by The MIT Press

Paper Revolutions
Sarah E. James
The MIT Press - 35.00€ -

The experimental practices of a group of artists in the former East Germany upends assumptions underpinning Western art's postwar histories.

In Paper Revolutions, Sarah James offers a radical rethinking of experimental art in the former East Germany (the GDR). Countering conventional accounts that claim artistic practices in the GDR were isolated and conservative, James introduces a new narrative of neo-avantgarde practice in the Eastern Bloc that subverts many of the assumptions underpinning Western art's postwar histories. She grounds her argument in the practice of four artists who, uniquely positioned outside academies, museums, and the art market, as these functioned in the West, created art in the blind spots of state censorship. They championed ephemeral practices often marginalized by art history: postcards and letters, maquettes and models, portfolios and artist's books. Through their “lived modernism,” they produced bodies of work animated by the radical legacies of the interwar avant-garde.

James examines the work and daily practices of the constructivist graphic artist, painter, and sculptor Hermann Glöckner; the experimental graphic artist and concrete and sound poet Carlfriedrich Claus; the mail artist, concrete poet, and conceptual artist Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt; and the mail artist, “visual poet,” and installation artist Karla Sachse. She shows that all of these artists rejected the idea of art as a commodity or a rarefied object, and instead believed in the potential of art to create collectivized experiences and change the world. James argues that these artists, entirely neglected by Western art history, produced some of the most significant experimental art to emerge from Germany during the Cold War.

Sex Ecologies
Stefanie Hessler (ed.)
The MIT Press - 30.00€ -  out of stock

Sex Ecologies explores pleasure, affect, and the powers of the erotic in the human and more-than-human worlds. Arguing for the positive and constructive role of sex in ecology and art practice, these texts and artistic research projects attempt nothing short of reclaiming the sexual from Western erotophobia and heteronormative narratives of nature and reproduction. The artists and writers set out to examine queer ecology through the lens of environmental humanities, investigating the fluid boundaries between bodies (both human and nonhuman), between binary conceptions of nature as separate from culture, and between disciplines.

In newly commissioned texts from such writers as Mel Y. Chen and Jack Halberstam and a selection of influential essays—including an annotated version of Audre Lorde's “The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”—as well as images and sketches from works in progress by a diverse group of artists, Sex Ecologiescombines insights from the fields of art, environmental humanities, ecofeminism, gender studies, science, technology, political science, and indigenous studies.

Sex Ecologies, which accompanies an exhibition of the same name at Kunsthall Trondheim, emerges from an arts-driven research project collaboratively developed between the art center and the Seed Box environmental humanities collaboratory. Conceived not as a result but as a seed arising from this transdisciplinary fertilization, the volume presents a case for the role of sex in environmental and social justice.

Contributors:

Katja Aglert,Tarsh Bates, adrienne maree brown, Mel Y. Chen, Pauline Doutreluingne, Léuli Eshrāghi, Jes Fan, Ibrahim Fazlic, Jack Halberstam, niilas helander, Stefanie Hessler, Jenny Hval, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Jessie Kleemann, Audre Lorde, Nina Lykke, Montserrat Madariaga-Caro, Camila Marambio, Astrida Neimanis, Pedro Neves Marques, Okwui Okpokwasili, Marie Helene Pereira, Margrethe Pettersen, Laure Prouvost, Filipa Ramos, Catriona Sandilands, Sami Schalk, Serubiri Moses, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, Kim TallBear, Anna Tje, Alberta Whittle, Victoria Wibeck, Elvia Wilk

Copublished with Kunsthall Trondheim (Norway) and the Seed Box (Sweden)

What Is Sex?
Alenka Zupančič
The MIT Press - 22.50€ -  out of stock

Why sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology.

Consider sublimation, conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around), even a key to sexuality itself and its inherent contradictions. The Lacanian perspective would make the answer to the simple-seeming question, "What is sex?" rather more complex. In this volume in the Short Circuits series, Alenka Zupančič approaches the question from just this perspective, considering sexuality a properly philosophical problem for psychoanalysis; and by psychoanalysis, she means that of Freud and Lacan, not that of the kind of clinician practitioners called by Lacan "orthopedists of the unconscious."

Zupančič argues that sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology. Sexuality and knowledge are structured around a fundamental negativity, which unites them at the point of the unconscious. The unconscious (as linked to sexuality) is the concept of an inherent link between being and knowledge in their very negativity.

Extraterrestrial Languages
Daniel Oberhaus
The MIT Press - 25.00€ -  out of stock

If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand?

The endlessly fascinating question of whether we are alone in the universe has always been accompanied by another, more complicated one: if there is extraterrestrial life, how would we communicate with it? In this book, Daniel Oberhaus leads readers on a quest for extraterrestrial communication. Exploring Earthlings' various attempts to reach out to non-Earthlings over the centuries, he poses some not entirely answerable questions: If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand? What languages will they (and we) speak? Is there not only a universal grammar (as Noam Chomsky has posited), but also a grammar of the universe?

Oberhaus describes, among other things, a late-nineteenth-century idea to communicate with Martians via Morse code and mirrors; the emergence in the twentieth century of SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), CETI (communication with extraterrestrial intelligence), and finally METI (messaging extraterrestrial intelligence); the one-way space voyage of Ella, an artificial intelligence agent that can play cards, tell fortunes, and recite poetry; and the launching of a theremin concert for aliens. He considers media used in attempts at extraterrestrial communication, from microwave systems to plaques on spacecrafts to formal logic, and discusses attempts to formulate a language for our message, including the Astraglossa and two generations of Lincos (lingua cosmica).

The chosen medium for interstellar communication reveals much about the technological sophistication of the civilization that sends it, Oberhaus observes, but even more interesting is the information embedded in the message itself. In Extraterrestrial Languages, he considers how philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, science, and art have informed the design or limited the effectiveness of our interstellar messaging.

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