With Manifesta Journal 16, “Regret and Other Back Pages”, the editorial team, together with Rasha Salti, is proud to launch the third and final edition in the series (MJ #14–16) that explores the politics of time in the production of art, memory and subjectivity, in relation to the ways that they are constructed by late capitalist and other societies of the global North and South.
Every two months, a blogger-in-residence is invited to share his/her research-in-progress. Our current resident is Hu Fang. Hu Fang is a fiction writer and curator based in Guangzhou and Beijing. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou and the Pavilion in Beijing.
The forthcoming MJ blogger is Natasha Ginwala, who is an independent curator and art critic based in Amsterdam and India. Natasha’s blog residency will feature her ongoing research on The Museum of Rhythm.
MJ #16 “Regret and Other Back Pages”
Woven around the theme of “regret” and its many semantic and lexical connotations—remorse, redemption, bereavement, cooptation, subjective versus institutional memorialization(s) and nostalgia, to name a few—the issue takes up and further develops some of the pivotal themes that have been touched upon in the previous two issues. “Regret” adjoined to “Back Pages,” references Bob Dylan’s My Back Pages, released in 1964 on his album of political folksongs.
Leeza Ahmady’s compelling eulogy to the late artist Rustam Khalfim inaugurates this issue. Ghosts of pasts yet unsettled are conjured up with Françoise Vergès’s “The Slave at the Louvre“; Khaled Fahmy’s “The Essence of Alexandria,” a deconstruction of nostalgia for the city’s colonial cosmopolitanism (whose first part was featured in Manifesta Journal #14); and Mustapha Benfodil’s “The Shuhada of the Past Fifty Years,” a scathing reconsideration of Algeria’s fifty years of independence.
With “Mnemosyne 42,” Georges Didi-Huberman revisits Aby Warburg’s notion of art history as a “ghost story for adults,” by curating an iconographic montage of classical and contemporary representations of lament. Meanwhile, Ariella Azoulay’s annotated photo album, “When the Body Politic Ceases to Be an Idea,” is a passionate call to reconsider the (regretfully) oft-ignored experientialist knowledge of insurgent bodies. In turn, politics of listening are investigated by Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s “Aural Contract Audio Archive.“
Maja Petrović-Šteger and Hito Steyerl’s exchange over “The Form of Remains” is a meditation on the stories contained in the remains of “posthumous” bodies; Marc Nichanian’s “The Image and the Survivor” boldly explores what remains after the death of the witness; and in collaboration with Robert Burghardt, Gal Kirn’s “Yugoslavian Partisan Memorials” parses an unlikely, captivating (hi)story of Yugoslavia from the trail of World War II memorials. Rasha Salti explores the Palestinian revolutionary posters from late Ezzedine Qalaq’s collection (PLO representative in Paris in the 1970s).
Adnan Yildiz’s “The Portrait of a Lover” visits the museum the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. Karim Aïnouz and Marcelo Gomes’s “Etude“ of “I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You,” the feature film they co-directed, soliloquizing as he comes to terms with the loss of love.
Bojana Kunst’s “The Project Horizon: On the Temporality of Making,” delivers a critique of the centrality of the notion of “project”; Cuauhtemoc Medina’s “Chinese Labels” contemplates the curious curatorial wall text carved into marble, while Cosmin Costinaş’s “thoughts and notes after rites, thoughts, notes, sparks, swings and strikes” reflects provocatively on the strategic recourse to alternative and unconventional modes of engagement in order to circumvent cooptation. Selections from Burak Delier’s “We Will Win Survey,” evaluate the “marketable” skills of artists and perceptions of the effectiveness of artistic production in Turkey.
Ann Cvetkovich, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz discuss the so-called negative effects of regret and/or shame as regards activism, chronopolitics and queer theory. And last but not least, with “Political Therapy,” Valentina Desideri proposes a practical tool to engage with social and political questions.
The editorial team of Manifesta Journal is composed of:
Chief Editor: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Paris
Associate Editor: Virginie Bobin, Paris
Guest Editor (MJ #14–16): Rasha Salti, Beirut
Managing Editor: Lisa Mazza, Bolzano / London and Georgia Taperell, Amsterdam
Copy Editor: Shannon d’Avout, Paris
Editorial Assistant: Yvonique Wellen, Amsterdam
Manifesta Journal is an initiative of the Manifesta Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is generously supported by the European Commission and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences of the Netherlands.
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