writing

(No) Politics in Venice

(No) Politics in Venice

This year's Biennale is in denial of the circumstances that have forced the event to shift from odd to even years. To find artistic politics in Venice, one has to consider form and matter on their own terms: in the long term.
Epistemic politics, knowledge warfare 

Epistemic politics, knowledge warfare 

Snow asked his literary colleagues about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. “The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?”
Stalking the Biennial Zone

Stalking the Biennial Zone

In the biennial, art could do all the things that we like to believe that art can do: deliver us from our concerns, transcend the limits of our imaginations, inspire us, give us hope. Art could do all those things. But often, it doesn't.
Value in Numbers

Value in Numbers

Is the fiction of art's economic value now the key measure of culture? Does it matter that we don't understand the figures? What would Baudrillard say about NFTs? Can we hope to restore aesthetic ideas of value?
OnlyFans on Strike

OnlyFans on Strike

OnlyFans went on strike. It wasn’t the workers who threatened to walk out, it was the factory. But this factory's success does not lie in skimming off excess labour from its sex performers. OnlyFans went on strike to demand more capital.
Review: The Class Ceiling

Review: The Class Ceiling

Class may be the ultimate English taboo. The understanding and signalling of class or other identity attributes may become an obstacle to classical class analysis. An entirely different political class narrative may be called for that transcends the boundaries of sociological understanding before returning to the discipline once again.
Pyramid scheme meets bubble

Pyramid scheme meets bubble

The deceptive magic of NFTs is that the items they represent – memes, animations, screenshots – can be claimed to be collectable and therefore valuable. But art’s tendency to trade claims of value outside of its own field without check is profoundly worrying.
Art in solidarity with itself

Art in solidarity with itself

Are we witnessing a solidarity turn in art production? If artists are workers and workers are artists, who’s standing in solidarity with whom?Artistic solidarity could be a powerful tool, but only if it is twinned with a careful examination of the claims that art makes about its own needs, desires, and abilities.
Skills are cheap; chemistry is expensive

Skills are cheap; chemistry is expensive

The relationship of skills to education and employability has been marred for some time by politicised narratives that include immigration, and class, abstract ideas like creativity, and an industry of educators resilient to change.
Social art in antisocial times

Social art in antisocial times

In the Government’s lock-down rules, art is clearly non-essential labour; more: it is voluntarily redundant. The ‘social’ of social arts is simply not the ‘social’ of social workers; the analogy seems ludicrous now and in retrospective.
#byeweiwei

#byeweiwei

Ai WeiWei may be ‘the perfect Asian artist for lazy western curators’. He may also be the lazy marketer’s idea of viral cool, and the lazy politician’s idea of a progressive thinker.
An Afternoon by the Sea

An Afternoon by the Sea

It’s a peculiar moment, to recognise so clearly one’s own feeling as belonging to an altogether different story, and in which either version of events could well be true. In my own seaside afternoon, I thought I was playing out some French film classic, perhaps the Louvre scene from À bout de soufflé.