“The transformation of Clark Kent into Superman is always precipitated by a crisis, usually one large enough to potentially destroy the world. But what if it is not a monumental end-of-the-world that scares us, but the prospect of losing the small worlds that we inhabit and know: a bookstore disappearing, a public organization running out of funds, an independent gallery shutting down?
The crisis of funding in arts and culture threatens to destroy many such worlds with a slow petrification of our sensibilities, and the understandable impulse is to despair and bemoan. It is, after all, no coincidence that a state of the economy—depression—also names or appropriates an affective state whereby a self-fulfilling prophesy is initiated: an economy drained of capital produces a draining of life. An alternative economy would have to seek a language that does not just name a different economic process, but names different psychic energies amidst the prediction of gloom that normally accompanies the retreat of capital from all forms of life, including creative life. And yet it remains important to maintain that the mere presence of healthy public institutions does not guarantee a richer cultural life, just as their absence does not necessitate a poverty of cultural life.”
- Lawrence Liang, “Is it a Bird? A Plane? No, it’s a Magic Chair,” e-flux Journal 27, Sept.’11
I think Claire Bishop (unsurprisingly) asks the most pertinent question about the life and future of the international biennial exhibition:
““ILLUMInations” therefore presents us with a biennial impasse: If not discursive and pedagogic performativity, if not the globalized documentary turn, then what are our remaining options?”
Read her complete Artforum review here.
Daniel Birnbaum on Christoph Schlingensief at the German Pavilion (winner of this year’s Golden Lion) here.