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Media Art and Activism

The innovative French media artist and prankster-provocateur Fred Forest first gained notoriety in 1972 when he inserted a small blank space in Le Monde, called it 150 cm2 of Newspaper (150 cm2 de papier journal), and invited readers to fill in the space with their own work and mail their efforts to him. In 1977, he satirized speculation in both the art and real estate markets by offering the first parcel of officially registered “artistic square meters” of undeveloped rural land for sale at an art auction.

Since the 1970s, the South African artist William Kentridge has charted the turbulent terrain of his homeland in both personal and political terms. With erudition, absurdist humor, and an underlying hope in humankind, Kentridge’s artwork has examined apartheid, humanitarian atrocities, aging, and the ambiguities of growing up white and Jewish in South Africa. This October Files volume brings together critical essays and interviews that explore Kentridge’s work and shed light on the unique working processes behind his drawings, prints, stop-animation films, and theater works.

This book provides a companion to Aleksandra Mir's latest body of work Space Tapestry: Faraway Missions, exhibited at Tate Liverpool and Modern Art Oxford.

Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry and the anonymous artists who depicted Halley’s Comet in 1066, the Space Tapestry is a large-scale, hand-drawn monochrome wall-hanging that forms an immersive environment. Much like a graphic novel, Space Tapestry tells an episodic visual story of space travel.

Media, Utopias, Ecologies

Postwar artists and architects have used photography, film, and other media to imagine and record the world as a wonder of collaborative entanglement—to translate the world for the world. In this book, Janine Marchessault examines a series of utopian media events that opened up and expanded the cosmos, creating ecstatic collective experiences for spectators and participants.

Music in video games is often a sophisticated, complex composition that serves to engage the player, set the pace of play, and aid interactivity. Composers of video game music must master an array of specialized skills not taught in the conservatory, including the creation of linear loops, music chunks for horizontal resequencing, and compositional fragments for use within a generative framework.

Warhol’s Factory of the 1960s, Minimalism’s assembly-line aesthetics, conceptual and feminist concern with workers’ conditions in the 1970s—these are among the antecedents of a renewed focus on the work of art: labor as artistic activity, as artistic method and as object of artistic engagement. In 2002, the “Work Ethic” exhibition curated by Helen Molesworth at the Baltimore Museum of Art took its cue from recent art to spotlight this earlier era of artistic practice in which activity became as valid as, and often dispensed with, object-production.

Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011
Edited by Nato Thompson

Over the past twenty years, an abundance of art forms have emerged that use aesthetics to affect social dynamics. These works are often produced by collectives or come out of a community context; they emphasize participation, dialogue, and action, and appear in situations ranging from theater to activism to urban planning to visual art to health care. Engaged with the texture of living, these art works often blur the line between art and life.

It may be time to forget the art world--or at least to recognize that a certain historical notion of the art world is in eclipse. Today, the art world spins on its axis so quickly that its maps can no longer be read; its borders blur. In Forgetting the Art World, Pamela Lee connects the current state of this world to globalization and its attendant controversies. Contemporary art has responded to globalization with images of movement and migration, borders and multitudes, but Lee looks beyond iconography to view globalization as a world process.

Edited by Sven Spieker

The effects and meanings of destruction are central to the work of many of our most influential artists. Since the early 1960s, artists have employed destruction to creative ends. Here destruction changes from a negative state or passive condition to a highly productive category. The destructive subversion of media imagery aims to release us from its controlling effects. The self-destructing artwork extinguishes art’s fixity as arrested form and ushers in the ephemeral and contingent "open work."

The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare
Edited by Jonathan Allen

In the spring of 2013, a seventy-nine-card, hand-painted tarot deck created c.1906 by the mystic and artist Austin Osman Spare, was identified within the collections of The Magic Circle Museum in London.

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