Archive for the ‘art’ Category


4 December 2012

Berlin-based META Magazine presents METAphorisms by Tim Morton and Tammy Lu. Aphorisms by Morton, drawings by Lu.

META asked artist Tammy Lu and philosopher Tim Morton to meditate on classical metaphysical vocabulary, by means of philosophical musings, color, form and motion. (…) Here, she takes on Morton’s philosophy by providing visual, topical and poetic maps, objects of all shapes and sizes, growing and enmeshing, and so it dawns on us that we are objects ourselves, entangled with other objects, no matter if these are bees or coffee machines.

Picture Editing After Bataille

8 February 2012

In reference to my earlier post on Critical Dictionary, here is the invitation to the show and a conversation with the editor:

Join us on Wednesday 15 February, 6.30-8pm for the next in our series of AfterWORK events:

One Plus One: Picture Editing After Bataille
David Evans and Patrizia di Bello In Conversation

David Evans and Patrizia di Bello will discuss radical picture editing by historical figures such as Georges Bataille, Bertolt Brecht and Guy Debord, as well as contemporary resonances. The event is held in conjunction with the exhibition Critical Dictionary, which will be open for viewing prior to the discussion start time.

David Evans teaches at the Arts University College at Bournemouth. He is the editor of the anthology Critical Dictionary (Black Dog Publishing, 2011) and curator of the exhibition by the same name currently showing at WORK. Patrizia di Bello teaches at Birkbeck College and is the co-editor of The Photobook (IB Taurus, 2012).

The event is free but seating will be limited. RSVP to to reserve a place.

T for Thing

29 January 2012

Under the letter “T” in David Evans’s Critical Dictionary, “Thing” is represented by Tammy Lu and Katherine Gillieson’s cover design for Levi Bryant’s The Democracy of Objects book, accompanied by Graham Harman and Bruno Latour’s prospectus for the New Metaphysics series at Open Humanities Press. Hat tip to Tammy Lu.

Abandoning the conventional format of the dictionary, Critical Dictionary is an ambitious cornucopia of ideas, images, and illustrations, that emphasise the open-ended, provisional and unfinished nature of language, communication and meaning. Inspired by the mock dictionary Georges Bataille edited for ‘Documents’ in 1929 and 1930, Critical Dictionary is an adventurous title, aiming to puncture pretension, and declassify terms in a playful, humourous manner. Bringing together newly commissioned work, material gathered from online art magazine, and featuring elements such as a retrospective assessment of the ZG magazine by former editor Rosetta Brooks, one of the seminal products of the art scene in the 1980s, and catalyst to the development of the so-called ”Pictures Generation”, Critical Dictionary is a rich exploration of ideas and language in all its forms.


The Critical Dictionary exhibition had just opened at the WORK Gallery in London and will be on until 25 February 2012.

Hatch by Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert

27 January 2012

If you happen to be in the resurgent boomtown of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada between March 30 and June 10 this year, and have an interest in the intersection of art and urbanism, check out Hatch, Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert’s show at the Mendel Art Gallery:

Artists by Artists: Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert

March 30 to June 10, 2012

Hatch is an exhibition of parallel investigations into notions of path finding and city building. Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert’s research and drawings address historical and imagined narratives of Saskatoon by tracing and layering events, characters, infrastructures and geography.

Using human and architectural characters of Saskatoon as a narrative code, Lu proposes a process of city planning that involves a continual personal re-configuration of local stories. Bueckert renders collected images into hybrid maps that explore the evolutions and revisions of city building. Employing a non-linear book format, the artists splice their imagined urban spaces to form permutations of possible mapping schemes.

Lu and Bueckert’s collaborative image immediately reminded me of this Sloterdijk passage:

Life is a matter of form–that is the hypothesis we associate with the venerable philosophical and geometrical term “sphere.” It suggests that life, the formation of spheres and thinking are different  expressions for the same thing. Referring to a vital spheric geometry is only productive, however, if one concedes the existence of a form of theory that knows more about life than life itself does–and that wherever human life is found, whether nomadic or settled, inhabited orbs appear, wandering or stationary orbs which, in a sense, are rounder than anything that can be drawn with compasses. (pp. 10-11)

Peter Sloterdijk, Spheres. Volume I: Bubbles. Microspherology

Levi Bryant on book covers

12 November 2011

Speaking of Tammy Lu’s drawings, I have just come across this recent interview with Levi Bryant, which includes the following exchange on the topic of his book covers (both of which have been featured on this blog, here and here):

The cover of Democracy of Objects features a series of fantastical objects of similar scale and spacing strung on a piece of something like barbed wire. The book The Speculative Turn that you edited with Graham Harman and Nick Srnicek features a pair of pruning shears. Barbed wire was a revolutionary technology that fundamentally shifted settlement patterns across the North American midwest; pruners are the ideal general purpose tool for maintenance and propagation of vegetation. Can you talk a little bit about the choice of those images?

To be quite honest I had no role in choosing the images for either of my books, though I couldn’t be more pleased with the choices of the editors. I’m particularly fond of Tammy Lu’s cover for The Democracy of Objects as I believe it very much captures the spirit of my thought. Seen from afar it looks like flowers intertwined along threads of ivy. This very much captures my conception of objects as something that “bloom” or unfold, just as the Greeks conceived phusis as a blooming or unfolding. However, as you look more closely you suddenly see a hint of menace (the barb wire and fishing tackle), as well as a universe that somehow manages to beautifully interweave natural entities, computer memory storage devices, barb wire, fishing tackle and so on. Tammy Lu’s work captures the sense of a flat ontology where nature, culture, and technology are not distinct ontological realms but rather where all entities are intermingled on a single flat plain of immanence and where there is no supplementary space that contains them but only the relations they forge with one another generating a network space. It is a world of great beauty as well as lurking menace.

The cover of The Speculative Turn is a bit more masculine and difficult for me to decipher. No doubt pruning sheers were dimly chosen to convey the sense of something of the tradition—the Kantian correlationist legacy—being pruned away. This would be the aggressive, warlike dimension that seems especially popular among those speculative realists that fall in the nihilistic eliminativist camp and that seem to revel in death and destruction. Indeed, perhaps a major fault-line in speculative realism is between that camp that emphasizes construction and building (though without a anthropocentric reference for these terms) found among the object-oriented ontologists and the process-relationists, and that side that seems delighted by tearing down, destroying, and death found among the nihilistic eliminativists. A more generous reading of the pruning sheers, however, would be to comprehend them along the lines of the bonsai tree, as the collaborative process that takes place between humans and nonhumans in the cultivation of collectives.

The rest of the interview is also well worth reading: it contains discussions on “intersections between his work and ideas of wilderness, landscape, control mechanisms and the ambivalence of utopian fictions in affecting public space.”

ANTHEM facelift

9 November 2011

Thank you to Tammy Lu for her permission to use part of her drawing entitled “W” as the new ANTHEM header.

Bruno Latour on networks and spheres

7 March 2011

In e-flux journal Issue no. 23:

Some Experiments in Art and Politics

Inspired by Tomas Saraceno’s installation Galaxies Forming along Filaments, Like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web (2008), Bruno Latour looks at the topology of the sphere as an alternative to that of the network. Whereas networks are able to articulate cursory and diffuse forms of connectivity in the midst of an infinite expanse, the sphere can be seen as pointing the advantages of networks to another technology by which local, fragile, and complex “atmospheric conditions” can gain a form of resilience by way of a container within a broader network. How can we then apply the same logic to a means of “recomposing” disciplinary divides in a way that sustains a common vocabulary, yet overcomes established hierarchies?

Why is it so difficult to be a materialist?

25 February 2011

Videos of two Bruno Latour lectures:

“Where is res extensa? An Anthropology of Object” (Although he says at the start that it should have been entitled instead “The Extension of res extensa: Why is it so difficult to be a materialist?”) Keynote Lecture at the 2010 IKKM Annual Conference, Weimar, 29 April 2010. (Hat tip Continental Philosophy)

The other one is entitled “Do Objects Reside in res extensa and If Not Where are They Located?” Architectural Association, London, 22 February 2011. There are some links on this page also to two Latour papers that are being cited. (Thanks to Ofer for the pointers.)

Peter Neilson, Secateurs, 2009

1 January 2011

After my previous post on The Speculative Turn (which sounds like a runaway success, with downloaders having crashed the website on Christmas day) I realised that it was almost criminal of me not to have mentioned the artist’s name, having praised his work. So he is Peter Neilson from Melbourne, and the piece is called Secateurs (2009, charcoal and chalk on paper, 70 x 50 cm). There are lots of other lovely charcoal drawings of various tools on the artist’s website, do check it out.

Exhibition and Research

15 May 2010

Mutable Matter has a summary of yesterday’s “Beyond the Academy – Research as Exhibition” event at the Tate.