Alter1

… what we traditionally call reality is in fact a simple montage. On the basis of that conclusion, the aesthetic challenge of contemporary art resides in recomposing that montage: art is an editing table that enables us to realize alternative, temporary versions of reality with the same material (basically, everyday life). Thus, artists manipulate social forms, reorganize them and incorporate them in original scenarios, deconstructing the script on which the illusory legitimacy of those scenarios was grounded. The artist de-programs in order to re-program, suggesting that there are other possible usages for techniques, tools and spaces at our disposition. [Nicolas Bourriaud in conversation with Bartholomew Ryan]

If twentieth-century modernism was above all a western cultural phenomenon, altermodernity arises out of planetary negotiations, discussions between agents from different cultures. Stripped of a centre, it can only be polyglot. Altermodernity is characterised by translation, unlike the modernism of the twentieth century which spoke the abstract language of the colonial west, and postmodernism, which encloses artistic phenomena in origins and identities. [Nicolas Bourriaud AlterModern Manifesto]

The cultural or social structures in which we live are nothing more for art than elements to be used, objects that must be examined and formally addressed. That, to my mind, is the essential content of the political program of contemporary art: maintaining the world in a precarious state or, in other words, permanently affirming the transitory, circumstantial nature of the institutions and the rules that govern individual or collective behavior. The main function of the instruments of communication of capitalism is to repeat a message, which is: we live in a finite, immovable and definitive political framework, only the decor must change at high speed. Art questions this message, and reverses it. It is an idea that was actually the core of Relational Aesthetics already, the Marxist idea that there is no stable “essence” of humankind, which is nothing but the transitory result of what human beings do at a certain moment of history. I think this might be the cornerstone of all my writings, in a way. [Nicolas Bourriaud in conversation with Bartholomew Ryan]

We are entering the era of universal subtitling, of generalised dubbing. Today’s art explores the bonds that text and image weave between themselves. Artists traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs, creating new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication. [Nicolas Bourriaud AlterModern Manifesto]

Maurizio Cattelan Untitled 2009

The artist becomes ‘homo viator’, the prototype of the contemporary traveller whose passage through signs and formats refers to a contemporary experience of mobility, travel and transpassing. This evolution can be seen in the way works are made: a new type of form is appearing, the journey-form, made of lines drawn both in space and time, materialising trajectories rather than destinations. The form of the work expresses a course, a wandering, rather than a fixed space-time.  [Nicolas Bourriaud AlterModern Manifesto]

this ‘globalised state of culture’ is already a matter of fact: in every spot of the planet, you can see this new cultural stratus, coexisting with the layer of traditional culture and some local specific contemporary elements. Saying that it is the privilege of the artistic jet set is a pure denial of the worldwide violence of the capitalist system, or an extreme naiveness. I think that this theoretical resistance, which consists in sticking to the multiculturalist dogma, is hiding a paternalist pattern : it jails the individuals into their so-called ‘origins’ and their ‘identities’. Let’s face it: artists now have access to information, and they all use the same toolbox, from Stockholm to Bangkok. Or shouldn’t they? We have to get out of this dialectical loop between the global and the local, to get rid of the binary opposition between globalization and traditions. And what is the name of this third way? Modernity, whose historical ambiguity is directed against both standardization and nostalgia. [Nicolas Bourriaud in conversation with Bartholomew Ryan]

Jorge Pardo Untitled, 2017

Altermodern art is thus read as a hypertext; artists translate and transcode information from one format to another, and wander in geography as well as in history. This gives rise to practices which might be referred to as ‘time-specific’, in response to the ‘site-specific’ work of the 1960s. Flight-lines, translation programmes and chains of heterogeneous elements articulate each other. Our universe becomes a territory all dimensions of which may be travelled both in time and space. [Nicolas Bourriaud AlterModern Manifesto]

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