from the rest of the world

The theme of the inaugural issue of Triannum: Journal of Visual Culture, rest of the world   comprised of a broad range of creative practices from artists from around the world. The artists and overviews presented are intended to raise questions in a broad-based format, concepts ranging from specifics of techniques and individual experiences with art, to more global perspectives on the art, politics, and globalism and lived experience.  If there is a collective voice or perspective presented herein it is intentionally allusive in order to be reflective of the complexity of the contemporary world and the artists who live and work in it.

For hundreds of years, art was one of the most powerful political and social tools for reaching the masses with a visual message. Television and radio drastically impacted that role.  Now, the relatively recent additions to our society of internet and mobile technology have greatly affected our experience and understanding of the rest of the world? The theme rest of the world seeks to explore the cultural resonance of art outside of itself as a result of these conditions or in spite of them. The question has to be reversed: what do centers have to do with art? Art is going elsewhere and the centers have to catch it. rest of the world address the growing importance of art and its reception in the world outside the centers informed by new technology, digital and global communication.

The interest in this issue is not which artists have to become visible or relevant.  For the artist and works presented in rest of the world use global conditions as point of artistic entry.  They aim to end the disconnection between visual art world self-centeredness with its pedagogy, the writing of art history, critical philosophy. The artwork in the rest of the world is reflective of many different forms and thoughts.

Discourse herein is about a certain kind of art historical narrative, which goes beyond the alleged opposition between realism, modernism, postmodernism. rest of the world presents artists who aim to move beyond borders of art not to replace concepts with better concepts, but rather based on creative and   historical necessity.  Each artist’s work is informed by and is defined by a specific form of aesthetic experience. The coexistence formal and aspect postmodern invention; defines the aesthetic.  In striving to dissolve clear distinction between the formal and the contemporary compositional and stylistic nuisances in their works allows old forms to coexist with new forms.

Issues and ideas presented in rest of the world attempts to both translate and breakdown the enigmatic nature of 'art' while celebrating the idea that 'art' is free from all rationale.   There is a kind of experimentation with structure that aligns the artists in this issue in which forms of ordinary connections of experience are subverted. In their art they present a kind of wavering between the ideas of aesthetic experience and individual platforms that allow new forms of creative life to express them. In their works, the artists want to translate this mantra into physical objects that exists in different spaces, conditions and contexts. What I’ve tried is to present in this issue is build from their collectivity a new kind of perspective of recent art. All the artists in the rest of world in one manner or another   have created works oriented at the reframing of a field of subjectivity as a personal field of engagement.

rest of the world seeks to address humans' changing relationship to nature, and society by exploring works by   artists who offer a new or previously unconsidered understanding of the place in which we live. The artists and their works move outside the art limited domain to embrace the rest of the world in a chance to engage in the debate regarding the unique place and time of our contemporaneity.  The works question matters of what could be seen, as well as what could be sensed. What does it mean to create art in this kind of world and how the artists can make sense of that given sensory?

From my point of view, in rest of the world is there is no real field of strict artistic discipline but rather borders of disciplines. The themes explored by the artists withi are varied, what links them is a propensity for referencing and re- editing and re-contextualizing of images and concepts.These artists reject an idea of modernism as the autonomy of the arts. The works and artists presented in this issue intentionally go outside of restrictive borders to understand, to question.  In doing such they  often put together things that on the surface do not go together such as ,Grayson’s Perry’s ceramics with  sexual politics and British history , or  Scarpitta’s racing cars, and formalist sculpture, crossing of  the borders of disciplines. These kinds of delineation of borders provide fresh ways of thinking of world’s connections dissolving borders of disciplines. 

Xavier Charles sound works are complex and chaotic musical structures whose intuitive compositional adjustments fascinate the listener with the arbitrary paths. The hybridity of the subject is often highlighted in his composition by the use of musical modes that blend music historical periods, and themes-- the classical with the experimentation-- the instructmental with the digital.

Cerith Wyn Evans’ conceptualized projects exist in both physical form as well as virtual space, attempting to document the life and development of an art object. A subversive nod to science runs throughout the installations of Evans .Science was supposed to free people and to give them the knowledge in order to emancipate them, but what science basically would explain is what people necessarily are to ignore, that is, what science could tell of their position. This proposition often guides the approach in the abstract / conceptual art of Cerith Wyn Evans.

Jordan Crandall’s intellectual engagement with notion of philosophy and politics play an essential role in defining the narrative and technology used in his films and videos. Crandall’s aim to fuse film, science and ideology in his visual works and writings. In Crandall’s video works, the cinematic is reinvent as a series of definitions of genres, in which the separations of art and technology disappear. Similar to traditional cinema Crandall’s works are loaded with under riding theme however Crandall rejects the idea that a plot must be parallel to structure a clear nod to Hitchcock and early 1960s vanguard filmmakers. The tradition of cinema in which idea of action and plot was the same is replaced by an aesthetic of ambivalence. The aesthetic experience is set up as a kind of disruption. This aspect of meaning and its interruption is very important in Crandall’s work. Crandall relies on the strategies of editing and cutting, the organization of the shots as a production of a meaning.

 Martin Sastre’s work engages celebrity not very surprising for a generation of artists who emerge from a period in which for the first; it was the first time a history of celebrity and politics appeared interconnected. But for Sastre there is obviously something wrong with the idea that people are exploited and dominated by media, celebrity, and consumerism. In his video he addresses media exploitation as a sort of vicious circle: the people cannot understand the place where they are in the system because it is precisely a system that it conceals itself. Similar to Crandall’s films and videos the aesthetic experience is experience of the ambivalent. There is a kind of cinematic lyricism in the sequences of Sastre’s videos obviously informed by both popular and non-traditional form of cinemas, television, and music cultures

Crandall and Sastre although working with video on totally different terms strive to substitute cinematic  concepts for narrative  or historical necessity, by categories that help us to understand the entanglement of different logics. The narrative in Crandall Sastre and Cerith Wyn Evans’ videos although operating towards different ends speak to the desire to produce a certain meaning but which always gets interrupted or in some way thwarted by an element in the artwork which is non-signifying, which can not as quickly be ascribed to a meaning.

In Grayson Perry’s artthere is this kind of play between meaning and materiality. Grayson Perry’s art work reflect shift in between literature, film, pedagogy, historiography, proletarian history and philosophy.  A recurrent motif in Perry’s work is capturing the relation between politics and aesthetics, and their various meanings in different contexts. Much of his work can be characterized as an attempt to rethink and subvert categories, disciplines and discourses. His installations and object often allude to sensory experience, the play of art, and politics as and a form of disturbance.

Gilbert & George art works speak to the reality of social movements, of revolutions, sexual and intellectual. But what appeared in their works is less based on research mainly through observation and documentation.  Their form of artistic and social revolution finds it authenticity through a lived experience from popular culture and gender politics. Often this means for Gilbert & George means creating for themselves new borders of art that suggest a new lived world and a certain reconfiguration of experience



rest of the world: de-emphasizing codification

Aesthetics alone can not hold sociology of art but rather a form of experience.
What’s at stake in emancipation of art is where to locate art.  In the Critique of Judgment, Kant states that aesthetic judgment asks us only to be sensitive to form.  In this rest of the world the artists reject Kantian philosophy as form of visual experience. They question what matter, what is seen, and how it is sensed. They question what kind of world is given to you, and how do you make sense of that sensory word?

Thematically, rest of the world, isinterested in artists and objects that try to address how people can change the sensible frames of existence. As an art historian my questions became: what  are the  historical method, materials  and artistic practices  that pushes the observer to  make sense of them  and their related  subcategory in cultural and religious conscience, philosophies, the political, and the social.

Collectively the artists in rest of the world proposed that every subject is political and this means ultimately that all art has an equivalent political potential. Often their works reflect political situation of the world and not with the intention of mobilization, but for awareness. What is important, in the work presented herein is essentially the possibility of art and its ability to more specifically address a worldliness of the political and social.

There is nothing wrong with the idea that political effects are to be located in the artwork itself or, in particular, in the intention of the artist, for these artists create works that move beyond mere formalist criteria which often enhance their political potential where there is a disruption of the relation between the presentation and forms of meanings in larger societal context. In work of Sastre and Evans ideas are constantly implemented by the political, whereas often artists such as Gilbert & George, Jordan Crandall there is a double play between the aesthetic and political although the final intent is quite different, the political is veiled.

In selecting themes, artists, and works for the rest of the world I have no interest in creating a theory of the contemporary or with dealing with the question its politics or hybrid, and other limiting paradigms.  Rather I am intrigued by strong statements about art and the subjects these artists reveal.  My interest was to define subjects and artistic strategies removed from a market concern in terms of capacity and not in terms of incapacity. I wanted to get out of a certain description of social and artistic identities essentially those artists whose works reflect forms of dis-identification., but still remain political and visually interesting.

rest of the world is thematically means to address artists whose work are informed by a kind territory without a population, with forms of sensory representation, outside an art-centered world, both a political, or a meta-political world. It suggests that artists in modernism and post modernism context have bigger concern than aesthetic perfection and no longer at some isolated place. They see that there are no more common representations uniting people, no monarchy, no religion, and no feudality. There works address a new form of aggregation of society and new forms of collective thinking.

Artists presented in this issue aim to define the effects of the politicalization of a contemporary reality. They claim to rejectnarrative of realism/ formalism of modernism/, and conceptual practices of -postmodernism.   However the artists included in rest of the work use these regimes: the ethical, the representative, and the aesthetic in order to establish crucial point in different fields of art and philosophy. If there are problems with the realism/modernism/postmodernism-narrative then the problem lays with how they can be and are being used by the practitioners of art rather the tools themselves. The artists in rest of the world proposed that there something specific about their approaches that if used creatively will enable us to us rethink how to think about our relation to art and history.

 Art has never existed in and of itself; art is part of a certain distribution of the society –its consumerisms and materialism.  Many of the artists in rest of world aim to subvert popular and consumer culture for totally unique ends but mostly in order tohelp the viewer understand what has changed in art and its aesthetic experience in recent decades. Ironically, the fact that many artists discussed in rest of the world appear caught up in the consumer and media culture, while pretending to argue for a kind of denunciation of capitalism and popular culture. This approach is often taken in their works in order question to their own powerlessness as artists to be divorced from these phenomenons. Observing the films of Martin Sastre, the racing vehicles of Salvatore Scarpitta, the vases of  Grayson Perry  what remains  is not a kind of fanatical imitation of consumer reality., but rather novel means of viewing this consumer culture  which  on the contrary,  disrupts the dominant way in which consumer  reality and popular culture is  representedin order to create new dialogues with the present..

I have been extremely critical of many of exhibition practices that move towards a type of  ways in which experts, philosophers, sociologists, other intellectuals and administrators  place ideas before art  in which the artwork becomes  more an
apparatus for their own ends. For that reason the thematic intent in the rest of the world is intentional vague, amorphous without any fixed subject. We are in a situation where there is this kind of attempt push art back within strict geographical and ethnic borders mostly through large scale geographic specific “mega-exhibitions” where the focus is on site/nationhood rather than solely on the art itself.  rest of the world seeks to erase this strategy. I have often find that when lines  tends to disappear you can see the potential often emerges for new forms of creative re-organization, or restructuration, of the community of art. . This happened in southern France during the World War II, more recently art out of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  Precisely this void of a center in these circumstances and locales has created the possibility to present a new kind of dissolve allowing for new type of transnational contemporaneous cultural spaces.

To re-visit the general themes of rest of the world have been composed to address artists and art works that speak to new coalitions and interactions not controlled by borders. Most of the works cited herein intentionally function across ethnic, social and political borders. rest of the world emphasizes the importance of global interactions. Ideas presented herein are often interchangeable. Practices of the artists are often cross-disciplinary bisecting fields that probe and analyze activities, artistic forms along with their political and societal functions.

There is type of cross fertilization of ideas in much of the art addressed in rest of the world expressed through a diverse set of mediums and approaches that seem to overlap and resonate in different areas. There is no singular field of discipline implied in the works of the artists included herein, rather borders are intentionally ambiguous. These artists intentionally go outside the imposed in order to put together things that do not go together: from the rest of the world. For these artists  what artistic definitions means now is not a kind of fanatical imitation of specific disciplines but rather a disruption in the dominate visual culture. They reject the supposed opposition of art history, modernism, and post modernism, and conversely the very idea of modernism as the autonomous apex of the art. Their aims are to replace dated concepts with better concepts in which all forms of visual culture can co-exist, as a result their works often waiver between ideas, practices, and points of aesthetic experience, that often leads to new forms.

rest of the world represents no singular artistic engagement, but rather artists and art works unified by a sense of correlation or disruption between aesthetics and reality. The aesthetic concept often escapes clear and definable intentions in which the inexplicable create a dynamic relation between visual presentation and forms of meanings. There is an uncanny subversive quality that underline the artists and their works in which the impersonal field of subjectivity in recent art is reframed as a highly personal field. The question raised by the subjectivity in much of the art herein is not the problem of visual subjectivity, but what does it have to do with art?

Artists and their works included in this issue are offered as a point of entry. Herein lies possibility for different perspectives  on the notion of the hybridity of visual withdraw back into the art itself in order that the visual experience regain its own logical or illogical as a basis for reconnect to the rest of the world.

Horace Brockington

table of content volumeone