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Afterall issue 31 Published

Afterall presents issue 31, Autumn/Winter 2012, which looks at forms of migration: from the political agency of migrating subjects to queer assaults on static definitions of identity. Focusing in particular on the shifting political geography of former Eastern Europe and Central Asia, we also look at how constructs such as East and West have been considered by artists working in this territory.

In the opening essay, Vassilis S. Tsianos and Dimitris Papadopoulos suggest that today’s transnational migration constitutes the death drive of capitalism, questioning at once national sovereignty and the Left’s political horizon.

The notion of subjectivities in flux is also at play in Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz‘s film installations, which portray ways of being that celebrate self-determination. Drawing parallels with the feminist writings of Kathy Acker and Yvonne Rainer’s films, Gregg Bordowitz unpacks the dialectics between imitation and performance, repetition and change in their staging of the self. The theatrical paintings and installations by Lukas Duwenhögger also draw from the history of homosexual social and cultural codes to visualise an identity built on difference. In his analysis of Duwenhögger’s practice, Roger Cook traces a parallel between Jacques Rancière’s theory of disagreement and queer theories of difference.

Sven Augustijnen‘s films reflect on the construction of a collective identity by examining Belgian history and its postcolonial ramifications. Sophie Berrebi analyses the conflation between film and body language in his filmic oeuvre, while Robrecht Vanderbeeken offers a detailed study of his latest film (Spectres, 2011), looking at the artistic realm as a public arena in which to address the trauma of the colonial past. Paolo Magagnoli considers Paul Chan‘s eroticised but abstracted images of violence in his video trilogy on George W. Bush’s war on terrorism, arguing that Chan’s work dovetails with current debates on the visual politics of human rights.

Taking as a case study Inconnu’s cancelled exhibition The Fighting City, organised in Budapest in 1987, Juliane Debeusscher analyses the artists’ use of global information channels to denounce state censorship. Branka Stipančić contextualises the work of the sculptor Ivan Kožarić in the former Yugoslavian art scene of the 1950s and ’60s, while Ana Dević surveys the dialectics and contradictions at the heart of his radically self-questioning practice, which extends until the present day.

The encounters and clashes between East and West, not only in former Eastern Europe but more widely throughout Eurasia, are the subject of the artists’ collective Slavs and Tatars, here surveyed by Anders Kreuger. Also focusing on this territory, Yuliya Sorokina considers the work of Kazakh artist Almagul Menlibayeva as the incarnation of a nomadic culture, while Viktor Misiano contextualises her practice amongst the first post-Soviet generation of artists working in Central Asia and analyses her crucial role in redefining the role of women within a new national identity.

Afterall Books is also proud to present Anne Rorimer’s Michael Asher: Kunsthalle Bern, 1992 and Jo Applin’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, as well as the third in its Exhibition Histories series, From Feminism to Conceptualism: Lucy Lippard’s Number Shows 1969–74.

Finally, Afterall is holding the symposium ‘The Artist as Curator’ on 10 November 2012 at Central Saint Martins, London, as part of its Exhibition Histories series. This one-day symposium will bring together artists, curators and theorists to study key moments in the history of artists’ engagement with exhibition-making, and reflect upon how these propositions have affected curatorial practice.

Afterall journal is published by Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, in editorial partnership with M HKA, Antwerp, the Smart Museum of Art and the Open Practice Committee, University of Chicago and UNIA arteypensamiento, Seville, and in association with the University of Chicago Press.

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