This article analyses Patricio Guzmán's documentary, Nostalgia de la luz/Nostalgia for the Light (2010). It takes a Deleuzian approach to the film's exploration of the past, both in terms of the history buried in the ground in Chile's Atacama Desert and the connected history of the universe found in the stars above. Nostalgia de la luz is considered a departure from Guzmán's former emphasis on the national-political in such seminal documentaries as La batalla de Chile/Battle of Chile (1975). By contrast, his latest film is a meditative exploration of history as a (non-human) memory stored within both the terrestrial and the celestial landscapes. The Deleuzian concepts of the ‘crystal of time’ and the ‘any-space-whatever’ (both influenced by Henri Bergson's work on the interconnectedness of matter and memory) are used to unlock the film's non-anthropocentric consideration of the history of the universe.
Opening with an image of a Boeing aircraft falling to the ground, Hito Steyerl's video In Free Fall (2010) significantly differs from documentaries produced in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in that the work does not embrace a straightforward and detached didactic approach. Instead it mimics the spectacular quality of consumer culture by presenting the audience with a nerve-racking combination of theatrical performances, lively animations, clips of aeroplane explosions and snippets from television science programmes about recycling. This act of mimicry demands attention: is Steyerl's work an elegy to the possibility of critical distance under the conditions of financial capitalism and an example of accelerationist politics? Or is it an attempt to create an aesthetic of ‘cognitive mapping’? This article offers an in-depth analysis of Steyerl's appropriation strategies and discusses them in relation to the theory of capitalism and schizophrenia of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.
Film festival discourses position festival audiences in homogenized ‘local’ contexts where ‘local’ is geographically and conceptually located within national boundaries distinct from the global flows of cultural traffic that festivals facilitate. Particularities of audience constituencies, such as the relationship with cinema and the historical and cultural contexts in which cinema and festivals are experienced, are overlooked. Other approaches position audiences within the rubrics of the ‘cinephile’, a descriptor of audience behaviours that insufficiently references the consumption contexts and processes of meaning production that occur at each consumption site. Using personal observations from an encounter between documentary film and nascent audience constituencies at the Ladakh International Film Festival, India, the author suggests that desire for the cinematic object emerges from social and historical contexts exceeding cinephilia. A phenomenological approach affords a meaningful framework for locating its significance. Finally, the consumption of documentary film transpires as a unique instance of restoring equity within this cultural-historical cinema context.
This article examines the emergence of indigenous art in postcolonial India as a contradictory process and phenomenon. The article traces the career of Gond art, from its discovery in the jungles of central India to its state institutionalization and its presence in the contemporary international art scene. Through the example of the life and the untimely death of Jangarh Singh Singh, arguably the first Gond painter, the article interrogates the postcolonial Indian state's relationship to indigeneity and indigenous art, and the social and economic conditions of the production, circulation and accumulation of this art in the world. Using the Marxist concept of Primitive Accumulation as an analytical framework, the article makes a case for Gond art to be understood as providing allegories of global capitalism's desecration of tribal lands and culture, but also as engaging in a critique of, and providing resistance to, the ongoing accumulation through dispossession.
This article explores three art exhibitions held in Europe in the last three years to unveil the traces of orientalism informing their conception and organization. ‘Orientalism in Europe: From Delacroix to Kandinsky’ (Munich, 2011), a journey through the formation of orientalist aesthetics, is here analyzed as the opposite double of ‘Migrations: journey into British contemporary art’ (London, 2012). The second exhibition, displaying heterogeneous works from immigrants living in the UK across four centuries, reveals that orientalism is a dispositive of the images of self and otherness produced by and central to the construction of Britishness. The article next turns to the ‘Open 14’ (Venice, 2011) focusing on Ronni Ahmmed's installation The Tomb of Qara Köz (2011), which contests the fixed constructions of identity and belonging, and thus deorientalizes official and historical narratives. This exhibition tackles the question of orientalism through artistic reflections on the mobility of cultural boundaries dividing East and West.
Theories of montage have long proliferated within cinema studies, in attempts to understand and account for the medium's temporality, its mode of address and image repertory. However, art historical and theoretical precedent have rarely been engaged in such discussions, despite the fact that thinkers and practitioners like Gerhard Richter and Aby Warburg have long focused on the format of the atlas and its implications for the spatiotemporal and ‘genealogical’ articulation of art and imagery more generally. Based on a comparative examination of Warburg's last great project Atlas Mnemosyne and Jean-Luc Godard's monumental video-essay-cum-history Histoire(s) du Cinéma, this article envisions what a transhistorical, interdisciplinary and image-based art history would look like, as well as probing its political and aesthetical connotations. Focusing on the Warburgian Pathosformulae and the Godardian ideology of the interstice, a conceptualization of media as self-archiving and historicizing organisms is offered that has as much import for contemporary artistic praxis as for the re-evaluation of the past.
This interview is the first English language introduction to Stelio Maria Martini, whose works of visual poetry are embedded in the richly varied post-World War II avant-garde developments in Italian art, literature and cinema that remain virtually unknown in Britain. Martini's deployment of collage photo-images in poetry since the late 1950s is situated at the blurred and permeable thresholds of art and literature. The objective of Martini's poetic has always been the decolonization of Western literary history, which is firmly entrenched in the Logos, the Word, as sole privileged access to truth. His experiment in the liminality of the word-image have roots in Italian Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Italian neo-figurative art of the 1950s, but also anticipate the concrete poetry evolving in France, Latin America and elsewhere.
Pedro Cabrita Reis (born 1956, Lisbon, Portugal) is one of the leading Portuguese artists of his generation. For the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) Reis fabricated a complex installation incorporating painting, sculpture, photography and found objects as his contribution to the Collateral Events programme. A Remote Whisper spread through all the rooms of the 700 square metres of the ‘piano nobile’ of the Palazzo Falier, interacting with the walls, doorways and floors, deploying aluminium tubes, fluorescent lights and electrical cables as elements in a complex three-dimensional drawing. Richard Dyer met and interviewed Reis in the Palazzo Falier.
Third Text is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.