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Art and the Contemporary after 1989

What has become of the so-called West after the Cold War? Why hasn’t the West simply become “former,” as has its supposed counterpart, the “former East”? In this book, artists, thinkers, and activists explore the repercussions of the political, cultural, and economic events of 1989 on both art and the contemporary. The culmination of an eight-year curatorial research experiment, Former West imagines a world beyond our immediate condition.

Sound as a Medium of Art
Edited by Peter Weibel

This milestone volume maps fifty years of artists’ engagement with sound. Since the beginning of the new millennium, numerous historical and critical works have established Sound Art as an artistic genre in its own right, with an accepted genealogy that begins with Futurism, Dada, and Fluxus, as well as disciplinary classifications that effectively restrict artistic practice to particular tools and venues.

In the 1950s, the United States and the Soviet Union raced to develop space-based intelligence gathering capability. The Soviets succeeded first, with SPUTNIK I in 1957. The United States began to monitor the growing Soviet space presence by developing technology for the detection and tracking of man-made resident space objects (RSOs) in near-Earth orbit. In 1972, the Soviet Union launched a satellite into deep space orbit, and the U.S. government called on MIT Lincoln Laboratory to develop deep space surveillance technology.

In the middle of the night between the 25th and 26th of November, Vincent fell from the third floor playing parachute with a bathrobe. He drank a liter of tequila, smoked Congolese grass, snorted cocaine...
—from Crazy for Vincent

Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution

The rise of genomics engendered intense struggle over the control of knowledge. In Reordering Life, Stephen Hilgartner examines the “genomics revolution” and develops a novel approach to studying the dynamics of change in knowledge and control. Hilgartner focuses on the Human Genome Project (HGP)—the symbolic and scientific centerpiece of the emerging field—showing how problems of governance arose in concert with new knowledge and technology.

An Insider’s Account of State Power in a Coal Nation

The United States has pledged to the world community a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025. Because much of this reduction must come from electric utilities, especially coal-fired power plants, coal states will make or break the U.S. commitment to emissions reduction. In Climate of Capitulation, Vivian Thomson offers an insider’s account of how power is wielded in environmental policy making at the state level.

In Money, Payments, and Liquidity,  Guillaume Rocheteau and Ed Nosal provide a comprehensive investigation into the economics of money, liquidity, and payments by explicitly modeling the mechanics of trade and its various frictions (including search, private information, and limited commitment).

Latin America is richly endowed with natural resources, fertile land, and vibrant cultures. Yet the region remains much poorer than its neighbors to the north. Most Latin American countries have not achieved standards of living and stable institutions comparable to those found in developed countries, have experienced repeated boom-bust cycles, and emain heavily reliant on primary commodities.

Tony Duvert’s novel Atlantic Island (originally published in French in 1979) takes place in the soul-crushing suburbs of a remote island off the coast of France. It is told through the shifting perspectives of a group of pubescent and prepubescent boys, ages seven to fourteen, who gather together at night in secret to carry out a series of burglaries throughout their neighborhood. The boys vandalize living rooms and kitchens and make off with, for the most part, petty objects of no value.

An Essay on the Materialities of Information

Virtual entities that populate our digital experience, like e-books, virtual worlds, and online stores, are backed by the large-scale physical infrastructures of server farms, fiber optic cables, power plants, and microwave links. But another domain of material constraints also shapes digital living: the digital representations sketched on whiteboards, encoded into software, stored in databases, loaded into computer memory, and transmitted on networks. These digital representations encode aspects of our everyday world and make them available for digital processing.

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