[Publication Program]: Coincidences in Prepositions, December 2021-May 2022, Harun Farocki Institut, Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN), and UP Vargas Museum

Coincidences in Prepositions is a publication program conceptualized to review questions, propositions, and solutions that have been set up in the dis/continuities of many colonial milieus. Accessing the seemingly imprecise, insufficient in the task at hand—in its scales, gradients, and panics perceptible or possible to commit to right now, Coincidences engages with the difficulty of juxtaposing worlds and traditions through their images and imaginations. Prepositions then reconsiders different assemblages in thought and practice that have been crafted to work in existing technico-moral procedures and to respond with constantly shifting ethical systems.

The project facilitates the entry of method, theory, and historicism in consecutive times: first, through speech, gesture, and the performative in a series of discursive events on Zoom (All the Missing Limbs of a Pre/oposition); second, through the readily migratory screen emerging from a singular artistic output at the intersection of research-university-museum (Harun Farocki, Vargas Museum, Manila); and third, through inter-con-textual registers published, coded, and edited virtually for a future readership (Rosa Mercedes Issue 04).

Coincidences in Prepositions hopes to reveal how communities of fate can mutually constitute a “problem-space“ (David Scott), what concept-work they can instantaneously convene, and which of their and when ethical practices can fuse or diverge in urgencies for contemporary modes of how to live together. Hosted in art, a field assumed to carry “comparison[s] in one and the same time and in consecutive times” (Iveković), this confrontational turn within the asymmetries of the comparative might be the reconciliatory position or foster a possibility of repair in a political program of working together/reaching out. It contributes to the understanding and transformation of denaturalized perspectives and technologies as well as their afterlives and “weak”/“poor” fabrications.


Coincidences in Prepositions links multiple loci of enunciation from Nora Alter, Yasmin Tri Aryani, Christoph Balzar, Amy Lien/Enzo Camacho, Glenn Diaz, Abdul Nazir bin Harith Fadzillah, Farabi Fakih, Harun Farocki, Patrick Flores, Ramon Guillermo, Doreen Mende, Ying Sze Pek, Zikri Rahman, Rachel Thompson, Lim Paik Yin, Soyoung Yoon, Wong Binghao and more.

Initiated by Renan Laru-an & titre provisoire (Cathleen Schuster/Marcel Dickhage). Reading the scholarship of Aihwa Ong, Goh Beng Lan, and Rada Iveković has been integral in this initiative.

In partnership with the Harun Farocki Institut, Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN), and UP Vargas Museum. Supported by Goethe-Institut.

More information on the Zoom events All the Missing Limbs of a Proposition here.

December 5th, 2021 — Projects / Publication

A  word on “post-truth” by postcolonial and photography scholar Zahid R. Chauhary (from his 2020 essay “The Politics of Exposure: Truth after Post-Facts”):So perhaps it is not simply that truth acts (such as whistleblowing) expose what we already know, but that the place of knowledge in an atmosphere of fetishistic disavowal lends such disavowal a libidinal frisson. In cynical reasoning, truth actually matters a great deal because acting in spite of it is what endows the action with its distinctive fetishistic pleasure.”

October 26th, 2021

Lauren Berlant, the brilliant theorist of “cruel optimism” and related issues, died of a rare form of cancer on June 28. The following, devastatingly optimistic quote is from a 2016 essay on the commons as “infrastructures for troubling times,” part of a book that they worked on with the typically double-edged title On the Inconvenience of Other People: “What remains for our pedagogy of unlearning is to build affective infrastructures that admit the work of desire as the work of an aspirational ambivalence. What remains is the potential we have to common infrastructures that absorb the blows of our aggressive need for the world to accommodate us and our resistance to adaptation and that, at the same time, hold out the prospect of a world worth attaching to that’s something other than an old hope’s bitter echo. A failed episode is not evidence that the project was in error. By definition, the common forms of life are always going through a phase, as infrastructures will.”


Some basics from the Strike MoMA site: “Campaigns, actions, and letters chip away at the regime’s facade from the outside. Inside, every time workers organize, defy the boss, care for a coworker, disrespect secrecy, or enact other forms of subversion, cracks are created in the core. Cracking and chipping, chipping and cracking. As the walls that artificially separate the museum from the world collapse, we reorient away from the institution and come together to make plans. Let us strike in all the ways possible to exit from the terms of the museum so we can set our own.”


via Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”


Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”


Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020
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