Frans Jacobi: Aesthetics of Resistance
Thursday 1 November, 18.00-21.00
Really Simple Syndication Press which is the publication arm of SixtyEight Art Institute warmly welcomes you to the release of Aesthetics of Resistance by the visual artist Frans Jacobi. This book launch marks the first occasion on which RSS Press activates the 'syndication' aspect referred to in our name by introducing a distribution model of carefully selected titles and publishers. Where the selection of books and projects will be very much driven by a curatorial and artistic research direction, in order to foster and help inspire new critical thinking in our ever-evolving era.
Frans Jacobi: Aesthetics of Resistance has been splendidly designed by the Danish book designer, Jeanne Betak, and it is part of a publishing collaboration between Revolver Publishing in Berlin and Space Poetry in Copenhagen; it will be co-distributed by RSS Press in Copenhagen.
Book Launch: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Thursday, 1 November
Gothersgade 167, Kbh K
The evening program will be arranged by Frans Jacobi and Space Poetry.
Drinks will be served and all are welcome.
Books will be available for purchase at this event or you can order from RSS Press Shop.
Aesthetics of Resistance revolves around 8 performances carried out by the Danish visual artist Frans Jacobi in the period between 2009 and 2012. The texts compiled in the book include performance scripts and commentaries, in addition to an extended glossary of terms that investigate the topics of these performances. Together they expand on contemporary forms of demonstration culture and political activism as performativity.
The book brings together a series of events that point to four crucial and large-scale moments, which took place in the recent history of protest movements. Jacobi focuses on the fabricated nature of these events in order to accomplish a reading of the aesthetic value of protest, and of how the establishment of a certain regime of images and their representation in the media becomes the underlying goal of an activism that seemingly aims for something else. In so doing, he shows that the instigation and performance of protest is a visual language that furthers the goals of meaning and representation for political resistance. Noting along the way, how the images being performed, either by the activists or by the societal powers opposing them, are crucial to the communication of protest; especially when the latter use existing systems such as the police, politicians or biased media landscapes to misinform them.
The chosen sequences of protest are the Tiananmen Square Riots in Beijing 1989; the ‘YouthHouse Movement’ in Copenhagen, Denmark 2007/2008; the Climate Justice Action and other attempts at protest surrounding COP15, the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen 2009; and the Egyptian uprising and revolution concentrated around Tahrir Square in Cairo 2011. Through these, Jacobi traces how collective performative acts constitute the political content of these events, and how a ‘thinking with the senses’ establishes political visions in opposition and contrast to the established contexts they appear in – whether this is the oppressive one-party communism of China 1989, the neo-liberal post-politics of Denmark 2007-2009, or the military dictatorship of Mubarak’s Egypt 2011.
The book as an outcome of Jacobi’s artistic research provides an understanding of the aesthetic language that emerges from these events. Building on how the uprisings on Tahrir Square led into the global wave of protests in 2011/2012 (like Occupy Wall Street in USA, M15 in Spain, Gezi Park in Istanbul) and how against this background an aesthetics of resistance articulates how politics of consent are reconstituted through performative acts. Even when these are resituated into complex, democratic, and mediatized fronts to challenge power.
Referring to German writer Peter Weiss’s seminal novel ‘Aesthetics of Resistance’, artist Hito Steyerl writes in her essay ‘Aesthetics of Resistance?’ that the novel “... establishes a genealogy of aesthetic research, which is related to the history of emancipatory struggles throughout the 20th century.” Taking up the title ‘Aesthetics of Resistance’, Jacobi explicitly connects his project to this ‘genealogy of aesthetic research’, articulating how contemporary political activism performs radical, political imagery grounded in collective improvisation and an inventive, contextual consciousness.
The political content is constituted as form and is performed as image. This is – in an extremely condensed form – the ‘Aesthetics of Resistance’.
Frans Jacobi (b. 1960) is a visual artist, living and working in Copenhagen and Bergen. He works with performance, text and images, and since 2012 has been Professor in Time-based Art at the Faculty of Art, Music & Design / KMD, University of Bergen, Norway. In 2014 Jacobi established the artistic research conglomerate SYNSMASKINEN and in 2017 the Green Hijab Movement with visual artist Gitte Sætre.
Jeanne Betak is a graphic and book designer specialized in developing and formulating contemporary publications and catalogues. Since 1996, she has produced a wide range of publications in collaboration with artists, architects, musicians, writers, editors and curators. Each time giving form and context to visual layouts based on a honed process of research, listening, and dialogue in each collaboration. Betak lives and works in Copenhagen.
Space Poetry began as a group of aspiring young artists, with their first publication appearing in 1980. A few years later they initiated the magazine Pist Protta, which has since developed into a seminal fixture on the Danish art scene. Space Poetry, now run by Jesper Fabricius, has gone on to publish many titles across the array of art book production, including poetry collaborations, book objects, and artistic research. Space Poetry and Pist Protta have been featured in numerous exhibitions in Denmark and internationally, and have received several awards, such as the C.F. Hendriksen Medal from the Danish Association of Book Craft.
Frans Jacobi: Aesthetics of Resistance
Revolver Publishing, Berlin and Space Poetry, Copenhagen
October 2018. Book design by Jeanne Betak
300 DKK / 40 EU
ISBN 978-3-95763-427-6 DE
ISBN 978-87-7603-193-0 DK
Books can be ordered online from the Really Simple Syndication Press Shop
RSS Press aims to re-imagine the relationship between art, theory, and literature as a way of fostering critical discourse – looking to formulate an international voice from the perspective of SixtyEight Art Institute’s physical presence in Copenhagen. We focus on artistic research in the form of projects or as part of an extended practice emerging from exhibition-making concerns. In addition to exploring similar energies, we are about developing new readerships in this post-social networked world through a syndication model.
To this end, Aesthetics of Resistance is the first in a series of books which we will be 'syndicating' over the coming months and years. By carefully choosing titles from like-minded publishers which represent the foremost artistic and curatorial research, we wish to offer our readers a comprehensive selection of the most intellectually innovative and vital publications in this field. Available both at our physical store at SixtyEight Art Institute in Copenhagen and through our website, our syndicated titles will constitute an essential part of our aim to foster new readerships and inspire new critical thinking in our ever-evolving era.
Really Simple Syndication Press is co-founded and edited by the writer and art historian Christopher Sand-Iversen and artist Hugo Hopping.