[-empyre-] Tacticality: 4 Anna

Anna Munster A.Munster at unsw.edu.au
Wed Apr 29 09:07:28 EST 2009

Actually I am not calling for 'strategy'. I am not calling for  
anything deterministic like 'how artists should respond' or 'what  
someone on this list must do'!!! I am asking,instead, for  
thoughtfulness among some people on the discussion this month!!  
Thought, requires effort, it requires looking into things and all I am  
suggesting is that these things are already all around us and indeed  
have been for many years in the form of very interesting engagements  
between artists and (as Simon has also suggested) a long period/series  
of crises.

  ...and while I am fully cognisant of the military overtones of that  
word, I was simply using it  to collectively denote a diversity of  
practices that have an 'investigative' thoughtful and hopeful response  
at their core. Some of these practices are also tactical – in the  
sense of tactical media, tactical biopolitics and so forth. Many are  
not. Many rely on affect and sensation as their means and end, in  
which case they are nonrepresentational and are certainly not aimed at  
some determinant outcome ie representing the nonrepresented. Rather  
they set off or produce affective environments and sensations that  
might also provide space for thought. Others might use this 'strategy'  
as well as critique - Hito Steyerl's 'Lovely Andrea' at the last  
Documenta  for example...

Nonrepresentability is not a quality but an effect, btw...you can't  
attribute some 'thing' a nonontology!!

One thing I have learned from this month's discussion is that  
speculative reason and speculative capital have never been more in bed  
with each other. When thought takes the form of arrogant  
generalisations it performs in similar ways to speculative capital.  
Forever trying to hedge itself against its own precarity and  
inevitable collapse.


On 29/04/2009, at 8:14 AM, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD wrote:

> Or maybe what Anna is calling for is not strategy, which is  
> primarily totalizaing and singular, but tactics, which are  
> fragmented, dspersed, plural and framed in the absence of the God's- 
> eye-view perspective without which there are no totals, only partial  
> sums?  I am thinking again of Michel de Certeau.
> *******************************************
> Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA
> http://www.MichaelAngeloTata.com/
> Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2009 11:09:05 -0700
> From: editor at intertheory.org
> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Artists' responses to the so-called "crisis"
> dear anna...interesting comments, though I wonder if your  
> representation of the non-representable is not a bit too theological  
> for my taste? And transformation is such a magical enterprise...  
> alchemically speaking, I do not suspect that attribution of a  
> quality such as 'non-representabililty' adds or subtracts to the  
> strategic authenticity or legitimacy of politics, responses or art,  
> for that matter. Strategies, in other words, are always fatal...to  
> their object, or to themselves. We all try to catch the falling the  
> knife with each attempt at becoming, no?
> Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D
> Editor, Kritikos
> http://intertheory.org
> From: Anna Munster <A.Munster at unsw.edu.au>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2009 3:48:56 AM
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Artists' responses to the so-called "crisis"
> Sorry Nikos but as to your rhetorical 'no' below, I resoundingly  
> reply NO WAY!!. There is a world of difference between responding  
> (rather than reacting which is really what Joseph is talking about)  
> to a social, economic and political crisis using aesthetic  
> strategies and techniques vs. the 'arts' of finance, government or  
> whatever other institution you want to aestheticise.
> (a la Benjamin et al).
> The examples that Nik and Marc are talking about (and also what  
> Brian Holmes has been involved with) are emphatically not abut knee  
> jerk response or reaction but are about using nonrepresentational  
> aesthetic strategies - among a multitude of strategies which also  
> include activist, semiotic, political, social and affective ones –  
> to transform subjective and collective situations. These are  
> immanent, critical, positive and productive relationships with  
> crisis ie they do not respond to  crisis but rather work amid,  
> through and via crisis to work with what might be transformative  
> about crises. And these aesthetic strategies are absolutely  
> everywhere both in and out of the 'art world' eg Critical Art  
> Ensemble, Harwood and Mongrel,16Beaver, rebublicart project, The  
> Senselab, eipcp, Make World, edu factory, The Thing, Serial Space  
> (sydney -based for all you North Americans who need to get out  
> more ;-)  etc etc etc. And these are just the artists/collectives/ 
> projects - there's also a wealth of brilliant art theory around this  
> - try Hito Steyerl, Gerald Raunig, Brian Holmes, Matthew Fuller,  
> Florian Schneider, Brian Massumi all the FLOSS+art etc etc etc
> There is NO relation between these kind of politics, responses and  
> aesthetics and the 'art' of finance - except a relation of  
> revulsion. On the other hand, if you want to find out about a really  
> fantastic installation that engaged directly with the stock market  
> and in fact used a gambling syndicate's money to trade stocks as  
> part of the actual art work - have a look at Micheal Goldberg's  
> documentation of his 2002 work 'Catch a Falling Knife' (http://www.michael-goldberg.com/main.html 
>  - go into Projects and select the title of the piece).
> Just another point I'd like to make about this month's discussion -  
> I  have found some of the posts scary and stupid in their absolute  
> lack of knowledge about anything that is going on about contemporary  
> art, aesthetic strategies and politics. I really think some people  
> need to do a bit of preliminary research and investigation before  
> they start sounding off about  how boring or naive the concept of  
> aesthetically responding to crisis is,
> Best Anna
> On 24/04/2009, at 10:36 PM, Nicholas Ruiz III wrote:
> nk...another aspect of interest is the way in which the financial  
> realm in itself is a creative act, and artful...with all of the  
> discussion revolving around the perception/reading parallax, I  
> wonder how people in the artistic/academic community may not  
> perceive/read financial creativity as art at all...I suspect such  
> financial activity is a form of art, which contains all of the  
> aspirations, triumphs and failures that any art project may enable,  
> no?
> nikos
> Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D
> Editor, Kritikos
> http://intertheory.org
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: nick knouf <nak44 at cornell.edu>
> To: -empyre- <empyre at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 1:07:11 PM
> Subject: [-empyre-] Artists' responses to the so-called "crisis"
> Dear empyre,
> It's strange that it's the 16th of the month (at least where I am),  
> yet
> there has been little sustained discussion of present-day artistic
> responses to this so-called financial "crisis"--one that exists in a
> mythical realm of numbers-that-we-cannot-perceive, but that sadly has
> very real impacts on people.  Responses by students, academics, and
> activists have not been limited to the resignation of acceptance, nor
> abstract theorizing in and of itself, but rather have taken, at times,
> forms of protest and occupation throughout the world, as well as  
> direct
> actions against banking institutions.  (See, in particular the story  
> of
> Enric Duran:
> http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20090319182858556 and
> http://17-s.info/en .)  How then might we understand these actions
> within the context of our own theorizing activities?
> This should reflect a special concern as to the impact of this  
> "crisis"
> on academic and cultural institutions.  Indeed, the occupations and
> protests at schools---NYU, the New School, University of Rochester,
> institutions in Italy and France and Spain and...---suggest the deep
> worry that many have regarding how the "crisis" might ultimately  
> move to
> transform culture and learning into more and more reified situations
> governed by numbers and the market.  (The Bologna process is coming to
> the states: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/09/education/09educ.html .)
> In response there have been discussions and interviews about how we  
> can
> use this time of "crisis" to develop new models that exist in parallel
> to concurrent struggles to force governments to provide for the basic
> needs of people.  (See in particular "Interviewing the Crisis":
> http://www.interviewingthecrisis.org/ .)  How might we then reconsider
> actions and activities of the past and present and future---TAZs,
> tactical media, pirate radio, and many, many, more---in light of calls
> for more standardization and more "accountability"?
> And whither the academic institution?  Corporations have fairly free
> reign in many departments at colleges and universities in the United
> States.  Are we to expect even more of these so-called "public-private
> partnerships" in the future?  What is the role of the institution in
> producing the people who created the "crisis" in the first place?  Who
> will follow the links between the powerful actors in order to map  
> their
> impact?
> I present here a recent project of mine that is my own attempt to face
> some of these issues.  MAICgregator (http://maicgregator.org) is a
> Firefox extension that aggregates information about colleges and
> universities embedded in the military-academic-industrial (MAIC)
> complex. It searches government funding databases, private news  
> sources,
> private press releases, and public information about trustees to try  
> and
> produce a radical cartography of the modern university via the
> replacement or overlay of this information on academic websites.
> MAICgregator is available for download right now:
> http://maicgregator.org/download .  If you want to see what  
> MAICgregator
> does to a website without downloading it, you can look at some
> screenshots: http://maicgregator.org/docs/screenshots .  This is its
> first public release, so expect that things might not work properly.
> I have written an extensive statement about MAICgregator that tries to
> contextualize it within discourses of net.art, the
> military-academic-industrial complex, "data mining", and activist
> artistic practices.  As the statement is rife with embedded links,
> please read it online:
> http://maicgregator.org/statement
> I welcome any feedback or discussion that this might provoke; if you
> want to e-mail the project authors directly, please e-mail info --at--
> maicgregator ---dot--- org.
> http://maicgregator.org/
> nick knouf
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> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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> A/Prof. Anna Munster
> Assistant Dean, Grant Support
> Acting Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
> School of Art History and Art Education
> College of Fine Arts
> P.O. Box 259
> Paddington
> NSW 2021
> 612 9385 0741 (tel)
> 612 9385 0615(fax)
> a.munster at unsw.edu.au
> Windows Live™ Hotmail®:…more than just e-mail. Check it out.  
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

A/Prof. Anna Munster
Assistant Dean, Grant Support
Acting Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
School of Art History and Art Education
College of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 259
NSW 2021
612 9385 0741 (tel)
612 9385 0615(fax)
a.munster at unsw.edu.au

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