Online Book Launch
Untranslatable Words of Cultural Practices – A Shared Vocabulary
Untranslatable proposes a new vocabulary of terms that remain untranslated in their original language. These are words that convey cultural practices, attitudes and value systems and are explained from their respective language and word canon. Terms are presented that broaden perspectives, facilitate new perspectives, and thus enrich collective thinking as a global community. The Shared Vocabulary presents an expanded cultural and etymological understanding of the world and our cultural actions. This publication makes global knowledge systems visible and promotes the accessibility of valuable everyday practices.
We are running into a great danger, my brothers, if we are not careful, this precious and cultural instrument of information, enjoyment, struggle represented by the cinema is slipping through our fingers forever. —Abid Med Hondo, Les bicots nègres vos voisins, Prologue, 1978
A series with and around
S A V V Y Books Series
The publications in this series reflect, expand, and document the activities of the research, discursive, performative, and curatorial projects of S A V V Y Contemporary | The Laboratory of Form-Ideas. SA V V Y Books aims at promoting epistemological diversity, resonating with Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s claim that “Another Knowledge is Possible.” By acknowledging the limits and faults of academic disciplines and advocating for processes of unlearning, our effort is thus to create a platform which encourages extra-disciplinary knowledges and promotes the thinking and writing of authors, artists, philosophers, scientists, and activists whose practices challenge Western epistemologies: looking towards epistemic systems from Africa and the African diaspora, Asia-Pacific, the Middle-East and Latin America.
China as an Issue
Artistic and Intellectual Practices Since the Second Half of the 20th Century
Listen to Carol Yinghua Lu in conversation with Archive Books’ editor Paolo Caffoni. They talk about “having to explain oneself” when confronted with expectations, language and translation, the illusion of the art market in China, the process of depoliticisation after 1989, nationalism and self-criticism, looking for complicity and alliances, contemporary art and the Cultural Revolution.
China as an Issue is an ongoing lecture series organized by the Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum since 2018. Chinese scholars are invited to discuss topics related to China or the world, as well as foreign scholars to speak about China or international questions involving the subject of China. Through rigorous scrutinization of a specific issue we try to avoid making generalizations as well as the parochial tendency to reject extraterritorial or foreign theories in the study of domestic issues. The attempt made here is not only to see the world from a local Chinese perspective, but also to observe China from a global perspective. By calling into question the underlying typology of the inside and the outside we consider China as an issue requiring discussion, rather than already having an established premise.
Cinema and Intermedia:
Critical Texts of the 1960s
Edited by Ann Adachi-Tasch,
Go Hirasawa, Julian Ross
Collaborative Cataloging Japan
With contributions by Go Hirasawa, Ann Adachi-Tasch, Julian Ross, Adachi Masao, Iimura Takahiko, Ishiko Junzō, Ishizaki Kōichirō, Jōnouchi Matoharu, Manabe Hiroshi, Matsuda Masao, Miyai Rikurō, Ōe Masanori, Satō Jūshin, Tone Yasunao.
Intermedia and Expanded Cinema, both as critical approach and artistic practice, left an indelible mark in a period of Japanese art history that is broadly considered to be one of its most dynamic moments in the wake of its postwar reemergence.
Despite the burgeoning interest in academic and curatorial circles in this segment of Japanese art history, the paucity of readily available material in a language other that Japanese has meant the local context, particularly the ways in which the terms were critically debated, was relatively neglected.
Through these translations, our hope is that Japanese debates on intermedia can contribute to international discourse, and that works of Japanese Expanded cinema can be preserved, reenacted and analyzed with these discussions.
Why Call it Labor? comprises four essays and one conversation with contemporary artists and curators discussing their experience of becoming mothers as professionals in the arts, its reality and effects. While their reflections represent a similar strata of art worker in terms of background, class, and career trajectory, the impact of instruments of patriarchy on rendering maternity invisible that they describe is recognizable and insidious. In a post-partum diary, Lara Khaldi makes audible the everyday exhaustion and disregard that comes with being a new mother; Mirene Arsanios and Nikki Columbus discuss the impact of the absence of legal or social protection for mothers; Basma Alsharif walks us through the difficulties of navigating the demands of different social contexts; Mary Jirmanus Saba pre-occupies at home with a flimsy maternity blog; And Mai Abu ElDahab put propositions on the table for how to deal with all of this.
Recent Releases ↓
Why Call in Labor?
On Motherhood and Art Work
Edited by Mai Abu ElDahab
Contributions by Mai Abu ElDahab, Lara Khaldi, Mary Jirmanus Saba, Mirene Arsanios and Nikki Columbus and Basma Alsharif
Co-published with Mophradat
Nicoline van Harskamp
Edited by Achim Lengerer
Co-Published with SCRIPTINGS
THE READER SERIES – SCRIPTINGS
Political Scenarios publishes carefully selected scripts and texts by artists that refer neither to academic forms nor to purely literary forms of writing, but rather embed “text” as a fully integral part of contemporary political and visual art practice. Scriptings: Political Scenarios is edited by artist Achim Lengerer, and published as an imprint at Archive Books, and digitally at EECLECTIC – Digital Publishing for Visual Culture.
The publication My Name Is Language (2020) explores the key tenets of artist Nicoline van Harskamp’s research and practice, such as the contemporary use and modification of languages, a treatment of names as spoken language rather than spelled identity markers, and the practice of self-naming. In the fictive worlds represented in this book, society is not centralized, not oversized, and self-naming is brought forward as a form of self-empowerment and resistance.
Central to this book are scripts by Nicoline van Harskamp, for the video work PDGN and a series of staged works titled My Name Is Language. A scholar of literary arts and performance culture, Avishek Ganguly reflects in his essay “Global Englishes, Rough Futures” on questions of translation, incomprehension, and untranslatability in van Harskamp’s work. The book also includes a list of text-change algorithms that van Harskamp calls “distorters” and an excerpt from Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) by Marge Piercy.
Transition to Nowhere
Art in History
The series Perspectives brings together practitioners and theorists from different regions on complex and multifaceted subjects allowing them to engage with each other’s arguments and fields of research. Each volume hosts a body of texts providing the perspectives of one author on pivotal issues.
Listen to Boris Buden in conversation with Archive Books’ editor Paolo Caffoni as they discuss art in history and language in history; language as a means of production as well as a commodity; the notions of native speaker and native informant. They also talk about childhood and history; Orientalism and temporalities; the role of the art and the intellectual, on the backdrop of the war in former Yugoslavia.
Today, after Post-Communism has ended in chaos and confusion, we are entitled to ask: was it a condition, or a transition; a rise or a decline; progression, regression or simply a time-lag?
Has it ever shaped its own form of social being, a unique mode of economic production, a politics of its own, a culture? Or was it just another interregnum of history, full of morbid symptoms we cannot get rid of?
Most of the essays in this book search for answers to these questions in works of art. Not because art possesses a superior knowledge on history, but because the knowledge on history we posses has failed in providing those answers. This is a new experience made possible by both art and history, which, in simultaneously facing their end, have come closer to one another than ever before. It is an experience we might possibly learn from.
IN THE SAME SERIES
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
In a While or Two
We Will Find the Tone
Essays and Proposals,
In a While Two We Will Find the Tone by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung presents, for the first time in one volume, essays and proposals edited anew. Ndikung’s expanded curatorial practice delineates the space of exhibition making as a space of critical thinking and of experimentation. By proximity, these texts echo each other, resonate with each other, interfere with each other, and present perspectives on the political, poetic, and philoso-phical potentials of exhibition making, beyond the tight corset of the discipline itself.
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD (born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon), is an independent curator, author and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. He was curator-at-large for documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel 2017, artistic director of the 12th Rencontres de Bamako 2019, a biennale for African photography in Mali, as well as guest curator of the 2018 Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal.