Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Okwui Enwezor Maps the Altermodern for You

Here's some serious dome tuning for you critical heads out there. In anticipation of its 2009 Triennial, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, the Tate has organized a number of prologues with leading curators. Thankfully, the Tate has posted the full video of a recent presentation by the fierce writer, critic and curator, Okwui Enwezor. If you don't know brotha Enwezor, you need to get hip quick. He is important!

In this talk, Okwui jumps off the concept of the "altermodern", proposed by contemporary art theorist/curator Nicolas Bourriaud, to attemp a map of (using Dante's inferno as a frame) levels of altermodernity in order to locate "new artistic imaginaries that undercut the singularity of supermodernity." Sound like BS...try it this way. In the face of the overwhelming power of the supermodern state to define life, life-ways and expressions of "culture", can artists define new approaches and spaces that are specific and liberatory; lift up voice and spirit in a way that undermines the death machines of ultra-commercialism, machismo and necrophilia?

Thanks to the Tate for the full video of his recent performance Specious Modernity: Speculations on the end of Postcolonial Utopia

From the Tate Site: "The fourth Tate Triennial, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, opens at Tate Britain in February 2009.

It will explore what 'modern' means now, in the globalised culture of the early 21st century. Bourriaud has come up with the new concept: 'Altermodern', and he uses this to describe art being made now that belongs to the global era and is a reaction against standardisation and commercialism.

This art is characterised by artists' cross-border, cross-cultural negotiations; a new real and virtual mobility; the surfing of different disciplines; the use of fiction as an expression of autonomy; concern with sustainable development and the celebration of difference and singularity."

Key Enwezor Texts: Click here.

Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography

Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art

Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace

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