samedi 30 janvier 2010

lundi 25 janvier 2010

The Magic of the State. Michael Taussig

Interview David Levi Strauss and Michael Taussig

I first met Mick Taussig about eight years ago,
as The Magic of the State (Routledge, 1997) was coming out. I'd read Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing (University of Chicago Press, 1987) when it appeared, and was especially drawn to its treatment of images and ima­ge-making in power relations. Later I was invited to participate in an informal seminar that Mick and Peter Lamborn Wilson had gathered around the subject of shamanism. The conversation among Mick, Peter, and me, on states both fictional and non, has continued since then around frequent fires and dinners, almost always within a stone's throw of the Rondout Creek, where we all live in the Hudson Valley.

After getting a medical degree from the University of Sydney, Australia in 1964 and working as a physician in the university's main teaching hospital for a year and in general practice for another six months, Mick read for a Master's degree in sociology at the London School of Economics and worked as a psychiatric resident in mental hospitals in London. He was appointed a Research Fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies of London University in 1969, and went to Colombia in September of that year, to "join the Revolution." What he saw there intrigued him, and his fieldwork in Colombia, Putamayo, and Venezuela would continue over the next four decades. His Ph.D. dissertation (with Julian Pitt-Rivers) examining the socio-cultural impact of the commercialization of agriculture was published in Spanish in 1975. He taught in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and in Performance Studies at New York University before accepting his current position as Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of eight books: The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America (1980), Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man (1987), The Nervous System (1992), Mimesis and Alterity (1993), The Magic of the State (1997), Defacement: Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative (1999), Law in a Lawless Land (2003), and My Cocaine Museum (2004).

The Magic of the State is my favorite of all of Mick's books, because of its particular mixing of fiction and documentary. "This is the most 'fictional' of my writings,"Mick told me. "I use the Sydney expression 'fictocriticism' to convey the hybrid sense and I clearly designate the fictional quality through a variety of devices, mainly humor and tone, camp and arch-camp. An aim of such writing is to turn the attention of the reader to the very act of writing as an 'anthropological' or cultural act which engages with the desire to succumb to authority in general, and to colonial or postcolonial tropes in particular." As the New York Times put it, "Over the last several decades, as the exemplars of traditional fieldwork have been toppled from their pedestals, Taussig has been developing a radical alternative. . . . Blending fact and fiction, ethnographic observation, archival history, literary theory and memoir, his books read more like beatnik novels than sober analyses of other­ ­cultures...."


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Metronome No.10
Future Academy
Shared, Mobile, Improvised, Underground, Hidden, Floating
Oregon, 2006
Edited in collaboration with Oscar Tuazon
Metronome No.10 (Oregon) is an instruction manual for artists who wish to live and work portably and features unusual yet vital hints for social and economic survival. It is modeled on the long-running hippie survivalist zine Dwelling Portably, edited by Bert and Holly Davis and distributed from Philomath, Oregon, USA. In March 2006, while living and working out of a temporary, mobile publishing studio located in a RV, Clémentine Deliss, Oscar Tuazon and two Future Academy participants from Edinburgh (artist, Marjorie Harlick and neuroscientist, Guy Billings) searched for the editors of Dwelling Portably covering nearly 2000 miles of logging roads, and typed over 25,000 words on manual typewriters for this latest issue. During this production period they built a ‘hill-lodge’ into the side of a south-facing slope in the woods near Philomath, digging out the mud bank and setting up tarps and poles to insulate the 3 x 2m cavity against the pouring rain and wind.

Contributors to Metronome No.10 include Ibon Aranberri, Nico Dockx, Didier Fiuza Faustino, Richard Fischbeck, Yona Friedman, Jan Mast, Christos Papoulias, Douglas Park, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Matthew Stadler, and members of Future Academy in Edinburgh, India, and Dakar .

The production was made possible through the support of Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh, and Stephanie Snyder, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Oregon.

vendredi 15 janvier 2010


22 January – 2 May, 2010

Animism is a long-term exhibition and publication project first presented between 22 January and 2 May 2010 in Antwerp in a collaboration of Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen and the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA). A second version of the exhibition will be shown at Kunsthalle Bern from May till July 2010. Subsequent versions will be developed at the Generali Foundation in Vienna and the House of World Cultures in Berlin (with the Free University Berlin) in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Can animation be thought beyond the fictional, as a practice shaping vital relations with the world? What is the role of aesthetic processes in the drawing of the boundaries between life and non-life, humans and things? The exhibition takes as its starting point what was once the negative backdrop against which modern objectivism defined itself. Coined by 19th century anthropologists in the context of the colonial encounter, animism was understood as a 'primitive' religion and psychological mechanism through which non-modern cultures were thought to endow objects with life, that is, with souls, agency, or forms of personhood.

This project responds to a new interest in animism, which stems from a widespread re-visioning of modernity, by a reflection on aesthetic processes seen through the prism of an exhibition. Animism has recently become a concept through which to look at the construction and organization of collective relations between various social actors – human and non-human – once again. Retrospectively, the concept opens new perspectives on modern boundary-practices – culture and nature, life and non-life – forms of knowledge and power, and the aesthetic economies that they produce.

Structured around two opposed and yet complementary aesthetic processes and effects, animation and objectification, the exhibition brings together contemporary and historical works that explore the modern anxiety about the boundaries between persons and things, the animate and inanimate, and puts their negotiation in artistic practice in historical perspective.

An accompanying catalogue – the first in a series of two, published by Sternberg Press – connects several recent attempts at rethinking animism from a variety of perspectives, and traces their various historical genealogies.

With works by:
Agency, Art & Language, Christian W. Braune & Otto Fischer, Marcel Broodthaers, Paul Chan, Didier Demorcy, Walt Disney, Lili Dujourie, Jimmie Durham, Eric Duvivier, Thomas A. Edison, Harun Farocki, Leon Ferrari, Victor Grippo, Brion Gysin, Igloolik Isuma Productions, Luis Jacob, Ken Jacobs, Joachim Koester, Louise Lawler, Len Lye, Étienne-Jules Marey, Daria Martin, Angela Melitopoulos & Maurizio Lazzarato, Wesley Meuris, Henri Michaux, Santu Mofokeng, Vincent Monnikendam, Tom Nicholson, Reto Pulfer, Félix-Louis Regnault, Jozef Robakowski, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Paul Sharits, Jan Švankmajer, David G. Tretiakoff, Rosemarie Trockel, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Dziga Vertov, Klaus Weber, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.