White Pocketbook Series
Frankfurt-based architect Nikolaus Hirsch presents theoretical essays, dialogues on collaborative projects and reflections on his own work, exploring the critical transformations of contemporary space and its effects on spatial practice. In this thought-provoking offering from the White Pocket Book series, the winner of the 2002 World Architecture Award looks at disciplines such as visual and performative arts and questions the notions of “boundary”: as a phenomenon of social and political discourse; a conflict between collaboration and authorship; a physical limitation that negotiates between stable and unstable conditions. Hirsch’s internationally acclaimed work includes the Dresden Synagogue, the Hinzert Document Center and a research project for the European Kunsthalle in Cologne. His work has been shown in such exhibitions as New German Architecture in Berlin, Utopia Station at the Venice Biennale and Can Buildings Curate? at AA London/Storefront Gallery in New York.
If modernity warrants a return to the origin of art, then French curator and art critic Nicolas Bourriaud is right when he claims that this is the time to redefine the concept of “what is modern.” Our century’s modernity will be invented, precisely, in opposition to all radicalism, claims Bourriaud. So then, being “radicant” – from the Latin origin of “roots” – means setting one’s roots in motion, transplanting behaviors, and exchanging ideas rather than imposing them. Looking at the world through his globalized prism of art, Bourriaud sketches a “world art criticism” in which works are in constant dialog with the context from which they’re produced.
French writer, deejay, and sound artist Jean-Yves Leloup tracks the evolution of electronic music from its first appearance in Europe (at the end of the eighties) and its effects on pop culture. Musicians find themselves dealing with new genres and sub-genres, shared creations, sampling, deejay rule, mix and remix, and new and micro economies. Leloup shows how the democratization of the digital, of the means of distribution and of exchange and listening, transforms the relationship between the audience and music. Today’s MP3 Generation has gone beyond the simple question of piracy, inventing new codes and practices which have shaken the established way of “consuming” culture.
Portable Document Format
“A library is a collection of books kept for use.” That axiom is key to this sly little book, part of Sternberg’s White Pocketbook Series. Even the title is sly: the “portable document format” refers both to texts assembled in the “library” at dextersinister.org, and to this other amazing artifact of technology, a pocket-sized, hardcover book. Includes 13 texts by a variety of writers (ever heard of that Poe fellow?) that investigate contemporary publishing in its broadest sense, stemming from a New York basement workshop and bookstore in 2006. The second part consists of reproductions of a series of 10 images titled W.A.S.T.E. Proof Prints, with their extended captions.
The Age of Creation
In the past 200 years, “art” has become one of the most fetishized concepts in Western civilization. The idea, according to which certain people—also known as artists—would provide the world with their inner visions, is a modern myth but has proved to be a contemporary reality. Today, this post-Romantic conception is challenged by recent geographical and demographic explosions. Being an artist is often seen as an activity, a position or even a “job”—contrary to its first definition at the beginning of the 19th century. The Age of Creation analyzes the entrance of art into culture at large. These critical writings by Proust scholar Donatien Grau are an exciting new addition to the long-standing and highly regarded White Pocketbook series. With forewords by Maurizio Cattelan, Douglas Coupland and Carsten Höller.
“It has never been my ambition to treat artworks as illustrations of philosophical doctrines. Rather, I believe that the works explored give rise to their own set of concepts.”
A philosophical essay on time, phenomenology and beyond, Daniel Birnbaum’s Chronology was recently reviewed in the April 2006 issue of frieze as a “compelling and sophisticated take on the common theme of Deleuzian immanence.”
Whereas many theoretical books littering the bookshops of art institutions are laudations of excess, Birnbaum’s convictions presented in Chronology cut a way through the “caesuras of non-meaning and blankness into the thick web of sense.” The works of artists such as Stan Douglas, Eija-Liisa Athila, Doug Aitken, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Tacita Dean, Darren Almond, Tobias Rehberger, Pierre Huyghe, and Philippe Parreno are scrutinized as so many attempts to capture the very dialectic of time itself.
As Brian Dillon writes in frieze, “Birnbaum’s notion of an art of unpredictable becoming … has its aporias too. A brief aside apropos Matthew Barney – to the effect that his art is all meaning, all of the time – is quite telling.”
Daniel Birnbaum is Rector of the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and Director of its Portikus gallery. A contributing editor of Artforum, he is the author of a number of texts on art and philosophy.
Post-Production is the most recent essay by French curator, art critic and writer Nicolas Bourriaud. Bourriaud examines the trend, since the early 1990s, in which an increasing number of artists interpret, reproduce, re-exhibit or use works produced by others, or available cultural products, as art. Post-Production responds to the chaos of global culture in the information age. Notions of originality and creation are blurred in this new cultural landscape.
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