Maria Hlavajova

Maria Hlavajova is the Founding General and Artistic Director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. She is coeditor of Former West: Art and the Contemporary after 1989, and Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent (both published by the MIT Press).

  • Deserting from the Culture Wars

    Deserting from the Culture Wars

    Maria Hlavajova and Sven Lütticken

    Artists and writers consider a tactical desertion from the “culture wars”—a refusal to be distracted, an embrace of the emancipatory understanding of culture.

    Deserting from the Culture Wars reflects upon and intervenes in our current moment of ever-more polarizing ideological combat, often seen as the return of the “culture wars.” How are these culture wars defined and waged? Engaging in a theater of war that has been delineated by the enemy is a shortcut to defeat. Getting out of the reactive mode that produces little but a series of Pavlovian responses, this book proposes a tactical desertion from the culture wars as they are being waged today—a refusal to play the other side's war games, an unwillingness to be distracted.

    The volunteer troops in the culture wars are often given marching orders by professional masters of propaganda. What, then, might artists and others who are professionally engaged with images and imaginaries, with narratives and assemblies, have to contribute to the collective discovery of different modes of living culture? Far from limiting the performance of culture to a one-sided speech act, an emancipatory understanding of culture needs to conceive of speech as embodied and intersubjective—as a collective performance.

    Contributors

    Bini Adamczak, Kader Attia, Rose Hammer, Tom Holert, Charl Landvreugd and Sebastian Olma, Geert Lovink and Esmee Schoutens, Sven Lütticken, Diana McCarty, Dan McQuillan, Johannes Paul Raether, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Jonas Staal

    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99
  • Propositions for Non-Fascist Living

    Propositions for Non-Fascist Living

    Tentative and Urgent

    Maria Hlavajova and Wietske Maas

    Artists, theorists, activists, and scholars propose concrete forms of non-fascist living as the rise of contemporary fascisms threatens the foundations of common life.

    Propositions for Non-Fascist Living begins from the urgent need to model a world decidedly void of fascisms during a time when the rise of contemporary fascisms threatens the very foundations of a possibility for common life. Borrowing from Michel Foucault's notion of “non-fascist living” as an “art of living counter to all forms of fascism,” including that “in us all… the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us,” the book addresses the practice of living rather than the mere object of life.

    Artists, theorists, activists, and scholars offer texts and visual essays that engage varied perspectives on practicing life and articulate methods that support multiplicity and difference rather than vaunting power and hierarchy. Architectural theorist Eyal Weizman, for example, describes an “unlikely common” in gathering evidence against false narratives; art historian and critic Sven Lütticken develops a non-fascist proposition drawn from the intersection of art, technology, and law; philosopher Rosi Braidotti explores an ethics of affirmation and the practices of dying.

    Propositions for Non-Fascist Living is the first in a BASICS series of readers from BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, engaging some of the most urgent problems of our time through theoretically informed and politically driven artistic research and practice.

    Contributors include

    Rosi Braidotti, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Jota Mombaça, and Thiago de Paula Souza, Forensic Architecture, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, Patricia Kaersenhout and Lukáš Likavčan, Sven Lütticken, Jumana Manna, Dan McQuillan, Shela Sheikh, Eyal Weizman, Mick Wilson

    Copublished with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst

    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99
  • Former West

    Former West

    Art and the Contemporary after 1989

    Maria Hlavajova and Simon Sheikh

    Explorations of the “formering” of the West in contemporary art in the post-communist, postcolonial, posthuman, post-ideological, and posthistorical era.

    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.

    The writings, visual essays, and conversations in Former West—more than seventy diverse contributions with global scope—unfold a tangled cartography far more complex than the simplistic dichotomy of East vs. West. In fact, the Cold War was a contest not between two ideological blocs but between two variants of Western modernity. It is this conceptual “Westcentrism” that a “formering” of the West seeks to undo.

    The contributions revisit contemporary debates through the lens of a “former West.” They rethink conceptions of time and space dominating the legacy of the 1989–1990 revolutions in the former East, and critique historical periodization of the contemporary. The contributors map the political economy and social relations of the contemporary, consider the implications of algorithmic cultures and the posthuman condition, and discuss notions of solidarity—the difficulty in constructing a new “we” despite migration, the refugee crisis, and the global class recomposition. Can art institute the contemporary it envisions, and live as if it were possible?

    Contributors include Nancy Adajania, Edit András, Athena Athanasiou, Zygmunt Bauman, Dave Beech, Brett Bloom, Rosi Braidotti, Susan Buck-Morss, Campus in Camps, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Chto Delat?/What is to be done?, Jodi Dean, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Angela Dimitrakaki, Dilar Dirik, Marlene Dumas, Keller Easterling, Charles Esche, Okwui Enwezor, Silvia Federici, Mark Fisher, Federica Giardini and Anna Simone, Boris Groys, Gulf Labor Coalition, Stefano Harney, Sharon Hayes, Brian Holmes, Tung-Hui Hu, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Sami Khatib, Delaine Le Bas, Boaz Levin and Vera Tollmann, Isabell Lorey, Sven Lütticken, Ewa Majewska, Suhail Malik, Artemy Magun, Teresa Margolles, Achille Mbembe, Laura McLean, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Sandro Mezzadra, Walter D. Mignolo, Aernout Mik, Angela Mitropoulos, Rastko Močnik, Nástio Mosquito, Rabih Mroué, Pedro Neves Marques, Peter Osborne, Matteo Pasquinelli, Andrea Phillips, Nina Power, Vijay Prashad, Gerald Raunig, Irit Rogoff, Naoki Sakai, Rasha Salti, Francesco Salvini, Georg Schöllhammer, Christoph Schlingensief, Susan Schuppli, Andreas Siekmann, Jonas Staal, Hito Steyerl, Mladen Stilinović, Paulo Tavares, Trịnh Thị Minh Hà, Florin Tudor, Mona Vătămanu, Marina Vishmidt, Marion von Osten, McKenzie Wark, Eyal Weizman

    • Paperback $39.95 £32.00