Art and Revolution: Transversal Activism in the Long Twentieth Century (Semiotext(e) / Active Agents)
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Gerald Raunig has written an alternative art history of the "long twentieth century," from the Paris Commune of 1871 to the turbulent counter-globalization protests in Genoa in 2001. Meticulously moving from the Situationists and Sergei Eisenstein to Viennese Actionism and the PublixTheatreCaravan, Art and Revolution takes on the history of revolutionary transgressions and optimistically charts an emergence from its tales of tragic failure and unequivocal disaster. By eloquently applying Deleuze and Guattari's idea of the "machine," Raunig extends the poststructuralist theory of revolution through to the explosive nexus of art and activism. As hopeful as it is incisive, Art and Revolution encourages a new generation of artists and thinkers to refuse to participate in the tired prescriptions of marketplace and authority and instead create radical new methods of engagement. Raunig develops an indispensable, contemporary conception of political change--a conception that transcends the outmoded formulations of insurrection and resistance. Too much blood and ink has been shed for the art machines and the revolutionary machines to remain separate. Gerald Raunig is a philosopher and art theorist who lives in Vienna, Austria.
administration. Lenin and the Bolsheviks specifically did not radically replace the state apparatus with soviets; they dispensed with supporting the both spontaneous and successful organization of the workers and soldiers councils. Instead, under the title of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” and with the help of the ideological figures of “transition” and the “dying of the state,” more than anything else the power of the party was further extended. In connection with the decisions of the
exhortation “Divide the counties into wards!”—stated after he had retired from politics and also otherwise without consequences— was well intentioned, but it also clearly reveals the extent of the problematic issue. When the retired statesman Jefferson called for the subdivision of larger political territories into many small and surveyable districts in the 1820s—he also called them “elementary republics” 71—this was evidently an attempt at decentralization, yet at the same time it was the
the Place Vendôme is a monument to barbarity, a symbol of brutal violence and false glory, a hymn to militarism, a rejection of international law, a permanent insult to those conquered by the victor, a perpetual attack against one of the three great principles of the French Republic, namely fraternity, the column in the Place Vendôme is to be destroyed.”27 The anti-militarist and internationalist argument for destroying the column is actually in keeping with Courbet’s idea of the anti-war
the German Reichstag,” against the new military laws. This declaration was propagated not only through Die Aktion, but also with flyers, which ultimately led to an actual demonstration through the aspect of media counter-information. Since conscription was being debated in France at the same time, the action was extended there to a parallel French declaration under the direction of the later Nobel Prize winner for literature, Anatole France.24 This may be regarded as an attempt to
framework of conventional aesthetics. The questions that Hegel raised on the relationship between representation and action led in the heterogenesis of concrete art practices in the 20th century from representing situations through various stations of expanding representation into the orgiastic to the postulate of constructing situations. This primarily involves understanding the construction of situations as present becoming happening here and now, exactly in the plane of immanence of globalized