Thursday, June 4, 2009



A new modernity is emerging, reconfigured to an age of globalisation – understood in its economic, political and cultural aspects: an altermodern culture

Increased communication, travel and migration are affecting the way we live 

Our daily lives consist of journeys in a chaotic and teeming universe

Multiculturalism and identity is being overtaken by creolisation: Artists are now starting from a globalised state of culture

This new universalism is based on translations, subtitling and generalised dubbing

Today's art explores the bonds that text and image, time and space, weave between themselves

Artists are responding to a new globalised perception. They traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs and create new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication.

The Tate Triennial 2009 at Tate Britain presents a collective discussion around this premise that postmodernism is coming to an end, and we are experiencing the emergence of a global altermodernity.

Extended text
Travel, cultural exchanges and examination of history are not merely fashionable themes, but markers of a profound evolution in our vision of the world and our way of inhabiting it.
More generally, our globalised perception calls for new types of representation: our daily lives are played out against a more enormous backdrop than ever before, and depend now on trans-national entities, short or long-distance journeys in a chaotic and teeming universe.
Many signs suggest that the historical period defined by postmodernism is coming to an end: multiculturalism and the discourse of identity is being overtaken by a planetary movement of creolisation; cultural relativism and deconstruction, substituted for modernist universalism, give us no weapons against the twofold threat of uniformity and mass culture and traditionalist, far-right, withdrawal.
The times seem propitious for the recomposition of a modernity in the present, reconfigured according to the specific context within which we live – crucially in the age of globalisation – understood in its economic, political and cultural aspects: an altermodernity.
If twentieth-century modernism was above all a western cultural phenomenon, altermodernity arises out of planetary negotiations, discussions between agents from different cultures. Stripped of a centre, it can only be polyglot. Altermodernity is characterised by translation, unlike the modernism of the twentieth century which spoke the abstract language of the colonial west, and postmodernism, which encloses artistic phenomena in origins and identities.
We are entering the era of universal subtitling, of generalised dubbing. Today's art explores the bonds that text and image weave between themselves. Artists traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs, creating new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication.
The artist becomes 'homo viator', the prototype of the contemporary traveller whose passage through signs and formats refers to a contemporary experience of mobility, travel and transpassing. This evolution can be seen in the way works are made: a new type of form is appearing, the journey-form, made of lines drawn both in space and time, materialising trajectories rather than destinations. The form of the work expresses a course, a wandering, rather than a fixed space-time.
Altermodern art is thus read as a hypertext; artists translate and transcode information from one format to another, and wander in geography as well as in history. This gives rise to practices which might be referred to as 'time-specific', in response to the 'site-specific' work of the 1960s. Flight-lines, translation programmes and chains of heterogeneous elements articulate each other. Our universe becomes a territory all dimensions of which may be travelled both in time and space.
The Tate Triennial 2009 presents itself as a collective discussion around this hypothesis of the end of postmodernism, and the emergence of a global altermodernity.

Nicolas Bourriaud

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Samuel Beckett

But our particular friends were the rats, that dwelt by the stream. They were long and black. We brought them such tidbits from our ordinary as rinds of cheese, and morsels of gristle, and we brought them also birds’ eggs, and frogs, and fledgelings. Sensible of these attentions, they would come flocking round us at our approach, with every sign of confidence and affection, and glide up our trouserlegs, and hang upon our breasts. And then we would sit down in the midst of them, and give them to eat, out of our hands, of a nice fat frog, or a baby thrush. Or seizing suddenly a plump young rat, resting in our bosom after its repast, we would feed it to its mother, or its father, or its brother, or its sister, or to some less fortunate relative.
It was on these occasions, we agreed, after an exchange of views, that we came nearest to God.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rene Daumal

Poetry by Rene Daumal - Last Letter to his Wife

I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess.
I think I possess because I do not try to give.
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;
Seeing that you have nothing, you try to give of yourself;
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing:
Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become;
In desiring to become, you begin to live.

Monday, May 18, 2009


For the Erased exhibit

Time split in springs and gears and stained its musty raft. She missed her and he missed her and they tore the last of it, and found the fief of vapor in barren requiem fields, and pushed musty wheels of Xerxes delicately stitched to the folds in his cloak and hands.

HK Zamani
May 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ode to a Star by Neruda

Appearing at night
on the terrace
of a bitter and very high skyscraper,
I could touch the nocturnal dome
and in an act of extraordinary love
I seized a sky-blue star.

The night was black
and I slipped along
the street
with the stolen star in my pocket.
Of tremulous crystal
it seemed,
and suddenly
it was
as if I was carrying
a package of ice,
or an archangel’s sword at my belt.

I kept it
under the bed
so nobody would discover it,
but its light
first pierced through
the woolen mattress,
the tiles,
the roof of my house.

The most private needs
for me.

Always with that light
of astral acetylene
flashing like it wanted
to return to the night,
I couldn’t tend to all
my duties,
and so I forgot to pay my bills
and wound up without bread or provisions.

Meanwhile, in the street,
passerby milled around,
doubtless attracted
by the unusual brilliance
they saw coming from my window.

I picked up
my star again,
wrapped it in my handkerchief,
and disguised among the crowd
I could pass unrecognized.

I went west,
to the Green River,
for there under the willows
it was calm.

I took the star of the cold night
and gently
cast it unto the waters.

And I wasn’t surprised
that it floated away
like an insoluble fish
in the night of the river
its diamond body.

(Thank you Marcy!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Rose

The rose is without reason; it blooms because it blooms; it considers nothing of itself, asks not, whether one sees it.
from Angelus Silesius, The Cherubinic Wanderer, 1675--the opening quotation to Gerald Giamportone's catalogue.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Robert Irwin