Discover

Tomorrow Today | Armen Avanessian

This September curated by_vienna brings together more than 20 international curators and invites them to present exhibitions in 20 of Vienna’s leading contemporary art galleries.

Reflections on the intersections between art and capital provide the impetus for curated by_vienna 2015. Philosopher Armen Avanessian‘s epynomous essay “Tomorrow Today” addresses artistic strategies for a post-capitalist era. Avanessian explores future (and already existing) alternative models of art and economy.

Andreas Töpfer, 2015.

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014.

Today, science fiction might be the best kind of realism – if, that is, it is not the only possible realism. This insight by J. G. Ballard provides the impetus to look at our political, economic and artistic present from the perspective of an already present future. For example, though the current financial crisis has led to severe criticism of financial speculation, those market operations also force us to realise what may have been repressed for decades: Capitalism as we conventionally understand it might not exist anymore, and we are only just becoming aware of this.

The latency period of this transformation of the past decades coincides with the history of contemporary art as a genre or concept devoid of the time orientation that was characteristic of the historical avant-gardes and modern art movements, each of which affirmed the possibility of future (social) progress as a constant in the present. If the coincidence of contemporary art and the latent transformation of capitalism is not entirely arbitrary – and it cannot be if the basic claim of contemporary art is that it is an art appropriate to its time – then contemporary art could be taken as the sign of the derivative or speculative financial system that has left us bereft of both future and present since it reduces every future present to a present future pre-calculable on the basis of probability theory. Here, what has yet to happen is but a continuation of the long-known, the execution of what has already been priced in.

Tomorrow Today opposes this futureless condition, instead presenting experiments in new art-economics projects and taking up the interface between art and capital as a political contestation. Accepting that we are currently in a period of transition and new formation, the question of Tomorrow Today is whether and to what extent artistic imagination and poetic practices can help us accelerate the entry into a post-capitalist society rather than passively accompanying the gradual and increasingly ubiquitous approximation of post-democratic conditions (the aestheticisation of everyday life, gentrification, the art-market bubble, biennale tourism). After postmodernism we realise: the end of (art) history has not yet been reached. Neither liberal Western capitalism nor the genre of a globally expanded contemporary art will have been (art) history’s last word.

Andreas Töpfer, 2015.

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014.

art as currency

For a while now, we have been up against a speculative regime in the world of art. In the pricing system of art, the expertise, skill and, ultimately, the degree of influence of the respective market players play a decisive role. The artistic significance of artworks, their critical content and their art-historical relevance serve a mostly ideological function. If that is the case, we should do nothing less than reverse the popular conviction that the relationship between art and the market is characterised by constitutive ‘tension’. It is rather the priceless nature of art, whose value cannot be calculated through and is irreducible to price, which has rendered it a perfect object of speculation. In this sense, isn’t contemporary art indeed the model and transmission mechanism of a universal financialisation permeating all aspects of society, as has recently been proposed? Perhaps for this reason, amidst the increasingly disoriented movements of critical contemporary art we are confronted with accelerationist positions that, instead of simulating a ‘critical’ distance to the market, move in a diametrically opposed direction. These positions replace distanced aesthetic reflexions with creative interventions and practical confrontations, for example, at the interface with fashion or celebrity culture (lifestyle branding, image campaigns, marketing strategies) or that of art and science (big data, climate change). They are remarkable for their recursive appropriation and reprogramming of the respective technological, economic and media platforms (virtual money, bitcoin).

Andreas Töpfer, 2015.

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014.

speculating beyond

How then to speak to the intrinsic relation between art and finance capital? And what is capital, if it isn’t the market, economy, consumption or simply money? Strictly speaking, ‘capital’ is a social entity that facilitates translations of cultural, social, economic and other forms of capital (a good example of this is the shamelessness with which ‘critical’ intellectuals are continuously producing value-adding catalogue texts). Noisy debates on the pricing structures of the art market (most recently on the allegedly illegitimate flippers, etc.) have to be understood against the background that all cultural and social processes are indissolubly connected to the capital. Capital is a social relation, a permanently shifting balance of power.

In view of the current system-wide crisis, revaluing the debt economies that are collapsing right before our eyes becomes inevitable. Financial speculation is becoming increasingly detached from any type of real economy through high-frequency and algorithmic derivative trading. Can finance nonetheless be controlled by better means of regulation, as suggested by the government
parties of the European mainstream (who are all adherents of neo-liberal economic policy, whether or not they are social-democrats)? Or are we witnessing the final throes of a moribund political-economic classification system named ‘capitalism’, which in turn could entail serious consequences for the production and distribution conditions of art

Andreas Töpfer, 2015.

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014.

gallery 2.0

Given the technological (digital, algorithmic) conditions of the current economy, new and different ways of working from these premises come into play. curated by_viennaexplores the alternative economic and artistic strategies that are now available.

What options should galleries take if they are not to continuously equip art fairs with the newest in zombie formalism, the youngest emerging artists and evermore exhibits of alleged criticality – often only to be overshadowed by a few global players and risking financial ruin in the process? On the side of artistic practices, economic interrelations are being explicitly readdressed to realign them into the future. Artists and curators who are digital natives and seismographers of a new economy of attention optimistically experiment with poetic and artistic practices instead of believing they can escape from overarching capitalisation by resorting to folkloristic niches. This anti-nostalgic accelerationist perspective raises the question to what extent artists can succeed at steering the changing forms of distribution (for example, by founding companies or through similarly offensive strategies) in an emancipatory manner in today’s Internet age practices that are already forcing gallery and museum exhibitions to take different approaches to the well-established conventions.

Andreas Töpfer, 2015.

Armen Avanessian, Andreas Töpfer, Speculative Drawing: 2011–2014.

accelerating (contemporary) art

From a speculative and untimely perspective, the principle of spectatorship proves to be an expression of the expiring television age. Doesn’t the omnipresence of social media call for entirely different artistic strategies, not least in how social media providers view their users as passive spectators but as disposable concrete and active material for enhancing diverse algorithmic and data processing and, through that, revenue? What is important here is less the purpose and disadvantage of social media or new communication technologies than it is their means of navigation and control.

The determining media of this day and age are to be understood as interfaces between the human and the non-human (bio hypermedia), whereby creative activities are increasingly integrated into extended technological and economic processes in everyday life. What were once ‘final’ exhibits are now taken only as intermediary stages in an ongoing process of action-once again making apparent the necessity of testing new models or combinations of art and economy.

On the occasion of curated by_vienna: Tomorrow Today, a Symposium will be held on September 11, 2015.

Recent Posts

The character will not be the only one who modifies his image in the new of ‘The Avengers’ Besides being one of Marvel’s funniest films, Watch Thor Ragnarok Full movie online ‘ is a film that contains some key data for the evolution of the MCU’s cosmic plot, already launched towards the imminent confrontation with Thanos in ‘Infinity War ‘ . And is that in addition to the return of the Hulk, the new adventure of… [read more »]

A Conversation about Ergonomic Futures

Lafayette Anticipation associate curator Anna Colin talks to artist Tyler Coburn about Ergonomic Futures, a speculative project engaged with art, design, science, anthropology and writing. In this interview, Coburn discusses the research, production process and network of collaborators of a multilayered project ultimately concerned with the futures of humankind. Anna Colin: When one comes across your museum seats Ergonomic Futures (2016—) in contemporary art exhibitions—and soon in natural history, fine art, and anthropology museums—they look… [read more »]

nils lange + saliva : l’eau des algues

L’Eau des Algues Two alchemists already aware of each other’s Instagrams meet for the first time in a gay sauna. They are swimming; it’s the Hood By Air afterparty in Paris. They are Lukas Hofmann and Nils Amadeus Lange. Months later, they meet again. They are on the edge of yet another steaming pool; it’s the Manifesta Biennale closing event at Cabaret Voltaire. They are performing the perfume titled “L’eau des Algues.” Head notes: Zürich… [read more »]

Toward a Low Key Voting System Where Votes Are Actually Considered | Adrian Massey

While reading A Very Short Introduction to Game Theory, I came across the following passage, “If you want people to vote, we need to move to a more decentralized system in which every vote really does count enough to outweigh the lack of enthusiasm for voting which so many people obviously feel…Simply repeating the slogan that ‘every vote counts’ isn’t ever going to work, because it isn’t true.” I was jarred. For me, anecdotally knowing… [read more »]

Tough Luck | Tyler Reinhard

When life is being super unfair, just do what we all do: suffer the consequences. I wake up and the first thing I do is check my phone. A convenient euphemism for using Facebook’s machine learning techniques to discover which 300 entries are statistically most likely to stand out from the tens of thousands of brain dumps my friends and family have produced over the last 48 hours. Impressed by what Facebook provides, I think… [read more »]

America Is Hard to See: A Guide to not being depressed about US electoral politics this November

In order to make sense of state politics in the birthplace of statistical marketing and the internet, one has to be wary of the effects of these technologies on the country’s popular media. In a time when our news and advertisements are tailored to our pre-recorded political opinions, it can be especially difficult to empathize with differing political views. Likewise, learning about the histories of state politics is not encouraged by platforms that profit from… [read more »]

On self-care and the election | Eva Saelens

We can get together and laugh about it. We can heave sighs and express disbelief, but it’s never enough. This presidential election year has lasted for years, and they sit on citizens like a slick film. We feel touched by an unshakable germ, invaded by a blood-sucker, afflicted by a social cancer, drained of the plump vitality of life and the amazing liberty of choices, and transformed into a cynical, depressed shrivel. After being touched… [read more »]

Swarovski Crystal Meth at National Sawdust

Swarovski Crystal Meth, a collaboration between Ser Serpas, Daniela Czenstochowski and Gia Garrison for the National Sawdust “Selkie Series” performances, curated by Alexandra Marzella. Music composed and produced by Daniela Czenstochowski Poem by Sera Serpas Sound Edit Mateo Majluf Vocals Sera Serpas, Gia Garrison and Daniela Czenstochowski All Images Olimpia Dior i went to the desert con mi mama outlet store shopping is fried onto mi conciensa, big bags, wins bigger losses fragmented lux economy… [read more »]

Hasbeens and Willbees Auction @ Romeo Gallery

Shop items from the most recent Hasbeens and Willbees luxury auction now! Featuring Bjarne Melgaard, Bror August, Women’s History Museum, Lou Dallas, Hermes, Gautier, and more. All photography Dillon Sachs Styling Avena Gallagher Hosted by Rome Gallery NYC

NHU DUONG SS17 WORK COLLECTION FT. KARL HOLMQVIST

What is a piece of clothing that “works”? Who is working whom? Is the one who poses the one who actually “works” hardest? The S/S 2017 collection of Berlin-based, Swedish- Vietnamese designer NHU DUONG entitled ‘WORK COLLECTION’ plays with the ideas of professionalism, leisure and appropriateness through a range of garments that are inspired by work outfits and hobby uniforms. Overalls, raw denim outfits, kung-fu pyjamas, biker pants, baggy tights and gloves, bomber-jackets, bomber suits,… [read more »]