World Food Books is a book shop in Melbourne, Australia.
Founded in 2010, World Food Books is a book service dedicated to the presentation of a rotating, hand-selection of quality international art and design journals, artists’ monographs, exhibition catalogues, artists’ editions, collected writings and printed ephemera.
Presenting new titles alongside rare and out-of-print publications spanning the fields of contemporary art, modern art, cultural theory, photography, film, poetry, fiction, fashion, architecture, interior design, typography, illustration, politics and much between, World Food Books wishes to encourage active and thoughtful reading, looking, writing, publishing, and exchanging of art and design press, both contemporary and historical.
As well as our book shop, located in Melbourne's historical Nicholas Building, all of our inventory is available internationally via our online mail-order service. We also have outposts at MUMA (Monash University Museum of Art) and Westspace, both also in Melbourne.
World Food Books semi-regularly co-ordinates "Occasions", a program of exhibits and events at the bookshop and in partnership with other hosts (such as museums and art galleries) that develop out of the activities, relationships and content of the bookshop itself.
World Food Books
The Nicholas Building
Studio 19, Level 3
37 Swanston Street
FRI 12-7 PM
SAT 12-4 PM
& OPEN BY APPOINTMENT
MAIL ORDER RUNS EVERY DAY
World Food Books
PO Box 435
Theory / Essay
Architecture / Interior
Graphic Design / Typography
Fiction / Poetry
Film / Video
Sculpture / Installation
Performance / Dance / Theater
Sound / Music
Group Shows / Collections
Illustration / Graphic Art
Ceramics / Glass
Italian Radical Design / Postmodernism
"Various Works 1986 - 1999"
02 February 16 - September 10, 2016
Various works 1986 - 1999, from two houses, from the collections of John Nixon, Sue Cramer, Kerrie Poliness, Peter Haffenden and Phoebe Haffenden.
Including: Geometry of Cakes (various shelves), 1993; Poor People’s Law (black and white plate), 1993; White Absence (glasses, ruler, set square, silver spoon, silver ladel with skin photograph and wooden cubes), 1990-1996; Exploitation of the Dead (grey and red star painting, wooden painting, black spoon with red table, red plate), 1984-1990; Money and Zeros (zero tie, paintings made for friends in Australia (Sue, John, Kerrie), numbers painting), 1991-1992; Words - Slogans (various t-shirts) - “they talk about the death of art...help! someone is trying to kill me”, “my sweet little lamb”, “work is a disease - Karl Marx”; Various artist books, catalogues, monographs, videos; Poster from exhibition Insulting Anarchy; "Circular" Croatian - Australian edition; Artist book by Vlado Martek (Dostoyevsky); more.
Thanks to Mladen Stilinović and Branka Stipančić.
Curated by Nic Tammens
March 26 - April 4, 2015
B.Wurtz works from a basement studio in his home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
This local fact is attested to by the plastic shopping bags and newsprint circulars that appear in his work. As formal objects, they don’t make loud claims about their origins but nonetheless transmit street addresses and places of business from the bottom of this long thin island. Like plenty of artists, Wurtz is affected by what is local and what is consumed. His work is underpinned by this ethic. It often speaks from a neighborhood or reads like the contents of a hamper:
“BLACK PLUMS $1.29 lb.”
“USDA Whole Pork Shoulder Picnic 99c lb.”
“RITE AID Pharmacy, with us it’s personal.”
“H. Brickman & Sons.”
“Sweet Yams 59c lb."
Most of the work in this exhibition was made while the artist was in residence at Dieu Donne, a workshop dedicated to paper craft in Midtown. Here Wurtz fabricated assemblages with paper and objects that are relatively lightweight, with the intention that they would be easily transportable to Australia. This consideration isn’t absolute in Wurtz’s work, but was prescriptive for making the current exhibition light and cheap. Packed in two boxes, these works were sent from a USPS post office on the Lower East Side and delivered to North Melbourne by Australia Post.
Wurtz appears courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York.
Thanks to Rob Halverson, Joshua Petherick, Sari de Mallory, Matt Hinkley, Helen Johnson, Fayen d'Evie, Ask Kilmartin, Lisa Radon, Ellena Savage, Yale Union, and "Elizabeth".
December 15 - January 20, 2014
The presentation of John Nixon's archive offered a rare showcase of this extensive collection of the artist's own publications, catalogues, posters, ephemera, editions and more, from the mid 1980s onwards, alongside a selection of his artworks.
Organized by John Nixon, Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley.
at Minerva, Sydney (curated by Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley)
November 15 - December 20, 2014
Lupo Borgonovo, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley,
Lewis Fidock, HR Giger, Piero Gilardi, Veit Laurent Kurz,
Cinzia Ruggeri, Michael E. Smith, Lucie Stahl, Daniel Weil, Wols
“...It contained seven objects. The slender fluted bone, surely formed for flight, surely from the wing of some large bird. Three archaic circuitboards, faced with mazes of gold. A smooth white sphere of baked clay. An age-blackened fragment of lace. A fingerlength segment of what she assumed was bone from a human wrist, grayish white, inset smoothly with the silicon shaft of a small instrument that must once have ridden flush with the surface of the skin - but the thing’s face was seared and blackened.”
William Gibson, “Count Zero”, 1986
"Autumn Projects Archive"
Curated by Liza Vasiliou
March 6 - March 15, 2014
World Food Books, in conjunction with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 2014, presented the Autumn Projects archive, consisting of a selection of early examples in Australian fashion with a particular interest in collecting designers and labels from the period beginning in the 1980’s, who significantly influenced the discourse of Australian Fashion.
Curated by Liza Vasiliou, the exhibition provided a unique opportunity to view pieces by designers Anthea Crawford, Barbara Vandenberg, Geoff Liddell and labels CR Australia, Covers, Jag along with early experimental collage pieces by Prue Acton and Sally Browne’s ‘Fragments’ collection, suspended throughout the functioning World Food Books shop in Melbourne.
presented by CENTRE FOR STYLE
November 14, 2013
"Hey Blinky, you say chic, I say same"
H.B. Peace is a clothing collaboration between great friends Blake Barns and Hugh Egan Westland. Their pieces explore the divergences between 'character’ and ‘personality’ in garments....etc
Special Thanks to Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley of WFB and Gillian Mears
and a Very Special Thank you to Audrey Thomas Hayes for her shoe collaboration.
Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley
May 10 - June 8, 2013
The first of our occasional exhibitions in the World Food Books office/shop space in Melbourne, "Aesthetic Suicide" presented a body of new and older works together by artists Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, including videos, prints, a wall work, and publications.
During shop open hours videos played every hour, on the hour.
Softcover, 152 pages, 10.8 x 11.8 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$30.00 - In stock -
Contributions by Bart De Baere, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Boris Groys, Elena Shaposhnikova, Marina Simakova, Hito Steyerl, Anton Vidokle, Brian Kuan Wood, Arseny Zhilyaev, Esther Zonsheim
According to the nineteenth-century teachings of Nikolai Fedorov—librarian, religious philosopher, and progenitor of Russian cosmism—our ethical obligation to use reason and knowledge to care for the sick extends to curing the dead of their terminal status. The dead must be brought back to life using means of advanced technology—resurrected not as souls in heaven, but in material form, in this world, with all their memories and knowledge.
Fedorov’s call to redistribute vital forces is wildly imaginative in emancipatory ambition. Today, it might appear arcane in its mystical panpsychism or eccentric in its embrace of realities that exist only in science fiction or certain diabolical strains of Silicon Valley techno-utopian ideology. It can be difficult to grasp how it ended up influencing the thinking behind a generation of young revolutionary anarchists and Marxists who incorporated Fedorov’s ideas under their own brand of biocosmism before the 1917 Russian Revolution, even giving rise to the origins of the Soviet space program.
This book of interviews and conversations with today’s most compelling living and resurrected artists and thinkers seeks to address the relevance of Russian cosmism and biocosmism in light of its influence on the Russian artistic and political vanguard as well as on today’s art-historical apparatuses, weird materialisms, extinction narratives, and historical and temporal politics. This unprecedented collection of exchanges on cosmism asks how such an encompassing and imaginative, unapologetically humanist and anthropocentric strain of thinking could have been so historically and politically influential, especially when placed alongside the politically inconsequential—but in some sense equally encompassing—apocalypticism of contemporary realist imaginaries.
Published in parallel with the eponymous exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
Series edited by Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Kaye Cain-Nielsen, Stephen Squibb, Anton Vidokle
Design by Jeff Ramsey, front cover design by Liam Gillick
Softcover, 14 x 21.5 cm, 184 pages
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$33.00 - In stock -
In this collection of essays, art historian and critic Sven Lütticken focuses on aesthetic practice in a rapidly expanding cultural sphere. He analyzes its transformation by the capitalist cultural revolution, whose reshaping of art’s autonomy has wrought a field of afters and posts. In a present moment teeming with erosions—where even history and the human are called into question—Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy reconsiders these changing values, for relegating such notions safely to the past betrays their possibilities for potential today.
Lütticken discusses practices that range from Black Mask to Subversive Aktion, from Krautonomy to Occupy, from the Wet Dream Film Festival in the early 1970s to Jonas Staal’s recently established New World Academy. Within these pages Scarlett Johansson meets Paul Chan, Walid Raad, and Hito Steyerl, and Dr. Zira from Planet of the Apes mingles with the likes of Paul Lafargue and Alexandre Kojève.
Design by Surface
Hardcover (clothbound), 248 pages, 18.5 x 26.5 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin LUMA Foundation / Zürich Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College / New York
$46.00 - In stock -
Contributions by Amanda Beech, Rony Brauman, David Campbell, Olivia Custer, Rosalyn Deutsche, Thomas Keenan, Eric Kluitenberg, David Levine, Suhail Malik, Sohrab Mohebbi, Sharon Sliwinski, Hito Steyerl, Bernard Stiegler, Tirdad Zolghadr
It is difficult to imagine making claims for human rights without using images. For better or worse, images of protest, evidence, and assertion are the lingua franca of struggles for justice today. And they seem to come in a flood, more and more, day and night. But through which channels does the torrent pass? The Flood of Rights examines the pathways through which these images and ideas circulate—routes that do not merely enable, but actually shape human-rights claims and their conceptual background. What are the technologies and languages that structure the global distribution of humanism and universalism, and how do they leave their mark on these ideas themselves? Which narratives and imageries have proven easier to export and import, and whose interests are at stake in the configurations in question?
The Flood of Rights draws on a conference of the same name, organized by the LUMA Foundation and Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, which took place in Arles, France, in 2013.
Copublished with the LUMA Foundation and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York
Design by Zak Group
2017, English / Italian
Softcover, 440 pages, 18.5 x 26.5 cm
Published by Mousse Publishing / Milan
$18.00 - Out of stock
10-year anniversary special issue: a selection of essays, interviews, conversations, and projects appeared in the first ten years of Mousse.
Featuring: Chantal Akerman, Cecilia Alemani, Jennifer Allen, Kai Althoff, Bruce Altshuler, Ed Atkins, Lutz Bacher, Darren Bader, Alex Bag, John Baldessari, Phyllida Barlow, Kirsty Bell, Andrew Berardini, Jonathan Berger, Michael Bracewell, Tom Burr, Maurizio Cattelan, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Stuart Comer, Lauren Cornell, Nicholas Cullinan, Roberto Cuoghi, Nick Currie, Massimo De Carlo, Gino De Dominicis, Gigiotto Del Vecchio, Simon Denny, Brian Dillon, Jimmie Durham, Dominic Eichler, Peter Eleey, Matias Faldbakken, Luigi Fassi, Elena Filipovic, Morgan Fisher, Isa Genzken, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, Liam Gillick, Massimiliano Gioni, Isabelle Graw, Ed Halter, Jens Hoffmann, Judith Hopf, William E. Jones, Omar Kholeif, Alexander Kluge, Jiří Kovanda, William Leavitt, Elisabeth Lebovici, Andrea Lissoni, Helen Marten, Chus Martínez, Nick Mauss, Lucy McKenzie, Fionn Meade, Simone Menegoi, John Menick, Ute Meta Bauer, Massimo Minini, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Trevor Paglen, Stefania Palumbo, Francesco Pedraglio, Otto Piene, Laura Poitras, Elizabeth Price, Seth Price, Laure Prouvost, Alessandro Rabottini, Carol Rama, Filipa Ramos, Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roelstraete, Esperanza Rosales, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Fender Schrade, Stuart Sherman, Frances Stark, Jamie Stevens, Hito Steyerl, Sturtevant, Sabrina Tarasoff, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Oscar Tuazon, Giorgio Verzotti, Jan Verwoert, Francesco Vezzoli, Adrián Villar Rojas, Peter Wächtler, Ian Wallace, Klaus Weber, Cathy Wilkes, Christopher Williams, Jordan Wolfson.
Mousse is a bimonthly magazine published in Italian and English. Established in 2006, Mousse contains interviews, conversations, and essays by some of the most important figures in international criticism, visual arts, and curating today, alternated with a series of distinctive articles in a unique tabloid format. Mousse keeps tabs on international trends in contemporary culture thanks to its city editors in major art capitals such as Berlin, New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles.
Mousse (Mousse Publishing) is also publisher of catalogues, essays and curatorial projects, artist books and editions.
Hardcover, 312 pages, 22 x 29 cm
Published by Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College / New York
$67.00 - In stock -
'Invisible Adversaries' was a major exhibition curated by Lauren Cornell and Tom Eccles inspired by the 1976 feature film by the radical Austrian artist Valie Export. The film presents a woman’s struggle to retain her sense of self against hostile alien forces that appear increasingly ubiquitous, colonizing the minds of all those around her. Motifs from the film – among them, architecture’s influence on identity; feminist critique; and the power of political fantasy – operate as filters through which to consider significant pieces from the Marieluise Hessel Collection.
With works by over 50 artists including Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Chantal Akerman, Kai Althoff, Janine Antoni, Ida Applebroog, Phyllida Barlow, Lynda Benglis, Barbara Bloom, Paul Chan, Patty Chang, Anne Collier, Rineke Dijkstra, Trisha Donnelly, VALIE EXPORT, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Isa Genzken, Liam Gillick, K8 Hardy, Rachel Harrison, Mona Hatoum, Roni Horn, Emily Jacir, Annette Kelm, Leigh Ledare, Nikki S. Lee, Sarah Lucas, Tala Madani, Christian Marclay, Helen Marten, Ulrike Müller, Bruce Nauman, Tony Oursler, Philippe Parreno, William Pope.L, Seth Price, Magali Reus, Rachel Rose, Thomas Ruff, Ilene Segalove, Cindy Sherman, Stephen Shore, Diane Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Jo Spence, Hito Steyerl, Tunga, Gillian Wearing, Martha Wilson, and Krzysztof Wodiczko, amongst others.
This 300-page publication designed by Zak Group with original essays by nine influential writers, scholars and artists: Zach Blas, Johanna Fateman, Nav Haq, Vít Havránek, J. Hoberman, Alex Kitnick, Tavia Nyong’O, Lauren O’Neill-Butler, and Julian Rose. The catalogue also includes original interviews with VALIE EXPORT, Trevor Paglen, and Hito Steyerl.
2017, English / German
Softcover, 168 pages, 16 x 23 cm
Published by Walther König / Köln
$39.00 - In stock -
German filmmaker, visual artist and writer Hito Steyerl (born 1966) is a leading voice on media and the global circulation of images. In this new essay collection, she deals with images and sounds that create new relationships to objects, and themselves become and produce other objects.
Softcover (w. dustjacket), 166 pages, 19 x 25.5 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$30.00 - Out of stock
Intersubjectivity Vol. 1
Language and Misunderstanding
With contributions by Cory Arcangel, Fia Backström, Alain Badiou, Erica Baum, Xu Bing, Paul Chan, Andrew Durbin, Jimmie Durham, Daniel Grúň, Lucy Ives, Jenny Jaskey, William Kherbek, Nicky Marsh, Julia Moritz & YGRG, Ariane Müller, Vincent Romagny, Hito Steyerl
Intersubjectivity, a two-volume collection of essays, is concerned with a new account of our ideas of what subjects are, and what is means for them to meet. The project explores these concepts in the context of the interaction of non-sentient beings, attempting to move beyond anthropomorphic theories of objectivity and materiality, as well as subjects whose boundaries resist definition. Intersubjectivity takes up the complementary problems of nondiscursive language and nonlinguistic discourse, in an attempt to locate the distinctions and respective abilities of philosophy as a particular kind of art and art as a particular kind of philosophy.
The first volume, Language and Misunderstanding, addresses concretism and its discontents. The essays and performance texts herein argue for an expanded consideration of concretism in contemporary practices oriented toward the embodiment of language, in works that challenge the privileging of the body of the word over the body of the artist. Thus Cory Arcangel, Fia Backström, Erica Baum, Paul Chan, Jimmie Durham, and Hito Steyerl all contribute works that in different ways insist on the somatic nature of writing; Andrew Durbin, and Ariane Müller, and Vincent Romagny address the drift of meaning across material; Lucy Ives, Daniel Grúň, and the Young Girl Reading Group are skeptical of dogmas of authorship and identity; Alain Badiou asks when modern art will end; and Abraham Adams polemicizes against the loss of the body in the concrete work. With an introduction by Lou Cantor.
Design by BOKA Bożena Kalinowska
Softcover, 240 pages, 13 x 20 cm
Published by Archive Books / Berlin
$40.00 - Out of stock
The anthology Politics of Memory aims to investigate the document as such, as an objective trace left by events, as material proof or the creation of reality – the strategies with which they transform a state of memory into state memory, those by means of which a historical removal is enacted, those, ultimately, in which there is an attempt to challenge permanent or temporary amnesia, opening up to the future. The artists and filmmakers contributing to this publication represent the most advanced area on an international scale of a research that inaugurates a new relationship between artistic practices and the documentary.
The artists’ contributions have been collected within the context of a cycle of conferences held between 2010 and 2013 and are re-presented here in a format aimed at highlighting their connections and common research perspectives. To this end, the volume is articulated in four sections and does not follow the chronological order of the conferences. The first section is dedicated to archival practices, the second to the memory of conflicts, the third to the documentary dispositive and the last to the representation of migration as a social practice and as the enactment of breaching boundaries.
Edited by Marco Scotini and Elisabetta Galasso
Contributions by John Akomfrah, Eric Baudelaire, Ursula Biemann, Harun Farocki, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, Khaled Jarrar, Lamia Joreige, Gintaras Makarevičius, Angela Melitopoulos, Deimantas Narkevičius, Lisl Ponger, Florian Schneider, Eyal Sivan, Hito Steyerl, Jean-Marie Teno, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Mohanad Yaqubi and Reem Shilleh
Softcover, 382 pages, 24 x 17 cm
Published by Distanz / Berlin
$50.00 - Out of stock
The Present in Drag is published as a companion volume to the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, which was curated by New York collective DIS. Providing information on the works shown in the exhibition, it also includes contributions by Roe Ethridge, Simon und Daniel Fujiwara, Boris Groys, Katja Novitskova, Chus Martinez, Bjarne Melgaard, Sean Patrick Monahan, Sabine Reitmaier, McKenzie Wark, and others.
The 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art features the work and contributions of: 69, Antoni Abad, Halil Altindere, Ei Arakawa (in collaboration with Dan Poston, Stefan Tcherepnin), Korakrit Arunanondchai/Alex Gvojic, atelier le balto, Armen Avanessian/Alexander Martos (in collaboration with Christopher Roth), åyr, Will Benedict, Julien Ceccaldi, Centre for Style
(in collaboration with Anna-Sophie Berger; Burkhard Beschow & Anne Fellner; Max Brand; Rare Candy with Alden Epp, Spencer Lai, Natasha Madden, Misty Pollen, Ander Rennick & Amber Wright; Susan Cianciolo; Marlie Mul; Liam Osborne; H.B. Peace & Kate Meakin; Joshua Petherick; Lin May Saeed; Eirik Sæther), Brody Condon, CUSS Group (in collaboration with ANGEL-HO, FAKA, Megan Mace, NTU), Kathleen Daniel, Debora Delmar Corp., Simon Denny with Linda Kantchev, Cécile B. Evans, Nicolás Fernández, Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Simon Fujiwara, GCC, GUAN Xiao, Calla Henkel/Max Pitegoff, Camille Henrot, Yngve Holen, Alexa Karolinski/Ingo Niermann, Kartenrecht, Josh Kline, Korpys/Löffler, Nik Kosmas, M/L Artspace, Shawn Maximo, Ashland Mines, Katja Novitskova, Trevor Paglen/Jacob Appelbaum, Juan Sebastián Peláez, Adrian Piper, Alexandra Pirici, Josephine Pryde, Puppies Puppies, Babak Radboy, Jon Rafman, Timur Si-Qin, Lucie Stahl, Hito Steyerl, TELFAR, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Wu Tsang, Anna Uddenberg, Amalia Ulman, Anne de Vries, Abu Hajar, Halil Altindere, Math Bass, Lizzi Bougatsos & Brian DeGraw, Elysia Crampton, Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Isa Genzken, Juliana Huxtable, Kelela, Nguzunguzu, PATRICIA (Patricia Satterwhite, Jacolby Satterwhite, Nick Weiss), Adrian Piper, Fatima Al Qadiri, Carles Santos, Hito Steyerl, Total Freedom, Amalia Ulman, Antoni Abad, åyr/Rem Koolhaas/Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kathleen Daniel, Cécile B. Evans and Andrew Snyder-Beattie, Oleg Fonaryov and Oleksiy Radynski, Simon & Daniel Fujiwara, GCC, Boris Groys, Rob Horning, Izabella Kaminska and Simon Denny, Chus Martínez, Meredith Meredith, Sean Monahan, New Scenario, Ingo Niermann, Alexandra Pirici, Puppies Puppies, Sean Raspet, Natasha Stagg, Amalia Ulman, Sencer Vardarman, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Déborah Danowski in conversation with Michelle Sommer and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, McKenzie Wark, Will Benedict, Dora Budor, Cao Fei, Roe Ethridge, Hood by Air, Bjarne Melgaard, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Zanele Muholi, Johannes Paul Raether, Torbjørn Rødland, Akeem Smith, Martine Syms, Stewart Uoo, Nina Cristante, Sabine Gottfried, Nik Kosmas, Lesley Moon, Helga Wretman, Frank Benson, Asger Carlsen, DIS, Casey Jane Ellison, Roe Ethridge, Avena Gallagher, Saemundur Thor Helgason, Tilman Hornig, Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Chris Kraus, Bjarne Melgaard, Jason Nocito, Babak Radboy, Sean Raspet, Sabine Reitmaier, Aaron David Ross, Andrew Norman Wilson, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous and others.
Softcover, 96 pages, 17 x 23 cm
Published by MUMA / Victoria
$20.00 - In stock -
Catalogue published to accompany the exhibition Technologism, at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) in Melbourne, 3 Oct - 12 Dec 2015, curated by Charlotte Day.
Artists: Cory Arcangel (US), Dara Birnbaum (US), Chris Burden (US), Ian Burn (AU), Antoinette J. Citizen (AU), Simon Denny (NZ), Jan Dibbets (NL), Aleksandra Domanović (SI/DE), Harun Farocki (DE), Benjamin Forster (AU), Isa Genzken (DE), Greatest Hits (AU), Martijn Hendriks (NL), Lynn Hershman Leeson (US), Matt Hinkley (AU), Jenny Holzer (US), Edward Kienholz & Nancy Reddin Kienholz (US), Oliver Laric (AT), Mark Leckey (UK), Scott Mitchell (AU), Rabih Mroué (LB), Henrik Olesen (DK), Nam June Paik (KR/US), Nam June Paik & John Godfrey (US), Joshua Petherick (AU), Matte Rochford (AU), Jill Scott (AU), Richard Serra (US), John F. Simon Jr. (US), Brian Springer (US), Hito Steyerl (DE), Ricky Swallow (AU), Jeff Thompson (US), Pia van Gelder (AU), Ulla Wiggen (US) and Dennis Wilcox (AU)
MUMA concludes its three-part series on watershed moments in art history — Reinventing the Wheel: the readymade century and Art as a Verb — with Technologism, a major group exhibition bringing together forty-three historical and contemporary artworks, including several new commissions from Australian practitioners. Technologism wrestles with the profound cultural, social and political impact technology has made on art since the 1960s.
Conservative cul-de-sac's of the community are often sceptical of technology and its ever increasing presence in our lives. However many artists — with a natural propensity for constant upheaval — have whole-heartedly embraced radical changes in technology over the last sixty years. Featuring artworks that engage both physically and conceptually with electronic systems — television, computers, the internet, smartphones — Technologism focuses on the ways artists critique and disrupt official uses of the media, or construct their own machines and data systems.
Riffing off both the aesthetic and conceptual characteristics of technology, artists in Technologism document technology's advancement in a plethora of ways: Ulla Wiggen's intricate paintings of circuit boards from the mid 1960s, see the development of an aesthetic inspired by the complex intersection of electrical wires, connectors and components, working to manipulate and rewire the physicality of technology; some thirty years later, John F. Simon's Art Appliances series of the 1990s uses the circuitry of small LCD screens to disrupt pictures and patterns, recreating them over; in Matte Rochford's video Progressively Degrading Test Pattern 2013, humble VHS tapes are copied and recopied, in a process of metaphysical reduction; while in Joshua Petherick's new work, one technology is employed to record another soon to be superseded, revealing new visual dimensions and the 'ghosts in the machine'.
A story of advancement inevitably turns into obsolescence, and Technologism seeks to document the early use of broadcast technology as a way of bridging the gap (and finding a space) between the image on the screen, the physical presence of the viewer, and the broader community. Jan Dibbet's TV as a Fireplace 1968, documents television as a collective experience — even if viewers were separated physically, they were united through time and space like pre-historic cave-dwellers by a communal broadcast. However with the advent of the internet, personal computer devices and streaming services, technology has again changed the relationship we have with the world around us to a more singular yet proliferating existence.
A history of DIY jamming and hacking presents the way artists have continued to subvert conventional uses of technology and challenge the status-quo, from the internet as militarily-designed, to corporately-exploited, civilian-employed, artistically-manipulated, and back again. For instance, Lynn Hershman Leeson's work investigates how media is used as a tool for censorship and political repression, while Simon Denny's work co-opts the aesthetic and rhetoric of language of multinational corporations in order to question their power. In presenting these works and others, Technologism seeks to consider what is the value of such subversion, or is it merely a perpetuation of the problem?
Artist Hito Steyerl asks, 'is the internet dead?' Although, hyperbolic in its prognosis, Technologism recognises that sceptical questions such as this are an important part of how artistic practice negotiates technological advancement. Technologism proceeds from the idea that technology in all its forms, physical and immaterial, needs to be interrogated in order to be perpetually remade.
Technologism considers changes in infrastructure, such as telecommunication networks and the internet, and the cultural implications of technological innovation and considers from the