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How to Sleep Faster #5 | Arcadia Missa

How to Sleep Faster is an interdisciplinary journal published by the research project and South London gallery space Arcadia Missa, led by founding director and curator Rozsa Farkas. The fifth volume in the series continues the thematic exploration of precarity developed in the former editions, but moves in to the realm of nihilism and fantasy as a refusal of the current socioeconomic climate. Moving across mediums of critical writing, poetry, net.art, interviews, performance documentation and performative autobiographism, HTSF is a refreshingly unique and well-needed publication that exceeds the idioms of academic journals, zines and magazines.

Well in accordance with the title, the journal opens with the essay ‘Sleeping in Public’, in which film-maker and ‘communist sleep researcher’ Anna Zett studies the imagery of a 1992 German pharmaceutical photo calendar, meant to advertise a new range of sleeping pills (rohypnol). Referencing current scientific sleep-research, she establishes a comparison between the (in Marxist terms) reproductive labor of sleeping with the interconnectivity of the virtual self – placed somewhat within the trending (and vague) term of neomaterialism, but really, much beyond that. Sleep can be understood as the brain recovering, a ‘going offline’ to turn towards its own materiality – yet, our current neoliberal reality, favoring performance over labor as a paradigm for productivity, demands that even sleep should become a reproductive, immaterial form of labour. Actual sleep, then, becomes a political act of refusal within the cognitive neoliberal paradigm.

Despite the diversity of the contributions in HTSF, there are overarching threads – first and foremost that of somatism: placing the body at the center of Marxist/feminist critique so as to create bodily discourses, as well as what we could call discourses of embodiment.

Holly Child’s stream-of-consciousness piece exemplifies the bodily anxiety of the self-diagnosing, Homeopathically-informed, heartbroken consumer – a whirlwind of socio-aesthetic sentiments in which fungal infections, Facebook-statuses, heart burns and Google-searches hybridizes in the personal process of post-romantic healing. Fantasized and strange, but strangely familiar – the embodied experience of a broken heart is not new, but Child’s virtually-induced, psychosomatic state-of-mind calls for an immediate, almost pathological empathy. Yet, as Campell @plasmo asks in their fragmented tweets, “what the fuck is health in the broader spectrum of things?”

Drawing on a vast range of new and old, post-Marxist and feminist theory, ‘health’ is presented as a neoliberal construct – yet, the body and its discourse is repeatedly affirmed as a tool of resistance. Beatrice Loft Shultz of V.O.R.G talks about her utilization of the Joan of Arc-archetype in her bondage-performances. Here, she forcefully embodies heresy in the form of the female martyr-body. ‘Take care’ Anne La Plantine later bids us with her simplified txt-drawings of swords and shields, suggesting an increasingly militant gender-debate.

As theories on the ‘physical’, the ‘personal’ and the ‘virtual’ collapse and conjoin, there is an increasing need for locating the body, in order to exercise political/aesthetic agency. Responses range from the post-colonial disorientation of identity-politics, as presented in the poetry of Imran Perretta, to the Rabbit Island Residency-awarded artist Elvia Wilk reflecting on her isolation in nature – nature now reduced to “now a negative space around which culture forms itself”. Mapping reoccurrs in HTSF – the disoriented experience of inhabiting and not inhabiting spaces on- and off-line. In his essay ‘Location Services,’ Michael Runyan examines the uncertainties of where ‘we’ end and the network begins in the ever-expanding intimacy of the Internet. In the increasingly complex state of dis/inter/intra-connectivity, data industries, he argues, attempt to simplify complex infrastructure of technology, simulating the sense of orientation in the user-consumer previously provided by the state or the church. Jesse Darling echoes this as they (the narrator) ambivalently recall a trip to catholic Brazil with their wealthy then-boyfriend, reflecting the ideological disorientation of West-European ‘protestant atheists’.

The editorial, written by editors Farkas and Clark, is notably placed at the end of the book, framing the journal within the #NoFuture discourse of queer theorist Edelmann – No Future, as they write, not because “there isn’t a future coming, it’s that it doesn’t bring with it any futurity.” In the alienating reality of economic-crash austerity, refusal becomes key – refusal for any queer body to become subsumed by capital, embodying the negativity of the precariat as a means of actually collapsing the system. The imagined collapse moves closer in the book, through a variety of artistic and intellectual gestures – proposing aesthetically, in the end, a whole new mode of criticality.

Fantasy becomes essential for the ‘radically queer’ to materialize, as seen for example with the newly established @Gaybar, a series of projects, reading groups and Peckham-parties led by Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan Anderson, interviewed in the journal. By attempting to re-materialize the fantasized tropes of ‘the gay bar’ and its homonormative bodies, it effectively criticizes those bodies – and simultaneously creates a rare and much appreciated, non-commercial queer space in ever-gentrifying London.

@Gaybar fits well within the political trajectory of the journal, because it does, despite its refusal of current conditions and its embrace of fantasy, seek to find, in the words of Runyan, “the coordinates of a new future.” Until then, How To Sleep Faster 5 is a highly stimulating and inspiring read.

XPO Gallery presents ‘Les Oracles’

XPO Gallery Paris opens a new group exhibition entitled ‘Les Oracles’, fully dedicated to the potent, historically problematic conjunction of science fiction and women- curated by hyperactive artist and curator Marisa Olson, with new works featured from artists such as Julieta Aranda, Juliette Bonneviot, Kristin Lucas, and Alexandra Domanović. Here, Olson discusses the particularities of the exhibition with Jeppe Ugelvig. Jeppe Ugelvig: In which way do the chosen artists incorporate science fiction, or how are… [read more »]

C R A S H | New Scenario

C R A S H Flashing lights of the metropolis. Stretched coaches cruise the steaming asphalt. Never sure what they carry. Hidden behind tinted glass. Like whales they glide through crowded streets, stolid and majestic. for a future IV: but what if we are not alive? Somewhere there among the remnants of the great pacific island, the blooming vortex of the world, roughly between 135°W to 155° Wand 35°N and 42°N in the accelerated rage… [read more »]

Girth Proof | Wickerham & Lomax at Dem Passwords

“I don’t know you, I use you.” — overheard last week at a club in Baltimore, MD Dem Passwords Gallery is pleased to present GIRTH PROOF, an exhibition by Wickerham & Lomax. Wickerham & Lomax have previously looked at collaboration through the lens of best friends, fashion designers, and show runners as surrogates for themselves. Most recently they have identified as gay dads who “gave birth” to a character named BOY’D, the primary figure of… [read more »]

Nissan Yogurty | Kate Sansom

Today, Chrystal Gallery returns after a five year hiatus with its second virtual exhibition, Nissan Yogurty by Kate Sansom. Chrystal’s previous computer rendered show, in October 2010, was curated by Timur Si-Qin and featured Kari Altmann, Charles Broskoski, Lindsay Lawson, Billy Rennekamp, Maxwell Simmer, and Harm Van Den Dorpel. She said “food is the oldest.” Maybe she figured it out that day in Costco? Looking for slivered almonds, and a puffy frame. And also “it’s… [read more »]

Here On Earth | Nick DeMarco

Nick DeMarco’s Here on Earth is currently on view at Interstate Projects in Brooklyn, NY through February 1st. The show is part feature film, part sculptural installation, creating an enjoyably convergent experience. DeMarco casts cut-outs of celebrities including main characters Jennifer Lopez, Paul Newman, and baby Drake into a narrative that is equal parts science fiction, government conspiracy, and family drama. The plot is enforced by a soundtrack full with foley, music, and hired voice… [read more »]

Ask Natasha | How do you art?

Q: How do you art? —Stephanie, 22 A: Other #AskNatasha Natashas include @natashacalis—“I play Claire in the TV series The Firm and Emily in The Possession”—, @natashabure (daughter of Candace Cameron Bure, or Full House’s DJ Tanner)—“…CALIFORNIA. 16. JOY”—, @inatashamarie—“HWIC of Natasha’s Nook™ | Militant WOMANIST | Being Colored is a metaphysical dilemma I have yet to conquer. I KNOW YOU CARE!™”—, and @natashafarani—“Maaf, ada yang bisa dimantu?” I am not jealous of these other… [read more »]

Pier 54 | High Line

In 1971 Willoughby Sharp curated now legendary exhibition Pier 18: for one day, 27 artists were invited to create original works to be exhibited at an abandoned Pier in the Financial District, NYC. Artists Harry Shunk and János Kender photographed the various events, which were not open to the public; the black and white photographs were then exhibited at MoMA. Gordon Matta-Clark suspended himself from a ceiling rafter, Vito Acconci wore a blindfold and had… [read more »]

Pakui Hardware | Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker

With their installation Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker at Jenifer Nails in Frankfurt, the collaborative duo Pakui Hardware (Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda) closed out a big year that included the solo exhibition, The Metaphysics of the Runner, at 321 Gallery, in Brooklyn, New York, and the Iaspis residency, in Malmö, Sweden. Last month Černiauskaitė, a graduate from Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, and artist Ugnius Gelguda delivered a performance lecture at the Moderna Museet where topics ranged… [read more »]

ALLGOLD at MoMA PS1

This weekend, don’t miss the last Saturday and Sunday of ALLGOLD‘s re-launch of the electronic music label GENERATIONS UNLIMITED at the MoMA PS1 Print Shop. Featuring concerts, installations and screenings. Saturday December 20 Naval Cassidy 12-6pm If, Bwana 7pm Keiko Uenishi (o.blaat) 8pm Daren Ho 9pm Sunday December 21 Michael Evans 7pm Barry Weisblat 8pm Lary 7-9pm MoMA PS1 Print Shop 22-01 Jackson Ave Long Island City, NY 11101 ALLGOLD is comprised of artists, designers,… [read more »]