• Editorial: Art and Social Responsibility
    So, why use a conference to discuss the topic of Art and social responsibility? Earlier this year Christy Wampole questioned the role of conferences and their efficacy in addressing the current state of research and academia, in general. This conference takes art as its point of departure for entering the current debates surrounding the future of the term ‘social responsibility’. The papers presented demonstrate the belief that conferences like this one, still remain spaces in which we can dissect and answer questions related to the social commitment of academia.
  • The People’s Choice – Floating Dialogues. How artists create publics through conversation formats
    The People’s Choice (Arroz con Mango) and Floating Dialogues show us how social responsibility is less a concrete outcome, a measurable improvement of a certain social issue, than an improvement in the sense that it realizes Hannah Arendt’s notion of the political public as speaking and acting together.
  • Spaces of Collaboration: An Interview with Ken Vandermark
    Ken Vandermark is one of the few musicians who works seamlessly across musical genres and approaches, managing shifting full out post-punk improvising, to challenging forms of jazz composition that led Mark Corroto to compare him to Duke Ellington. Vandermark plays in his own ensembles (such as the Vandermark 5, DKV Trio, and the Resonance Ensemble), as well as collaborative projects such as Lean Left (with drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and members of the Dutch punk band the Ex) and Peter Brötzmann Tentet.
  • Social responsibility and art in public places, gardens and walking trails.
    Forms of social responsibility, although not a prerequisite to the artwork, can be constructed directly or indirectly through art’s public interactions; by highlighting, hinting or pointing at ideas pertaining to social responsibility, perhaps where none seemed to exist before the artwork’s construction.
  • What good are the arts? Social responsibility and contemporary art
    Brain scientists research if and how the arts make us become better and more complex human beings. They aim to prove scientifically that art plays an important part in us becoming better individuals that are able to build a better society. In his research, Brain Prize winner Tamás Freund, for instance, proves by researching large pace-maker cells of the brain how artistic and creative experience enhances the complexity of our inner world, and therefore enables complex, respectful and inclusive decision-making at other areas of our lives in general.
  • Reconsidering the Responsibility of an Artist in the Postcolonial Buddhist Society of Sri Lanka
    Jagath Weerasinghe is the senior of this artist generation in Sri Lanka, not only with respect to age and reverence, but also considering his role as a catalyst for the development of the new artist generation in the 90s. After studying in the USA he came back to his country in 1992 taking a new perspective on his surroundings. The main motivation for him has been his personal experience as an individual confronted by a complex social, political and economic environment.
  • “Each bubble is a body.” Teresa Margolles
    Violence and the dead human body are major topics in the sociopolitical art of Teresa Margolles. Born in the 60s in Culiacán, Mexico, she unfalteringly deals with the social and political injustices in her home country. It is hardly surprising that her art shocks visitors, even more so, because the viewer is faced by the reality of death in a disturbingly unmediated fashion.

  • The politics of art and art scenes in Latin America (II)
    The mnemonic and democratic function of art in public spaces is one of the themes in this second issue on art and politics in Latin America.
  • Caring, Curiosity and Curating, Beyond the End
    The interlacing of these words –curious, care, cure- is perhaps the best way to describe the research and residency program Ensayos that takes place in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, since 2011
  • The choreography of history and belonging in Tamara Cubas’ works
    The questions posed by Cubas and others interested in deconstructing colonial power regard the fact that all too often, the self-imagination of the colonized tends to reproduce the colonial gaze.
  • Affective Constructions: Notes on Housing and Art
    Self-built houses are a flux, a never-ending state of construction and destruction, caught in a loop of incompleteness, hanging from the threads of necessity, possibility, and imagination.
  • Chicano Art, Imagery of Social Movements and José Guadalupe Posada
    The Taller de Grafica Popular (Mexico City); the ASARO (Asambleadelos Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca, Mexico), Consejo Grafico, The Royal Chicano Airforce (both United States); and collectively the Chicano Art movement (United States) are but a few examples of how Posada's role has inspired artists and artist collectives dedicated to producing art to effect social change.
  • The uses of art in project Comboio, Favela Moinho, 31st Bienal de São Paulo
    Comboio defines itself as a project (in action) of research and urban intervention, which since 2010 operates in 'informal spaces' in the center of São Paulo, seeking ways to exercise and assert the right to the city.
  • The Evocation of Memory through Street Art in Guatemala and Argentina
    In Guatemala, civil war raged for thirty-six years, finally coming to an end in 1996. In Argentina, the military junta enforced extreme measures of repression between 1976 and 1983. In both countries today, there is division over how these violent pasts should be remembered and how its victims should be memorialized.
  • Poetics and Aesthetics in Zapatismo. The Farewell of Subcomandante Marcos
    The figure of “Marcos the Revolutionary leader” mystifies the reality of the Zapatista movement (in terms of race, class, and structure), but it also tends to assign the Zapatista rebel to a specific place in the world of images. The farewell of Marcos can be seen as a subversion of this dynamics. It constitutes a sort of aesthetic depuration, which moves the attention to the bases and the process of construction of a real egalitarian power from below.

  • ### New Year's Supplement:
    Seismopolite takes the change of calendar as an opportunity to present a small selection of texts, which demonstrate actuality in somewhat different respects as well as in their combination.
  • Killing Pots. The Community Museum of the Xico Valley, Mexico, and a project by Jorge Satorre
    The distinction between functional objects and dysfunctional ones constitutes a dialectical point of tension, employed by Satorre but also constantly enacted by the Community Museum, on the one hand preserving the object, but also registering the memory of its non-scientific use, and implying a spiritual or talismanic power that remains intact in all the passages of hands and material states.
  • At the Turn of the Centuries: Art and Politics in Sri Lanka
    The paintings of the new generation of artists had distinct colours, were expressive in style with a mostly fragmented composition. At the same time they focused on the statement and the communicated message of the painting, which often combined the political and the personal level.
  • Music, Politics and the Imagination: Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra
    What allows us to regard Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra as political? There are indeed elements in the work, the appearance of themes, patterns of rhythm, elements of formal structure that serve as evidence. There are statements attributed to Bartók that articulate a political critique. The question that remains is that of the warrant.
  • Music for the New Year
    Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra with commentary by Howard Meltzer.

  • Editorial: (Re-)emerging territories of expression
    As variously situated as these cases are, they all have in common the presentation of territories of expression which (re-)emerge – from forgetfulness, from calculated oppression, from a set of historical and/ or natural coincidences, or a combination of all of these.
  • Project Morrinho: fighting the grand narrative of the favela
    In current discourse, the word favela connotes social problems, segregation and urban violence. A historical reading, however, reveals that the favela has been a topic of debate for at least a century, concurrent with a chain of images and representations that diverge from the social constructions that politicians, writers and social scientists have built up over the years
  • An emerging audience-sphere in South Asia
    Local contemporary artworks are undoubtedly promising and are also seen in the international contemporary art scene. However, what happens is that the art at home fails to create a local audience for itself.
  • Political graffiti & art interventions’ transformative function in the urban landscapes of Sofia
    During the past few years grafitti has served as a mechanism for revival and return of “forgotten” issues back into the mainstream public discourse in Bulgaria, and as a powerful antidote to the mainstream public and private mass media's “selective blindness” due its opaque ownership structure, concentration and constant deterioration of media pluralism and freedom.
  • Contestative art from Southeast Asia
    Co-opting the public, enticing them to confront questions of citizenship, to consider individual responsibilities and their consequences for the collective, is one of the tactics that were extensively explored in three recent landmark exhibitions on Southeast Asian contemporary art.
  • Suspending Freedom: Image Politics and propaganda in Egypt
    In order to control a nation that had already toppled two presidents in the course of three years and to firmly establish his position as Egypt’s one true leader, President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi approached governance with a classic authoritarian approach: establish a condition of fear, silence opposition voices and disseminate favorable images of the regime and its institutions.
  • Reclaiming Indigenous voices and staging eco-activism in northern Indigenous theatre
    Indigenous eco-theatre synthesizes contemporary indigenous concerns for climate change (which is already dramatically affecting Indigenous economies, lifestyles, and self-governance) with concerns for the emancipation of indigenous peoples

  • Editorial
    Accross their various angles and points of departure, the articles in this issue of Seismopolite deal with freedom of expression and how diffent artistic forms and strategies can be used to advance freedom of expression and confront censorship.
  • Wanda Raimundi Ortiz and Ivan Monforte in conversation with Rocío Aranda-Alvarado
    In some cases, the will to restrict freedom of expression comes from unexpected places, including the community from which the artist originates. Struggles with identity for both artists are born from a problem of finding a place within the metanarratives of art history and within contemporary practice as embraced by mainstream institutions.
  • Censorship and conspiracy theory in China
    I first visited China in 1997 when Westerners were few and far between and I had to stay in the designated hotels where soldiers and communist party representatives could keep a careful eye on me. I would never have predicted that I would be invited to return some twelve years later in 2009 to do an artistic residency on the theme of Chinese conspiracy theories but that is exactly what happened.
  • Eye-snipers. The iconoclastic practice of Tahrir
    Egypt’s revolution of 2011 brought forth one of the most powerful icons of civil dissent in recent times: Tahrir Square occupied by masses of protestors seen from a bird’s eye view. The 2014 image of Tahrir might signify a mode of iconoclasm in which the visuality of the broken icon is intact while its ideological content is subverted.
  • The politics of contemporary art censorship in modern Greece
    The declaration that in a democracy, artistic creation should enjoy complete freedom may be considered given. However, when several artistic practices are prohibited in liberal countries like Greece, one cannot be categorical as to whether freedom of artistic ideas is a prerequisite. Two recent cases of censorship exemplify the Greek skeptical mindset regarding the contemporary subversive artistic production.
  • Theatre and peace building in Africa
    As the African continent continues to tackle the challenges posed by war, ethno-religious, political and social conflicts, theatre and particularly street theatre is a tool of inestimable value in mediation. The Al-mashish’s engagement in the conflicts in Darfur has proven that theatre can indeed provide the much sought panacea to a society polarised by ethno-religious and political crises.
  • Photography and propaganda in Yugoslavia after WW2
    Immediately after the end of the WW2, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia set up an “agitation and propaganda apparatus”. While the name “apparatus”, taken from the rhetoric of industrial society and its belief in technical progress, was inappropriate to the actual circumstances in Yugoslavia, it was glorified in avant­garde art circles.
  • Violence and Light - Richard Mosse
    Congo is caught in a relentless, cyclical procession of violence and counter-violence caused by centuries of systemic, subjective and divine violence. Violence, in Mosse’s case, is the light of revelation. The prospect of witnessing, however mediated, conflict and war is what drew him there.

  • Editorial: The Politics of African Contemporary Art
    How can African art retain a political agency once it has become part of the global contemporary?
  • Of needs and blessings
    When Billie Holliday wrote God Bless the Child, I do not think she could have imagined it becoming an anthem for the disenfranchised. Being in control of means matters greatly when considering representation and self-actualisation.
  • I'll have a project
    Why promote contemporary African art as contemporary African art? Doing so means to have a project, and the constant elements which characterize contemporary African art deeply relate to the essence of projects.
  • Dada Masilo – Yinka Shonibare: Upending the Classics.
    Both Yinka Shonibare and Dada Masilo commit themselves to erasing the dichotomous relationships that underlie the history of arts and cultures as these tend to be conceptualised in the West.
  • Umbrellas and Sewing Machines
    Whether as a scaffold on which the wrongs of the past might be brought to account or as a temporary shelter housing the Neverland imaginings of valuable dreams that suddenly go missing, the exhibition as a common locus has become more and then less, and then more, a matter of concern in post-apartheid discussion.
  • Discovering William Kentridge
    Understanding politically engaged contemporary African art from a distance and how it may raise awareness about personal politics of location
  • IN/ FLUX
    How to develop innovative ways of supporting, exhibiting, reading, writing, seeing and spreading the word about the creative diversity of a continent and its diasporas? Three women have come together in an undertaking that seeks to address these and related questions through the curatorial platforms of SPARCK and LOWAVE.
  • How to conjugate?
    Taking contemporary African arts practice as my point of departure, I suggest the mythology of Drexciya as a tunnel for research to understand ways of deciphering philosophical concepts of self, encounter, nation and transformation.

  • Editorial: Freedom of Expression, Performativity and Civil Disobedience
    It seems to be a rather difficult endeavor to reconcile art and life, also for the proponents of freedom of expression. Is art suitable as a kind of civil disobedience?
  • The Imprisoned Images
    Susana de Sousa Dias’s award-winning documentary ‘48’ uncovers the violence and brutality exercised by the Political Police (PIDE) over men and women during the forty-eight years of the Portuguese Dictatorship (1926-1974). More than a movie, she creates an act of rescue centred on history and the image.
  • Fresh Start: Transnational and Cultural Movements of Identity in Auf der Anderen Seite
    In Fatih Akin's films, social and cinematic discourses related to accented and diasporic cinema combine to deconstruct nationalist myths and provide a wider context for the representation of culturally different Turkish-German identities.
  • Art as Civil Disobedience
    An artwork is a setting for sharing concerns; insofar as it revises collective experience via individual intention, it is always already an act of civil disobedience.
  • A Moving Image That Can Remember Its Past Lives
    The performances of the Phitakon in Isaan, Thailand, reappropriate photography and cinema by integrating the camera in traditional rituals that center on the enigmatic propensities of the Tool. They not only seem to relativize the globalized, western forms of vision with which these media have been rigidly associated, but directly challenge media history and specificity
  • Passages to Palestine: Performing Peace in a High Conflict Space
    My mission was to transmit Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of peace and nonviolence through a multilingual, multimedia theatrical production and to disseminate these ideas in a land that desperately needed them. Such a mission seemed laughable after I had been there on the ground long enough to witness the severity of the situation.

  • Editorial
    This issue of Seismopolite Journal brings texts about art and politics from a number of localities worldwide.
  • Only light and memory: the permeable cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
    Through a local framing May Adadol Ingawanij and David Teh shed a rare light on the many tensions that are channelled, yet somehow balanced, in the films of the Palme d'Or-winning director
  • Details on contemporary fascism
    The exhibition Details at Bergen Kunsthall focuses on the political potential in art as an archaeology of the politics of perception: it specifically inquires about everyday repositories of contemporary fascism.
  • Fear of Speaking
    Curator June Yap discusses the conditions for freedom of speech in Singapore under the so-called 'new normal' after the parliamentary and presidential elections, with reference to a recent theatre play entitled Fear of Writing.
  • Interview with Övgü Gökçe, Project Coordinator of Diyarbakır Arts Center
    The Diyarbakır Arts Center (DSM) is the Diyarbakır branch of Anadolu Kültür, an organization which helps discovering the local cultural and artistic potentials of cities all over Anatolia, and works to form bridges between diverse cities in Turkey and to international cities and art scenes.
  • On the Fallacies of “Useful Art”: Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International
    Chris Mansour discusses the implications of performance artist Tania Bruguera's concept of Arte Útil, which she opposes to an idea of aesthetic autonomy.
  • The political matrix: The 12th Istanbul Biennial
    This year’s Istanbul Biennial deconstructs the idea of the art space architecturally, and simultaneously reclaims it as a pure function of the visitors’ bodily and intellectual possibilities of navigation.

  • Welcome
    The first issue of Seismopolite! The Journal's main agenda is to investigate the possibility of artists and art scenes worldwide to reflect and influence their local political situation (...)
  • Blind Dates in the Fault Lines of an Empire
    A collaborative project, involving artists and researchers from estranged societies in the former territories of the Ottoman Empire, tackles the master narratives, remains and gaps produced by the empire's fall in an attempt to create new future trajectories.
  • Between Utopia and Dystopia
    In an exhibition at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Asian artists mediate between art, life, politics, history and social memory in their respective localities and historical contexts.
  • The Performative Archive
    A review of Fluxus East and The Creative Act - two shows in which archives erupt and thereby reassert Henie Onstad Art Center as a transitory arena for groundbreaking art, upholding the search for a way in which art can maintain its political agency, over time.
  • One day it will have to be over
    An exhibition series at Museo de Arte Contemporãnea in São Paulo covers the period of military dictatorship in Brazil, displaying how art became one of the few and most efficient tools of opposition to the regime over three decades.
  • Interview With Map Office
    Josef Ng interviews MAP Office, Valérie Portefaix and Laurent Gutierrez in Hong Kong
  • I can't go on, I'll go on
    This essay addresses the present conditions of art as a means of social and historical betterment, by responding to the 'Questionnaire on 'The Contemporary'' in e-flux and October.