I interview authors of new books in art, critical theory, creative industry studies, and philosophy.
You can listen to the shows here, in your podcast app, or find them alongside thousands of conversations covering a wide range of new academic writing in many disciplines on the New Books Network.
Simoniti systematises the perspectives of contemporary art as a force for political and social change. Kantian aesthetics makes a comeback.
Evidence is mounting that ‘following the science’ was all politics and the horrific human and economic cost of pandemic policies necessitates a full inquiry into the making of the Covid consensus.
“The decolonisation hordes have taken over institutions.” Obsessed with cataloguing wrongs, they are attacking their own cause and harming scholarship on and in Africa.
How can men and women live together well in a world where capitalism has replaced the values – family, religion, service, and honour – that used to give our lives meaning?
American democracy is in crisis. The economic system is slowly making Americans poorer while it fuels bogus hope for change and stokes cultural conflicts.
What links art history, radical pedagogy, and Wagner? Adrian Rifkin’s Bildungsroman sets the Paris of 1968 against the practice of art history.
Fires, floods, wars, and existential crises that have redefined what museums do and how they think of themselves and their public.
Curating Fascism examines the ways in which exhibitions organised after the fall of Mussolini’s regime to the present day have shaped collective memory, historical narratives, and political discourse around the Italian ventennio.
In Uncommon Sense, Craig Leonard argues for the contemporary relevance of the aesthetic theory of Herbert Marcuse, an original member of the Frankfurt School and icon of the New Left.
For all the popularity of Bored Apes and Ponzi scheme stories, there seems to have been little serious engagement with the philosophical, political, and aesthetic implications of the blockchain.
The more we are surrounded by images, the greater claims they make. Photographs are not only routinely used to convey news, they are used to establish what is and isn’t true.
Art has a long history of engaging with violence and contemporary artists often follow this tradition. Kaelan Wilson-Goldie tracks the contradictions inherent in the practice of aesthetics under the conditions of conflict.
How do we conceptualise online ‘communities’. What are platform ‘ideologies’. And why is the internet making us so damn unhappy?
The pink-papered magazine Butt gained a cult following among European gay men in the first decade of the 2000s. Peter Rehberg’s account 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 queer world.
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? These apparent failures of liberal thinking are a starting point for an inquiry into emergent ways of living, acting, and making art…
How can a library change the world? How can an art library change the art school or the gallery? Or even an art practice?
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.
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?
“It’s not about race, it’s about class” is the fastest way to shut down a conversation on the progressive values. David Swift considers how the boundaries of identities are policed and how diverse versions of the same identity can be deployed to different ends.
Capitalism breeds depression, suggested Mark Fisher. Mike Watson picks this 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.
Are contemporary art museums purely public affairs? How do private collections serve the greater good? What happens when these missions become confused? How should we account for the cost (in tax revenue, no least) of the philanthropist’s gesture?
Why do visual artists write novels? How should such a novel be experienced? How do artist’s novels compare or compete with literary fiction as we know it?
Surrealism produces images and artefacts that are rooted outside the real. For many artists, however, Surrealism took on an explicitly political and practical dimensions. Abigail Susik argues that many artists tried to transform the work of art into a form of unmanageable anti-work.
Since the Vietnam War the way we see conflict – through film, photographs, and pixels – has had a powerful impact on the political fortunes of the campaign, and the way that war has been conducted.
How do we think in a world where ‘nothing works’? How do we formulate alternative approaches to the world’s unresponsive or intractable dilemmas, from climate change, to inequality, to concentrations of authoritarian power?
When philosophers have approached virtual reality, they tend to do so through the lens of metaphysics. But to really account for VR, we must focus on the medium and its uses.
Many contemporary art schools have not abandoned the principal tools of the masterclass or the crit that stem from some stubborn 18th-century ideas and the belief that creativity is the preserve of the artistic genius.
What does artistic resistance look like in the twenty-first century, when disruption and dissent have been co-opted and commodified in ways that reinforce dominant systems?
Artists from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse command fascination not only for their work but also foe their drug addictions and the manner of their death. Communions is an attempt to understand the role that opiates play in the artistic lives of those who are gripped by addiction.
Investigative Aesthetics draws on theories of knowledge, ecology, and technology; evaluates the methods of citizen counter-forensics, micro-history and art.
“History is the study of past events.” “Biology is the study of living organisms.” But art? Is art a discipline? Is it a practice? Who gets to answer this most fundamental of questions, and why do we prefer not to try?
What is creativity? While our traditional view of creative work might lead us to think of artists as solitary visionaries, the creative process is profoundly influenced by social interactions even when artists work alone.
Crisis? What Crisis? The lack of a single dominant voice in criticism is not a weakness, but a strength.
Art, the law, and justice have had a long history together. But we shouldn’t see their relationship benign. Indeed art, with its ‘call for justice’ ca be ‘annoying’.
From the mirror and the watch tower, the scientific revolution, Jane Austen, to the shape of contemporary capitalism – with booms, manias, busts, and bubbles along the way.
It is now just over a decade since protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square started Egypt’s chapter in the events of the Arab Spring. How have artists responded personally and artistically to the political transformation?
What makes a woman ‘bad’ is commonly linked to certain ‘qualities’ or behaviours seen as morally or socially corrosive, dirty and disgusting. Gemma Commane speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about her study of neo-burlesque, queer performances, and explicit entertainment as sites of power, possibility, and success.
The activist performances of Grupo de Arte Callejero, Etcétera, and International Errorista rooted in the political histories of Latin America show how experimental practices in the visual arts have been influenced by and articulated with leftist movements and popular uprisings.
What forms of knowledge do artists produce in their often speculative and yet purposeful approach to generating research? Research/Practice focuses on artistic research and how it contributes to the formation of experimental knowledge systems.
Labour used to be regarded as an unattractive subject for art, the proximity of work to everyday life has subsequently narrowed the gap between work and art. The artist is no longer considered apart from the economic but is heralded as an example of how to work in neoliberal management textbooks.
In search of new knowledge practices that can help us make the world livable again, this book takes the reader on a journey across time—from the deep past to the unfolding future. Hughes and Armstrong search beyond human knowledge to establish negotiated partnerships with forms of knowledge within the planet itself.
In the middle of the twentieth century, the production of America’s consumer culture was centralised in New York. Every day tens of thousands of writers, editors, artists, performers, and technicians made the culture that shaped the consumer economy. But this was far from a smoothly running machine.
Has ‘migrant’ become an unshakeable identity for some people? How does this happen and what role does the media play in classifying individuals as ‘migrants’ rather than people? How Media and Conflicts Make Migrants challenges the idea of the ‘migrant’, pointing instead to the array of systems and processes that force this identity on individuals.
How to understand propaganda art in the post-truth era — and how to create a new kind of emancipatory propaganda art. Propaganda art—whether a depiction of joyous workers in the style of socialist realism or a film directed by Steve Bannon — delivers a message.
The last twenty years have seen a rise of new forms of socially engaged art aimed. Leigh Claire La Berge’s Wages Against Artwork addresses what she calls decommodified labor – the slow diminishment of wages – and the increasing presence of animals and children in contemporary art.
What is the role and function of contemporary art in economic and political systems that increasingly manage data and affect? Tom Holert’s Knowledge Beside Itself delves into the peculiar emphasis placed in recent years, curatorially and institutionally, on notions such as “research” and “knowledge production.”
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