Tuesday, September 28, 2010

dESIRE Gloss: A Specimen in Glossator

Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary Vol 3 has just been published and is also available online:

Included in the volume is a specimen of dESIRE Gloss, a collaborative commentary on a series of 100 photographs drawn from my dESIRE Project. Befitting the polysemy of the word gloss, dESIRE Gloss is designed to demonstrate the amorous relations between photography, commentary, and desire. This specimen includes gloss from Nicola Masciandaro and Scott Wilson two of the commentators in the collaborative.  

Articles in the volume:

The Night Vigil of Shen Zhou J. H. Prynne
The Rhetoric of Commentary Carsten Madsen
Fourty-Four Ways of Looking at Marginalia Louis Bury
A Curious Mistake Concerning Cranial Sutures in Aristotle's Parts of Animals, or, the Use and Abuse of the Footnote Barbara Clayton
Kinesis of Nothing and the Ousia of Poetics (Part Review Essay, Part Notes on a Poetics of Auto-Commentary) Daniel C. Remein
dESIRE Gloss: A Specimen Kristen Alvanson, Nicola Masciandaro, Scott Wilson

Thursday, September 02, 2010

THE REAL THING September 3, 2010 at Tate Britain

Presented by Urbanomic featuring contemporary sound, video and sculptural work, and other interventions exploring the emerging philosophical paradigm of Speculative Realism and its impact on contemporary art practice. Featuring work by artists Amanda Beech, William Bennett, Mikko Canini, John Gerrard, Florian Hecker and Pamela Rosenkranz. 

Also part of the event will be a curatorial intervention in which I have also been involved (in collaboration with China Miéville, Robin Mackay, Eugene Thacker, Reza Negarestani and others): The entire collection of paintings in Room 9 which is currently themed Art and the Sublime has been relabeled according to the paradigms of speculative / weird realism, transcendental nihilism and other emerging philosophical lines of inquiry.

For more details visit Urbanomic’s website:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Update on Protocol Architecture

I posted earlier about the Protocol Architecture Competition. Geoff Manaugh from BLDGBLOG, one of the other judges, has written more about the Protocol Architecture competition and the group’s other projects (guided by v. progressive thinker Ed Keller). Check out Geoff’s post DOCUMENTS, MAPS, AND FILES OF A FICTIONAL ARCHITECTURE. He has included some images from the publication Protocol Architecture – Recovering Berlin (Danil Nagy, Yvual Borochov, Lisa Ekle) on his blog. You can download the book here. But the printed book is very nice if you can buy it (order here).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Transmission Annual: Hospitality

Transmission Annual: Hospitality has just been published. Hospitality edited by Michael Corris, Jaspar Joseph-Lester and Sharon Kivland is in conjunction with their ongoing Transmission series of artists’ talks organized by Sheffield Hallam University in association with Site Gallery. For more information check here:

The annual includes clusters of ‘friends’ who asked each other to participate. Contributors include: Graham Allen, Kristen Alvanson, Amanda Beech, Jerome Carroll, Clegg & Guttmann, Kris Cohen, Clare Connors, Nigel Cooke, Michael Corris, Eileen Costa, Juan Cruz, Meritxell Duran, Tim Etchells, Marcia Farquhar, Rachael Garfield, Charlie, Gere, Judith Goddard, Laura Heit, Vit Hopely, Nancy Hwang, Alfredo Jaar, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Ahuvia Kahane, Sharon Kivland, Esther Leslie, Yve Lomax, Juliet Flower MacCannell, Robin Mackay, Marko Maetamm, Victor Mazin, Penny McCarthy, E. Elias Merhige, Forbes Morlock, Reza Negarestani, Hayley Newman, Dany Nobus, Haralampi G. Oroschakoff, John W. P. Phillips, Cesare Pietroiusti, Jeanne Randolph, Antonio Santos, Javier Santos, Naomi Segal, Roy Sellars, Blake Stimson, Thomson & Craighead, Irene De Vico Fallani, Rodrigo Villas, Nina Wakeford, Sarah Wood.

Transmission Annual: Hospitality

Edited by Michael Corris, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Sharon Kivland

ISBN: 978-1-906441-24-1
Artwords Press London

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Open Space in Singapore

My dESIRE Project is currently included in Open Space an online and on-site exhibition exploring the theme of Open Space curated by Patricia R. Zimmerman, Nikki Draper and Sharon Lin Tay at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore with Wenjie Zhang. Open Space will be up during the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference in Singapore from June 22-26, 2010. The exhibition is shown as the digital arts exploration of the conference theme Im/Material.

Other artists/filmmakers participating in the exhibition include:
Vaibhau Bhawsar
Andreas Zingerle
Myriam Thyes
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Reclaim Land: Justin Zhuang, Sam Kang Li, Wong Shu Yun, Serene Cheong
Nguyen Bich Thuy
Alessandro Perini
15 Malaysia: Ho Yuhang, Yasmin Ahmad, Amir Muhammad, Linus Chung, Liew Seng Tat, Desmond Ng, Kamal Sabran, Tan Chui Mui, Woo Ming Jin, James Lee, Benji & Bahir, Johan John, Khairil Bahar, Nam Ron, Suleiman Brothers
Gebhard Sengmüller 

For more information check here:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Anonymous Materials Opening

My installation Objects 302 (made up of documents related to my chapter in Cyclonopedia) and Spell Map drawing A Thousand Ways to Die are included in Anonymous Materials an exhibition curated by Pamela Rosenkranz at Binz39 in Zürich from 4th June to 4th July, 2010 /Opening hours Thursday - Saturday, 2 - 6 pm.

Opening 6 pm Thursday / June 3rd/ 2010/ Binz39 /Sihlquai 133, 8005 Zürich

Including contributions by:
Kristen Alvanson, Kim Seob Boninsegni, Pavel Büchler, Ida Ekblad, Ulrik Heltoft, Marie Koelbaek lversen, Fabian Marti, Rachel Mason, Ketuta Alexi Meskhishvili, Lucy Pawlak, Martin Soto Climent, Mai-Thu Perret, Urs Zahn

“Anonymous Materials” brings together artists who use very different approaches in their practices. But its presentation of their works draws attention to a particular form of complicity common to them, and unfolds its consequences for our understanding of art-production. As the title indicates, the exhibition focuses on the autonomy of those materials which constitute an elemental component in the process of creating art. The show therefore explores art as a material-driven process of production so as to raise the question: How does the autonomy or contingency of the artists’ material influence or interfere with the artwork itself? In examining the conditions of art production, the show emphasizes the dynamics and ambivalence of the concept of materiality in artistic production, rather than deconstructing the meaning of the artwork by thematizing its material substrate.

Neither does this examination of materiality entail a fashionable celebration of those aesthetic effects commonly associated with processual tropes of artistic production (the presentation of raw materials, open-endedness, and so on). It does not rely upon the unfinished status of an artwork as a form of process-oriented practice. It could be said that such artistic sensibilities only exacerbate or obfuscate the enigma of materiality, semantically supercharging materiality in a way that can only be grasped by an audience hungry for meaning. Therefore, these processual tropes reestablish the authority of a privileged sentience whose correlation with meaning is ultimately a complete dismissal of both independency and contingency of materials in art production. As opposed to this approach, the artists in this show were chosen because their practices involve clear decisions towards the problems mentioned. In tracking the traces of production in the artwork, this group show could even be understood as a critical response to a current tendency to be too “sensitive” to materials; a tendency that could further be defined as an eclectic approach to the visual reminiscence of conceptual art.

The title of the show is taken from Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani’s book Cyclonopedia: Complicities with Anonymous Materials. It refers – in an open manner – to the book’s take on the problem of ‘inauthenticity’ whereby the subjective identity of the author is repeatedly overturned and undermined by the intervention of references, materials and narrative processes which enjoy autonomy and contingent complicities of their own. The show opens up, unfolds and reinvents this problematic embracing of materiality by evoking the randomness of functionality attributed to artists’ materials and allowing a multiplicity of relations between the artwork and its arbitrary context. Systematically blocking the tendency for a ‘higher meaning’ to emerge, the show resolutely focuses on the active, contingent role of the material conditions of the artwork. The studio-like installation itself explores the process of creating art in its very contingent and disruptive character.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Protocol Architecture - Design for the Speculative Future

I had fun judging Protocol Architecture's [Recovering Berlin] competition. For more information on the competition and the entries check here: Also check back soon for the announcement of the winning entries.

Protocol Architecture is a group of researchers, artists and architects based in New York City that investigates potentials for future design through the creation and analysis of hyper-fictional documents. These document sets create evidence for future scenarios that string together a specific history of political, social and technological developments.

A discussion at Columbia University GSAPP with Mark Collins of Proxy, Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG and Ed Keller of aum took place to discuss the [Recovering Berlin] entries and remote responses were posted on the site.

List of Jurors:
Kristen Alvanson, artist
Juan Azulay, Matter Management
David Benjamin, The Living
Mark Collins, Proxy
Eric Ellingsen, Species of Space and Olafur Eliasson Workshop
Bradley Horn, CCNY
Ed Keller, a|Um
Jamie Kruse, smudge studio
Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG
Reza Negarestani, author of Cyclonopedia
Michael Rotondi, RoTo Architects
Roland Snooks, Kokkugia

Images of Spell Chador no. 98 in Repurposes exhibition

Saturday, March 20, 2010


One of my Spell Chadors is in Repurposes. Repurposes is an exhibition representing themes of reexamination and reengagement of personal and public convictions. In a time of historic change and challenge—politically, economically, technologically—how do we remake our world and ourselves? The exhibition presents 31 artists working in a variety of media—collage, sculpture, video, web, artist books, graphic design, assemblage, and more—from the U.S., U.K., Italy, Germany, Iran, and Spain. Curated by Kenneth FitzGerald, Associate Professor of Art, Old Dominion University, and Garland Kirkpatrick, Associate Professor of Art, Loyola Marymount University. A joint project of Ephemeral States and Helvetica Jones.
4509 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA
Saturday, March 20 through Sunday, April 18, 2010 (Opening reception: Saturday, March 20 7-9pm)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cosmic Drapery Flag Update

An appliqué from Flag 5 of the Cosmic Drapery Flag project.

To date 109 women from Iran have added their own appliqués to six Cosmic Drapery Flags. For more images and information on this project check here: and

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Collapse VI: Geo/philosophy

The new issue of Collapse is now available. I have a couple photos in the issue which accompany Nicola Masciandaro's 'Becoming Spice: Commentary as Geophilosophy' essay.

Contributors to the volume include:
Charles Avery, Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain, Stephen Emmott, Owen Hatherley, F I E L D C L U B, Iain Hamilton Grant, Renée Green, Gilles Grelet, Manabrata Guha, Nicola Masciandaro, Timothy Morton, Greg McInerny, Robin Mackay, Reza Negarestani, Drew Purves, F.W.J. Schelling, Eyal Weizman, Rich Williams.

Following Collapse V's inquiry into the legacy of Copernicus' deposing of Earth from its central position in the cosmos, Collapse VI: Geo/philosophy poses the question: How should we understand the historical and contemporary bond between philosophical thought and its terrestrial support?

Collapse VI: Geo/philosophy begins with the provisional premise that the Earth does not square elements of thought but rather rounds them up into a continuous spatial and geographical horizon. Geophilosophy is thus not necessarily the philosophy of the earth as a round object of thought but rather the philosophy of all that can be rounded as an (or the) earth. But in that case, what is the connection between the empirical earth, the contingent material support of human thinking, and the abstract 'world' that is the condition for a 'whole' of thought?

Urgent contemporary concerns introduce new dimensions to this problem: The complicity of Capitalism and Science concomitant with the nomadic remobilization of global Capital has caused mutations in the field of the territorial, shifting and scrambling the determinations that subtended modern conceptions of the nation-state and territorial formations. And scientific predictions present us with the possibility of a planet contemplating itself without humans, or of an abyssal cosmos that abides without Earth - these are the vectors of relative and absolute deterritorialization which nourish the twenty-first century apocalyptic imagination. Obviously, no geophilosophy can remain oblivious to the unilateral nature of such un-earthing processes. Furthermore, the rise of so-called rogue states which sabotage their own territorial formation in order to militantly withstand the proliferation of global capitalism calls for an extensive renegotiation of geophilosophical concepts in regard to territorializing forces and the State. Can traditions of geophilosophical thought provide an analysis that escapes the often flawed, sentimental or cryptoreligious fashions in which popular discourse casts these catastrophic developments?

Continuing to combine and connect work from different disciplines and perspectives in innovative ways, this new volume of Collapse brings together philosophers, theorists, eco-critics, leading scientific experts in climate change, and artists whose work interrogates the link between philosophical thought, geography and cartography. This multiplicity of engagements makes Collapse VI a philosophically-rich yet accessible examination of the present state of 'planetary thought'.

Visit Collapse's website at to purchase a copy. A PDF preview of the editorial introduction to the volume is also available on the website.