Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Ghost in the Machine

 The Ghost in the Machine, 2012
112 x 65 x 12 cm
wood, mdf, acrylic.


Lee Lozano, Untitled, 1970, ink on notebook paper. 

What is the meaning of philosophy of politics

In Plato’s Theaetetus Protagoras insisted that one should not persuade the other of what is true in relation to what is false because no one has ever succeeded in doing so and most of all because truth in itself is not the issue in political discussions, debates, and deliberations. But there is one thing that Protagoras wanted to persuade people about, namely improvement. From the point of view of ancient Greek politics, this is all that can be done: We can strive to achieve a better situation, which inevitably will require further improvement. But if nothing but improvements can be hoped for, then “truth” or the “good” have no place in this progress because they presuppose final achievements, accomplishments, and results. The point of Protagoras is that one should never persuade people of what is good—only of the need for improvement.
According to the late American philosopher Richard Rorty, while philosophy has anything to do with truth, it has nothing to do with politics motivated solely by search for improvements, as Protagoras explained. The metaphysical or Platonic image of philosophy as a reflection of eternal problems that continuously assail the human mind is not adequate anymore because there are no fundamental philosophical essences left after the deconstruction of metaphysics. If culture is subject to continuous social changes, philosophy can solve those particular problems by interpreting and suggesting further developments and applications. This is why, as Rorty recalls, a philosopher like John Dewey had “abandoned the idea that one can say how things really are, as opposed to how they might best be described in order to meet some particular human need.”(1) Rorty, just as Dewey, was in agreement with the deconstructors of “metaphysics of presence” that included Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger, because they showed how objectivity is more a matter of intersubjective consensus among human beings than an accurate representation of something nonhuman. These deconstructors of metaphysics freed human beings from disagreement since they showed that the resolution of disagreement cannot appeal to the way the world really is since there is no single reality but a multiplicity of realities that depend on different needs. The resolution, explains Rorty, can only be “political: one must use democratic institutions and procedures to conciliate these various needs, and thereby widen the range of consensus about how things are.”(2)
It is in Rorty’s neopragmatic thought that we will find the meaning of philosophy for politics after the deconstruction of metaphysics because his analyses are not a part of but, rather, the outcome of this deconstruction. If the last great deconstructor of metaphysics, Derrida, showed us how conceptual distinctions such as objective-subjective, true-false, man-woman, faith-knowledge, are only the beginnings and the end points of a ladder we must throw away, Rorty indicated what to do with such ladder. Questioning whether the justifications these deconstructors use to confirm their thesis are metaphysical is, on the other hand, a way of falling back into metaphysics because there is no natural order capable of justifying their beliefs, nor is there any meta-way beyond argumentation that may justify justifications. Searching for these criteria is not very useful for justification in itself because philosophy has always been characterized by the compromises on concrete and particular issues, from which it is impossible to deduct a general verification-rule. After the deconstruction of metaphysics we may stop asking what is real and what is not since “only if we drop the whole idea of ‘correspondence with reality’ can we avoid pseudo-problems.” If reality does not present itself, but it is us that linguistically give meaning to the world, the justification of knowledge will not depend on the permanent conditions of knowledge since justification is a social phenomenon, rather than a relation between knowledge and reality. Knowledge, after deconstruction, is not the possession of an essence, but a right—the right between arguments upon which it is relatively easy to obtain a non-enforced agreement, in other words, “the ability to get agreement by using persuasion rather than force.”
Having said this, it is clear that the so-called “free Socratic exchange of public opinions” does not rely on the Platonic idea of a universal possible agreement since truth, understood as a previous order, is irrelevant for the correct functioning of democracies. While intellectuals, regardless of their ideological position, believe that political actions demand nonpolitical (that is, philosophical) foundations, they will continue to express a desire for the philosophical authorities these principles depend upon. But requiring a philosophical or religious prologue to politics means that “Philosophy” is in itself the search for such an authority, a research where “reason” has the same function that God once had, when “philosophy is [really] an attempt to see how ‘things, in the largest sense of the term, hang together.”(3) Also, what justifies a conception of justice is not its adequacy to a philosophical or religious order that is given, but rather its congruency with that understanding of our traditions which is rooted in the private and public life we are all immersed in. As Hans-Georg Gadamer once said “the difficulty lies not in our not knowing the truth, or the politician not knowing the truth, or his not needing to know the truth. Here Rorty is correct – anyone who engages in politics can’t simply desire the true or the good exactly – it’s undoubtedly correct to say that he orients his own action and conduct with a view to the pragmatic. One can’t simply dispense with what the good politician would have or should have been able to understand, or what he has personally been able to observe in the practical situation. On the contrary, we see that this farsighted discernment of the politician is very often what is decisive in life praxis – much like it is with the businessman.”(4)

Text by Santiago Zabala.
Santiago Zabala is ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona.

  1. R. Rorty, Achieving Our Country (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press 1998, 34).
(2) R. Rorty, Achieving Our Country, 35. 
(3) R. Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996, 114). 
(4) Hans-Georg Gadamer, A Century of Philosophy, (with R. Dottori) New York London: Continuum, 2000, 43.

    Source :


Performance of Petrushka by a puppet theatre in the streets, May Day, 1929, Moscow.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Touching Hades

Touching Hades, 2013
Granite, wood, acrylic, glue, 62 x 8 x 5 cm

Tell me, Desert Draftsman

Tell me, Desert Draftsman, 
Geometer of the quicksands, 
Is it true, that unrestrained lines 
Are more powerful than the blowing wind?
I don't care about the trembling 
Of his Judaic troubles. — 
He shapes experience from babble, 
And drinks babble from the experience.

November 1933, Moscow
Скажи мне, чертёжник пустыни,
Сыпучих песков геометр,
Ужели безудержность линий
Сильнее, чем дующий ветр?
Меня не касается трепет
Его иудейских забот —
Он опыт из лепета лепит
И лепет из опыта пьёт.

Ноябрь 1933 — январь 1934

Osip Mandelstam, from “Moscow Notebooks”.Translated from Russian by Dmitri Smirnov

Hell As Pavilion

Kostis Velonis, A Sea of troubles, 2012,wood, oil, acrylic ,62 x 41 x 6 cm, private collection

Hell as pavilion / Hell as text / Hell as art practice / Hell as exhibition / Hell as method / Hell as modus operandi / Hell as modus vivendi / Hell as exodus

“Hell As Pavilion” is an exhibition that examines the question of “being contemporary” within a culture in crisis. It is conceived as a strange fresco gone wild, an inhabited migrant wall of “horrible mixtures,” which brings together Greek artists from various generations, explores a neglected field of rhizomatic relationships and unexpected affinities, and urges us to “read history in unforeseen ways,” to imagine into existence new mobile and minor networks. With a title inspired by the briefly glimpsed “HELL AS” in Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme, the Greek Pavilion could be understood as a fantasma, a premonition or a twinge of remorse, a disturbing idiorrythmy, the monster (teras) par excellence in the current temps des crises. The European bête noire hangs on a wall in an undetermined borderline condition considered here as a possible tactic; a laboratory of the para-logon (that which lies next to and beyond logos/ reason); a precarious position from which current takes on humanism, punishment, radicalization, the collective and the connective can be reexamined.

“Hell As Pavilion” can be perceived as a toolbox for the understanding of various Greek paraloga in the rather common and unsettled struggle to “be in” the present; as a chance to consider the viability of deviations, abnormalities and inconsistencies, in the xaos (chaos) of a situation where nations, states and all kinds of entities suspect and monster one another for economic misconduct and “lack of progress.”Curated by 
Nadja Argyropoulou.
List of artists: Alexis Akrithakis, Loukia Alavanou, Vlassis Caniaris, Savvas Christodoulides, Costis, Dimitris Dimitriadis, Antonis Donef, Andreas Embiricos, Nikos Engonopoulos, Haris Epaminonda, Stelios Faitakis, Takis Giannousas, Hollow Airport Museum (Nikos Charalambidis), Lakis & Aris Ionas/The Callas, Vassilis Karouk, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, kavecs/Vana Kostayola & Kostis Stafylakis, Anja Kirschner & David Panos, Panos Koutrouboussis,Thanos Kyriakides/Blind Adam, Konstantinos Ladianos, Stathis Logothetis, Andreas Lolis, Panayiotis Loukas, Rallou Panagiotou, Nikos-Gavriil Pentzikis, Kostas Sahpazis, Saprophytes, Kostas Sfikas, Christiana Soulou, Thanassis Totsikas, Ira Triantafyllidou, Souzy Tros (Maria Papadimitriou), Iris Touliatou, Nanos Valaoritis, Marie Wilson-Valaoritis, Jannis Varelas, Lydia Venieri, Vangelis Vlahos, Kostis Velonis, Tassos Vrettos, Takis Zenetos

Hell as Pavilion
27/02/2013 - 04/04/2013
Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

Making Simple Constructions

Making Simple Constructions by Hansi Bohm, Studio Vista, London, 1971

Telephone management

At Table and in Bed

Margaret Lee, Cucumber Telephone, 2012, archival pigment print

Graham Anderson
Caitlin Keogh
Margaret Lee
Cassandra MacLeod
Aliki Panagiotopoulou
Rallou Panagiotou
Georgia Sagri
Kostas Sahpazis
Ira Triantafyllidou
Kostis Velonis

Kostis Velonis, You Might be Able to Climb but Definitely you Will Fall , 2011
100 x 85 x 85 cm, Wood, plywood.

Andreas Melas and Helena Papadopoulos Gallery
At Table and in Bed ..
30 January-23 March,
Opening Wednesday 30/1 8-10pm


Exhibition View, Others curated by Pae White. © MAK/Katrin Wißkirchen.

Pae White reacts to the themes present in Vienna 1900 and curates the exhibition Others for the MAK Permanent Collection Contemporary Art. In a selection of works-on-paper and three-dimensional objects, Pae White focuses on items in the MAK Collection that are not clearly categorized and whose authors are principally unknown. Equally, White is interested in the role of critics and curators in the formation of narratives, which exclude objects of ambiguous value in order to create clearer histories.
Within every museum there are objects that are un-attributable, that have no clear authorship, and yet remain part of the collection. The significance of the object is clear, but their place in an historical narrative is not. Living in a sort of limbo, these objects pass time in their dark, climate-controlled space, waiting for a curator to detach them from limbo (or not). The institution understands their inherent value, yet cannot position them definitively in any conventional art-historical chronicle, which consequently ensures their continued absence from both exhibitions and historical texts.
To be certain, art historians and curators, alike, must engage in the editing of history to establish a storyline clear enough to be understood by a target audience; however sophisticated that audience might be, the totality of production in any era is too much to apprehend easily. When that era is the explosion of creativity that was fin de siècle Vienna, however, the trickle-down exuberance needs to be recognized. These creations may only seem semi-important when viewed next to the acknowledged masterpieces of the era, but those adjacencies provide a wider, more complex context in which to understand the era in its entirety.
Others is an attempted rescue of some of these unknown yet important objects, by temporarily relocating them to the gallery on the top floor, allowing them the exposure that they so richly deserve. This exhibition will celebrate objects that challenge questions of categorization and authorship, offering, perhaps, a new, more inclusive story that defies historicism. My hope is to present the work as it came to me—without words, free of any didactic text anchoring it to a familiar, oft-told storyline.
In the end, OTHERS is less about the redemption of objects and more about offering the viewer (and the objects) the space to breathe, proposing the poetic silence of the unknown, and opening up a space, freed from the tyranny of history, in which these lovely, mostly anonymous creations can be viewed on their own terms.”
Pae White, Vienna, November 2012

21 November 2012–17 March 2013
MAK Permanent Collection Contemporary Art
MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Voice of the Nightingale

Scene from the colorized silent short film “La voix du rossignol” directed by Ladislas Starevich, produced in France by Pathé, 1923.

Deadline I

Roman Ondák, Untitled (Post-it), 2005 (Private Collection, courtesy: the artist & Johnen Galerie; Photograph: Jens Ziehe

Imagine you are asked to write these lines for a respected art magazine, ten days from now. How will this deadline look? Burdensome? Threatening? Will it be a gentle reminder that work must be done, or will it be a stressful monster crawling out of your diary and making your nights sleepless? And most important: What exactly will you do to finish on time?
Well, I didn’t. Deadlines are mixed blessings. They are indicated objectively by our watches, diaries or bosses asking for completed work. Respecting deadlines initially involves keeping them in mind, for example by writing them down in bold red characters … But such tactics don’t seem to be enough. Research by psychologists as well as our everyday lives show us that we tend to miss deadlines or, as in my case, extend them.
When people estimate the distance they must traverse to reach an object, they take into account the effort required to reach it. Objects that require more effort will appear even farther away in our minds. I believe we think about deadlines in a similar way: feeling that they are closer or farther from now depends on how much we need to do to meet them, not just on how objectively close or far they are with respect to the present. Even the very same deadline – say, ten days from now – can feel different, depending upon the task.
I asked 74 participants from VU University Amsterdam to imagine they would complete a list of tasks (such as going to a concert or organizing a wedding) by a certain date in the future. First, they estimated the effort needed to complete these tasks and then how far away in time these events felt to them. I made the following observation: The more effort involved in the task, the closer in time the deadline felt. Perhaps more effort means preparing earlier, working faster or being more organized up until the deadline. If little effort is required, deadlines may appear farther away because there is little chance of missing them.
When 25 other participants thought about the same tasks with no deadlines attached to them, the ones involving more effort felt farther away. They became ‘stretched out’ in time because when there is no deadline, effort is not a meaningful cue for taking on tasks. Yet this perception of effort and time could arise from other factors. Due to this possibility, I conducted two other experiments with 108 participants where I deliberately changed the amount of effort they needed to invest in a task, and then I measured how close or far the task’s deadline felt. Again, the more effort one needed to complete the task, the closer in time the deadline felt.
However quantitative, deadlines are not just objective, static measures of time, but also subjective, malleable estimations of when future events will happen. Their double nature helps us to adapt our resources and probably be more efficient.
Text by  Gabriela Jiga-Boy
Source:     Issue 7, winter 12.

Sculptures by Hans Josephsohn

Hans Josephson at the Kesselhaus Josephsohn, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2004

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Woman in B3 club chair

Erich Consemüller, "Untitled" (Woman [Lis Beyer or Ise Gropius] in B3 club chair by Marcel Breuer wearing a mask by Oskar Schlemmer and a dress in fabric designed by Beyer), c. 1926.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A solitary walk

Hariklia Hari, A Solitary Walk, 2012

Source :

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ort Feld

    Franz Erhard Walther “ort feld, 50 x 50 m”, 1967.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Suspended House

Architect: Paul Nelson.1936-38. Acrylic, metal, paint, stone, textile, wood, 14 x 36 1/2 x 28 1/2" (35.6 x 92.7 x 72.4 cm). Sculpture and painting by Hans Arp Alexander Calder, Joan Miró and Fernand Léger.


Performance Ανάγνωσης στην έκθεση ΤΕΤΤΙΞ
Συμμετοχές:Κωστής Βελώνης Φοίβη Γιαννίση, Κατερίνα Ηλιοπούλου, Νάντια Καλαρά Δούκα Καπάνταης, Πατρίτσια Κολαΐτη Ίριδα Λυκουριώτη Κωνσταντίνος Ματσούκας, Γιάνα Μπούκοβα, Ιορδάνης Παπαδόπουλος Νάνα Σαχίνη Μαρία Τοπάλη
Επιμέλεια -Σκηνοθεσία : Φοίβη Γιαννίση
Πέμπτη 10 Ιανουαρίου ώρα 8.30 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Ξύλινα καθίσματα πάνω στα οποία συνωστίζονται οι θεατές, όπως  παριστάνονται σε αγγείο του Σοφίλου.