Abstract Why do art’s traditions of negation persist? What continues to drive negation in art is the very ‘asociality’ of art under capitalism, the fact that for art to remain art (rather than transform itself wholly into design, fashion or social theory) it must experience itself as being ‘out of joint’, both with its place in the world and within its own traditions. For without this drive to ‘autonomy’ (the emergence of art as something other than the conditions which call it into being) art would simply cease to exist as a tradition of aesthetic and intellectual achievement and, more importantly, as a means of resistance to the heteronomy of capitalist exchange. This is why this tradition of negation continues to produce work of value and quality, despite the demise of the original avant‐garde and the dispersal and assimilation of modernism, and despite art’s constant submission to the demands of entertainment and commerce and institutional legitimisation and approbation. This article examines these questions, in the light of legacy of the avant‐garde, neo‐avant‐garde and contemporary practice.
Abstract This article examines Georges Bataille’s notion of revolution‐as‐festival and his attempt, in his writing of the 1930s, to place theories of affect within the framework of Marxist philosophy. Against the various negative characterisations of this project, it looks at Bataille’s ideas in this period in context, in order to understand their vivid contradictions as an attempt to assert a positive project of affect’s utility to the Left, within and against negative categories in early twentieth‐century cultural and critical thought.
Abstract Collaborations between indigenous and non‐indigenous artists are most often regarded as politically symbolic moments of reconciliation. This article examines a very particular type of collaboration between Dolly Nampijinpa Daniels, a Warlpiri woman from central Australia, and Anne Mosey, a non‐indigenous artist who had come to live in the same community. A close examination of the nature of their interaction, both in the everyday and in the making of art, reveals the unstable nature of subjectivity itself. Each artist is formed in relation to the other and the broader environment in various forms of togetherness. It is proposed that the resulting artworks, which evoke the unstable nature of this relationship, deny the viewer the opportunity to feel completely ‘at home’. This is contrasted with the type of ‘inter‐human relations’ anticipated by Bourriaurd’s relational aesthetics.
Abstract This article begins with a discussion of two terms in Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida: punctum and satori. A general exposition of the centrality of the punctum to the text points out the subtle way in which it is linked to satori. The term satori is a supplement to Barthes’s text and carries a greater historical weight than Barthes realises. Satori is traced back to its use in popular Zen texts and its place in attempts to modernise Japanese philosophy. Barthes’s understanding of the term is in fact a modern invention with surprising roots in the work of William James. A consideration of this history suggests a revision of some elements of Barthes’s theory of photography, particularly his conception of how the photograph translates reality and the ethical stakes of the photograph. Using the international movements of satori and the critical lens of translation studies, the author argues that the photograph is a surplus of reality and not an equivalent index of it. In conclusion the ethics of the photograph is a demand that we labour carefully with this surplus of knowledge in a global world.
Abstract This article examines the photograph of the dead body of Carlo Giuliani in the anti‐capitalist protests in Genoa (2001), taken by the Reuters photojournalist, Dylan Martinez. The article discusses the centrality of the photograph in the European press coverage in relation to issues of censorship, aesthetics and politics, and argues that the main reasons for its repeated publication are its iconic power and its accordance with the mass media narrative concerning the protest violence. Finally, the article questions whether shock, fear or even sympathy generated by the viewing of this atrocious photograph can be transmitted into thought, critique and understanding not only of the events in Genoa and but also of the anti‐capitalist movement as a whole.
Abstract Since the 1960s Carlos Alonso (b 1930, Tucunán, Argentina) has been committed to the practice of a figurative art charged with sociopolitical content. Beginning in 1969 and ending in 1995, he produced six works that depict the death of revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara (1928–1967). Unlike other images of the dead Guevara, which depict his corpse in a Christ‐like fashion and emphasise a religious aura, Alonso frames the execution within the convention of an anatomy lesson, thereby returning his subject to a secular space. In the six works Guevara’s body becomes the contested space of failed and betrayed revolutions in Latin America, as well as an arena where Alonso stubbornly defends painting as a place of memory that saves ‘the wounds of reality’.
Abstract In this article, Jim Jarmusch’s film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) is examined in order to question contemporary media. Jarmusch’s film is interesting for its treatment of communication and the ways it is being shaped by modern media technology. The film is about a contract hit man for the Mafia who lives according to the Way of the Samurai, through which he has established a lifestyle fundamentally at odds with the contemporary mediatised world. Jarmusch appears to view communication as more than transmission of and interaction with information. His film suggests that it occurs in subtleties of gesture and allusion and in what is left unspoken as much, if not more than, in what is fully articulated. From this starting point, the extent to which the contemporary media really comprise means of communication or in fact serve to obscure true communication between people is explored.
Abstract Ernest Mancoba (1904–2002) was born in Boksburg on the rim of Johannesburg. He first studied at a teachers’ training college in the diocese of Pietersburg, then taught there from 1925 to 1929. He is one of the most unrecognised painters and sculptors of the twentieth century. He began his education at the Christian school of Pietersburg, where in 1929 his Bantu Madonna created a scandal. It showed her barefoot with African features, her hand making the gesture made by Bantu girls on nearing the head of the family. This break with tradition was not limited to iconography but extended by implication to the whole Christian world‐view as upheld in the West. Seven years later the Madonna was placed in the Anglican cathedral of St Mary in Johannesburg. In 1938 he moved to Paris, was imprisoned during the war, then lived in Denmark before going back to Paris at the end of the 1940s. In 1948, with colleagues including Asger Jorn and Karel Appel, he founded the highly influential art‐group CoBrA. He died in 2002 at the age of 98 near Paris.
The journal is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.