Search results

Edward Bacal

I focus on two contemporary art installations in which Teresa Margolles employs water used to wash corpses during autopsies. By running this water through a fog machine or through air conditioners, these works incorporate bodily matter but refuse to depict, identify or locate anybody (or any body) within it. Rather, Margolles creates abstract works in which physical limits – whether of bodies or of art works – dissolve into a state of indeterminacy. With that pervasive distribution of corporeal matter, Margolles charts the dissolution of the social, political and spatial borders that contain death from the public sphere. In discussing these works, I consider Margolles’ practice in relation to the social and aesthetic function of the morgue. Specifically, I consider how Margolles turns the morgue inside out, opening it upon the city in order to explore the inoperative distinctions between spaces of sociality and those of death. In turn, I consider how Margolles places viewers in uneasy proximity to mortality, bodily abjection and violence in order to illustrate the social, political and aesthetic conditions by which bodies become unidentifiable. I ultimately argue that her aesthetic strategies match her ethical aspirations to reconsider relations to death, violence and loss within the social realm.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Notes on the art of the contemporary
Andrew Benjamin

12 Andrew Benjamin Including transformation: notes on the art of the contemporary Central to any understanding of contemporary art and therefore central to any engagement with a contemporary politics of art is the question of the nature of the contemporary.1 Even before definitions of art and politics are offered it is the contemporary that emerges as the more insistent problem. While any attempt to pursue the contemporary in a detailed manner must become, in the end, an engagement within the philosophico-political problem of modernity, here, in this context, a

in The new aestheticism
Open Access (free)
Theatre and the politics of engagement
Author: Simon Parry

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.

Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62
Author: Neil Macmaster

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.

Open Access (free)
The cinematic afterlife of an early modern political diva
Elisabeth Bronfen and Barbara Straumann

1 Political Animals , TV mini-series written and directed by G. Berlanti, USA Network, aired from 15 July to 19 August 2012. 2 Mieke Bal, Quoting Caravagg io: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999 ), pp. 6, 7

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Holly Dugan

‘smell-o-vision’ experiments of the 1960s argued, as did John Water’s ‘odorama’ sniff cards that accompanied Polyester).24 Finally, we ‘breathe’ in much more than just the aura of art in the space of the museum, as experimental exhibits such as Laib’s wax rooms or Martynka Wawrzyniak’s ‘Smell Me’ olfactory self-portrait show. In this way, the ephemerality of scent connects to other kinds of contemporary art that challenge an aesthetic of permanence.25 Staged in this way, perfume and its history connect these recent artistic movements to a longer, sensuous history of

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Open Access (free)
Tania Anne Woloshyn

, put simply, a work of beautiful damage. It enables us to reconceptualise Finsen’s healed lupus vulgaris patients as the same, their beautifully cicatrised skin produced by destructive light. Howalt’s project is thus an instance of contemporary art allowing us to revisit medicine’s past with fresh insight. The second image is from a series of health campaign posters from 2013 created by the agency Draft

in Soaking up the rays
Derval Tubridy

Cameron and Charles Merewether (eds), Doris Salcedo (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1998), p. 17. 66 Rosalind Krauss, ‘Sculpture in the expanded field’, The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1986), p. 279. 67 Gabriele Schwab, ‘The politics of small differences: Beckett’s The Unnamable’, in Henry Sussman and Christopher Devenney (eds), Engagement and Indifference: Beckett and the Political (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001), p. 56. 68 Feldman, ‘The note man on the word man: interview with

in Beckett and nothing
Open Access (free)
Murdo Macdonald

presume that with the devolution of power to a Scottish parliament and the clear possibility of independence, such attitudes no longer exist. But attitudes can lag behind political reality and from an attitudinal point of view the unthinkability of Scottish culture within a British context is alive and well. One question that must be considered is, how does one think about the unthinkable? Out of this paradox are born the stereotypes already referred to. The model of ‘Scotland as unthinkable’ is easy to find even in writing relating to contemporary art. An illuminating

in Across the margins
Art and the temporalities of geomedia
Gavin MacDonald

exploring these changes; and lastly the relationship of the photograph to the map. As I set out in this chapter, issues of temporality are key to that relationship, both practically – in the photographic mapping services that Google provides – and analogically. The figures captured in this photograph are those of the Dutch media artist Esther Polak and her partner Ivar van Bekkum; it was taken in September 2009 during their residency at the Highland Institute for Contemporary Art, an ­artist-run space in a converted farm building to the south of Loch Ness. When the Street

in Time for mapping