MEXICO, D.F.– Last week art world snowbirds descended upon Mexico City for the biggest Latin American art fair outside of Art Basel Miami Beach. While ZONA Maco, now in it’s 11th year, is obviously the big fish, 2014 also saw the launch of MACO’s first satellite, the ambitious Material Art Fair. We couldn’t stand the idea of missing out, so WTT? headed down to Mexico City to experience the fair scene in DF first hand. Armed with recording equipment and having just watched an Anthony Bourdain program on Mexico City, we were off.
The colonia we stayed in, Condesa, was just west of the center of the city and felt like a way cooler Logan Square. Nice apartments, lots of cute cafes, tons of bars and restaurants. Everyone, including Bourdain, told us that tacos al pastor were the best. We ate like a million immediately at a place closest to our airbnb. We briefly made it to the opening of Material Art Fair and after a comically unsuccessful attempt to go to the after party we ended the night at a dank little bar with heavy red curtains for doors called BÃ³sforo.
First up. MACO, the monolith, was just that. It featured all of the usual bells and whistles: a massive convention center, an artsy partnership, a myriad of sponsors and all of the regulars. MACO also wins the award for worst branding and website possibly ever.
Fancy seeing you here.
Finally, something that even I couldn’t kill in the design section at MACO.
To be fair to the fair, we did discover a couple of sweet Mexican galleries: O.M.R., Kurimanzutto, LABOR and House of Gaga. Apart from the local galleries, Nuevas Propuestas, the smaller single artist booths were the most interesting. Featuring younger artists and more comprehensive views, we spotted work by one of our fav Miamians, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, at Alejandra von Hartz’s booth. Rodriguez-Cassanova’s precise assemblages of screens, 2×4’s and vertical blinds felt oddly appropriate in the setting of the hastily constructed booth partitions.
Work by Rodriguez-Casanova in the Alejandra von Hartz booth.
We also loved seeing new work by Leonor Antunes on view in the “curated” section, Zona MACO Sur, with Marc Foxx gallery. Attracting our attention through the labyrinth of drywall, her bronze hanging work based on Anni Albers’ textiles were just the right amounts delicate and gold. Bonus points for having the most impressive rigging in the fair. The scaffolding supporting the works were tied with thick black ropes around the convention center’s ceiling vents.
Work by Antunes in the Marc Foxx booth.
The VÃ¡zquez at Odabashian.
On the way out we met the charming father and son team at Odabashian, who were only the millionth people that day to advise us to visit the Museo Nacional de AntropologÃa. One of their rugs was even designed by Pedro RamÃrez VÃ¡zquez, the architect of the museum. In retrospect, you can totally see the repetitive polygonal facade of the museum in the gold and silver geometric pattern of the rug.
Before leaving Condesa for downtown on Saturday morning we walked to House of Gaga in Condesa and then O.M.R. in La Roma just to the east. On the way we grabbed the most amazing cornbread I’ve ever eaten from a bakery/cafe called Maque. It was my favorite breakfast in DF and really cemented our love for our temporary home of Condesa. Over at House of Gaga, Emily Sunblad’s en plein air paintings of elephants and jaguars at the Santa Barbara Zoo were just as delightful as the cornbread. Less delightful were the various cuts of meat placed throughout the gallery, but I was really feeling the dresses and the casual floral still lifes in the back. We also heard that musician Matt Sweeney performed with her at the gallery and was spotted at BÃ³sforo during the fair. If you’re interested, the performance audio (which was avaiable on USB’s throughout the gallery) is also on the gallery’s website. The exhibition was House of Gaga’s first in their new space, the paint was still fresh and made our head buzz.
Work by Sundblad at the House of Gaga gallery.
A wall of happiness at Maque.
Facing the Plaza de Rio de Janiero and a gigantic bronze David replica, O.M.R. is easily the most grandiose gallery space I’ve ever been inside. Mexico City is terraformed and like many of the old buildings in DF, the luxurious old house is sinking back into the swamp. From the moment you open the iron gate into the ornate white staircase it’s on. I’m convinced that the gigantic marble slabs rigged up by Jose Davila for his exhibition only enhanced the effect of the sloping floors and vise versa. Also on display were some wild old James Turrell work from his Mendota Hotel period in the early 1970s.
Can I just live here already!?
Cristobal Riestra in front of work by Jose Davila in the O.M.R. gallery.
The main galleries were impressive but I was most partial to Pia Camill‘s work in the project space adjoining the main gallery. Her bright abstract curtains with sumptuous blues hanging in front of windows and throughout the gallery were complemented by the large shapely ceramic works and painted walls. Despite the massive population of the city, the art world in Mexico DF feels roughly Chicago-sized, so we weren’t too surprised to discover that Francisco Cordero-Oceguera, the artist behind Lodos ContemporÃ¡neo also has a gig as Camill’s assistant. The bookstore downstairs was pretty cute too. We found a kids book designed by Niki de Saint Phalle called Malo Malo that I only wish I had as a toddler.
Our final stop before returning to Material was the oft recommended Museo Nacional de AntropologÃa. Totes worth it. From the VÃ¡zquez building to the Sone of the Sun and the countless artifacts and displays, you could spent an entire vacation in the museum. It was all pretty spectacular, even if we could only decipher about half of the label text. After drooling over the elaborate marble and molar sacrificial jewelry we took a walk through Chapultepec Park where the Museo Rufino Tamayo is also located.
Antique artists pallets and tools.
Just some morning yoga at the museo.
Sacraficial teeth necklace!
Recreation of a mural inside of the pre-Colombian wing.
Bone instruments at the Museo Nacional de AntropologÃa.
For the slightly more adventurous and internet savvy art enthusiast, Material Fair at the Hilton Reforma in El Centro was the place. The marked difference between the two fairs was palpable as soon as you made it to the entrance on the fourth floor. Far from a chore, Material felt like a hip family reunion with newly discovered extended cousins. Their signage was also way more to my liking. By invitation only, the fair was a tightly curated selection of 40 art galleries and alternative spaces from Mexico, the States and Europe. I like to think that this fair would have been Bourdain’s preference.
While some familiar veterans like Andrew Rafacz (Chicago), Kinman (London), Clifton Benevento (New York), Michael Jon (Miami) and Green Gallery (Milwaukee) were present, the inclusion of project spaces (aka alternative spaces, apartment galleries, pick your favorite) such as Queer Thoughts (Chicago), Regina Rex (Queens) and Important Projects (Oakland) galvanized fairgoers and established fraternal bonds amongst the visiting artists and galleries. The anchors of Material were absolutely the Mexican project spaces (Yautepec, Otras Obras, NO Space, Neter, Lodos ContemporÃ¡neo, and more) who also acted as generous hosts and guides for the artists and gallerists visiting from abroad.
Chelsea Culp’s work inside the QT booth.
QT booth on the opening night of Material.
The success was largely due to the personal touch and attention of fair organizers, Daniela Elbahara and Brett W. Schultz, who also run Yautepec in the neighborhood of San Rafael. Drawing on relationships they established through visiting other cities and fairs, and the observation of like-minded spaces on the internet, the fair felt like more of an authentic survey than whatever Hans Ulrich Obrist thought he was doing with 89plus.
I was feeling the crying payaso at NO Space’s booth.
The always easy to spot Birk and Delmar at the fair.
The project spaces, many showing outside of their own closet or living room for the first time, responded in a variety of ways. Some spaces, such as Important Projects, who’s own small residential Oakland space usually exhibits single artists, presented a group show which included DF locals and NO Space proprietors Debora Delmar Corp. and Andrew Birk. They also debuted print editions from Leisure Press, a project of Medium Cool’s Ria Roberts. Regina Rex’s booth was dominated by Black Beach, an impressive clay wall by Hugo Montoya, which was created on-site and continued to dry and crack throughout the duration of the fair. It paired particularly nicely with Michael Merck’s plaster casts of limited run fast food items and Alina Tenser’s jiggling vases in her Hip Openers video.
Schultz participating in a trust exercise at Otras Obras.
La_CompaÃ±Ãa’s booth at Material Art Fair.
Other’s took a more experimental approach. Yautepec’s booth featuring Debora Delmar Corp. and Natalia IbaÃ±ez-Lario was installed with a mix of curtains, pillows fitted with printed bras, semi-household objects and brightly colored cut out legs that made it feel like the most fucked up living room in the best way. The unofficial faces of the fair, NO Space’s Birk and Delmar decided to show finished garments alongside the raw material of fashion designer Roberto Sanchez. Otras Obra’s use their booth as a studio and filmed many of the artists and attendees over the weekend. The resulting film, Dando y dando: pajarito volando is available to watch here
Header image is the beloved Museo Nacional de AntropologÃa.
Michael Hunter’s work at the Important Projects booth.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the closing party for Material, a showcase by Mexican label N.A.A.F.I. It more than made up for our first attempt at a Material Party. People were jammed packed into Bahia Bar, the music was good and loud and there was nothing else to do but dance. As you might expect, we spotted Schultz and Elbahara breaking it down right by the stage. The party was so fun we heard Sayre Gomez changed his flight back to the states just so he could stay at Bahia longer.
MEXICO CITY CONTINUED
Yautepec’s booth at Material.
Artists Chelsea Culp, Leonardo Kaplan, Sarah & Michael Hunter and Ben Foch on their way to BÃ³sforo.
Elbabara receives all the flowers on a night out in Plaza Girabaldi.
The Friday night Lodos opening for an exhibition by Important Projects’ Joel Dean and Jason Benson at their space in San Rafael only reinforced the camaraderie. On the corner across from the gallery I fulfilled my dream to eat blue masa tortillas like Anthony Bourdain did and it was divine. Back to the exhibition, it was based loosely on the last line of an Amiri Baraka poem, “Another Name for Liar,” and was crammed with the fanciful arrangements of the duos “post-studio” practice. Dean’s “Poster Boy,” a double sided takeaway featuring Elroy Jetson and Trayvon Martin on the back was the most singular and powerful work in the exhibition. Other arrangements seemed to rely on an inner narrative and possible a speaker set up that wasn’t audible over the din of the crowd. That night we also got a chance to see the NO Space space, located in the dining room of Delmar and Birk’s super sweet apartment on the top floor of a nearby building.
Delmar and Dean at the opening for “Another Name for Liar” at Lodos.
The holy grail.
“Poster Boy” by Dean at Lodos.
Artist Carson Fisk Vittori in front of work by Jason Benson at Lodos.
The point is that Anthony Bordain was right. Going to Material and seeing the impressive programming around the fair was like drinking a refreshing glass bottle of agua mineral. It also doesn’t hurt that Mexico, DF is probably the most captivating city in the Americas. It’s 100% nothing like people described it beforehand, except the water thing– that definitely seems real. Having visited though I’m not surprised to have met so many ex-pat artists living there. People are super nice and interesting, there’s an obscene amount of awesome wrought iron fences, brightly painted buildings, all kinds of old and new stuff smashed together, lots of trees and anything else you could ever want ever, and so much color. We left the way we arrvied, with tacos el pastor. Mexican food in Chicago is never going to be the same again.
So… Next year in Mexico City?
Hey! PS- Watch the podcast for my forthcoming interviews with Daniela Elbahara and Brett W. Schultz, Important Projects and Cristobal Riestra from O.M.R. for more on Material Fair, MACO and why you should move to Mexico City. Hasta luego!
Todos Juntos by Rirkrit Tiravanija at MACO.
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It is our sad duty to report the untimely passing of Frances â€œFrannieâ€ (nee Ronshausen) Dittmer, a giant in the world of art, philanthropy, and living life. Ms. Dittmer died when the airplane she was in went down over Puerta Vallarta, Mexico last week. Bad at Sports Co-Founder Richard Holland writes, “I had the pleasure to meet her several times, a long, long time ago and remember her as being a giant of both personality and intelligence.” Ms. Dittmer was 72 and will be missed by two daughters, a son and four grandchildren, among many other loyal family and friends.
A longtime former resident of Chicago and latterly of Aspen, Colorado, Mrs.Dittmer was a philanthropist and collector admired in preeminent art circlesÂ and beloved by family and friends of all stripes. “She was a force behindÂ some of the most important institutions in this country,” said PhilippeÂ Vergne, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. “Frannie’sÂ impact on our museum and museums across the country has been profound,” saidÂ Aspen Art Museum Co-Presidents John Phelan and Paul Schoor. “We could countÂ on Frannie to speak her mind and make sure we took the right direction. HerÂ leadership, vision, and friendship will always be treasured, and we alreadyÂ miss her and her infectious laugh.” And said James Rondeau, Dittmer ChairÂ and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, “She wasÂ incisive and discerning, generous and glamorous, a radiant personality withÂ a devilish sense of humor.” Blonde and statuesque, Frannie was stylishlyÂ self-possessed, plainspoken, and prone to call a spade a shovel. SheÂ talked and laughed with a lilting twang that she never tried to lose, but itÂ was the laugh that was her trademark. An exuberant and unmistakable chortle,Â it was audible from astonishing distances and once heard, was not forgotten.Â Born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas, she was a graduate of the UniversityÂ of Texas at Austin and a Kappa Kappa Gamma. From 1964 to 66 she worked onÂ Capitol Hill as personal secretary to Democratic Texas Senator “Smilin”Â Ralph Yarborough, an extraordinary responsibility for someone in her earlyÂ 20s. In Washington she caught the eye of Thomas Dittmer, a young lieutenantÂ in the fabled Third Infantry and a White House Social Aide. In 1966, FrannieÂ and Tom married and moved to Chicago, where they raised a family, built aÂ business, and collected art. When Tom and stepfather founded R.E. FriedmanÂ commodities firm Refco in 1969, Frannie became one of the company’s firstÂ five employees. Refco’s success grew exponentially, and Frannie cultivatedÂ her passion and keen eye for art. In 1979 she met Sotheby’s Vice ChairmanÂ Anthony Grant, then a young associate in contemporary art, and the two beganÂ a lifelong journey. Through the years the collection evolved and changedÂ from Modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Fernand Leger, to post warÂ giants Willem DeKooning and Jackson Pollock, to the art of our time by CyÂ Twombly, Brice Marden, and Christoper Wool. Concurrently Frannie also builtÂ a world class portfolio at Refco, with Adam Brooks as curator. Grounded inÂ contemporary photography and in the works of master printmakers such asÂ Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, the collection was preserved after TomÂ sold the company to private shareholders in 1999. The Dittmers were involvedÂ in numerous Chicago civic and arts organizations, including the ChicagoÂ Lyric Opera and Providence St. Mel School, but Frannie’s heart lay mostÂ fondly with the visual arts. In addition to her AIC trusteeship, she and TomÂ endowed there the Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair of Modern andÂ Contemporary Art. She was also a life trustee at the Museum of ContemporaryÂ Art Chicago where, together with Tom, she was one of six board membersÂ seminal to fundraising for that institution’s expansion in 1991, leading toÂ the first major museum building in Chicago in 65 years. Throughout her life,Â Frannie participated substantively in many of the nation’s most prestigiousÂ arts organizations, including in New York the Metropolitan Museum of Art,Â Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Drawing Center, Dia Art Foundation,Â the Menil collection in Houston, and the Aspen Art Museum. Her magnanimityÂ extended to animals, dogs in particular, and she supported a number ofÂ shelters and rescue organizations. Her cherished Chihuahuas once graced theÂ cover of the Aspen Animal Shelter calendar, which made her immensely proud.Â Generous as well in their spirited entertaining of friends and associates,Â the Dittmers hosted famously creative and occasionally lavish parties. HerÂ houses were always comfortable and beautifully designed, befitting herÂ longtime collaboration and friendship and with designer David Easton. NotÂ everyone knew she had her pilot’s license and played the piano by ear, butÂ her reputation as a football aficionada and Bears fan was well established.Â In the early days she and Tom played flag football with friends, and she wasÂ invariably the first one picked. “She was a master of the quick kick,” TomÂ boasts. “And hell, she could throw the ball 50 yards.” More recently herÂ children recall their fashionably clad mother loping across the lawn inÂ Hermes sandals, manicured nails rasping on the pigskin as she threwÂ perfectly spiraling passes to her grandsons. In 1994, as winds of businessÂ and finance shifted, the Dittmers left Chicago for New York, and after 33Â years of marriage the formidable couple went their separate ways, divorcingÂ amicably in 1999. Frannie moved permanently to Aspen, where they had longÂ had a second home and where she was, not surprisingly, active in theÂ community. The family nonetheless remained close and often spent holidaysÂ together. Surviving are son Jason and his wife Allison of Park City, Utah;Â grandsons Casey and Jesse; daughter Alexis Gaughan and her husband Chris ofÂ Santa Monica, California; and Chris’s daughters Casey and Peyton. A sister,Â Marilyn, and her husband Warren “Dutch” Holland, live in Durango, Colorado.Â Frannie also counted as family Matthew Morris, who for 25 years faithfullyÂ headed her household staff. The family respectfully suggests that gifts inÂ Frannie’s memory go to a charity of the giver’s choice. Afternoon servicesÂ will be held both in Aspen on Wednesday, February 19, in Aspen, and inÂ Chicago on Friday, February 21, details to be announced.
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Curated by Molar Productions, with by work by Benjamin Bellas, Judith Brotman, CC Ann Chen, Meg Duguid, Andreas Fischer, Jeffrey Grauel, John Henley, Andrew Holmquist, Greyson Hong, Theodore Horner, International Chefs of Mystery!, Carol Jackson, Carron Little, Nicholas Lowe, Ryan Noble, Susannah Papish, Steve Reber, Oli Rodriguez, Joshua Slater, Rafael E. Vera, Rebecca Walz and Ryan Michael Pfeiffer.
slow is located at 2153 W. 21st St. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.
It has been cold everywhere recently, colder than it has been in many years. The cold here has seeped into my bones. The days are lit by brittle sunlight, full of the illusion of warmth. The nights open to the icy vacuum of space, filled with the frigid, unblinking stars, and my mind, of course, turns to death.
Jay H. Isenberg, 6 Lil’ Smokeys
Rollin Marquette, Pear-Shaped
Recently, I walked in from the cold, whitewashed world to Made in Minnesota at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota, and I entered the gallery equivalent of a greenhouse teeming with orchids. The show was full of life, full of objects. The air was humid with production and the presence of artists’ lives embodied in their work. The electric colors of Jay H. Isenberg’s 6 Lil’ Smokeys embraced the dreams of long summer afternoons. Kim Matthews’s barnacle-like works are labor-intensive, tenacious holds on life. Eileen Cohen enlivens her flocked ceramic with organic forms. Rollin Marquette’s Pear-Shaped lies seemingly incomplete, life-interrupted for the viewer to mentally assemble and imbue with new life. The show surges with an abundance of life, a force that has been packed into homes and studios, sealed away from the winter winds, yearning to get out, to express itself in any and every way.
Kim Matthews, Colony Three
Eileen Cohen, Congregate Series
That reminder of life is wonderful, a welcome respite from the cold. I was drawn, however, to the quieter moments of the show, buoyed by the spaces to breathe and reflect, invigorated by the explicit invocations of death. Mayumi Amada’s startlingly large Doily of Foremothers, hidden around a blind corner, is a delicate reminder of the eternal cycles of life and death, a call to remember that we are here because of the lives that are no longer with us. Judy Onofrio’s bone vessels remind us that “fertility and eroticism live side by side with mortality and fragility.” They open a space between what we are and what we will become, holding the life we inhabit within the lives from which we arise, expanding out into the lives that will grow from our deaths. The show opens and closes with George Morrison’s delicate, intimate postcards, small, powerful reminders of a life fully lived, a life shared with others and enriched by the living world around him.
Mayumi Amada, Doily of Foremothers
Death surrounds us in all seasons. It is a natural and necessary part of our lives. It is in the food we eat, the air we breath, the leaves of grass beneath our feet. It confronts us more starkly in winter, in the seeming death of plants and the hibernation of animals. We know life is buried beneath the snow, waiting for the warmth of spring to awaken it, but these endlessly cold days make it difficult to see.
Judy Onofrio, Passage
George Morrison, Detail of mail art
We cannot avoid the cold, and we cannot avoid death. We can let them overwhelm and control our lives, or we can rise each morning confident that we can face the cold, that our lives are full of beauty and meaning because they are finite.
Death is not frightening. It is comforting, full of hope, a blessing that allows us to thrive for our few moments. Spring is coming, and we will again see that life buried beneath the snow. When those shoots poke up through the warm soil, let us remember that death is still here, waiting to welcome us all into its quiet, its rest, its never-ending cycle that allows that birth to come forward for the living.
Made in Minnesota is on view until February 15.
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From “Yes Yes Y’all” by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn. Photo by Henry Chalfant.
The choreographic writings of performance and political theorist Randy Martin are rooted in an understanding of dance as an analytic with which to approach socio-political mobilizations. In â€œA Precarious Dance, a Derivative Socialityâ€ he writes, â€œFor dance to move the political beyond arrested development, its knowledge of how bodies are assembled, of how space and time are configured, of how interconnections are valued must be made legible beyond the ends of choreographic endeavor. Foregrounding the analytics of movement so redolent in dance can make for a richer evaluation of what is generated through political mobilization.â€ The usefulness of dance then is as an analytic, a mode of theorization. What is particularly compelling to me about this approach are the ways in which it would seem to expand the notion of dance and call for an application beyond the already expanded definition of dance as a kind of “social inventiveness” or mobilization.
Martinâ€™s most recent work uses dance to think through risk, precarity, and the influence of financial judgment and calculations across our day to day experience. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Martin about this work and dig into the logic of social derivatives together. For those unfamiliar, derivatives, within the realm of finance, â€œare the variable attributes of some underlying commodity such as interest rates on loans, expected rates of default on mortgages, or rates of exchanges between two different currencies.â€ Martin continues, â€œWhen taken as a broader social logic, and not just as an activity that takes place within one sector or domain called the economy, the dynamics of the derivative can be seen across all manner of human activity in ways that engender mutual indebtedness, interdependencies across different times and places, and a swelling socialization of what people take to be and expect from life, history, and their future.â€
AR: It would seem that generative risk-based practices, like those that you’ve written and talked about, are a way of negotiating or reclaiming a climate of risk for those that might be described as “at-risk”. There seems to be here a relationship between self-guidance and agency. Would you describe this reclamation as a way of accruing agency through a self-guidance that appropriates risk in order to revalue it as a reward unto itself? I am also thinking of remarks you have made concerning the legacy of self-management and governance at the Brooklyn Commune.
RM: Regarding risk, self-guidance and agency. The bailout left the general impression that finance had cornered the market on risk. Taking the longer view of decolonization in which the current financial regime emerged, we see that it is but one currency of risk and that the relation between danger and self-appreciation, which collaborative dance practices set in motion and make legible other principles of mutual indebtedness than those that cleave a few beneficiaries from the circulating populations that live through the efforts of one another without needing to move in unison. Specifically, these movement practices share a decentered social kinesthetic which reverberates globally and engenders capacities for self-production (the repurposing and revaluation of urban space); self-representation (the capacity to value, make sense from and assess the work being done); and self-dissemination (the use of capture technologies to spread the words, feelings and movements beyond locally inscribed sites of practice). Hopefully this is a more generative agenda for life opportunity and mutual engagement than a pursuit of perfectible techniques for managing, ranking, and accounting for oneself.
AR: It strikes me that dance and other kinds of ensemble based practices offer a way to simultaneously imagine and enact living alternatives. Something that I think is at the heart of your recent work. Could you talk a little bit more about the problem of aspiration and imagination under the logics of derivatives? Do you see either (imagination or aspiration) as being co-opted or consumed by these logics?
RM: To think finance as but one potent but partial manifestation of the social logic of derivatives means that it is not at the center of all social processes gobbling up each instance of risk initiative. Derivatives are assemblages of attributes that produce by circulating; make the far near, and the future actionable in the present and move us from externalizing difference and change to finding ways that volatilities generate modes of abundance rather than scarcity. This is the promise of the derivative logic and the countervailing tendency of turning security to precarity and austerity.
AR: Are derivative logics totalizing? Your recent work would seem to suggest a non-conscious acceptance and internalization of these logics.
RM: Derivative logics are pervasive but are also decolonizing ruptures of some prior enclosure and risk forms that emerge from some condition of ruins. In my movement examples these are the ruins of industrialization which provide postmodern dance with its Soho “ghost town”; the ruin of social housing and engineering that cannot contain the moving images that will become hip hop; and the ruins of suburban bliss that provide the landscape from which boarding culture emerges. Derivatives are by definition bits and pieces of whole entities and therefore always leave something behind–an underlier, volatility, gaps and spreads, contingent claims. In some ways they emerge from the failures to totalize even as they augur an ever-expanding horizon of new forms of wealth that we must learn to claim as our own if we are to move beyond the imposed austerity that is our current lot.
AR: I hope you will forgive me if this question seems to veer us away from the topics at hand. Reading over the article you sent (A Precarious Dance, a Derivative Sociality), I am struck by two things which appear to be interrelated. One is a question of speed and perhaps by extension duration. Certainly there is an element of speed to some of the practices you mentioned: postmodern dance in Soho, the emergence of hip hop, boarding culture. Speed is a preoccupation of the skateboarder and tagger alike, as it is speed that will give them the opportunity to hold their territory for the greatest length of time and speed that will enable them to flee from authority. The other is this sentence: “Utopia as an end we touch through our own means of intervention.” I can begin to see these two things working in tandem. The speed through which those “at-risk” intervene into the discarded landscape, the means by which they begin to simultaneously imagine and enact living alternatives and the production of a utopia whose manifestation is produced by or through this sense of urgency. Do you have any thoughts on either of these of these two observations? Can you elaborate on the utopian implications of these practices?
RM: Speed and duration are indeed material entailments of what I am terming a social kinesthetic. The difference between the modernist kinestheme and the decentered and distributed lateral kinestheme that derivatives circulate in is that space and time are linear and directional and expressed socially as the values of progress, growth and development. Just as portfolios are constructed to make money whether the market goes up or down; decentered movement practices take pleasure from staying in the flow, flying low or transitioning from one orientation to another. This is a nondirectional agility in which staying in the zone, the spread, the liquid suggest different values of participation and co-presence. By placing together interventionist and utopian political temperaments, we undo the reform/revolution opposition and find ways to combine moving into a space in order to repurpose and reopen it and taking the future in the present as allowing us to act upon the contingent without awaiting a total break into a new moment or world. The derivative logic begins to give us access to how we might value and appraise these differences that are already in our midst.
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