Diversity of Aesthetics, vol. 1:  “Inside and Outside: Infrastructures of Critique”

Diversity of Aesthetics, vol. 1: “Inside and Outside: Infrastructures of Critique”

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A roundtable with Michael Rakowitz, Shellyne Rodriguez, and Stevphen ShukaitisModerated by Andreas Petrossiants

Series edited by Andreas Petrossiants and Jose RosalesPublished in collaboration with the Emily Harvey Foundation

Diversity of Aesthetics is a multi-volume editorial project that convenes a series of conversations between artists, militants, organizers, precarious workers, publishers, writers, educators, and others. The first volume “Inside and Outside: Infrastructures of Critique” is now available. Volume 2, “Value and the Destituent Potential of the HUMAN Strike” moderated by Jose Rosales will be available in Fall 2021; volume 3 on “Looting” moderated by Vicky Osterweil will be available in Winter 2021–2022.

The phrase “diversity of aesthetics” was formulated by Nitasha Dhillon to rephrase the anarchist methodology “diversity of tactics”—rethinking aesthetics from a decolonial and abolition framework. In this first conversation we ask: How is it possible to enter or exit the space of the institution and act in such a way that cannot be recuperated—or wherein the recuperation can be tactically useful for political struggle? To this end, we discuss organizing and working “inside and outside” of the art system, borrowing from and expanding upon a methodology proposed by Marina Vishmidt termed “infrastructural critique” that bridges the connections between systems of domination, policing, and municipal resource distribution on one hand, and culture, creativity, and artistic production on the other.
After May 1968, if not earlier, a shared sensibility among dissident currents of the left emerged: a rejection of the inherited institutions of historical communism including the union, the worker’s council, cultural propaganda in the service of building class consciousness, the party-form, and even the state itself. This was coterminous with increasingly notable critiques of the art system. In other words, in certain spheres of militant theory and art practice, there emerged simultaneous rejections of the form of organization characteristic to previous cycles of anticapitalist struggle and the museum. Following from these histories, in this first volume of Diversity of Aesthetics, the roundtable participants examine how the illusory borders between the spaces of art and the street are maintained and reproduced by the institution, including ostensibly well-meaning discourse and art theory.

Black and white, 70 pages, 19.7 x 11.7 cm - 7 photos