubiquity seems to stem from their ethereal and thus all enveloping resonance? Can we appeal, instead, to something elemental?
Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Can you keep a secret? This is an exhibition that might only ever be virtually accessed but which could—though not without a great deal of effort and luck—be experienced first hand. Whether it should be is a different matter altogether. “Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition” hijacks the maritime dimensions of Central American history (in its pirate element) in order to compare modes of value and methods of identification in the present. At a time when many people are concerned with privacy, surveillance and data protection it also highlights secrecy as a matter of performance—subject to the rule of desire and the politics of access and exclusion. It does so by engaging the narrative and legal identity of Isla del Coco, contrasting historical legends of buried treasure with the island’s real status a natural treasure worthy of protection, embellishing the ‘treasure island’ imaginary while venturing the question ‘How can an exhibition create its own legend?’
Julian Charriere: Future Fossil Spaces, Mousse Publishing

The shores of Lake Geneva are fringed with some of the most expensive private homes on the planet. At its easternmost point the city reposes, gentile, orderly and static. Business is done with discretion and the clocks keep good time. Untroubled by invasion despite two world wars, and with excellent health care, the Swiss can expect to live longer than almost everyone else on earth. Per capita, they are also the wealthiest and – on average – consume eleven kilograms of chocolate each year. Good reasons, then, to fantasize about the country being swallowed up by a black hole – so many precision chronographs voiding their warranties as they cross the event horizon, and time – even Swiss timekeeping – coming to a yawning, cosmic standstill.
Antarctic Pavilion, 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture

Antarctica is the geographical end of the world. Yet, more than a century after man first set foot there it sustains a population of 1162 throughout the sunless winter and 4000 in the summer months. Given the time that has elapsed and the amount of human activity, can we speak of culture (beyond official mission structures) peculiar to Antarctica? How does this culture relate to the public face of the continent? Does paying attention to life as lived in Antarctica bring our priorities into focus? Our vanities? Subterfuges? How do we – who will never go – also claim our stake in the Antarctic imaginary?
Antarctic Pavilion, 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture

The ultimate antipode, where all longitudes lead: Where south cannot be found on a compass – its needle unsteady like a sailor in the wind. The frozen end of the world and the outermost reach of geographical thought. The very end of it all. The last continent is not somewhere one associates with contemporary art. Doesn’t the latter term ring sweaty when mentioned in the same breath as the Ross Ice Shelf? Something other than miles separates our art world from the polar one. We who walk the baking flagstones of San Marco, who press flesh at the prosecco intermezzo – where chatter flits from the surface of the artwork to the decoration of the palazzo and the cut of dresses – we are very far removed. Perhaps this is a good thing. Antarctica is a place that does not forgive hubris easily; a place where people sometimes eat their boots to avoid starving. How was your canapé?
1:1 Talk, Import Projects

Today’s incredible systems of description shape the ‘real’ world as much as reflect it. In so doing, they both enable and circumscribe our existential possibilities. It is a simple fact, however, that it is impossible for anyone to be fluent in every language that orders our experience. Obscure functions, principles and vocabularies govern the everyday lives of rocket scientists and street cleaners alike. This is to say - The contemporary phenomenology of techno-capitalist-science is, for most people, occult; a paradoxical condition that drives much cultural production today.
Renata Kaminska, Luxembourg Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale of Art

The founding of the Venice Biennale was perhaps the first cultural regeneration project – and it is a model that continues to inspire copycats from Sharjah to Guangzhou. Founded in 1895, taking its cue from the Great Exhibition of 1851, it emerged from the century of upheaval and ignominy that followed Napoleon’s crushing of the Venetian Republic in 1797. No longer a maritime power with imperial dominions – its strategic importance eclipsed by alternative systems of control – the city was depressed until it was cannily rebranded as a realm devoted to the festive business.
Near East

You spend a year planning an art festival in a 16th century ruin. You invite artists, distribute press releases, appear on panels in Switzerland and Italy, host parties in London, Berlin and Morocco, and begin to edit a book about site-specific exhibition making that will focus on the particular historical identity of your venue.
Sculpture Network

Today’s sculptural practice takes on the expanded technical range of representation in the digital era. These newfound capabilities have endowed us with increasingly precise control of materials, from the visible field to the particulate and the molecular. Associated with such mastery, analogues of real space – alterable to degrees unlimited by physical conditions (except processor speed) – facilitate transitions from index to remix, single to multiple, copy to version. Advances at the intersection of mechanics and chemistry mean that such virtual items can then make the move (back) into material by 3d printing, nano-technology etc.
Art & Australia

The present ecological crisis seems to demand a radical response; a paradigm shift in patterns of consumption and the methods by which we handle the mess we’ve already made. But how uncompromising should our strategies be? The Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, working under the name Atelier Van Lieshout, asks this question by proposing numerous solutions, some more capable of being realised than others, almost all of them unsettling.
Dispatch: The Possibility of an Island

For millennia people have taken to islands, caves, far-flung mountains and cloisters to be apart from profane reality. But the urge to create a sanctuary in which to pursue human flourishing dovetails all to easily with the cowardly impulse to avoid facing challenges head-on. The self-sufficient life is, frequently, one apart. What could be more self-sufficient, more sustainable, than death? The morbid luxury of not having to think or lift a finger for other people makes bedfellows of the corpse, the ascetic and voluptuary alike.
Art & Australia

‘Punk Rock is Not a Crime!’ was Amnesty International’s slogan in support of Pussy Riot. But Western assertions of the sanctity of free expression have been as unhelpful as the Orthodox Church and Russian state’s putative defense of religious beliefs. The general tone of the debate surrounding the group’s action has served to obscure the concrete politics of the gesture. To better understand Pussy Riot’s intervention one must examine the wider context – including the site, Russia’s ongoing culture wars, and the relationship between the Orthodox Church and Putin’s government.
Lecture delivered at DUVE Berlin

In this age of cybernetic capitalism we are witnessing and explosion of cults, secret doctrines, totems, and magical thinking. This is not merely a nostalgic phenomenon. It is a symptom of a dawn of a new world and attempts to live with the passing of the previous one. Magic is back.
Third Text, Routledge

‘Time does not change us. It just unfolds us’ wrote the playwright Max Frisch. Juliana Leite’s artistic concerns seem to accord with this sentiment. In Portmanteau – her exhibition at London’s TJ Boulting gallery – the unfurling is corporeal. The sculptures and photos on show are all self-portraits that record her past physical activity while – she asserts – pointing towards a new and more general vision of embodiment.
Essay: No Island is a Man

Just as John Donne reported his discovery – that ‘no man is an island, entire of itself’, but ‘a piece of the continent, a part of the main’ – so Thoreau could announce that “the smallest stream is a Mediterranean sea”.1 In the particular, macro potential is revealed. Comprising just 90 acres of undeveloped land surrounded by 31,700 square miles of water in Lake Superior, Rabbit Island is a utopian attempt to colonize our imaginations.
Essay: Technicolour Yawn

The title Technicolour Yawn sets the (multicoloured) tone for a group exhibition featuring four young artists working in the United States of America and United Kingdom. Most obviously, the term links sensorial overload (associated with technologies of representation) to boredom. However, beyond this well-known relationship it also highlights the themes of compulsion and distaste: a colloquial term, ‘technicolour yawn’ is a euphemistic expression for a forceful bout of projectile vomit.
Edel Assanti

Photography seems to have a spilt personality; either a truth teller or a fabulist, matter of fact or dissembling. But this is just a pose. If the lies of the latter are plain – a spectrum that begins with pictorialism and ends with photoshopped thighs – this makes them a bit more honest. Documentary claims are the method by which the greatest falsehoods are advanced: the airbrushing of purged apparatchiks from Stalin-era photographs being just one example. But what about the moon landings? The litany of doubt could go on and on. I may be paranoid but this doesn’t mean photography’s not out to deceive me.
Sternberg Press

What are biennales for? Another contributor to this volume has outlined the historic national, governmental and diplomatic motivations for establishing events of this kind.1 The efficacy of such undertakings as prestige-enhancing, tourist-enticing strategies is also understood by politicians worldwide. Proof of this is the profusion of biennales and triennales — more than two hundred and counting. Given this large field, it is worth commenting on the operational conditions that underpin the Marrakech Biennale. Such observations contextualize its fourth edition, both in terms of the festival’s institutional development and its visual artistic program for 2012.

В октябре Ханс-Ульрих Обрист выступил на лондонской конференции журнала Wired, посвященной влиянию компьютерных технологий на культуру, экономику и политику. Обрист как никто другой вписывается в этот контекст. Ведь он – совершенный продукт опутанной глобальной сетью реальности гиперсовременного мира. Если цитировать философов Юджина Такера и Александра Гэллоуэя («Эксплуатация: теория сетей»), в этой реальности «все оказывается везде, и расстояние между полюсами глобального и локального невелико. Биологические вирусы переносятся благодаря авиасообщению из провинции Гуандонг в Торонто всего за несколько часов, а компьютерные вирусы распространяются по информационным линиям от Сиэтла до Сайгона всего за несколько секунд».

It has been two decades since the Tate Gallery hosted Richter’s first UK retrospective, in 1979. At the time Nicholas Serota – now Director of the museum group – curated it. Today he shares the task with the British academic Mark Godfrey, author of Abstraction and the Holocaust. The result is a significant overview of the career of this eighty year old artist who, in 1961, left East Germany for Dusseldorf and subsequently established himself as one of the most important artists of his generation. The exhibition highlights the willful stylistic heterogeneity of Richter’s oeuvre and the intellectual continuity that runs throughout its various facets, showcasing his role as painter of history, still lives, portraits, landscapes, genre and gestural abstract works
Digital pathology & the London riots

What has been consistently overlooked in discussions about the riots is the connection between ostensibly ‘mindless’ displays of unlawful acquisition – the grabbing of flat-screen tvs – and the techonological conditions that allowed such events to happen. We all know that the rioters coordinated their gatherings and encouraged acts of looting through use of a specific make of mobile phone – Blackberry (via its BBM application which allows messaging between with other blackberry-owning contacts without recourse to the easily interceptable and more widespread technology of text messaging). We also know that the state lacked a mechanism to control this technology once it had become, for all intents and purposes, ‘weaponized’ by its users. However, the use of BBM necessitates more than a future agenda for the government’s security apparatus. It is a phenomenon that helps us to understand what the looting actually was (about).
Akhmedov Art Projects

Farkhad Khalilov’s son tells me that if I want to understand his father’s work then I just need to spend time in his garden. So I do. I’m standing on the terrace of his studio looking over grape vines and tomatoes, above a pool that once contained fish, listening to the call of the village muezzin. Above my head is sky, blue like paint I’ve seen before, and below the horizon is a pewter swathe – the Caspian – interrupted just twice by darkening trees. There is a headland to the left, indistinct but for pricks of light emanating from country houses and, below, textured botanical greens. At this point my eyes become unfocused, detail recedes, and I’m left with bands of colour. Below his domestic crop lies a scrag of scrubby ending. Grass has given way to golden mineral – sand catching sun, tempered by country dust. I think this is what he sees.
Courtauld Institute of Art & AVC Charity Foundation

This exhibition is a metaphorical current flowing from one related image to another. The tide is such – death to entropy, entropy to water, islands to cities, cities to ships, ships to men, men to death. Its mimetic drift traces the dynamic process central to the concept of entropy itself, a transition unto static oblivion. Since this physical law cannot be escaped it must be surfed.
Third Text

English‐language writing about Soviet conceptualism has ping‐ponged between journalistic efforts and charismatic offerings by insider theorists for some time. The shortcomings of these polar modes are keenly felt by the reader in different ways, but both issue from methodological oversight on the part of writers. The first group – to say the least – do not engage with theory or philosophical questions, while the latter do so with much flair but pay only cursory attention to Western academic approaches to art historical methodology/historiography.
Barbarian Art Gallery

It may be a poetic exaggeration to characterize the vision enabled by this apparatus as voyeurism – with all its attendant sexual overtones. And, doubtless, emphasizing the phallic nature of the periscope’s ‘erection’ is a banality. Yet, the issue of desire cannot be dismissed. Often the periscope operator wants to – visually – seize the scrutinized object in order to facilitate capture in a more comprehensive sense. In war this often entails physical destruction. In such a manner the act of looking is a prelude to violent assault – having a ‘wicked way’ with the object. Art theory is replete with feminist accounts of ‘the violence of the male gaze’ and – for every banality must be repeated – the rising periscope is well-known preface to unwanted penetration (of a hull by a torpedo).
Calvert 22 Foundation

The works in this exhibition issue from journeys undertaken by Ponomarev: to the Arctic, to the bottom of the ocean, and while tracking the 60th latitude of the Atlantic onboard a scientific research ship. All of these voyages imply unbelievable stories: about how the artist managed to persuade an admiral to allow him to paint an operational nuclear submarine with colourful markings. Or, how he convinced the commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet to marshal ships and a smoke screen in order to make a real island disappear. Such tales raise the question – Why?
Third Text

London's biggest football club was bought by a Russian oligarch in 2003. The same man paid the highest price ever for a work by a living artist (Lucian Freud) in 2008. The next year, a former KGB agent acquired one of the capital's most influential newspapers. 1 Shortly thereafter, a non‐profit space and three commercial galleries specialising in contemporary Russian art opened in central London. 2 Haunch of Venison's ‘The Art of Glasnost’ is the most recent manifestation of this Russification process, and its catalogue pays tribute to the phenomenon. Indeed, Josef Backstein's essay in the catalogue associates the collapse of Soviet modernity with the author's inaugural visit to the UK. The end of Perestroika was, he recounts, announced by ‘the sight of the real Waterloo Bridge’. 3 He – the commissioner of the Moscow Biennale – currently resides in London.

Black absorbs all frequencies in the visible spectrum. Colour gives to the eye – by reflecting – while black takes from it. This optical phenomenon has acquired analogous cultural associations. In the West black is often a symbol for death; loss or absence.
Andrew Ranville: Roots Radical

On the uppermost branches of a Catalan conifer, some twenty metres above ground, there is a viewing platform. From there the green and rocky peaks of Montserrat stretch into the Spanish horizon. A wonderful place for hikers or local farmers to indulge in picturesque repose. A spot for solitary meditation, picnics or romance – so it seems. But there is a little problem. Without a ladder, stairs or lift, the platform – Perch (2008) – is all but unreachable.
Makarevich & Elagina: Mushrooms of the Russian Avant-Garde

In 2000 rogue mushroom-pickers from the small northern town of Krasnoselkup, intent on gathering the finest specimens, persistently strayed onto the busy runway of a nearby airport, ‘causing havoc, preventing flights from landing and creating a major security risk’. The mycophiliac menace was only contained after local authorities hurriedly issued strict new laws. Mushrooms – even the non-psychoactive kind – often cause Russians to lose themselves: In a single month during the summer of 2003, over one hundred and twenty-one persons went missing while foraging for fungi in the forests outside St Petersburg. The same year, a bumper crop was responsible for thirty-four reported deaths and four-hundred and fifty-seven cases of poisoning.
Naked Punch

An intern is someone who is undergoing internment. She is a detainee. But if the role is voluntary then how is she being confined? ‘[A]ll pragmatic purposes are simply symbols of the fact that a will to power has implanted its own sense of function in those less powerful’. The ‘pragmatic purpose’ is voluntary internment. The ‘sense of function’ manifest in the edifice of work experience is such: The intern occupies the position of debtor in relation to the pseudo-employer’s creditor. The latter extracts time, energy and enthusiasm from the former, which he deploys towards his own ends. And what is to his credit? Simply, establishment in a professional firmament; a status deployed as collateral underpinning – and concealing – wooly exhortations that imply benefit where there may be none. These suggestions are calculated to stoke the flames of the intern’s ambition while, at the same time, quietly neutralizing the potential threat they pose to the status quo. The snake-oil is well known and vague: “It’ll be good experience” and, only a little more specific, “it’ll be good for your CV”.