Author: Pierre d'Alancaisez

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I interview authors of new books in art, critical theory, creative industry studies, and philosophy for the New Books Network.

Pierre d’Alancaisez is a curator and critic. He investigates interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and the relationship between artists’ access to non-arts skills and the impacts of artistic practices. For a decade, Pierre was the director of Waterside Contemporary in London. He has also been a cultural strategist in higher education and the charity sector, a publisher, a scientist, and a financial services professional.
47 Episodes
Visual Culture and the Forensic bridges practices conventionally understood as forensic, such as crime scene investigation, and the broader field of activity which the forensic now designates, for example, in performance and installation art, or photography. David Houston Jones speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the evidentiary and forensic burden of art and photography, the artifice of crime imaging, the visual traces of data, and the ontology of data and objects. Angela Strassheim’s Evidence Melanie Pullen’s Crime Scenes, Hugo’s Camera The death of Alan Kurdi and Ai WeiWei’s restaging of the scene Kathryn Smith’s Incident Room: Jacoba ‘Bubbles’ Shroeder, 1949-2012 Luc Delahaye Horace Vernet Trevor Paglen’s Autonomy Cube Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour Julian Charrière’s Blue Fossil Entropic Stories, 2013 Simon Norkfolk’s When I am Laid in Earth Cory Arcangel’s Data Diaries, 2003 My interview with Eyal Weizmann and Matthew Keenan on Forensic Aesthetics and the practice of Forensic Architecture Josef Mengele’s bones used in forensic identification Forensic Architecture‘s investigations My interview with Toby Green and Thomas Fazi on The Covid Consensus. David Houston Jones is Professor of French and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter. Visual Culture and the Forensic: Culture, Memory, Ethics David Houston Jones 9780367420932 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
During the first months of the pandemic, governments worldwide agreed that ‘following the science’ with hard lockdowns and vaccine mandates was the best way to preserve life. But evidence is mounting that ‘the science’ was all politics and time reveals the horrific human and economic cost of these policies. The Covid Consensus provides an internationalist-left perspective on the world’s Covid-19 response, which has had devastating consequences for democratic rights and the poor worldwide. As the fortunes of the richest soared, nationwide shutdowns devastated small businesses, the working classes, and the Global South’s informal economies. Toby Green and Thomas Fazi argue that these policies grossly exacerbated existing trends of inequality, mediatisation and surveillance, with grave implications for the future. Rich in human detail, The Covid Consensus tackles head-on the refusal of the global political class and mainstream media to report the true extent of the erosion of democratic processes and the socioeconomic assault on the poor. Toby Green and Thomas Fazi speak to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the emergence of a global consensus, the abject failure of the left to hold power to account, and the sometimes fine line between critique and conspiracy theorising. Richard Seymour’s critique of the book on Politics, Theory, Other. Toby Green is Professor of African History at King’s College London, and author of A Fistful of Shells and The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa. Thomas Fazi is the author and co-author of several books on economic and political issues, including Reclaiming the State. His article with Toby Green for UnHerd, The Left’s Covid Failure, was translated into ten languages. He is a regular contributor to Compact. ************* The Covid Consensus The Global Assault on Democracy and the Poor – A Critique from the Left Toby Green Thomas Fazi Published by Hurst, 2023 ISBN 9781787388413 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
For the past two decades, the arts and cultural establishment in the UK has been trying to engage a broader set of audiences in their work. Countless initiatives to make the arts more accessible to the public and to make them more relevant have been advocated for in policy and funding settlements. But the dial on who participates and how much has not shifted, despite many thousands of projects trying to address the problem. And this isn’t even the punchline. Not only do the interventions not work, nobody involved in them admits that the interventions may have been a failure. Having spent many years working in cultural policy studies and in arts practice, Leila Jancovich and David Stevenson take the arts and culture sector to task over this fiction. Their book Failures in Cultural Participation puts a mirror to the industry and invites cultural policymakers, organisations, and practitioners to confront their failures. David Stevenson speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the culture sector’s refusal to acknowledge failure in widening participation and moving the debate from the ‘value’ of culture to considering how policies can be designed and implemented. David argues for an honest and transparent acknowledgement of failure at individual, organisational and governmental levels. The Failspace Project tools A special issue of the Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation edited by Leila and David David’s “I hate opera” paper. Leila Jancovich is a professor of Cultural Policy and Participation at the University of Leeds. Before entering academia, she worked for many years in the arts and festivals sector as a producer, researcher, and policy maker. David Stevenson is the Dean of The School of Arts, Social Sciences, and Management at Queen Margaret University. His research focuses on relations of power and the production of value within the cultural sector. *************  Failures in Cultural Participation Leila Jancovich, David Stevenson Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2022 (open access) ISBN 9783031161155 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Art has a long history of engaging with conflict and violence. From the antiquities, through Goya, to Guernica, our museums are filled with depictions of battles, pogroms, uprisings, and their suppression. Not all of these stories are told from the perspective of the victors. Many contemporary creatives have continued this tradition. While the position of the official war artist seems to have gone out of fashion, conflict hasn’t. Artists are compelled to document the violence and conflict that for some is the matter of the everyday. Kaelan Wilson-Goldie’s Beautiful, Gruesome, and True is an account of the lives and practices of three such artists Teresa Margolles, Amar Kanwar, and the collective Abounadorra. The documents which these practices produce have found their way into the mainstream contemporary art world, for better, or often worse. Kaelan Wilson-Goldie speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the implicit contracts artists enter with their communities, the art world’s exploitative interest in conflict, and the role of aesthetic expression in mediating, if not ameliorating conflict. Kaelen Wilson-Goldie is a writer and critic who contributes regularly to Artforum, Aperture, and Afterall, among other publications. She is the author of Etel Adnan, a monographic study on the paintings of the Lebanese-American poet Etel Adnan, and a contributor to numerous books on modern and contemporary art. Teresa Margolles Documentation of Margolles’ pavilion in in Venice in 2009, Her works at Mor Charpenter and Peter Kilchmann, Her Fourth Plinth proposal for London. Abounaddara Abounaddara at Documenta 14, The Right to the Image (in Arabic) The Islamic State for Dummies – Part One, 2014. Amar Kanwar Amar Kanwar’s The Season Outside, 1997, and Many Faces of Madness, 2000. ISBN 9781735913735 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
In the 1990s, a network of twenty Soros Centres for Contemporary Art sprung up across Eastern Europe: Almaty, Belgrade, Budapest, Kiev, Ljubljana, Prague, Riga, Sarajevo, Tallinn, Warsaw, and Zagreb among them. These centres, funded as their name suggests by Geroge Soros’ Open Society Foundation, had as their mission the cataloguing of dissident pre-1989 art and the introduction of new forms of artistic practice to the art scenes of post-Eastern Block states. Within a decade, the centres wound up their operation and their histories have been forgotten but not because they made a mark on Eastern European art and societies. The Influencing Machine, Aaron Moulton’s exhibition and book traces the network’s history and evaluates its outsized impact on its host societies. Through the use of template annual exhibitions and synchronised open calls, the Centres pioneered forms of socially engaged practice that preceded the form’s development in Western art capitals and gave artists access to unprecedented production budgets, international networking opportunities, and access to new media technologies. Moulton proposes that the Centres played an underappreciated role in orienting artists ideologically in pro-Western and pro-neoliberal directions, a that the extent of their influence has been underappreciated. In societies making the transition from socialism to free-reign capitalism, the actions of a single NGO which habitually outspent all other funders appear to have been glossed over if not outright expunged from memory. The book invites a conversation about the global art world, the role of activism in art, and the power of institutional critique. Its proposals should be a warning to anyone attempting to understand the role of capital in forming cultural consciousness today. If a single NGO could be credited with creating the cultural values of a whole region without once being called to account, what other ideologies is contemporary art producing and on whose orders? Aaron Moulton speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the legacy of the Soros Centers of Contemporary Art Network, gonzo anthropology and conspiratorial theorising as methods for writing art history from neglected vantage points, and the antisemitic, bogeyman tropes which appear along the way. Aaron Multon trained at the RCA, London and was the editor of Flash Art International and a curator at Gagosian Gallery. He founded the Berlin exhibition space Feinkost. The Influencing Machine exhibition at CCA Ujazdowski Castle My interview with Geert Lovink The Influencing Machine Aaron Moulton Published by CCA Ujazdowski Castle, 2022 ISBN 9788367203050 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Why is the internet making us so unhappy? Why is it in capital’s interests to cultivate populations that are depressed and desperate rather than driven by the same irrational exuberance that moves money? Sadness is now a design problem. The highs and lows of melancholy are coded into social media platforms. After all the clicking, browsing, swiping and liking, all we are left with is the flat and empty aftermath of time lost to the app. Sad by Design by Geert Lovink offers a critical analysis of the controversies which drive our online media behaviours. Lovink calls for us to embrace the engineered intimacy of social media, messenger apps and selfies because boredom is the first stage of overcoming ‘platform nihilism’. Geert Lovink speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the frustrations of studying the internet as it evolves from networks to platforms, the politically-contingent notions of online 'communities', and cycles of ideological production and capture. Geert Lovink is a media theorist and internet critic who has chronicled the development of internet and network cultures as they came of age alongside him. He is the author of Zero Comments, Networks Without a Cause, Social Media Abyss, and most recently Struck on the Platform. He is the founder of the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam where we met. Sad by Design On Platform Nihilism Geert Lovink Published by Pluto Press, 2019 ISBN 9780745339344 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Peter Rehberg: Hipster Porn

Peter Rehberg: Hipster Porn


It’s easy to forget that the cultural archetypes that pass for queerness today have historical roots. Some of these roots are mere years away from today’s reality but they are nonetheless distinct and come with their own artefacts and subcultures. Peter Rehberg’s book Hipster Porn looks at one such source artefact and its fandom, using as its matter the pink-papered magazine Butt which gained a cult following among European gay men in the first decade of the 2000s. The book reconstructs an important chapter of recent gay and queer history in order to make sense of the cultural shifts of the last 20 years in the contemporary gay world. Peter Rehberg speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about pornography after porn, Butt‘s outsized influence and the ultimate failures of its politics, as well as queer theory’s urgent need to refocus on the realities of sex and sexuality. Peter Rehberg is a writer, critic, and curator. He holds a PhD in German Literature from New York University and has taught and researched at universities and institutes including Cornell, Northwestern, Brown, University of Bonn, The University of Texas at Austin, and The University of Illinois, Chicago. He has published two novels and a collection of short stories. He also writes regularly for German media. In his academic work, he focusses on queer theory, queer visual culture, and popular culture. He is also the head of collections and archives at Schwules Museum, Berlin. Butt magazine website and archive. Hipster Porn  Queer Masculinities and Affective Sexualities in the Fanzine Butt Peter Rehberg Published by Routledge, 2021 ISBN 9781032044613 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Since the global financial crash of 2008, artists have become increasingly engaged in a wide range of cultural activism targeted against capitalism, political authoritarianism, colonial legacies, gentrification, but also in opposition to their own exploitation. They have also absorbed and reflected forms of protest within their art practice itself. The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art  maps, critiques, and celebrates activist art, exploring its current urgency alongside the processes which have given rise to activism by artists, and activist forms of art. Gregory Sholette speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the vanishing distinctions between art, art activism, and traditional political activism, and the political dimensions of culture in a hyper-aestheticised world that is indicative of a broader crisis of capitalism. Sholette describes a new wave of activist art taking place not only within community-based protest groups, as it has for decades, but amongst professionally trained artists many of whom refuse to respect the conventional borders separating painting from protest, or art from utility. Gregory Sholette is an artist, writer, and activist. He has participated in, documented, and written about activist art for over forty years. He is the co-convenor of the school Social Practice Queens, a pioneering programme training artists to become social and political activists. The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art Gregory Sholette Published by Lund Humphries, 2022 ISBN 9781848224414 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Decolonisation has lost its way. Originally a struggle to escape the West’s direct political and economic control, it has become a catch-all idea, often for performing ‘morality’ or ‘authenticity’. In Against Decolonisation, Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò fiercely rejects the indiscriminate application of ‘decolonisation’ to everything from literature, language and philosophy to sociology, psychology and medicine. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the project of ‘decolonisation’ as intellectually unsound and unrealistic. Táíwò rejects decolonisation’s conflation of modernity with coloniality and takes to task the decolonisers’ confused attempts at undoing of global society’s foundations. He argues that the decolonisation industry, obsessed with cataloguing wrongs, is seriously harming scholarship on and in Africa. Worst of all, today’s movement attacks its own cause: ‘decolonisers’ themselves are disregarding, infantilising and imposing values on contemporary African thinkers. This much-needed intervention questions whether today’s ‘decolonisation’ truly serves African empowerment. Táíwò’s is a bold challenge to respect African intellectuals as innovative adaptors, appropriators and synthesisers of ideas they have always seen as universally relevant. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is Professor of African Political Thought and Chair at the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University. His writings have been translated into French, Italian, German and Portuguese. His book How Colonialism Preempted Modernity in Africa won the Frantz Fanon Award in 2015. NBN interview with Olúfẹ́mi on Africa Must Be Modern Against Decolonisation Taking African Agency Seriously Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò Published by Hurst, 2022 ISBN 9781787386921 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Art after Liberalism is an account of creative practice at a moment of converging political and social rifts – a moment that could be described as a crisis of liberalism. The apparent failures of liberal thinking are a starting point for an inquiry into emergent ways of living, acting, and making art in the company of others. What happens when the framework of the nation-state, the figure of the enterprising individual, and the premise of limitless development can no longer be counted on to produce a world worth living in? It is increasingly clear that these commonplace liberal conceptions have failed to improve life in any lasting way. In fact, they conceal fundamental connections to enslavement, colonization, moral debt, and ecological devastation. Nicholas Gamso speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the ills of liberalism and art’s role in deciding on what may come after the impasse. Nicholas Gamso is a writer and academic who works across theory, visual culture, performance, and space/place. He’s an editor at Places. Kara Walker, A Subtlety, 2014 Manaf Halbouni, Monument, 2017 Warren Kanders controversy at the Whitney Triple Chaser by Forensic Architecture My conversations with and on Forensic Architecture Wolfgang Tillmans and his anti-Brexit campaign Ren Hang Art After Liberalism Nicholas Gamso Published by Columbia University Press, 2022 ISBN 9781941332689
In 2008, the artist Renzo Martens released his controversial film Episode 3: Enjoy Poverty filmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The film portrayed the artist as a colonial explorer travelling around the Congo’s plantations with the naiveté of the cartoon character Tintin. Martens encounters poverty, hunger, and abuse, all the while narrating the way in which these experiences enrich him as a western observer. In a manner now familiar in mainstream critical culture, the film was labelled as 'problematic'. Martens’ work and method were critiqued widely by an array of commentators. Some have changed their mind in light of Martens’ further work. Others - and I know this from speaking with an editor of a prominent art magazine - won’t come anywhere near it even fourteen years on "for fear of inadvertently promoting Martens' practice". Critique in Practice, a volume edited by Anthony Downey brings together a range of responses to Enjoy Poverty, some dating from 2008, others more recent. It contains essays by the likes of Dan Fox, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Artur Zmijewski, TJ Demos, JJ Charlesworth, Ariella Aisha Azoulay, JA Koster, and Gregory Sholette. The book explores the limits of artistic practice as critique, challenging both Martens and the writers. Because it would be impossible to speak to them and because I already interviewed Anthony Downy not long ago, I invited Renzo Martens, the subject of the book and its critiques to join me. Watch Episode III: Enjoy Poverty Institute of Human Activities The Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) CATPC at Sculpture Center Article in The New Yorker The Balot NFT My interview with Anthony Downey Critique in Practice  Renzo Martens’ Episode III: Enjoy Poverty Edited by Anthony Downey Published by Sternberg, 2019 ISBN 9783956795053
Faced with waning state support, declining revenue, and forced entrepreneurialism, museums have become a threatened public space. Simultaneously, they have assumed the role of institutional arbiter in issues of social justice and accountability. The canon of Institutional Critique has responded to the social embeddedness of art institutions by looking at the inner workings of such organisations and has found them wanting. In After Institutions, Karen Archey expands the definition of Institutional Critique to develop a broader understanding of contemporary art’s sociopolitical entanglements, looking beyond what cultural institutions were to what they are and what they might become. Karen Archey speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the histories and futures of Institutional Critique, the museum’s neoliberal catch-22, and about an exhibition that didn’t happen. Karen Archey is Curator of Contemporary Art at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Formerly based in Berlin and New York, she worked earlier as an independent curator, editor, and art critic, writing for publications such as Artforum and frieze. Lawrence Weiner, A Square Removal from a Rug in Use, 1969 Mel Bochner, Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art, 1966 Seth Siegelaub, The Xerox Book, 1968 Hans Haacke, Condenstation Cube, 1963-68 Steyerl, Hito. ‘The Institution of Critique’. In Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique, edited by Gerald Raunig and Gene Ray, 13–20. London: MayFlyBooks, 2009 Mario García Torres, Preliminary Sketches for the Past and the Future (Stedelijk Museum), 2007 Isa Genzken, Ohr (Ear), 1980 Josh Kline Park McArthur, Ramps After Institutions Karen Archey Published by Floating Opera Press, 2022 ISBN 9783981910889
How can a library change the world? How can an art library change the art school or the gallery? Or even an art practice? In shelf documents, artists, writers, curators, teachers, and librarians reflect on how they can use the beloved library as a source of inspiration or a field of action. In thinking about diversity in collections, the publication proposes art libraries as sites of intersubjective communion. shelf documents is rooted in a collaborative book acquisition project, initiated by the artist Heide Hinrichs at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, in which her group integrated over 200 new titles in art libraries as a way to fill gaps, to amplify voices, and seek out the self-initiated or the overlooked. Heide Hinrichs, Elizabeth Haines, and Jo-ey Tang speak to Pierre d’Alancaisez about working with institutions, working slowly, and working together to interfere with the permanence of libraries. Heide Hinrichs is an artist who works with found and existing materials. For the first Kathmandu Triennale, she developed the project On Some of the Birds of Nepal. In 2018, she published Silent Sisters/Stille Schwestern, an unauthorised German translation of Theresa Hak Kyng Cha’s novel Dictee. Elizabeth Haines is a historian and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Bristol. Her interdisciplinary interest in the materiality of knowledge productions draws on her education in fine arts. Jo-ey Tang is an artist, curator, and writer. He was previously the director of exhibitions at the Beeler Galery at Columbus College of Art & Design and is currently the director of Kadist, San Francisco. The list of books involved in the project is available at shelf documents art library as practice edited by Heide Hinrichs, Jo-ey Tang, and Elizabeth Haines, with drawings by Heide Hinrichs Published by b-books, 2021 ISBN 9783942214384
We are not what we think we are. Our self-image as natural individuated subjects is determined behind our backs: historically by political forces, cognitively by the language we use, and neurologically by sub-personal mechanisms, as revealed by scientific and philosophical analyses. Under contemporary capitalism, as the gap between this self-image and reality becomes an ever greater source of social and mental distress, these theoretical insights are potential dynamite. Shifting his explorations from the sonic to the social, amplifying alienation and playing with psychic noise, artist and performer Mattin finally lights the fuse. The noise is here to stay. Alienation is a constitutive part of subjectivity and an enabling condition for exploring social dissonance—the territory upon which we already find ourselves, the condition we inhabit today. Mattin speaks (and sings) to Pierre d’Alancaisez about his performance score Social Dissonance, in which the audience is the instrument and the legacy of the Marxist theory of alienation. Mattin is an artist, musician and theorist working conceptually with noise and improvisation. Through his practice and writing, he explores performative forms of estrangement as a way to deal with structural alienation. Mattin has exhibited and toured worldwide. He has performed in festivals such as Performa and Club Transmediale and lectured in institutions such as Dutch Art Institute, Cal Arts, Bard, and Goldsmiths. Mattin is part of the bands Billy Bao and Regler and has over 100 releases on different labels worldwide. He co-hosts the podcast Social Discipline. Mattin took part in 2017 in documenta14 in Athens and Kassel. Information on the Social Dissonance concert at Documenta 14 A video recording of one of the performances Social Dissonance Mattin Published by Urbanomic, 2022 ISBN 9781913029814
Labour has taken an about-turn. From Adam Smith’s proposal for specialisation which saw the factory line reorganised so that each worker needed to understand only a small aspect of the production process, many industries now rely on access to specialised skills and resources that are commanded at-hoc in discrete, time- and output-bound chunks. This is the logic of projects. The workforce no longer dedicates itself to the making of a singular commodity, as it was the case with Smith, but bids for discrete pieces of work when those are in demand. In some industries, for example, in the art world, the workforce is also charged with building the demand for their work by initiating the project which would then employ them. The ABC of the Projectariat by Kuba Szreder contributes new thinking on and practical responses to the widespread problem of precarious labour in contemporary art. It is both a critical analysis and a practical handbook, speaking to and about the vast cohort of artistic freelancers worldwide. Kuba Szreder speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the artistic project, and the effects of projectarisation on workers’ solidarity, communal governance, and the precarity of artistic activity. Kuba Szreder is a lecturer in the department of art theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He combines his research with independent curatorial practice. His previous publications include Joy Forever: Political Economy of Social Creativity (2011) and Art Factory: Division of Labor and Distribution of Resources in the Field of Contemporary Art in Poland (2014). In 2018, together with Kathrin Böhm, he initiated Centre for Plausible Economies, a cluster devoted to reimagining economies of contemporary art and using artistic imagination to redraw the economy at large. A report on the Free/Slow University of Warsaw Pierre’s interview with François Matarasso on community art Pierre’s essay on the social artist’s absorption into the professional-managerial class Kuba’s work with Kathrin Böhm (Company Drinks/myvillages) on the Centre for Plausible Economies, which contributed to Documenta 15 A New Books Network Interview with Dave O’Brien et al on Culture is Bad for You Pierre’s review of Sam Friedman’s and Daniel Laurison’s The Class Ceiling The ABC of the Projectariat  Living and working in a precarious art world Kuba Szreder Published by Manchester University Press, 2021 ISBN 9781526161321
The internet’s potential to perform political miracles has been a source of both hope and disappointment for many grassroots movements. We remember that the Sanders campaign tried to master the meme to mobilise a young, eager audience. Equally, we ascribe Trump’s electoral victory in 2016 to seemingly leaderless internet misinformation. Many of such events have been the subject of academic study - but research is often slow to keep up with the rapidly changing scene. If a researcher tracing the role of the meme to the politicisation and radicalisation of online communities struggles to keep up what hope does an artist have? Joshua Citarella’s practice starts with the understanding that it is impossible to predict what the next generation of meme posters will be interested in and whether their memes will reach beyond their tiny echo chambers. What is clear is that mainstream politics, particularly the politics of the left, remains afraid of these unruly communities that can just as easily turn to the dark corners of the demonised alt-right as they are to carry the flag for Bernie. Joshua Citarella speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about researching internet subcultures, playing politics with the extremely online, the multiple meanings of radicalisation, strategies for subverting right-wing content, and the role of art in internet political aesthetics. Joshua Citarella is an artist, content creator, and researcher. Politigram and the Post-left is one of many projects he has released through self-publishing channels and directly to his supporters. Joshua on Instagram and Patreon 20 Interviews with meme-posters Do Not Research, and online internet culture magazine When Guys Turn 20, Joshua's video series at Do Not Research exhibition at Lower Cavity Interview with Mike Watson on The Memeing of Mark Fisher Politigram and the Post-Left Joshua Citarella Published by Blurb, 2021 ISBN 9781006610196
In conversations about polarised political issues, phrases like ‘it’s not about race, it’s about class’ have become the perfect way to induce a stalemate. It seems as though the traditional, materialist critique of inequal ity has been supplanted by fast-evolving set of reflections of group identity. Mainstream politics makes fast and loose assumptions about the relationship between class and identity, and between economic conditions and culture. These assumptions are a key contributor to the culture wars. In The Identity Myth, David Swift covers the four different kinds of identity most susceptible to rhetorical and cultural manipulation – class, race, sex, and age. He considers how the boundaries of identities are policed and how diverse versions of the same identity can be deployed to different ends. Ultimately, it is not that identities are simply more ‘complex’ than they appear. Rather, there are commonalities more important to the creation of solidarity. David Swift speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the crisis of class and the deceptive allure of identity politics. We talk about the divisive nature of the contested claims of identity and about strategies for regaining control of the narrative. In a powerful call to arms, Swift argues that we must unite against these identity myths and embrace our differences to beat inequality. David Swift is a historian and writer who specialises in the history and contemporary politics of the British Left. He has written on the state of the Left for The Times, Fabian Review, Progress Online, Jewish Chronicle, and The Critic. He is the author of A Left for Itself, 2019. The Emily Thornberry white van tweet story, Gordon Brown's 'bigotgate', Keir Starmer and 'beergate', Tomiwa Owolade's essay on Anglican social conservatism in London, 'rooted' in David's work, Rachel Dolezal is now an artist, San Francisco school board recall, White narcissism at a BLM protest. The Identity Myth Why We Need to Embrace Our Differences to Beat Inequality David Swift Published by Constable, 2022 ISBN 9780349135366 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
Through his blog K-Punk, Mark Fisher become one of the cult figures of cultural theory after the economic crash of 2008. One of Fisher's insights, widely taken up by the online memesphere, was that capitalism breeds depression. Mike Watson picks up Fisher's prognosis when the locked-down pandemic world is mired in a depression that is economic and psychological, and no doubt exacerbated by the transfer of culture and life online. In the aftermath, The Memeing of Mark Fisher revisits the Frankfurt School theorists who worked in the shadow of World War Two, during the rise of the culture industry. In examining their thoughts and drawing parallels with Fisher's Capitalist Realism, Watson aims to render the Frankfurt School as an incisive theoretical toolbox for the post-Covid digital age. Taking in the phenomena of QAnon, twitch streaming, and memes, Watson argues that the dichotomy between culture and political praxis is a false one. As more people have access to the means for theoretical and critical engagement online, he urges the online left to build a real-life cultural and political movement. Mike Watson speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about Mark Fisher's legacy in critical online spaces, the democracy of memes and their aesthetic warfare, the Acid Left, and how the Frankfurt School thinkers foreshadowed our current moment. Mike Watson is a theorist, critic and curator who is principally focused on the relationship between culture, new media and politics. He hosts the podcast Theorywave Nights. Can the Left Learn to Meme? Mark Fisher's K-Punk blog archive K-Punk anthology Know Your Meme database Capitalist Realism bed meme 4chan Wojak meme Doomer meme The Acid Left podcast Mike's book memed by Academic Fraud The Memeing of Mark Fisher  How the Frankfurt School Foresaw Capitalist Realism and What to Do About It Mike Watson Published by Zer0Books, 2021 ISBN 9781789049336 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
In the past few years, museums of contemporary art have come under a fair deal of scrutiny. Pressures from groups such as Decoloinise This Place or the oxycontin scandal have forced changes to the governance of some of the world’s best-known institutions. At the same time, the work of journalists and museum scholars has revealed that the relationships between trustees, curators, collections, and the public are often far more complex than the narratives of public benefit and private value would have us believe. Nizan Shaked’s Museums and Wealth is a critical analysis of contemporary art collections and the value form. In the United States, institutions administered by the nonprofit system have an ambiguous status as they are neither entirely private nor fully public. Among nonprofits, the museum is unique as it is the only institution where trustees tend to collect the same objects they hold in ‘public trust’ on behalf of the nation. Shaked argues that the public serves as an alibi for establishing the symbolic value of art, which sustains its monetary value and its markets. In The Rise and Rise of the Private Art Museum, Georgina Adam tracks the phenomenon of the collector’s museum in the 21st century. There are some 400 private art museums around the world, and an astonishing 70% of those devoted to contemporary art were founded in the past 20 years. Although private museums have been accused of being tax-evading vanity projects or ‘tombs for trophies’, the picture is complex and nuanced. Private museums can add greatly to the cultural life of a community, giving a platform to emerging artists, supplying educational programmes and revitalising declining or neglected regions. But their relationship with public institutions can also be problematic. Are museums purely public affairs? How do private collections serve the greater good? What happens when these missions become confused? Georgina Adam and Nizan Shaked speak to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the 500-year history and the recent rise of the private art museum and consider if even public museums are, in the end, private. Georgina Adam is a journalist specialising in the art market. She writes for the Financial Times and The Art Newspaper. She is the author of Big Bucks and The Dark Side of the Boom. Nizan Shaked is a professor of Contemporary Art History, Museum and Curatorial Studies at California State University Long Beach. She is the author of The Synthetic Proposition: Conceptualism and the Political Referent in Contemporary Art. Museum Susch The Fisher collection at SF MoMA Warren Kanders leaves the board of the Whitney ISBN 9781848223844 ISBN 9781350045767
For better or worse, artists write. But why would a visual artist write a novel? How should such a novel be experienced? How does the artist’s novel compare or compete with literary fiction as we know it? David Maroto, the author of The Artist’s Novel considers the proliferation of artists writing novels as a sign of the emergence of a new medium. Artists engaging in this new medium do so in order to address artistic issues by means of novelistic devices, favouring a sort of art predicated on process and subjectivity, introducing notions such as fiction, narrative, and imagination. Maroto’s work is the first to explore the subject of the artist’s novel in depth. David Maroto speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the artist’s novel and the demands it makes on its readers and, as he found out through his own practice, on its curators and publishers. David reads from Benjamin Soror’s Mime Radio and voices the mythical satyr Marsyas but, sadly, stops short of singing. David Maroto is a visual artist, researcher, writer, and curator based in Rotterdam. David Maroto’s first novel Illusion The Book Lovers, a project by David Maroto and Joanna Zielinska Benjamin Seror’s Mime Radio Goldin+Senneby‘s Headless Ale Cecchetti’s exhibition at Ujazdowski Castle Alex Cecchetti’s novel Tamam Shud The Artist’s Novel A New Medium The Fantasy of the Novel David Maroto Published by Mousse, 2020 ISBN 9788867494224, 9788867494255 ************* Find many more interviews, projects, and my writing at You can sign up for my newsletter at Support my work:
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