Julia Brotea and Daniel Béland: “Better Dead than Communist!”. Contentious Politics, Identity Formation, and the University Square Phenomenon in Romania

The 1990 protest episode known as the University Square Phenomenon constituted a crucial and contentious episode for Romania’s political transition from communism. Analysis of this incident sheds light on the long-term consequences political protests can have when they translate into routine politics. More specifically, such an analysis enriches the emerging literature on “how social movements […]

Published online on September 10, 2014

Răzvan Ion: Exploring the Return of Repression

The term “repression” is referring to the act of obstructing certain informational contents outside the consciousness that are connected to cathexis through a pulsion. In other words, repression is the scream of the interior to the exterior, and its pulsion can appear through repression: the events, the life experiences are no longer lived up to […]

Published online on August 14, 2014

Marius Stan: Avant-garde Arts under the Spell of Politics

Switzerland has become, with the passing of time, a cliché of neutrality, although the destinies of many socially and politically engaged spirits started, unfolded or recovered there.  It is the case of the artists gathered around the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich, a quasi-cultural space founded in 1916 by Dadaist Hugo Ball [1]  and, among others, […]

Published online on August 9, 2014

Simon Sheikh: Spaces for Thinking. Perspectives on the Art Academy

Artists with a Ph.D.! – this should only tingle the spines of conservatives, right? Wrong: The shifts resulting from the so-called ”Bologna process” with its creation of a European standardization of academic studies in the fields of institutional art history as well as art education in academies hit hardest where the general significance of methodologies […]

Published online on August 9, 2014

Tom Holert: Art in the Knowledge-based Polis

Lately, the concept of “knowledge production” has drawn new attention and prompted strong criticism within art discourse. One reason for the current conflictual status of this concept is the way it can be linked to the ideologies and practices of neoliberal educational policies. In an open letter entitled “To the Knowledge Producers,” a student from […]

Published online on August 9, 2014

Stephen Ducombe: Politics as Art of the Impossible – The Case for a Dreampolitik in the United States

A dominant movement in leftist politics has always embraced a sense of reality as opposed to dreams and imagination. The American sociologist Stephen Duncombe argues instead for a dreampolitik, which, unlike reactionary populist fantasies, can activate the imagination with impossible dreams. They make it possible to think ‘out of the box’ and to wonder what […]

Published online on August 9, 2014

Sotirios Bahtsetzis: Eikonomia – Notes on economy and the Labor of Art

Much has been told about the dangerous impact of a superficial, lifestyle-based and money-oriented culture, which has been often identified as the major reason why people become passive, docile and easy to manipulate, no matter how disadvantageous their economic conditions might be. Following the illustrative critique of two eminent proponents of this criticism, Theodor Adorno […]

Published online on August 7, 2014

Suzana Milevska: The Internalisation of the Discourse of Institutional Critique and the ‘Unhappy Consciousness’

­­­ The vicious cycle of institutional critique stems from its dichotomous nature. It inevitably entails a certain position that exists outside or beyond any institution, in contrast to the institutional position that is being criticised. It implies a severe critique of powerful, supposedly autocratic, institutions and their systems of governance, in contrast to the preferred form […]

Published online on August 7, 2014

Eugen Rădescu: Fordism. Post-Fordism and attempts to reposition art in globalization

Postmodern society has not relinquished the major themes of ethics, as a moral, economic and cultural perspective. On the contrary, the new, complex and hypertechnological context raised new aspects of these topics for debate. The ethical realm of contemporary society expanded to new subjects that are discussed extensively and from various angles, either formally or […]

Published online on August 7, 2014

Cătălin Avramescu: The Raw Philosopher (An intellectual history of cannibalism). The enemy of God

 Because it would be more dangerous to imagine such a thing on Earth, it is on Cyrano de Bergerac’s Moon that a fundamentally anti-Christian ideology dominates. The inhabitants of the moon have notions about the immortality of the soul (a false dogma, they say), and one of them makes a systematic attack on the theory […]

Published online on July 30, 2014

Gergő Horváth: Apprehension. Understanding Through Fear of Understanding

As soon as we are born, fear becomes an essential part of our lives. A mild persecution complex develops. Fear is induced through certain events, by the people around us, through their actions and knowledge, be it warranted or not, conscious or unconscious. Punishment is introduced, usually as early as possible, not as retribution but […]

Published online on July 30, 2014

Jörg Heiser: Count Down – The art world’s ambivalent response to surveillance

Heard of the ‘Quantified Self’ movement? With the tag-line ‘self knowledge through numbers’, its thousands of followers in 34 countries digitally track and share their heart rates, skin temperatures and calorie intakes; how many steps they take, their sleep patterns, routes and moods. But how do you quantify a mood? Think of Sesame Street’s Count von […]

Published online on July 30, 2014

Florian Gottke: A Protester in Homs, Syria

On October 3rd, 2011, I open my morning paper and look down onto a street in Homs, Syria, directly into the eyes of a protester. I look at him; he looks at me. His face is covered by a mask, but I can clearly see his eyes behind it. Our gazes meet, piercing through all […]

Published online on July 30, 2014

Chantal Mouffe: Democratic Politics in the Age of Post-Fordism

In recent years we have witnessed an incredible acceleration in the process of commodification in the field of culture. With the development of the culture industries, the worst nightmares of Horkeimer and Adorno seem to have been realized. Indeed, some theorists claim that, through our dependence on the entertainments corporations, we have become totally subjugated […]

Published online on July 30, 2014

Răzvan Ion: The Affluence of the Working Class from Differentiation to Collectivism (On Fashion and the Politics of Aesthetics)

Fashion is a decor, a background or a scene, in short, as a theater. (Roland Barthes) The mechanism through which consumption is stimulated has often been acknowledged as ”fashion” or, more conceptually, as ”preprogrammed obsolescence“. The definitions given to consumerism after the Second World War have distinguished ”fetishization“ of consumption, ideological manipulation of the consumer, and […]

Published online on July 30, 2014