We would like to begin by taking a sentence from the formulation of the problem that set the ball rolling for this lecture series. In speaking of the “hesitation in developing any kind of comprehensive strategy” for understanding precisely what it is that we call contemporary art today (in the wake of the last twenty years of contemporary art activity), the introduction to the series speaks of its having “assumed a fully mature form—and yet it still somehow refuses to be historicized as such.”
Simultaneously an assertion and a reticence to name one’s place in time, it is this equivocation that we would really like to discuss.
At the very beginning of Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan’s film Une histoire de vent (A Tale of the Wind), we see a frail Joris Ivens sitting in a chair on a sand dune in the Gobi Desert, on the border between China and Mongolia, waiting for the arrival of a sandstorm.
Elsewhere in the film, an old woman—a wind shaman—talks about waiting for the wind.
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