11 07 07

Multitudes' counter-project in response to the invitation to participate in Documenta 12

Multitudes is pleased to announce the inauguration of its new website, Multitudes-Icônes, which is dedicated to contemporary art:

Multitudes-Icônes was launched during a workshop organized by Multitudes at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany (Documenta Halle, June 25-28, 2007). The site brings together three parallel projects: Multitudes' counter-project in response to the invitation to participate in Documenta 12; an artist residence project in which artists have been invited to engage with the site in order to produce a specific project; and, finally, archives of texts and Icônes portfolios (projects about and by artists) published in the journal since its inception in March 2000.

Multitudes was asked by the Documenta 12 organizers to respond to the exhibition’s three questions/themes (“Is modernity our antiquity?“; “What is Bare Life?“; and “What is to be done?“). The journal’s answer was to create a counter-project on Multitudes-Icônes called Critical and Clinical Documentation. On the site, the three questions were reformulated (that is, appropriated and détourned) and addressed to artists in a provocative way. Artists were asked to situate their work in relation to Documenta 12’s themes but also in relation to their participation or non-participation in the exhibition. The ensemble of responses—visual, verbal, sonorous—constitute alternative, multiple, and ironic points of view, or “critical and clinical” perspectives, regarding the exhibition’s themes and Documenta itself. The website’s organization of the artists’ responses provides an open framework, allowing users to articulate relations between replies, creating hybrid interventions, and transforming each user into a curator-artist of another, virtual-real Documenta.
For its inauguration, the Residence space is linked to Critical and Clinical Documentation and presents three projects in response to Documenta’s themes. In a direct or indirect manner, each project interrogates the themes’ significance. Here, John Beech, Birgit Jürgenssen, and the Société Réaliste critically probe the notions of modernity, bare life, and education.
Taking as its point of departure Multitudes’ theoretical practice, the site Multitudes-Icônes develops the journal’s previous interventions in the field of contemporary art, calling into question the relations between aesthetics and politics. The site brings together previously published Icônes portfolios as well as a collection of texts that engage pressing issues regarding the aesthetic field. Artists have also been invited to reactualize and “reanimate” their contributions to Multitudes.

Multitudes is a political, philosophical, and cultural journal in which the transversal objective is to intervene within the field of intellectual and artistic production and to make the question of alternative processes of subjectivation and collective individuation central to this field. Its goal is to experiment with new conditions of political enunciation and agency while sketching out problematics that cut across the fields of the political economy, philosophy, artistic practice, and the emergent cultures of cyber-freedom. Multitudes is one of the first French-language journals to publish its editions, available for free, on the Internet.
By engaging the Internet as a media that enables the multiple possibilities engendered by contemporary social transformations, the journal follows from the experience of the BBS in the United States, Radio Alice in Italy, Radio Tomate and the Minitel Alter by Felix Guattari, as well the anticipation of a “postmedia era” in the 1980s.

The archive of published articles can be consulted at:

Multitude’s three Documenta 12 questions détourned and addressed to artists:

Is modernity (y)our aftermath?
For D12, modernity haunts our common planetary horizon like a zombie, caught between death and life. How do you feel about modernity's fate with respect to its universalism qua totalitarism/antitotalitarism refrain: nostalgic, compromised, critical, terrified or still yearning for postmodernity? In light of your participation/non-participation in D12, how do you wake up from post/modernity's night of the living dead?

Is bare life your apocalyptic political dimension?
If bare life deals with that part of our existence from which no measure of security will ever protect us, how do you feel in your real life with regard to your participation/non-participation in D12? Tortured, lyrical or even ecstatic? Is the concentration camp a useful paradigm for you? How can bare life be experienced by an audience? (Did you ever read Agamben in a state of exception? Crying or laughing?)

What is to be done after the D12 Bildung programme?
Will your participation/non-participation help you not to feel lost between the devil (didacticism, academia) and the deep blue sea (commodity fetishism)? Did reading Schiller make you feel romantic? Have you walked through Habermas's public sphere? Are you sharing Rancière's distribution of the sensible? Would you still prefer to fly with Deleuze & Guattari? Develop as you wish, with or without reading list.

Editorial conception: Eric Alliez, Giovanna Zapperi
Realization: Benoît Durandin, Marika Dermineur, Thomas Mery
Multitudes-Icones was produced with the support of DICREAM / CNC et MRT / Ministère de la Culture et Communication.