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Three Iced Coffees at Frieze / New York

The recommendations streamed in before my ferry even docked on Randall’s Island. “The food-in-a-jar at Tyme is terrible.” “It’s nice that Court Street Grocers has so many vegetarian sandwich options.” “Morgenstern’s is right by my booth, you better come eat an ice cream cone with me.” A thoughtfully stacked food court has helped establish the London-based Frieze fair since it first pitched its (actual) tent in New York in 2012, and this year the ample selection leaned heavily toward comfort food. Nothing too fancy, but packed with umami; it’s the type of food that inspires dedicated neighborhood followings.

While the redundant inclusion of both Frankies Spuntino and Roberta’s — two pizza places beloved in their respective corners of the city — only drives home the fact that comfort reigns, any honest account of the fair must mention the fatigue-inducing discomfort of the tent’s filtered light and stagnant air. What fuels the whole thing is iced coffee: it is the only substance that adequately cuts through the sticky hugs and an afternoon of squinting. Lower East Side-based Fat Radish supplied my first cup of cold brew, and it was so watery and bad that only the ice offered something interesting to talk about. For twelve dollars, there’s nothing more offensive than those ugly, cylindrical ice barrels that slowly accumulate on the chilled steel tit of an ice machine. I don’t have dental insurance. Don’t serve me ice that’s engineered to be structurally sound.

Fat Radish is more the type of place for sweet tea than coffee anyway. Its menu takes the farm as inspiration, and, at Frieze, they designed dishes to showcase single ingredients. A dish of tomatoes was charred, curried, and built upon a foundation of dark, whole-wheat toast. Roasted carrots were grounded by the earthy aromatics of seaweed. And a mishmash slaw of veggies made sure you looked for the charred broccoli buried in between (though it was still a bit buried). Sometimes they leaned too heavily on the farmhouse pantry: pickled beets, grapefruit, and fennel were brought in to bolster a lackluster fluke crudo. My spring bounty aptly concluded, though, with a wad of delicious rhubarb Eton mess (that’s its real name).

I would need another iced coffee immediately, and iced coffee number two came from Gertie, a fancy cafe that follows a high-end model repeated in nearly every neighborhood in New York. Did I ever indulge. The cold brew was toffee rich, especially given the touch of oat milk I added. Stacks of cookies lined a glass display case in sumptuous, leathery tones, and, having solicited the barista’s favorite one, he selected for me a homespun pastry pervaded by caramelized brown sugar. With the coffee plugged into my lips like an IV drip, the next hour or more would find me on a long stroll — I was only there for the food, after all. I picked at the cookie from the depths of my tote bag, and the beverage would outlast its crummy paper straw

Dinner would only supply an addendum to my afternoon, perhaps because my eventual tally of three iced coffees stymied my appetite. Still, the language surrounding food at the evocatively named wine bar Foul Witch, if not the food itself, brought some fulfillment to my day. A glass of Grüner was my attempt at happy hour, and I used my hands to pick at a refreshing gem salad with mint. But a flummoxing double-digit price tag for a hunk of Roberta’s-made baguette really raised questions. And as I think back on the succulent seared scallop ceviche, my mind is locked on a semantic problem: you can’t call it ceviche if you cooked it first. The true riddle is why I decided to gamble on shellfish at 5:30pm after the long, hot, poorly refrigerated afternoon, especially right before the ferry ride back home. In spite of all the logistical issues, though, I survived.

by Sam Korman

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A Private Journey through Art Monte Carlo

By 2026, more than sixteen thousand millionaires are expected to call Monaco their home (according to Knight Frank’s 2017 Monaco Insight Report), joining the many who have already moved to the principality for its economic and cultural potential. Art Monte Carlo has meanwhile already firmly established Monaco as a global art destination, and this year’s edition (the third under the Art Genève organization) brought several pleasant surprises, including museum shows and site-based projects in and around town.

The Nouveau Musée de Monaco organized a sensory dinner experience at the Riva Tunnel in Port Hercules, a storage unit for historic Italian yachting manufacturers. The catering was curated by experimental food designer Francesca Sarti, who started the London-based food-design hybrid agency Arabeschi di Latte. Sea salt, minerals, and seaweeds were the ingredients behind a minimal yet incredible tasting menu aptly situated amid boat models and black-and-white posters of 1980s Hollywood stars piloting stylish wooden speedboats.

The following day, driving further north, a show called Tattoo Sospir gently unfolded throughout the indoor and outdoor areas of Villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cocteau’s fresco house. The villa was originally the home of Francine Weisweiller, a philanthropist who would later share it with her art- and filmmaking friend following the shooting of Les enfants terrible. Curator Ilia Melia invited five artists to animate the already historically charged space: Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet performed an original play (written and staged by the artists themselves) relating to the history of the house and Cocteau’s eclectic personality; Linda Sanchez scattered ancient vases and props in the garden; Arnaud Maguet presented a sound piece with Cocteau’s poems and letters; and, finally, a dance piece by Pauline Curnier Jardin was performed.

The Nouveau Musee Nationale de Monaco hosted an incredible Alfredo Volpi retrospective, curated by Cristiano Raimondi. Born in Lucca (Italy) in 1896, the artist immigrated to Brazil with his family at the age of two, and this retrospective is the first in a public institution outside of his adopted homeland. Volpi’s paintings are highly identifiable for their texture and laborious preparation. However, he did not like being defined as an abstract painter, asserting he was more interested in popular culture and religious elements than pure geometry. Indeed, the exhibition is a fascinating case study of an artist who straddled modernist, concrete, and neo-concrete movements in Brazil.

Closer to the hills in Grasse, an hour from Monaco, Silvia Fiorucci-Roman has acquired a three-hectare property as a holiday home and mini-farm, which her five nieces and nephews use to harvest their own vegetables and raise hens. On these premises we met design curator Annalisa Rosso, who consulted Mrs. Fiorucci for “5 Rooms,” a project consisting of five on-site installations by the five winning designers of the 2017 Design Parade at Villa Noailles in Hyères.

This year was also the second edition of the Nomad design fair in Villa La Vigie, Karl Lagerfeld’s former Monte Carlo residence. Fifteen galleries were invited to curate exhibitions in the unique setting of this villa in Roquebrune. Highlights included: Formafantasma’s elegant lamp sets, such as Magnifier and Elmetto from Giustini/Stagetti (Rome); Nathalie Du Pasquier’s paintings; and Paolo Gonzato’s asymmetrical marble tables and ceramic vases from APalazzo gallery in Brescia. On the ground floor, Massimo De Carlo’s gallery presented hand-blown glass vases from Elmgreen & Dragset, while Etage Projects from Copenhagen displayed the SOAP series by Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis, which contains a table and chairs with a soapy matte surface made of resin. Elmgreen and Dragset also presented one of two specially commissioned projects, together with Asad Raza, who created Root Sequence: Mother Tongue for the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, an environment composed of twenty-six trees in wheeled containers, treated flooring, UV lighting, scents, and caretakers, altogether suggesting the experience of a wandering artificial forest.

Several dealers created elegant lounge settings around the fair. Gagosian offered a sort of mini living room designed in collaboration between Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh. Galeria Franco Noero presented a long dining table from Martino Gamper, while Kaufmann Repetto (a first timer at the fair) aligned a Pae White chrome-pink installation of fifty-six mirrored-glass bricks along a corner.

Another highlight was the Art : Concept booth, which presented four artists in conversation: Michel Blazy, Corentin Grossmann, Nathan Hylden, and Giuseppe Gabellone. Special mentions go to Michael Werner’s booth, with pieces by Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Enrico David, Peter Doig, Eugène Leroy, Piero Manzoni, Francis Picabia, and Sigmar Polke; as well as Campoli Presti’s selection of works by Christoph Ruckäberle, Liz Deschenes, and Eileen Quinlan. Meanwhile, a powerful lilac Irma Blank from 1984 and a nature morte by Riccardo Baruzzi at P420 commanded attention for their delicacy and sophistication.

by Alessia Stella

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SP-Arte / São Paulo

In addition to the São Paulo Bienal in September, the annual art fair in April has established a second platform for international gathering in São Paulo. This year activities commenced on the Saturday before the fair with an edition of Condo hosted by Galeria Jaqueline Martins featuring works by Vivian Suter at Proyectos Ultravioleta, Carla Filipe at Nuno Centeno, and Ahmet Ögüt at KOW, among others.

Also downtown, the Pivô foundation opened the next day with a three-person show featuring rarely seen films by Anna Maria Maiolino, an installation of kinetic sculptures by Ana Linnemann, and site-specific architectural interventions by Laura Lima, which force visitors to duck through a lowered ceiling and curatorial assistants to work from an elevated yet stifling box towering above the exhibition. Elsewhere MoMA’s 2009 exhibition “Tangled Alphabets” was somewhat resurrected in the form of retrospectives by Leon Ferrari at Galeria Nara Roesler (“Por um mundo sem inferno curated by Lisette Lagnado) and Mira Schendel at the Museum of Modern Art São Paulo (“Signals” curated by Paulo Venancio Filho).

SP-Arte, now in its 14th edition, bills itself as a festival rather than a fair, possibly because of the tax incentive laws that support it. A section presenting individual artist booths offered several compelling exhibitions. Cape Town’s Blank Projects presented Pedro Wirz’s Novos Amigos [New Friends] (2013–18), consisting of three wall-mounted timber shelves featuring ninety painted and glazed ceramics. These works had been crafted by the artist according to sketches made by friends and acquaintances who were inspired by Wirz’s tales of his native Paraíba Valley near São Paulo. After last year’s Sania Iveković’s solo booth, Valencia’s Espaivisor presented works by Mladen Stilinović, another Croatian conceptual artist. On view were photographs (Artist at Work, 1978 is an unlimited edition of eight b/w photographs depicting the artist asleep), collages, and acrylic paintings ranging from the early 1970s through 2001. Nearby, the Santiago de Chile gallery Aninat Isabel presented photographic documentation from Lotty Rosenfeld’s ongoing action art (since 1979) for which the artist uses white tape to transform highway median strips into crosses, thus protesting dictatorship and signs of hegemonic power. New York’s Zucker Art Books brought a selection of Dieter Roth editioned artist books to the fair, including his first: Kinderbuch (1957). With Brazilian galleries presenting poema/processo protagonists Falves Silva and Almandrade (at Roberto Alban from Salvador da Bahia), artist books by Lygia Clark (Livro Obra i, 1964/83 at DAN galleria, São Paulo), and cut paper works by Raymundo Colares (GIBI, 1970 at Pinakotheke, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Fortaleza), Roth’s work may gain new significance in discussions of European and Brazilian geometric abstraction.

In the main section, Luisa Strina Gallery presented Alexandre da Cunha’s Amarelinho (2005), a sculpture stack of seventy-two Styrofoam boxes used by mobile beverage vendors on the streets of Brazil. At Fortes d’Aiola Gabriel, artists Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca introduced five lenticular prints from Como se fosse verdade [As if it were true] (2017), for which they had invited forty-three commuters using a bus terminal in the periphery of São Paulo to pose for and give design indications that resulted in fictional record covers.

João José Costa, Untitled at SP-Arte/2018. Courtesy of Galeria Berenice Arvani.

The so-called Repertoire section featured individual artist presentations with works produced until the 1980s. Berenice Arvani from São Paulo opted for a staging of historical paintings and works on paper by João José Costa, one of the lesser-known members of Grupo Frente (1954–56) that paved the way for the constructivist movement in Brazil. Sé Galeria hung Arnaldo de Melo’s figurative sketches painted on collaged boards of New York gallery invitation cards during the mid-1980s.

While works by di Cavalcanti, Volpi, and other classics of Brazilian modernism are offloaded in the section dedicated to secondary-market dealers every year, one booth stood out: Bergamin & Gomide offered a neat selection of visceral sculptures and paintings by Günther Uecker, José Resende, Nuno Ramos, Antoni Tapies, Mira Schendel, Artur Barrio, and Tunga — all in brown, beige, white, and black tones.

Far away from the hustle of the fair, the cultural center Casa do Povo presented the performance Okidoki by American dancer and choreographer Trajal Harrell. Capturing our attention for nine minutes, Harrell’s piece was based on vogueing moves and saw the dancer flanked by audience members that he approached and poked, expressing anxiety and desperation that amplified as a score by Tom Monteiro wore on. On our way home we wondered if the work was not a parody of art fair chit chat and an appetite for artworks predisposed to commodification against a backdrop of struggling commercial galleries and failing democracy.

by Tobi Maier

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Gallery Weekend Beijing

­Themes of contemporary urban structure and the human condition are the main subjects of the many exhibitions on display at Beijing’s 2018 Gallery Weekend, spread across various galleries and institutions in the 798 and Caochangdi Art Districts. These seemingly independent exhibitions reveal some intrinsic connections to each other, as if a kind of urban fable was being staged.

New York–based Sarah Morris’s first solo show in Beijing, “Odysseus Factor,” occupying the largest room of UCCA, includes all of her cinematographic films, ten colorful diagrammatic-style abstract canvases, posters, and a large customized wall painting. Out of the half-dozen showcases of foreign artists, Morris’s exhibition sits most comfortably in a contemporary Chinese setting, not only because of her eighty-four-minute-long documentary film focusing on the 2008 Olympic Games, but also due to the super-seductive and bizarre appearance of the show, which incorporates gigantic LED screens and flamboyant painted bandings. The surreal conditions revealed in her works interweave the rapidly developing urban landscape with late or state capitalism, and act as a metaphor for bureaucracy in the globalized arena. The works seem to be the absurd juxtaposition of this rapid urbanization and the increasingly restrictive political realities of China in 2018.

Not far from UCCA, Liu Wei’s solo exhibition “Shadows” at Long March Space creates a cosmos-like imagined world of time and space. The exhibition consists of large mechanical installations and two paintings with irregular edges. Among these, Period (2018) occupies the majority of the gallery space and viewers’ attention. Spheres, pyramids, and bricks in cement, wood, or metal, with simple surface colors and textures, move slowly along their respective pathways, structurally supporting each other while crisscrossing perfectly. It could be likened to a simulacrum of the materiality of a city. Airflow (2018), made of cement, resembles colored balloons hanging upside-down. A square mirror is set on the ground, echoing the light from the roof and creating a captivating combination of light and shadow. Dominating spheres oscillate slightly under the influence of gravity, rubbing against each other to create clouds of dust and residue that fall down to the mirror. Liu Wei posits a variety of symbolic significances such as vitality, mobility, and the sense of time.

Liu Wei 刘韡, Airflow《气流》, 2018
Liu Wei 刘韡,
Airflow, 2018. Courtesy Liu Wei Studio and Long March Space, Beijing.

As last year’s winner of the Hyundai Blue Prize for Creativity, Li Jia has realized her proposal in the brand-new space at Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing in 798. The exhibition, titled “The Precariousness,” showcases recent projects by eight artists and three collectives. Various mediums — videos, installations, drawings, texts, field studies, digital archives, and reading projects — are used to map multiple narratives of social mobility and migration in China. The single-channel video The Destination to Promising Land (2017), by Fang Di, who conducts research between Shenzhen and New Guinea, documents how two Guangzhou-based Africans confront and perceive issues of body, color, and borders on continuously shifting ground and within a global framework. Other projects, Between the 5th and 6th Ring Road in Beijing (2014–15) and Secret Chamber (2016–17) for instance, focus on villagers who live in Beijing’s peripheries, and those who feel dispossessed for their “low added value” to society. Within multilayered representations, the narratives of these pieces as a whole converge a diversity of social and individual forces, gauging how people interact within a constantly fragmented social landscape.

Wang Haiyang’s solo exhibition at White Space Beijing in Caochangdi — a fifteen-minute bike ride from 798 — shows his interest in human secretions, both the physical products of lust and those contingent on the human emotional spectrum. Paintings, drawings, and videos in the exhibition are linked to the artist’s subconscious thoughts of sex, feelings of lust, and attitudes toward his own body while confined to a hospital bed. In Mirror (2017), placed near the entrance, Wang uses spit as a medium to create delicate, cellular-tissue-like forms, and turns them into a stop-motion animation. This corresponds to the series “Mosquito” (2017–18) that hangs on the opposite wall, incorporating different shapes in the imaginary portrayal of a mosquito whose life revolves around the extraction of human blood. A nine-channel video piece, Linkage Mechanism (2017), displays nine mirrored faces chewing gum with their mouths linked together, as if struggling to find an exit in this occluded system. In another room, nearly a hundred skillfully dense watercolors convey the artist’s consciousness and sexual impulse. Of all his works, the drawings are the most instinctual and personal — showing his libidinous yearning and deep understanding of his own life.

In addition, Yin Xiuzhen at Pace Beijing, Paul McCarthy at M Woods, Carsten Höller at Galleria Continua, Liu Xiaohui at ShanghART, Xie Nanxing at UCCA, Richard Deacon at Beijing Commune, and several other group shows that concentrate on emerging artists have sparked plenty of attention and discussion. It seems that Beijing — like Hong Kong and Shanghai — has finally learned how to collectively unleash the energy that it has always embodied.

by Chelsea Liu

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Lunch at the Art Fairs / New York

The publication section of The Armory Show boasted the best view of any of the three spring art fairs in New York. Installed in an arm of Pier 92 suspended over the Hudson River, visitors were greeted with floor-to-ceiling windows that provided a rare, uninterrupted panorama of the river and sky further south. The section also hosted a pop-up lunch canteen from wellness bakery chain Chloé, which is where I purchased a slice of matcha-chocolate babka.

Pier 92 was transformed into the ideal place to take my lunch by an inopportune snowfall on opening day, and I slowly pried apart the gnarled layers of the decadent, convoluted pastry while watching the heavy snowfall cascade into the water and disappear. My mouth buzzed like I had touched my tongue to a nine-volt battery: the tannic sensation of matcha laying the groundwork for a succulent jolt of chocolate. The hybrid pastry was nearly electric.

That I forgot I was sitting in the middle of a mundane trade fair was the exact outcome I had hoped for. This spectacle of art and commerce, though mysterious to outsiders and idealists, epitomizes the doldrums of endless cubicles and glazed bricks the color of diner coffee. The food really helps, and this year, my own last-ditch means of engagement found my critical attention directed toward the restaurants and catering at Armory, Independent, and NADA. Rounding out my experience at Armory was Italian fine dining establishment Il Buco. VIP ticket holders had the option to reserve a table in a private lounge, but considering that my budget consisted of what I was willing to pay out of pocket, I kept it to lunch. My take-out salami sandwich was, in fact, satisfying. The cured meat was as unctuous as the focaccia it was served on, and both were balanced out with the sour edge of goat cheese. Sadly, though, there would be no champagne to wash it down.

A kind of masochism underscored my writing enterprise, the particulars of which were only confirmed by Independent’s dismal food offerings. Like attending the fairs in the first place, eating at them was perfunctory. It was only hunger that forced down my entire twelve-ounce portion of minestrone soup. It included an entire bay leaf, the thorny flavor of which bypassed my tongue and stung straight at my throat. Independent may not be to blame. Spring Studios, which hosts the event, likely mandated their in-house catering service, Spring Place. But imagine if every misguided attempt at fanciness came off like an allergic reaction. Poppy’s, the only catering service Independent seemed to have been responsible for, offered a good gluten-free brownie near the exit.

A sensible ploughman’s lunch was available at each venue, belying an awareness of the mundane needs of small gallery entrepreneurship: it provided something to snack on to all who worked those marathon days alone. For my final stop at NADA New York, at Skylight Clarkson, I went with the stalwart vegetarian option, a wrap. Little more than a calorie delivery system, creamy feta lent weft to the watery texture of two handfuls of spinach, and four squirts of olive tapenade provided enough of a condiment to credibly call the whole concoction a sandwich. A raspberry linzer torte offered a practical dessert pairing, though refusing to get any of its powder sugar garnish anywhere near my clothes, I ate it ostentatiously craned over a low-slung standing table. My final lunch only confirmed to me that I could have gotten by at all of the fairs on a single Diet Coke each (three total on the weekend). The only beverage I purchased, in my hand it felt like an old friend. Besides, who needs the calories at an art fair?

by Sam Korman

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Transmediale “face value” / HKW Berlin

Long ago, literary and art critics observed a parallel between artistic representation and the monetary system. If naturalism conformed to the actual worth of the gold standard, the emergence of modernism would be accompanied by the adaptation of “token” signs, arbitrary in their nature. But what happens to our symbolic economies when they become governed by immaterial transactions instead of banknotes?

Under the title “face value,” the thirty-first edition of the Transmediale festival carries on this analogical reasoning through a series of talks, exhibitions, and a moving-image program. The overall project portrays the current state of global affairs as grim and lamentable: everything that used to have value has become steamrolled, disembodied, and hollowed out.

This “flat ontology” of the present is heightened in the film and video program curated by Florian Wüst, in which the central theme — “face value” — is treated as literally as possible. Instead of plunging into perceptual illusions of three-dimensional space, the spectator is constantly confronted with the materiality of the projected images: full-frame surfaces of overprints, analog photos, or paper money overlapped with the surface of the screen. This guiding motif of the exterior continues through the allegory of water in Inga Seidler’s exhibition “Territories of Complicity,” in which free ports, these paradoxical “non-sites” of financial capitalism, are used as reference points in the display of small, boxed-in artist installations, as if ready for maritime transportation.

"Territories of Complicity," installation view
“Territories of Complicity,” installation view, transmediale 2018 face value. Festival edition: 2018. Photo: Luca Girardini, transmediale, CC BY NC-SA 4.0

Bodies of water have never been neutral territory, but they play a major role in the construction of the “racial capitalocene” (the world ecology that is historically based on slavery and colonialism), as was stressed in Françoise Vergès’s keynote speech. Collaborative studio CAMP’s reflective display, Country of the Sea (2009–15), gives this same maritime imperialism a special visual representation with their “view from the boat,” while Femke Herregraven’s interactive digital installation Sprawling Swamps (2016–2018) addresses the politicization of the seas through fictional infrastructures, which viewers can precariously navigate via interface on swamp surfaces, waves, ice sheets, and shifting shorelines.

Lisa Rave’s essayistic documentary Europium (2014) also departs from the surface and sinks down to the seabed, where the chemical element Europium is extracted. Given its use in the production of computer monitors, one might think that reduction of reality into two-dimensional images would in fact become dependent on a deeper penetration of the Earth’s crust. This may lead to the question: Are classical distinctions, such as the noumenal and phenomenal or ontical and ontological, still relevant in the post-digital age? Faisal Devji and Sybille Krämer, participants of “The Weaponization of Language” panel, answer this question by proposing the politics of superficiality. In their two-denominational worlds in which everything is visible and affirmatively taken at face value, the depths of criticism, which supposedly reveals hidden depths (interests, desires, biases), become redundant. But is this enthusiastic embrace of mere appearances not just a subterranean drive of the postcritical? Such revitalizations seem cynical in relation to the festival theme.

"Europium" by Lisa Rave
“Europium” by Lisa Rave. Festival edition: 2018. Photo: Luca Girardini, transmediale, CC BY NC-SA 4.0

Nevertheless, these claims may seem serendipitous regarding the aforementioned analogy. The symbolic economy of trading no longer conforms to the arbitrariness of sign ruled by linguistic conventions. The signifier is not merely split from the signified, as poststructuralism taught us. It is just signifiers floating on a surface and mixing with each other. “Fluidity,” as Ana Teixeira Pinto argued elsewhere, “is the aesthetic ideology of finance. Anything metamorphic can be seen as an analogue of currency.” Indeed, today one can witness unprecedented mutations of long-standing cultural values and the flattening of political hierarchies. Racism without race, feminism without women, and fascism without fascists. Moreover, and according to Pinto’s  presentation (and referenced in texts by Angela Nagle), the tactics and tools formerly associated with progressive forces, such as queerness, transgression, leaderlessness, or appropriation are themselves appropriated by the rightist sensibility.

In reaction against rising multiple fascisms and their affiliation with new technological regimes, Transmediale functions as a minority in adopting the “popular front” opinion — as in the 1930s, when united forces of different political spectrums would work against a common enemy. While some speakers expressed defeatism, like Ewa Majewska, who claimed that the “elite” has handed power to fascists, others tried to map out alternative techno-utopian political imaginaries and forms of coalition. Over the three-day conference component to the festival, assembled by Daphne Dragona, attendees would be told that VR glasses can help us feel empathetic toward alterity, cryptocurrencies are facilitating communism, feminist troll farms are overcoming the patriarchy, and wiki-activism can stop gentrification. It is no coincidence that Audre Lorde’s famous maxim, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” was quoted so many times throughout the program that it became the festival’s unofficial motto.

But maybe instead of policing origins and ownership of technologies, one should question one’s own position. In the context of a festival on digital culture, every personal prophecy of a struggle to come is reminiscent of presentations of start-ups and innovations for potential investors. If there is no technological answer to social problems, as Francis Hunger mentioned during the “Biased Futures” panel, should we look to old-fashioned social theories as suggested by Nina Power, or do we instead insist on the aesthetization of aesthetics and, separately, the politicization of politics put forward by Lioudmila Voropai? The famous Marxian appeal to expropriate the expropriators did not bother to question the purity of technologies — they are capitalist per se. Rather, it emphasized the fact that we were dispossessed long before the development of these technologies.

Andrey Shental is an art critic, artist and curator based in Moscow.

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