Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art NYC

SaasFee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is a nomadic, intensive summer academy with shifting programs in contemporary critical theory. SFSIA stresses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between art and politics. The program consists of seminar-style lectures, deep readings, and workshops.

In the summer of 2019, SFSIA was hosted at Performance Space in the East Village, and it was the first time the program took place in New York City. Building upon the past four year engagement with topics concerning estrangement, individuation, collectivity and art and politics in cognitive capitalism, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art 2019 focused upon states of consciousness.

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The Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art was founded and is directed by Warren Neidich and is co-directed by Barry Schwabsky. Sarrita Hunn is the artistic coordinator.

The faculty of SFSIA 2019 in NYC include: Claire Bishop, Patricia Clough, Suzanne Dikker, Coco Fusco, Agnieszka Kurant, Sanford Kwinter, Joseph E. LeDoux, Carlo McCormick, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Yann Moulier-Boutang, Warren Neidich (founder/director), Reza Negarestani, Alva Noë, Luciana Parisi, Christiane Paul, Daniel Pinchbeck, Florencia Portocarrero, Barry Schwabsky (co-director), Martha Schwendener, Sensorium (John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser), Roxane Silberman and Laura Wexler.

The fellows of SFSIA 2019 in NYC include: Colleen Billing, Christopher Burns, Vincent Ceraudo, Malina Cheeneebash, Woohee Cho, Jisoo Chung, Eva Davidova, Dulcinee DeGuere, Lola Deng, Carolyn Forrester, Dakota Gearhart, Ethan Green, Vanessa Holyoak, Becca Imrich, Anabelle Lacroix, Isabel Legate, Emilee Lord, Amanda Magel, Shanjana Mahmud, Lio Mehiel, Ahmed El Shaer, Lane Shi Otayonii, Owen Parry, Karen Rasaby, Constanza Salazar, Alice Sarmiento, Svenja S Schennach, Luke Seward, Esther Sibiude, Alexandra Stock, Alexa van Abbema, Alexa Wilson, Xuan Zheng, Shuyi Yin 

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Presentation of performance and multidisciplinary artist Elena Tejada-Herrera’s work by researcher, writer and curator (and fellow 2012/13 de Appel alumna 🍎!) Florencia Portocarrero

As we have witnessed firsthand in the 2016 U.S. election, the political potential stored in the complex networked analytics of information and their neural analogues are now being fully engaged as apparatuses of control. Economies of attention and dis-attention, click bait, cloud analytics, memes, social media and fake news have now taken center stage in the process of subjectivation and the interiorization of domination. Could the spreading wave of Populism worldwide be the result of forms of embodied and extended cognition linked to contemporary neoliberal apparatuses? The central thesis of this year’s program posits that these are the initial constituents and first signs of an impending crisis that define a later stage of cognitive capitalism. New technologies on the horizon, such as brain computer interfaces, cortical implants and optogenetics, provide an imminent threat and could create the core technologies that instigate, track, measure, and record the brains’ capacities to generate electrical signals (or brain waves) during wake and sleep which then might be linked to the Internet and virtual platforms. Companies funded by DARPA, like Neuralink and Kernel, are at the forefront of these efforts to produce “total subsumption”. On the other hand, perhaps these new technologies will make brain power obsolete as humans are replaced by AI and robots and are no longer necessary for military regimes or physical and mental labor. As such, the nightmare of science fiction and right-leaning accelerationism might become reality.

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SFSIA fellow Ahmed El Shaer presenting his work

SFSIA 2019 asks what effect these transformations might have on human consciousness and its various social and cultural expressions and permutations as defined in the fields of neuroaesthetics, psychology, politics, philosophy of mind, queer and gender studies, popular and visual culture, cultural and decolonial studies, art history, visual and sound art, film studies, as well as, sociology and economics. How might we together understand these changes in the context of artistic research programs that (already) use the lenses of post-humanism, transhumanism, and speculative materialism? Through discussions, workshops, deep readings and performative lectures, we aim to co-create new pathways of understanding and dissensus.

Video recordings of the following public SFSIA lectures will soon be available on the institute’s website:

Collective Intelligence and Artificial Artificial Intelligence (A.A.I)
by Agnieszka Kurant

Conceptual artist Agnieszka Kurant explores how complex social, economic and ecological systems can operate in ways that confuse distinctions between fiction and reality or nature and culture. Probing collective intelligence, surveillance capitalism, AI and the evolution of culture, labor, knowledge and creativity, she investigates automation, crowdsourcing, data exploitation, evolution of memes and social movements, artificial societies, mining industries and energy circuits in the context of art production. Her works often behave like living organisms, self-organized complex systems or bachelor machines. Collaborating with professionals from various fields, from biologists to computer scientist, Kurant explores the hybrid and shifting status of objects in relation to value, authorship, production and circulation. Her past projects include a commission for the façade of the Guggenheim Museum (2015), a solo exhibition at the Sculpture Center, New York (2013). In 2010 she co-represented Poland at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (with Aleksandra Wasilkowska). Her work was also featured in exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Guggenheim Bilbao, Tate Modern, Witte de With, Moderna Museet, MUMOK, Bonner Kunstverein, Grazer Kunstverein, Albright Knox, CCA in Tel Aviv, Stroom Den Haag, SFMOMA, MoMa PS1, MOMA in Warsaw, The Kitchen, Frieze Projects and Performa Biennial. Kurant’s writings were published in Frieze, Artforum and Cabinet magazine. She is the co-editor of Joy Forever. The Political Economy of Social Creativity, Mayfly, 2014. She is an artist in residence at MIT CAST and a fellow of the Smithsonian Institute and the Berggruen Institute.

Digital Fictions – the future of storytelling
by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

DJ Spooky aka Paul D. Miller is the executive editor of ORIGIN Magazine and is a composer, multimedia artist, editor and author. His DJ MIXER iPad app has seen more than 12 million downloads in the last year. In 2012-2013 he is the first artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC starting this fall. He’s produced and composed work for Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, and scores of artists and award-winning films. Miller’s work as a media artist has appeared in the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and many other museums and galleries. His book Sound Unbound, an anthology of writings on electronic music and digital media is a best-selling title for MIT Press. He has been featured everywhere from Elle to CNN to SyFy. Miller’s deep interest in reggae and dub has resulted in a series of compilations, remixes and collections of material from the vaults of the legendary Jamaican label, Trojan Records. Other releases include Optometry (2002), a jazz project featuring some of the best players in the downtown NYC jazz scene, and Dubtometry (2003) featuring Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Mad Professor. Another of Miller’s collaborations, Drums of Death, features Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Chuck D of Public Enemy among others. He also produced material on Yoko Ono’s recent album Yes, I’m a Witch.

Art and the In-Between
by Alva Noë

In this talk, Noë explores art’s power to reorganize us, and its kinship with philosophy. Alva Noë is a writer and philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Center for New Media and the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. He works on consciousness and art. Alva is the author of Action in Perception (MIT, 2012), Out of Our Heads (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009), Varieties of Presence (Harvard, 2012), and Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2015). His latest book is Infinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ball Park (Oxford, 2019). Alva is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2018 recipient of the Judd/Hume Prize in Advanced Visual Studies.

As soon as there is life, there is danger
by Joseph E. LeDoux

The key to understanding all human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline we see how the earliest single cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve today in order to survive and thrive. Along the way, the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and ultimately made possible what we humans understand as consciousness, which both accounts for our greatest, but also our most horrendous, achievements as a species.

Joseph E. LeDoux is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at NYU in the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology. He is also a Professor of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical School and Director of the Emotional Brain Institute at NYU and Nathan Kline Institute. His work is focused on the brain mechanisms of memory and emotion and he is the author of The Emotional Brain, Synaptic Self, Anxious, and the forthcoming book The Deep History of Ourselves (August 2019). LeDoux has received a number of awards including William James Award from the Association for Psychological Science, Karl Spencer Lashley Award from the American Philosophical Society, Fyssen International Prize in Cognitive Science, Jean Louis Signoret Prize of the IPSEN Foundation, Santiago Grisolia Prize, American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award, and the American Psychological Association Donald O. Hebb Award. His book Anxious received the 2016 William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association. LeDoux is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also the lead singer and songwriter in the rock band, The Amygdaloids and performs with Colin Dempsey as the acoustic duo So We Are.

Becoming Zira
by Coco Fusco

Coco Fusco discusses the interdisciplinary research involving primatology, neurobiology, cultural theory, and film studies that went into the creation of her performance, “Observations of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist.

Coco Fusco is an interdisciplinary artist and writer and the Andrew Banks Endowed Professor of Art at the University of Florida. She is a recipient of a 2018 Rabkin Prize for Art Criticism, a 2016 Greenfield Prize, a 2014 Cintas Fellowship, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2013 Absolut Art Writing Award, a 2013 Fulbright Fellowship, a 2012 US Artists Fellowship and a 2003 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Fusco’s performances and videos have been presented in the 56th Venice Biennale, Frieze Special Projects, two Whitney Biennials (2008 and 1993), BAM’s Next Wave Festival, The Liverpool Biennial, the Sydney Biennale, The Johannesburg Biennial, The Kwangju Biennale, The Shanghai Biennale, Mercosul, VideoBrasil and Performa05. Her works have also been shown at the The Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, KW Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona. She is represented by Alexander Gray Associates in New York. Fusco is the author of English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas (1995) and The Bodies that Were Not Ours and Other Writings (2001), and A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008). She is also the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (2003). Her latest book Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba was issued by Tate Publications in 2015, and a Spanish translation was published by Turner Libros in 2017. Fusco received her B.A. in Semiotics from Brown University (1982), her M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University (1985) and her Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture from Middlesex University (2007).

The Story of a Murder: How to see a blite flock of crows?
by Reza Negarestani

This presentation focuses on what philosopher Nelson Goodman has called the problem of worldmaking. How is it possible to imagine and build new worlds from the elements available to us such that the made worlds afford us new perceptual and cognitive forms as well as new modes of knowing? How is it possible to toy around with the perceptual-noetic building blocks of the human agent to construct an artificial agent whose experiences and judgements about the world differ from ours? Take for instance, a robot who does not observe crows as all black, but sees them as all blite (black before a hypothetical future time and white thereafter). To answer these questions, we shall look at historical lessons from the Middle Ages to modern sciences and more recent advances in cognitive science, theoretical computer science and neuroscience.

Reza Negarestani is a philosopher. He has lectured and taught at numerous international universities and institutes. his current project is focused on renewed philosophies of rationalism, their procedures, and their demands for special forms of human conduct. His latest book, Intelligence and Spirit (Urbanomic / Sequence Press, 2018) is focused on philosophy of intelligence at the intersection between philosophy of mind, German Idealism, cognitive sciences and theoretical computer science. He is currently directing the Critical Philosophy programme at the New Centre for Research and Practice.

For what will we use our brains?
by Warren Neidich

Warren Neidich is a conceptual artist, writer, and theorist. He is currently Professor of Art at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin, founding director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art and the American editor of Archive Books, Berlin. Selected Awards and Fellowships include: The Fulbright Specialist Program, Fine Arts Category, University of Cairo, 2013; The Vilem Flusser Theory Award, Transmediale, Berlin, 2010; AHRB/ACE Arts and Science Research Fellowship. Bristol, UK 2004. Recently published books include The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism Part 3, Archive Books, 2017 Neuromacht, Merve Verlag, Berlin, 2017 and The Colour of Politics, Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Berlin, 2017-2018. His work represented by the Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland.

The Psyche and the Social, Technology and Psychoanalysis in the Age of Dividuality
by Patricia Clough

In contextualizing the threat of cognitive capitalism, Patricia Clough takes up the relationship of the psyche and the social as it is implicated both in the diagram of discipline featuring the individual and the diagram of control featuring the dividual. In further addressing these in relationship to technology and psychoanalysis, Clough not only focuses on what happens to the unconscious in cognitive capitalism. She also addresses modes of practice shifting from productivity to performativity, from measure to modulation, from reason to abduction. Finally she explores the way in which these shifts implicate theoretical/conceptual shifts from bodily affect to worldly sensibility, from identity to speculation of capacities that have a profound effect on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class.

Patricia Ticineto Clough is a professor of sociology and women studies and currently is teaching in Performance Studies at NYU. She is the author of a number of publication, among them, Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology, editor of The Affective Turn; Theorizing the Social, co-editor of Beyond Biopolitics Essays in the Government of Life and Death, and most recently, The User Unconscious: Affect, Media and Measure. She is a practicing psychoanalyst in New York City where she also teaches at Institutes for psychoanalytic training.

Brains in Harmony: human connections at the art-neuroscience interface
by Suzanne Dikker

What does it mean to lose yourself in someone else? How is it possible that the mere physical presence of another human can make us believe we can conquer the world, or conversely, make us feel lonely and incapable? We know, both scientifically and intuitively, that relationships are crucial for our physical and mental wellbeing, but we know very little about how our brains support everyday social encounters. Balancing at the intersection of art and science, our work brings neuroscience out of the laboratory, into the real world, on a quest to explore the nature of human connectedness, a topic that lies at the very core of artistic, scientific, and technological inquiry.

Suzanne Dikker is a research scientist affiliated with Utrecht University and New York University. Her research merges cognitive neuroscience, education, and performance art in an effort to understand the brain basis of human social interaction. Together with media artist Matthias Oostrik and other collaborators from both the sciences and the arts, she uses portable EEG in a series of crowd-sourcing neuroscience experiments / interactive brain installations that investigate the role of brainwave synchronization between two or more people in successful communication. These experiments are executed outside of traditional laboratory settings, such as schools and museums (e.g. American Museum of Natural History, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Eye Institute Amsterdam). After completing her PhD in Linguistics at New York University, Suzanne received postdoctoral training at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology and New York University.

Art in the Age of Ambient Intelligence
by Christiane Paul

In his 1967 poem “All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace,” Richard Brautigan envisioned a cybernetic utopia where humans and computers coexist in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. Whether one reads the poem as utopian or as ironic critique, it is interesting to compare today’s complex landscape of human-computer relationships and the ambient artificial intelligence surrounding us to the “programming harmony” Brautigan imagined. The talk will give an overview of the ways in which digital art has critically engaged with the social and cultural transformations brought about by AI, big data, and machine learning. Among the topics addressed will be the inherent biases of artificial intelligence; the impact of AI on labor and data exchange, as well as cultural and knowledge production; and the condition of the technologically expanded body.

Christiane Paul is Chief Curator/Director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School, and Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has written extensively on new media arts, lectured internationally on art and technology and is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation’s 2016 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art. Her recent books are A Companion to Digital Art (Wiley Blackwell, 2016); Digital Art (Thames and Hudson, 3rd revised edition, 2015), Context Providers – Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect, 2011; Chinese edition, 2012), co-edited with Margot Lovejoy and Victoria Vesna, and New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008). As Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney Museum, she curated exhibitions including Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies, 1965-2018 (2018-19); Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011); Profiling (2007); Data Dynamics (2001), and the net art selection for the 2002 Whitney Biennial; and is responsible for artport, the Whitney Museum’s website devoted to Internet art. Other recent curatorial work includes Little Sister (is watching you, too)(Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NYC, 2015); What Lies Beneath (Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, 2015); The Public Private (Kellen Gallery, The New School, Feb. 7 – April 17, 2013), Eduardo Kac: Lagoglyphs, Biotopes and Transgenic Works (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2010); Biennale Quadrilaterale (Rijeka, Croatia, 2009-10); Feedforward – The Angel of History (co-curated with Steve Dietz; Laboral Center for Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, Spain, Oct. 2009); and INDAF Digital Art Festival (Incheon, Korea, Aug. 2009).

Xenopatterning: Refusal, Incomputability, and Alien Episteme
by Luciana Parisi

As automation increasingly entangles human thinking to artificial intelligences, it seems no longer possible to distinguish amongst levels of decision-making that occur in a newly forming space between reasoning, logical inference, and sheer calculation. Since the 1980s, computational systems of information processing have evolved to include not only deductive methods of decision, whereby results are matched to premises, but have shifted towards an adaptive practice of learning from data; namely an inductive method of retrieving information from the environment and establish general premises. This shift in automated functions of decision-making does not simply concern technical apparatuses, but a more general transformation of technicity as a know-how that requires a renewed approach to notions of automated functions. Against a vulgar conception of functions that aims to replace the limit of self-determination with the non-conscious decisionism of automated systems today, critical theory has yet to offer a heretic version of computation. If the order of digital computation coincides with the planetary “informatics of domination” and the “war against populations”, it is because automated decisionism is but a prosthetic extension of what Sylvia Wynter calls the “sociogenic principle” in machines. From this standpoint, the refusal of cognitive and epistemological paradigms of representation demands not a resigned abandonment of metaphysics, but a critical re-envisioning of ontological horizons from and through the automated functions of thinking.

Luciana Parisi’s research is a philosophical investigation of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. She is a Reader in Critical and Cultural Theory at Goldsmiths University of London and co-director of the Digital Culture Unit. In 2017-18 she was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley, California. She is the author of Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004, Continuum Press) and Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space (2013, MIT Press). She is currently completing a monograph on the automation of reasoning and logic in artificial intelligence.

What has consciousness turned to be under a regime of cognitive capitalism?
by Yann Moulier-Boutang

Yann Moulier-Boutang, born in 1949, is a graduate from Ecole Normale Supérieure (Philosophy 1970). He is now emeritus professor of economics at University of Technology of Compiègne which is part of Alliance Sorbonne University France (formerly Paris 4 + Paris 6 + ENSEAD), where he teaches political economy, economy of complexity, law economics of intellectual property rights. He is member of the Costech Laboratory (Knowledge, Organization and Technical Systems) in the same University. From 2007 to 2015, he taught culture and digital contemporary culture at the Superior School of Arts and Design at Saint-Etienne and innovation by design at ENSCI (National Superior School of Industrial Creation). In 2008 he was appointed first visiting professor in economicsat the National Superior School of Architecture (Paris-Malaquais). He has been running the quarterly Multitudes since its foundation. He is also associated professor at the Sino-European Faculty of Technology (UTSEUS) in Shanghai University (SHU). Now he is President of the Scientific Board of the newly founded IHETN (Institute of Hight Studies of the Digital Transition).

Why Technical Images?
by Martha Schwendener

Although Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) is widely read in Germany and elsewhere, his technical image trilogy, which offers a wide scope for thinking about technologically generated images, remains lesser known in the United States. This lecture will look at his ideas in relation to some of the artists who helped shape them, including Mira Schendel, Wen-Ying Tsai, Fred Forest, Harun Farocki, Gottfried Jäger, and others.

Martha Schwendener, Ph.D., is a Visiting Associate Professor at New York University, Steinhardt School of Art, and an art critic for The New York Times. Her criticism and essays have been published in Artforum, Bookforum, Afterimage, October, Art in America, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers, New Art Examiner, Paper Monument, Flusser Studies, and other publications. She edited Flusser/Essays (São Paulo: Metaflux, 2017), and is working on a manuscript on Vilém Flusser’s philosophy and its relationship to art.

How Soon Is Now? – Transforming consciousness and society in a time of ecocide
by Daniel Pinchbeck

Daniel Pinchbeck is the best selling author of Breaking Open the Head, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, and How Soon Is Now?, among other works. He co-founded Evolver.netand was featured in the 2010 documentary, 2012: Time for Change. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Wired, Artforum, and many other publications. His new book, When Plants Dream, with coauthor Sophia Rokhlin, comes out in September from Watkins.

Art and Intoxication
by Carlo McCormick

Since the ancients, through the average playlist of most teens today, drugs have served as muse and manufacturer for disruptive realities and ecstatic states, producing a canon of fine art that proffers ulterior visions and upsets social hegemonies. Much like religion and art, the search for intoxication has occurred in all cultures and times, seemingly hard-wired into the human condition. Surveying centuries of art, this will be just like an art history lecture, but with lots of stuff that you probably don’t get in school, and likely more entertaining if you get high first.

Carlo McCormick is a pop culture critic, curator and Senior Editor of Paper magazine. His numerous books, monographs and catalogs include Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984, Dondi White: Style Master General, and Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Public Art. His writing has appeared in Art in America, Art News, Artforum and many other publications. Recently, he curated the exhibition “Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985” now on view at the Museum of Sex in New York City.

Lecture
by Sanford Kwinter

Sanford Kwinter is a theorist, writer, and editor, Professor of Science and Design at the Pratt Institute in New York City and University Professor of Theory at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Kwinter holds degrees from Canada, France and the United States and a Doctorate from Columbia University in New York. In the early 1980s he co-founded the journal ZONE and the independent publishing company Zone Books as a transdisciplinary project to integrate philosophy and cultural production. He has contributed numerous essays and articles (many of which have been translated into a variety of languages) to periodicals such as: Art in America, L’autre Journal, Harvard Design Magazine, Yale Journal of Architecture, Assemblage and PRAXIS, among others. He curated the first ever Harvard University-wide art exhibition “The Divine Comedy” in 2011 where for 8 years he co-directed the Masters in Design Studies department and the “Art, Design and the Public Domain” program. As diverse as Kwinter’s books are, Architectures of Time: Towards a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture (MIT Press, 2001) is considered “a critical guide to the modern history of time and to the interplay between the physical sciences and the arts.” Whereas his second book, Far from Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture (Actar, 2008), is “an extended meditation on infrastructure, war, computation, mechanical and material intelligence, and other multivariate facets of modernity,” which was followed by Requiem: For the City at the End of the Millennium (Actar, 2010) an urban textual requiem that “addresses the sometimes subtle, sometimes brutal transformations that characterized the modernization processes set into motion at the turn of the millennium.” Together with Rem Koolhaas and the Harvard Project on the City, Stefano Boeri, Nadia Tazi and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, they published the book project Mutations (Actar, 2000), “an atlas of new urban spaces.” Additionally, Kwinter has edited many books in and around the field of architecture, urbanism and the environment including: Pandemonium: The Rise of Predatory Locales in the Postwar World (Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), Rem Koolhaas: Conversations with Students (Flying the Bullet or When Did the Future Begin?)(Princeton Arch. Press, 1996), ZONE 6: Incorporations (with Jonathan Crary, Zone Books, and MIT Press, 1992), and ZONE 1/2 The Contemporary City (with M. Feher, Zone Books, 1986, and MIT Press, 1987). Kwinter has taught at schools around the world, was a fellow at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities and was recipient of the 2013 design writing award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Poetic Action
by Barry Schwabsky

Art as a ‘modus vivendi’ is implicitly social or even political in its implications. These implications are not easy to work out. Nonetheless, if one considers Hannah Arendt’s contention in her essay “What Is Freedom?” that politics is action undertaken with “the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known,” one might begin to see the implicit connection between the art of politics and the politics of art.

Barry Schwabsky is co-director of Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art. He is art critic for The Nation and co-editor of international reviews for Artforum. His recent books are Heretics of Language (Black Square, 2018), The Perpetual Guest: Art in the Unfinished Present (Verso, 2016), and a collection of poetry, Trembling Hand Equilibrium (Black Square, 2015). Forthcoming is The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting (Sternberg, 2019).

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