The View From “No Man’s Land”, Firas Shehadeh

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, meme, politics on July 10th, 2021
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“Since 2013, Firas Shehadeh’s conceptual practice has been preoccupied with understanding the human condition through post-internet aesthetics, a tactic calculated towards a larger strategy of tackling the many themes mirrored by our new millennia. The internet and its cultures, video games, virtual communities, and various types of images are key mediums in his work, which helps the artist avoid material limitations and highlights the impact internet life is increasingly having on our offline lives.

Yet if one can trace a unity in Shehadeh’s work, one would find that it’s mainly concerned with images, not purely as form, but for what it absorbs from today’s political realities, conveyed by way of not-so-innocent silliness or abstraction. That is not to say that he deals with images as if they are inherently political. On the contrary, as a puppeteer controlling his marionettes with agility, Shehadeh takes such images and carefully reassembles them in front of us to subtly narrate their stories of origin and the meaning they evolved to carry. By relying on a combination of irony, tragedy, and delicate hopefulness, he ultimately highlights the bitter contradictions of today’s world.

One can easily detect some of Shehadeh’s political interests: history, technology, and aesthetics. He connects all these in today’s Online, the direct descendant from yesterday’s internet. Today’s algorithmically-driven Online is akin to predestination, loaded with ready-made scenarios where you’re trapped in a time loop like a sick joke. Original moves are calculated, preconfigured, and repeated every day; a Punxsutawney-hell from hell where one disaster leads to another. Still, they’re expected, welcomed, normalized, in a made-up history where irony’s reserve has drained to the very last drop.

In The View from “No-Man’s Land,” Shehadeh documents the year 2020 by using online culture’s main currency—memes—to tell stories of crashes, depressions, and violence caused by acceleration and the hyper technologies of control. His position as a Palestinian artist permits him to tell such stories with ease and cleverness. Yet unlike his subjects, he doesn’t convey a post-ironic attitude; his awareness is a tool to decipher post-irony, exposing its contradictions as if fighting fire with fire. That is highlighted best in the book’s cover; a kite strapped with a Molotov cocktail. The contra-drone of the oppressed. A direct, ironic answer to the oppressor’s hyper-tech arsenal.

This book and its artifacts function as a memory theater for an era that doesn’t want to leave, trying to outwit us by employing elements from the past. All the versos and rectos speak of the same story, reiterating after Carl “CJ” Johnson, its undeclared Angelus Novus, “Oh shit, here we go again.””

– Yazan S. Ashqar
Writer, Editor, and Translator, New York City

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Zampa di Leone: Deep Europe, Zampa di Leone, Boris Buden

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, illustration, Motto Books, politics, zines on July 9th, 2021
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For the first time, this publication unites the English language work of Zampa di Leone with two sequences of comic strips and caricatures titled “Deep Europe” and “In the Arse of the Balkans”. Zampa di Leone wanted to offer a radical critique of the colonial tendencies embedded within the discourse of “Balkan” and “Eastern European” contemporary art as it had been articulated during the 1990s and 2000s in global cultural centres, first and foremost in Germany and Austria. The anonymous collective was mostly active in Serbia and Europe between 2001 and 2011, and produced a significant number of comic strips that were circulated at events and through internet forums or mailing lists.

This publication has been printed on the occasion of THE DREAMERS, 58th October Salon, Belgrade Biennale 2021, within the frame of the Reading Room bookshop. The comic strips are accompanied by Boris Buden’s text “The Madman Is Sleeping with the Lunatic”, which was first published in 2003 — a reminder of the historical context and the Balkanist discourse that served as a backdrop to Zampa di Leone’s activities.

Edition: 300

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FAGSHISM, Edgar

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, politics, writing, zines on June 27th, 2021
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2nd edition – 100 numbered copies

A Manifesto for a fictional political movement that through satire and pop culture references shines a light on the sterotypes and prejudices within the gay male community.

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The Glossary of Cognitive Activism. Warren Neidich. Archive Books.

Posted in books, Motto Books, politics on November 1st, 2019
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This glossary is meant to accompany the three-volume publication The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism Part 1, 2 and 3. It reflects the concerns contained in those volumes. It marks the beginning of a long-term process of creating a dictionary of terms with which to understand and eventually destabilize the complex ways through which a future Neural Capitalism will work in creating contemporary forms of neural subsumption. Neural subsumption is a future condition brought about by an assemblage of networked neural technologies that will link our brainwaves to the Internet of Everything (IoE) and then encode them to use in advanced data analysis. No thought conscious or unconscious will be left unrecorded, encoded or surveyed. Furthermore this data will be used for a future form of data inscription upon the connectome: the data set describing the con- nection matrix of the nervous system and which represents the network of anatomical connections linking neural elements together. This in the end constitutes what I have called the Statisticon. Warren Neidich is an interdisciplinary artist and theorist working between Berlin and New York. He studied photography, art, neuro- science, medicine, ophthalmology, and architecture. Recently his practice has focused on performance, sculpture, video and film to investigate the contested milieus of the social brain. He is founder and director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, New York and Berlin, 2015–2019. Its’ curriculum focuses upon the emerging conditions of cognitive capitalism in which the brain and the mind are the new factories of the 21st century. In 1995 he conceived of the website artbrain.org and the Journal of Neuroaesthetics. It officially appeared on the web in 1997 and concentrates on the capacity of artistic practice to deregulate and estrange the social-political-cultural milieu in the end activating the material brain’s neural plastic potential.

 

Published by Archive Books.
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Steppe by steppe romantics. Slavs and Tatars.

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, editions, Motto Berlin store, politics, writing on April 18th, 2018
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“By their very nature secret practices, being secret, are generally hard to comment on. Still, we can imagine that the institution of secret marriage must be at least as old as that of the public one, possibly older, in fact, if one is to imagine the birth of ‘coupledom’ as taking place between two people alone under the cover of night. Secret marriage today remains an incalculable part of the institution – and perhaps one of its most romantic forms. […]

As though to compensate, we celebrate the secret ceremony – gay, straight or non-binary – not with equal but greater fervour. Just as a stolen glance is more arousing, a forbidden tryst more urgent, so too is the secret marriage more alive, more keen. Marry in secret in solidarity, in lust, out of an exhaustive need. Marry in secret and do with the heart what the gun cannot: melt the frozen conflicts, be they in Abkhazia or in Glendale.”

Excerpt from the publication

Offset print, 26 × 20 cm, 16 pages, stitched binding, mimeograph print
Edition of 35

 

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The Serving Library Annual 2017/18. Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey, Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey, Angie Keefer, Lauren Mackler, David Reinfurt (eds). Roma Publication 305

Posted in art, critique, Motto Berlin store, politics, writing on December 14th, 2017
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The Serving Library Annual comprises a number of individual “Bulletins” organized around a theme for an international audience of designers, artists, writers, and researchers. Newly published by ROMA Publications in a yearly format, this inaugural issue is realised in collaboration with Public Fiction, a journal and exhibition-maker based in Los Angeles. It deals with acts of civil disobedience and other forms of resistance, particularly in view of the relationship between entertainment and power. Contributors include Hilton Als, Tauba Auerbach, Anne Carson, Mark Leckey, Adrian Piper, Frances Stark, and Martine Syms.

Public Fiction’s next project, which runs broadly concurrent to this new Annual’s lifespan, is named The Conscientious Objector — a multifaceted endeavour commissioned by West Hollywood City Council that unfurls in parts from September 2017 to April 2018. Curated by Public Fiction founder Lauren Mackler and Serving Library editor Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey, The Conscientious Objector comprises a series of “commercials” produced by artists for public access TV, an exhibition of artworks and performances at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture’s Schindler House in West Hollywood, and the present publication.

 

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Real Review #4. Jack Self (ed.). Real Foundation.

Posted in art, Motto Berlin store, politics, writing on October 23rd, 2017
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WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE TODAY

The contemporary 24-hour news cycle is a swirling gyre of political and economic intrigue, a rolling wave that surges ceaselessly, always building power but never forming a crest. To surf the slipstream of the news is to be forever on the brink of BREAKING.

Against all the uncertainty and fear, nothing seems more eternal, more universal and (unlike our political leaders) quite so strong and stable as love. Summer 2017 is therefore dedicated to what it means to love today. Leap into our fervid arms.

 

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How to (talk about) things that don’t exist. 31st São Paulo Biennial. Serralves

Posted in art, distribution, exhibitions, painting, performance, politics, writing on October 4th, 2016
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How (…) things that don’t exist
How to (talk about) things that don’t exist focuses on the processes that led to the artworks and arguments in ‘How to (…) things that don’t exist — an exhibition developed out of the 31st São Pau¬lo Biennial’ presented at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto. The publication continues the ide¬as and discussions that generated the exhibition and proposes unexpected synapses between different subject areas: Education; Reverse Colonialism; and Right to the City — Criminalization of the Poor. It includes a wide variety of texts, chronicles, lyrics, historical documents, drawings, collages, paintings, film stills and photographs many of which specifically conceived for this book by artists, curators, art historians, writ-ers, researchers, pedagogues, sociologists, urban planners, journalists, social workers and activists.

Como (falar sobre) coisas que não existem
Como (falar sobre) coisas que não existem centra‑se nos processos que conduziram as obras e discussões presentes na exposição “Como (…) coisas que não existem — uma exposição desenvolvida a partir da 31a Bienal de São Paulo” apresentada no Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves no Porto. A publicação propõe sinapses inesperadas entre os diversos temas tratados: Educação; Colonialismo Invertido; e Direito a Cidade ― Criminalização da Pobreza e inclui uma variedade de textos, cronicas, letras de musicas, documentos históricos, desenhos, colagens, pinturas, fotogramas e fotografias — alguns concebidos especificamente para este livro — da autoria de artistas, curadores, historiadores de arte, escritores, investigadores, pedagogos, sociólogos, urbanistas, jornalistas, assistentes sociais e ativistas.

39.90

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Syria, A Travel Guide to Disappearance. Giovanna Silva. Mousse Publishing.

Posted in Artist Book, politics, travel on July 19th, 2016
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Texts by Pier Paolo Tamburelli, Noura Al Sayeh
Taken at the height of the Assad days, the images of the photographer Giovanna Silva overlap in this publication with Syrian tourist guides’ images and texts, creating a net of intended and unintended relationships and time interconnections. As Pier Paolo Tamburelli writes in his essay, “Silva’s photo speak of time that is twice lost. […] When I look at them, I can smell that apparently eternal condition of no-change in Syria before 2011. I recognize the omnipresent, idiotic smile of Bashar – at the time still considered the gentle son of Hafez al-Assad (the ophthalmologist who lived in London and did not really wanted to leave to become a dictator and who finally had to substitute the nasty brother probably killed by Mossad). Now that the civil war has erased everything that belonged to that Syria, now that everything changed, I have the impression that that world is way more lost than many other episodes of the past. Both for Syrians and for foreigners the memories of the civil war will occupy all the space that could have been dedicated to these last twenty years of Syrian history. […] Not only are those moments gone, but they will not be remembered. The boredom of that period entirely disappeared in the cruel excitement of the war. The pictures are a strange homage to a lost world”.

 

€25.00

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“Prose and poetry reading for the working class and other laborers.” Contributors: Nora Schultz, Kayla Guthrie, Nicholas Sewitz, Clarice Lispector, Juliana Huxtable, Keren Cytter. 01.05.2016, 7 pm @ Wendy’s Subway, Brooklyn.

Posted in 2016, events, poetry, politics on April 27th, 2016
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MAY12

Dear friends and families,

Please join us to celebrate an Asexual international working day on May 1.

With contributions by Nora Schultz, Kayla Guthrie, Nicholas Sewitz, Clarice Lispector, Juliana Huxtable and Keren Cytter.

The event is hosted by Jack Gross.

On the occasion of Motto’s temporary bookstore at Wendy’s Subway, open every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 6pm and during evening events, May 1st through May 29th.

**Free Vodka**

May Day for Worker and Communists – “A decidedly non-pagan, asexual May Day celebration is that of International Workers’ Day, a holiday created by socialists and labor organizers in commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of May 4th, 1886 (also called the Haymarket Massacre or, more cautiously, the Haymarket Affair).

In post-Civil War America, the Industrial Revolution was in full blaze and workers were suffering. Machines were replacing skilled laborers, hours were increasing, conditions were worsening, and the wages were inadequate. The revolutionary ideas of socialism and Marxism caught on with many of these disenfranchised and antagonized laborers, and the movement for an eight-hour day had gained powerful momentum. With all of this brewing, disputes and riots ignited again and again. Then at a large protest in Chicago’s Haymarket Square someone threw a dynamite bomb at the cops, which triggered a battle that left at least twelve dead and many more wounded. The riot was followed by a hugely publicized trial and the eventual hanging of four anarchists, the “Haymarket Martyrs.” This violent clash in Chicago became a powerful symbol for radical labor groups. A few years later, the Second International officially initiated the tradition of May Day labor demonstrations that continue still.”

Poetry – “Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.”

Prose – “written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure.”

Vodka – “an alcoholic spirit of Russian origin made by distillation of rye, wheat, or potatoes.”