Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Imagine No Possessions - The MIT Press

Imagine No Possessions - The MIT Press

These artists, heeding the call of Constructivist manifestos to abandon the nonobjective painting and sculpture of the early Russian avant-garde and enter into Soviet industrial production, aimed to work as "artist-engineers" to produce useful objects for everyday life in the new socialist collective.

Kiaer shows how these artists elaborated on the theory of the socialist object-as-comrade in the practice of their art. They broke with the traditional model of the autonomous avant-garde, Kiaer argues, in order to participate more fully in the political project of the Soviet state. She analyzes Constructivism's attempt to develop modernist forms to forge a new comradely relationship between human subjects and the mass-produced objects of modernity; Constructivists could "imagine no possessions" (as John Lennon's song puts it) not by eliminating material objects but by eliminating the possessive relation to them. Considering such Constructivist objects as flapper dresses and cookie advertisements, Kiaer creates a dialogue between the more famous avant-garde works of these artists and their quirkier, less appreciated utilitarian objects. Working in the still semicapitalist Russia of the New Economic Policy, these artists were imagining, by creating their comradely objects, a socialist culture that had not yet arrived.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Democracy Now! | Headlines for February 29, 2008

Democracy Now! | Headlines for February 29, 2008

Comcast Admits to Planting Attendees at FCC Hearing

The media giant Comcast has admitted to paying people to fill the seats at a government hearing on net neutrality. The gathering at Harvard University Monday was one of several organized by the Federal Communications Commission to gather public input. Critics say Comcast was trying to take space away from critics of media consolidation. Harvard says dozens of genuine participants were forced to stand outside the hearing unable to participate.

Puerto Rico Teachers Continue National Strike

In Puerto Rico, teachers have entered the second week of a national strike. The union representing Puerto Rico’s 42,000 public school teachers declared the strike after thirty months of negotiations. The US government is refusing to negotiate with the union until teachers end the walkout.

Women’s Health Activist Barbara Seaman Dies at 72

And the longtime women’s health activist Barbara Seaman has died at the age of seventy-two. Seaman authored many books, including The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill, one of the first indictments of the birth control pill, published in 1969. She was the co-founder of the National Women’s Health Network.