Art of Horning
“Art of Horning,” exhibition catalogue essay for Meg Mitchell: Threaded in a Voice, HouseGuests Artist-in-Residence exhibition series, Evergreen Museum & Libraries, Johns Hopkins University (September 2015), 4–13. http://www.megmitchell.com/?page_id=320
The Imperative Mood
“Now! Visual Culture” is the exclamation of practice in the imperative mood. It’s the punctuating “bang” of affect as creative social and political force. The exclamation point was once known as the screamer and the gasper—affective responses that recall scenes of public protest and violent state reactions across the globe. From the Tahrir Square chants to the resonant calls of “Occupy,” the imperative mood is everywhere, and it is catching. In a “now!” moment marked by profound precarity and shaken by economic, social, and environmental crises, what can the imperative mood do? How might we move off from the marching orders we are given? First presented at “Now! Visual Culture,” the first conference of the newly formed International Association for Visual Culture (NYU, May 2012) as a lighting talk response to the question “What is visual culture now?,” I developed this piece further to address the question of the lasting significance of W.J.T. Mitchell’s concept of “images at war” or the agency of images in and amidst violent conflict. This essay offers three flagrantly absurd tactics in the counter-imperative mood. Each takes a melancholic turn (to dead media, to the ruined and abandoned production sites of modernity, and to seemingly outmoded tools and furnishings of daily life), a turning back that is also a pressing forward against the temporality of the now. In so re-turning they point to the extent to which this imperative “now!” is enacted in spaces “pre-occupied” by the ghosts and specters of not just failures and the forgotten, but the still-stirring promises their recycling re-habitation may yet reactivate.
“The Imperative Mood” (#8, June 18, 2012), For the special issue of Nomadikon (the online blog of the Bergen Center of Visual Culture, Norway) on “Image Wars.”
Does Public Sex Matter?
“Does Public Sex Matter?: excerpt from an email exchange with Joshua Lubin- Levy,” Petite Morte: Recollections of a Queer Public, an artist’s book, eds. Joshua Lubin-Levy and Carlos Motta (New York, NY: Forever & Today, 2011), 80.