In terms of the general shift from thinking of individuals as isolated from the “world” to thinking of them as nodes on networks, the 1990s may well be remembered as the beginning of the cyborg era.


We’re talking about whole new forms of subjectivity here. We’re talking seriously mutated worlds that never existed on this planet before. And it’s not just ideas. It’s new flesh.


In the manifesto, Haraway argues that the cyborg – a fusion of animal and machine – trashes the big oppositions between nature and culture, self and world that run through so much of our though. Why is this important? In conversation, when people describe something as natural, they’re saying that it’s just how the world is; we can’t change it.


…if women (and men) aren’t natural but are constructed, like a cyborg, then, given the right tools, we can all be reconstructed. Everything is up for grabs, from who does the dishes to who frame the constitution. Basic assumptions suddenly come into question, such as whether it’s natural to have a society based on violence and the domination of one group by another.

You Are Cyborg, Wired magazine

“Maggie’s voice had a certain level of doubt and a self-reflective vibe that made me trust her, even when she was criticizing stuff that I really love.”

“I’m not interested in categories,” he told me. “People put too much pressure on the world and smash it into boxes, and they’re trying to make sense of things that are just a flow. And they’re doing it a disservice.”

Rachel Rose | BOMB – Artists in Conversation

Aily Nash You started out as a painter, then you studied art history, and you’ve transitioned into making moving-image work for installation. How did you land in this current mode of operation?

Rachel Rose I was trying to expand what I thought I could do, or was interested in. In that process, I developed doubt about making art. Robert Irwin says that the key to the tool that you use to make something is whether it has the dimensions to deal with your questions. I was looking for a tool. Idealizing documentary films led me to learn how to research, write, shoot, edit, and design sound. That combination right now has the dimensions to deal with my questions.

AN What initially interested you about documentaries?

RR I didn’t understand how I could be an artist and also care deeply about the things around us that affect how we live and think. Art felt like a vacuum, so formal. Documentary film, to me, symbolically meant going out into the world, being openly curious, and then trying to make work that produced meaning from that.

AN You could investigate something?

RR Yes, going outside of myself and outside of the conditions that I thought made a thing a thing. But when I actually learned how to shoot, edit, put together a project–cold-calling people, travelling to shoot, I found that what I loved most was piecing those materials together. That itself also was meaning. Then I thought, I can’t be a documentary filmmaker. I’m too attached to the surface and the materiality of putting a work together and unfolding how that connects to the feeling within the work. So I guess I’m an artist.


AN By weather you mean global warming? Climate change?

RR Exactly. I don’t describe it that way because I want to address it not politically, not morally, but through its underlying structure and the feeling associated with it. In A Minute Ago I approached it from that perspective. But in all of my work it’s like that—I’m first marking the general feeling, the general territory I want to work in. Then I try to hone it down more specifically, maybe to some tangible experiences I’ve had with that thing. I sort of hyper-break it down for myself. For example, with A Minute Ago, it was an experience I had in a coffee shop when all of a sudden this crazy storm came in. There was a gust of wind, and then it went away. Everyone in the coffee shop paused and a few minutes later we just went on with our lives. I kept thinking about that and about glass as this barrier. So I looked into the history of glass and glass manufacturing. Looking around New York City, so many buildings are conceived around glass, and how did that come to be? My research led me to Ohio and I shot in a glass museum in Toledo. In the end I didn’t use that footage in the film. My research tends to be sprawling. It’s exploratory, very free-form, but I’m also simply trying to figure out what I’m going to do. The glass question led me to think about its equivalent in technology—compositing, which is basically collaging within the frame. I wanted to learn compositing in postproduction, and then I thought about compositing in-camera, which is how I arrived at the method I used while shooting in the glass house.

BOMB 133, Fall 2015

As Thiebaud puts it: “To call everything art is an obfuscation for the students and fails to clarify what we’re trying to get at as painters. Painting is concrete, but art is abstract. I don’t think we know what art is. But we know a lot about painting.”


Meanwhile, some painting professors enjoy the collapse of any shared convictions that painting has universal or core knowledge.


Gone is the idea that painting is understood only by groping one’s way to imperfect meaning through poetic expressions or universally understood metaphysical ideas.

“In The End of Capitalism, they make a compelling (and often very funny) argument that we should stop focusing on capitalism so much (seeing it everywhere, spending lots of our energy critiquing it)—they call this tendency “capitalistocentrist” and say that such a focus is self-defeating in that it sustains a notion of capitalism as ubiquitous, inevitable, or as super-powerful. Instead, in a queer theory vein, they argue that we should develop our eye for the diversity of economic life, and recognize the extent to which non-capitalist transactions (household work, lending practices, stealing, for example) mark our lives and relationships.”

User: Cricket from goodreads


Same goes for the art world. Less talk about the art market and more about what works move you, what didn’t. Art always win in the end.

“As info-workers are exposed to a growing mass of stimuli that cannot be dealt with according to the intensive modalities of pleasure and knowledge, acceleration leads to an impoverishment of experience. More information, less meaning. More information, less pleasure.”

Franco Berardi Bifo, “Cognitarian Subjectivation,” e-flux journal Are You Working Too Much?, 2011, p. 136.