Neomaterialism is a blog run by Joshua Simon, curator and writer and a 2011-2013 Vera List Center Fellow at the New School, who is researching expanded notions of Thingness.


The aim of this blog is to examine the order of things today. How come symbols behave like materials (“fake” and “real” brands)? Why have commodities become the historical subject (do we furnish our world with IKEA or rather we dwell in its world)? Are humans reduced to simply absorbing surpluses (with baby diapers being a form of child labor)? How labor has shifted from production to consumption? Why is everything we do is work (even when we are not employed) and how can a generation overqualified for the labor market can change everything?


This blog hosts source materials and documents, together with commentary and analysis.

Re-introducing different notions of dialectical materialism into the already established conversation on the subjectivity of things, Neomaterialism challenges the investigation which the new-materialists have begun, relating it to labor, debt, credit, animisim and alienation, life-taxes and social organization.


With the book Neomaterialism (Sternberg Press, 2013), available in stores now the blog also operates as an ongoing archive for references, reviews and events.
Wednesday 6/18/2014

(2 notes)

surplus; display; overqualified;

Finance capital and installation art, derivatives and theory, the curator and molecular food, event and singularity, subjectivity and the end of the future.

Fredric Jameson speaking on the “Aesthetics of Singularity

Wednesday 6/11/2014

debt; surplus; book;

Event for Noam Yuran’s What Money Wants 

The Left Bank -

Israeli Communist Party Culture Club

Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Monday 09.06.2014, 20:00

with Uri Eran

Matan Kaminer

Tahel Frosh

Joshua Simon

Noam Yuran

Imri Kahn’s Pizza Carpet Diamond Transition Loop as GIF
Thursday 4/24/2014

tel aviv; surplus; unreadymade;

IMRI KAHN: Pizza Carpet Diamond Transition Loop | TEMPO RUBATO

IMRI KAHN 

Pizza Carpet Diamond Transition Loop

In their book Remediation: Understanding New Media (2000), Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin set out to describe what they see as “the double logic of remediation”. Remediation is described as the process of one media burrowing or re-purposing the “property” of another media (for instance - a book turned into a film). Remediation’s double movement can be summarized so: media asserts itself as a medium (hypermediacy - opaque) while at the same time erasing its own act of mediation (immediacy- transparent).

A simple example of this would be the TV movie. On the one hand, TV evacuates itself and becomes transparent, to let the older medium of cinema be experienced through it. Yet on the other hand, paradoxically, in the corner of the screen, the opaque icon of the TV channel appears, breaking the illusion of cinematic space, and calling attention to this being a flat television screen. In a TV movie, both TV and cinema appear as if superimposed one on top of the other. The movie renders the experience of TV recognizable, and the TV renders the experience of cinema unrecognizable, or - new.

Remediation is not a simple chronological process, the logic goes both ways, as old-media must remediate the new in order to assert itself further. Think of news-promos adopting internet aesthetics and imagery, or think of the “isms” of painting in the 19th and 20th century as constantly renewing the question: What can painting do that photography can’t? How can it generate greater immediacy by paradoxically calling more and more attention to its materiality as medium?  

Bolter and Grusin are elaborating on an idea popularized in the 1960s by Marshall McLuhan and his often quoted “the medium is the message”. For McLuhen the content of all media is always other media. But if the double logic of media is the message or the actual content of media, is what we traditionally think of as content an illusion? What is that which we experience as immediate through media? Is the history of painting one of decorating canvases or one of decorating walls? Is it possible to speak of decoration as the content of media, not cynically, but in order to affirm it as part of an old and complicated tradition, with its own particular entanglements, questions and history?

Cut with diamond transition to 1860, the British Library. Gottfried Semper, a successful and influential architect exiled from Germany, is writing his never completed magnum opus, Style in the technical and tectonic arts; or, practical aesthetics. Semper’s practical user’s guide is also a theory of architecture as originating from the act of clothing, and from cloth technically. He writes: “I think that the dressing and the mask are as old as human civilization… The destruction of reality, of the material, is necessary if form is to emerge as a meaningful symbol… in times of high artistic achievement these individuals (artists) masked the material of the mask.”

Semper’s book, obsessed as it is with origins, is also a theory of decoration, or ornament. In it, practical techniques, like hems, trims, strings and bands, lose their original connection to their function (in a weave, a pattern is identical with the material), becoming symbols, and evolving as ornaments superimposed on other material, say walls, or furniture, animating them. Without them, a temple “would have remained incomprehensible to the masses, or had a chilling affect”.

But something strange happens to the ornaments when they get divorced from their original function. In describing wall paintings in a temple, Semper writes “It was merely a matter of transforming the forms of the Asiatic construction that were based on mechanical necessity into dynamic, even organic forms, a matter of endowing them with a soul“. Divorced from its original use, from its body and original function, and used to animate and mask another body, ornament is granted a soul.

Cut with page peel transition, same time, British Library, same reading room, next desk. Karl Marx is writing Das Kapital. Marx is describing a complicated process wherein disembodied labor, superimposed on objects, comes to be embedded within them as their “fetish character” - animating them, turning them “mysterious” and “mystical”, both “sensory” and “extra sensory” objects. For Marx, commodity-fetishism reverses the history of fetishism, since what is fetishized in them is not their visual appearance but their exchange value, something invisible - dead labor, a ghost. But if we put the term “fetish” aside, we see that what animates commodities, decoration, and media is absent bodies animating present bodies into recognizable forms - an experience of material as immaterial or of material as being ghosted - of masks masking their own materiality.

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IMRI KAHN 

Pizza Carpet Diamond Transition Loop

March 13 - April 26 2014  

Tempo Rubato, Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Wednesday 3/26/2014

(2 notes)

tel aviv; surplus; unreadymade;

doublestreet:

Nina Beier: Scheme, 2014
Online organic vegetable box scheme, delivered to the gallery at timed intervals, Dimensions variable
 
Monday 3/17/2014

(6 notes)

surplus; unreadymade;

doublestreet:

Nina BeierScheme, 2014

Online organic vegetable box scheme, delivered to the gallery at timed intervals, Dimensions variable

 

(via jessestecklow)

FORENSIS - exhibition and conference | HKW, Berlin

Forensis exhibition (until 05.05.2014) and The Architecture of Public Truth Conference (15-16.03.2014) at the Haus der Kulteren der Welt, Berlin

Forensis | Image from the 3D virtual model reconstruction of the scene at the moment of the shooting of Bassem Abu Rahma | © Forensic Architecture and Situ Studio

Whereas the twentieth century could be viewed as the “age of the witness”, the current “forensic turn” is inaugurating nothing less than a new cultural imagination. The exhibition excavates the notion of forensis - Latin for things pertaining to the forum - to designate the role of material forensics in articulating new notions of public truth. Its condition is one in which aesthetic practices, new technologies, and architectural research methodologies bear upon the legal implications of political struggle, violent conflict, and climate change. Forensis is based on public presentation and argumentative narrative with the aid of material and spatial objects and structures in the juridical-political sphere. It is about “producing” and “attesting” facts through narrative demonstration. The projects by artists, filmmakers, and architects shown in the exhibition investigate a range of human rights violations, environmental crimes, and man-made and natural disasters in order to reflect on the new - technologically induced - political agency of matter. A broad spectrum of spatial analyses, mappings, and forms of representation are used both to interrogate political issues through forensics and at the same time the very assumption of contemporary forensics. The case studies and investigations include f. i. forensic reconstructions of drone strikes in the shadow war in Pakistan and of the failure of NATO ships to render assistance to refugee boats; investigations into resource exploitation and environmental destruction, taking examples such as Chilean and Indonesian copper mines, and historic case studies, including the identification of Joseph Mengele’s remains in Brazil.

How do mortal remains, DNA samples, and satellite images become forensic evidence? What role do imaging techniques and methods of representation play in the investigation of crimes or political acts of violence? How are objects made to speak?

Forensis | “The Architecture of Memory.” A drone survivor building a computer model of her home to enhance her memory in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, destroyed on October 4th 2010. | © Forensic Architecture, 2013

The exhibition FORENSIS and the accompanying conference will explore the procedures, tools, and spatial arrangements used in forensics, as well as the potential of a new aesthetic-political practice. With this exhibition, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt devotes itself to the rapidly expanding field of artistic research and knowledge production and, through diverse examples, examines the interleaving of science, media, and the political sphere.

With contributions by: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Nabil Ahmed, Maayan Amir, Anthropocene Observatory (Anselm Franke, Armin Linke, Territorial Agency/John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), Jacob Burns, Gabriel Cuéllar, DAAR (Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman), Forensic Oceanography (Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani), Grupa Spomenik (Damir Arsenijević, Ana Bezić, Pavle Levi, Jelena Petrović, Branimir Stojanović, Milica Tomić), Ayesha Hameed, Samir Harb, Helene Kazan, Thomas Keenan, Steffen Kraemer, Adrian Lahoud, Model Court (Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Lorenzo Pezzani, Oliver Rees), Modelling Kivalina (Andrea Bagnato, Daniel Fernández Pascual, Helene Kazan, Hannah Meszaros Martin, Alon Schwabe), Gerald Nestler, Godofredo Pereira, Nicola Perugini, ScanLAB Projects (Matthew Shaw, William Trossell), Susan Schuppli, Francesco Sebregondi, Shela Sheikh, SITU Research (Robert Beach, McKenna Cole, Therese Diede, Akshay Mehra, Charles-Antoine Perrault, Bradley Samuels, Xiaowei Wang), Caroline Sturdy Colls, Paulo Tavares, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss/NAO, Eyal Weizman, Ines Weizman.In

In cooperation with SITU Research, ScanLab Projects

Curated by Anselm Franke and Eyal Weizman.

FORENSIS is a co-production by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, funded by the Capital Cultural Fund, and by Forensic Architecture, ERC-funded research project based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

 

Exhibition open daily 11am -7pm, Sat 15. and Sun 16.3. 11am-9pm at the Studiogalerie

Haus der Kulteren der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
Berlin

Saturday 3/15/2014

(4 notes)

anthropocene; animism; surplus; dividual;

Geographies of Contamination | DRAF, London

With Olga Balema, Neil Beloufa, Nicolas Deshayes, David Douard, Renaud Jerez, Sam Lewitt, Marlie Mul, Magali Reus, Rachel Rose and Michael E. Smith.

Co-curated by Laura McLean-Ferris, Alexander Scrimgeour and Vincent Honoré.

Recent works by ten contemporary artists tracing a growing interest in the pollution and breakdown of systems and processes. Slippages and spillages, disruption and contamination characterise sculptural, film and installation works.

A closed-loop fountain, corrupted translations of everyday items, mutant organisms with industrial, technological and organic components, loyalty cards and hard drives, and abstract spatial environments are among the unsettling objects in the exhibition. Many works are newly made or have not previously been shown in the UK.

Until March 29, 2014

David Roberts Art Foundation
Symes Mews
London NW1 7JE

+44 020 7383 3004
info@davidrobertsartfoundation.com

Opening Times:
Thu—Sat, 12 ­- 6 pm
Tue—Wed by Appointment

Thursday 3/13/2014

(1 note)

unreadymade; anthropocene; commodities; surplus;

Wednesday 3/12/2014

surplus; display; commodities;

For the Paris fashion week, Karl Lagerfeld created a supermarket for his fall-winter Chanel fashion show.

Paris, 04.03.2014 

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Tuesday 2/25/2014

surplus;

The trap the counter-culture faced was that its achievements were instrumental for capital in its victory over labor. From dual income households, expansion of mortgages, loans for higher education and the introduction of credit cards, the demand for equality got translated by capital into “access to the market”. Feminism, the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Rights movement, and the campaign for legalization of marijuana - each founds itself contained by the “access to the market” demand which turned their struggles into services for capital.

Patrick Kennedy explains to Stephen Colbert how the current move towards legalizing pot for recreational use in various US states, has more to do with big business than with “power to the people”. 

"Our life is full of THINGS! From chocolate to cereal, football to flowers - and they all have LOGOs.
The LOGO board game is all about those logos AND the things wrapped up in them. It taps into the knowledge we’ve piled up over our lives & adds a few astonishing facts and surprises to entertain the whole family.
It’s easy to learn and fun to play. Just answer the questions to leap around the board. The first player to answer correctly in the winning zone - WINS!
 
For 2-6 players aged 12 to adult”

And this is what The Toy Lab has to say about the game. 
Friday 2/7/2014

(1 note)

surplus; labor; garbage;

"Our life is full of THINGS! From chocolate to cereal, football to flowers - and they all have LOGOs.

The LOGO board game is all about those logos AND the things wrapped up in them. It taps into the knowledge we’ve piled up over our lives & adds a few astonishing facts and surprises to entertain the whole family.

It’s easy to learn and fun to play. Just answer the questions to leap around the board. The first player to answer correctly in the winning zone - WINS!

 

For 2-6 players aged 12 to adult”

And this is what The Toy Lab has to say about the game.