Discussion: Cartographies of the Absolute by Alberto Toscano & Jeff Kinkle

Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle’s forthcoming book, Cartographies of the Absolute, addresses the proliferation of works in the visual arts, film and literature that seek to tackle the representation of contemporary capitalism. Their research, which began in 2009 with a collaborative text on the HBO series The Wire, forms a critical survey of works that “totalize” current conditions and look to “thematize those facets of social existence which are particularly symptomatic of the trends and tensions in today’s political economy: financial markets, logistical complexes, commodity chains, and so on.” Inherent in this turn to figuration is the fundamental paradox of a desire to represent that which is ordinarily invisible; an “absolute” capitalist system resistant to being contained and comprehended in a single overview. 

This event serves as a prelude to the publishing of Cartographies of the Absolute, and continues the address of art’s figuring of capitalist ideology that formed a central concern within the recent Artists Space exhibition Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism. Toscano and Kinkle will present key sections of the book, and then discuss its concerns with artist Melanie Gilligan, whose episodic films have sought to address a capitalist imaginary through familiar modes of televisual and cinematic representation.

Cartographies of the Absolute
Alberto Toscano & Jeff Kinkle, with Melanie Gilligan

Friday, October 10, 2014, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street

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Alberto Toscano is a cultural critic, social theorist and philosopher who lectures in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production (2006), and Fanaticism: The Uses of an Idea (2010). He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and has translated several works by Alain Badiou to English. 

Jeff Kinkle is a writer, translator and law student based in New York. He earned a PhD from the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London in 2010. He is a member of the SITE Magazine editorial board and co-founder of the artist group Sakerna with Emanuel Almborg.

Melanie Gilligan is an artist and writer based in New York. She has a connected series of forthcoming solo exhibitions in the Netherlands at Casco, Utrecht; De Appel, Amsterdam; and De Hallen in Haarlem. Her work has been exhibited at the Chisenhale Gallery, London; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; ICA, London; and mumok, Vienna. Her writing has appeared in magazines and journals including Texte zur KunstArtforumMute, and Grey Room. She was a fellow with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in 2004-5.

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About Editorial Collective

EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE Samuel Moyn, Editor Columbia University Nicolas Guilhot, Executive Editor Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-New York Nehal Bhuta, Coeditor New School Graduate Program in International Affairs Nils Gilman, Coeditor Monitor Group Joseph R. Slaughter, Coeditor Columbia University Miriam Ticktin, Coeditor New School for Social Research

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