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Just don’t think about it

Benjamin Kunkel: Boris Groys

8 August 2013
Introduction to Antiphilosophy 
by Boris Groys.
Verso, 248 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 1 84467 756 6
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... another department of ‘administered life’. East or West, all but a handful of artworks supplied only another dose of compliance and regimentation. Adorno is worth keeping in mind while reading BorisGroys, who is one of the more interesting philosophical – he would say antiphilosophical – writers on art today. Groys never discusses Adorno, a striking omission in light of his temper and range ...

Smash the Screen

Hal Foster: ‘Duty Free Art’

5 April 2018
Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War 
by Hito Steyerl.
Verso, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 243 2
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... less dialectical than paradoxical: rather than intensify contradictions, she likes to collapse them; rather than deconstruct a position, she likes to burst it like a bubble. Like Slavoj Žižek and BorisGroys, she can’t resist a philosophical joke or a rhetorical trick, and sometimes this leads her to oscillate between semi-paranoid projections (à la Philip K. Dick) and semi-cynical implosions ...

Almost Lovable

Sheila Fitzpatrick: What Stalin Built

29 July 2015
Landscapes of Communism: A History through Buildings 
by Owen Hatherley.
Allen Lane, 613 pp., £25, June 2015, 978 1 84614 768 5
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... Sytin in his backpack, and indeed it’s hard to imagine any point of connection between his sensibility and that of the Russian intelligentsia. Žižek is a hovering presence, and there is a dash of BorisGroys as well. Hatherley would like to think the communist regimes did something right in creating living space for their people and hopes to find some elements of ‘real socialism’ in their built ...

Stalin at the Movies

Peter Wollen: The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism by J. Hoberman

25 November 1999
The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism 
by J. Hoberman.
Temple, 315 pp., £27.95, November 1998, 1 56639 643 3
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... torturers and cronies, each of whom wondered in his private moments when he would awaken to the rapping on the door. Hoberman, however, adopts a view of Socialist Realism which originates in BorisGroys’s slim but systematic volume, The Total Art [Gesamtkunstwerk] of Stalinism (1988). In particular, he seizes on Groys’s comparison of Socialist Realism with Surrealism: This ‘self-staging’ of ...

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