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Proud to be Flesh: A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net

By Mute, 23 November 2009

Proud to be Flesh CoverIn late 1994, back in the days of dial-up modems and Netscape Navigator 1.0, Mute magazine announced its timely arrival. Dedicated to an analysis of culture and politics 'after the net', Mute has consistently challenged the grandiose claims of the communications revolution, debunking its utopian rhetoric and offering more critical perspectives. more...

Cover artwork downloads - JPG and PDF 

Available in hardback and softback

624 pages, 78 colour illustrations, 229mm x 152mm

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Softback ISBN: 978-1-906496-28-9

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-906496-27-2

 

About the book

Chapter Titles:1. Direct Democracy and its Demons:Web 1.0 to Web 2.02. Net Art to Conceptual Art and Back3. I, Cyborg: Reinventing the Human4. Of Commoners and Criminals5. Organising Horizontally6. Assuming the Position: Art and/Against Business7. Under the Net – the City and the Camp8. Reality Check: Class and Immaterial Labour9. The Open Work

Edited by

Josephine Berry Slater, Pauline van Mourik Broekman, Michael Corris, Benedict Seymour, Anthony Iles and Simon Worthington.

In late 1994, back in the days of dial-up modems and Netscape Navigator 1.0, Mute magazine announced its timely arrival. Dedicated to an analysis of culture and politics 'after the net', Mute has consistently challenged the grandiose claims of the communications revolution, debunking its utopian rhetoric and offering more critical perspectives.

Fifteen years on, Mute Publishing and Autonomedia are delighted to announce the publication of Proud to be Flesh: A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net. The anthology selects representative articles from the magazine's hugely diverse content to reprise some of its recurring themes. This expansive collection charts the perilous journey from Web 1.0 to 2.0, contesting the democratisation this transition implied and laying bare our incorporeal expectations; it exposes the ways in which the logic of technology intersects with that of art and music and, in turn and inevitably, with the logic of business; it heralds the rise of neoliberalism and condemns the human cost; it amplifies the murmurs of dissent and revels in the first signs of collapse. The result situates key – but often little understood – concepts associated with the digital (e.g. the knowledge commons, immaterial labour and open source) in their proper context, producing an impressive overview of contemporary, networked culture in its broadest sense.Proud to be Flesh features a bold mix of essays, interviews, satirical fiction, email polemics and reportage from an array of international contributors working in art, philosophy, technology, politics, cultural theory, radical geography and more. Accessible introductions, a chronological arrangement of chapters and three full-colour image sections grant special insight into the evolution of key themes over time. In its refusal of specialisation, Proud to be Flesh is unique in its field. It offers a compelling view onto the messy but exciting moment that was the turn of the millennium as well as being an incomparable sourcebook for those seeking to push forward analysis of the global crisis that has since ensued.Contributors and interviewees: Saul Albert / Irina Aristarkhova / The Artist Placement Group (APG) / Brian Ashton / Richard Barbrook / John Barker / Will Barnes / Caroline Bassett / Anustup Basu / Amita Baviskar / Franco Berardi (Bifo) / Josephine Berry Slater / Josephine Bosma / Marc Bousquet / James Boyle / The Bureau of Inverse Technology (BIT) / Ted Byfield / Andy Cameron / Vuk Cosic / Gregor Claude / Eileen Condon / Michael Corris / Florian Cramer / Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) / Mark Crinson / Chris Darke / Anthony Davies / Mark Dery / Anna Dezeuze / Ricardo Dominguez / Economic Observatory at the University of Openess / María Fernández / Simon Ford / Matthew Fuller / Coco Fusco / David Garcia / Andrew Goffey / Paul Helliwell / Brian Holmes / Hydrarchist / Matthew Hyland / Anthony Iles / Kevin Kelly / Jamie King / Dmytri Kleiner / Kolinko / Arthur Kroker / Hari Kunzru / Peter Linebaugh / The London Particular / Geert Lovink / Suhail Malik / Melancholic Troglodytes / Flint Michigan / Jeff Mills / Angela Mitropoulos / Ewan Morrison / Neil Mulholland / David Panos / Luciana Parisi / Celia Pearce / Richard Pithouse / Simon Pope / Eddie Prévost / Louis Rossetto / Andreas Rüthi / Tim Savage / Pit Schultz / Benedict Seymour / Howard Slater / Keston Sutherland / Horacio Tarcus / Tiziana Terranova / Palle Torsson / Ben Watson / Stephen Willats / Steve Wright / Brian Wyrick / Soenke Zehle

Illustrations and artwork by: 50% Gray / Alexa Wright / Alexei Shulgin / Allen Tannenbaum / Amita Baviskar / Ammirati Puris Lintas / Andre Dipper / Angelo Rindone / Anja Kirschner / Ansuman Biswas / Benedict Seymour / Bureau of Inverse Tech / Carey Young / Catherine Story / Chiara Birattari Zoe Romano / Chris Wilcha / Coco Fusco / CORP Death Squad / Damien Jaques / Daniel Jackson / David Shrigley / Esiri Erherienne Esi / Etoy / FAT / Francis Upritchard / Gustav Metzger / Indymedia South Africa / Jakob Jakobsen / Jamie Robinson / John Latham / Jordan Crandall / Laura Bangert / Louise Oldfield / Lubna Hammond / Max Mlinaric / Merlin Carpenter / Nils Norman / Olia Lialina / Pauline van Mourik Broekman / Per Wizen / Pil and Galia Kollectiv / Pirat Byran / Quim Gil / Ricardo Dominguez / Simon Worthington / Sophie Rickett / Stephen Duncom / Stephen Willats / The Yes Men / Theo Michael / Vito Acconci / Vuk Cosic / William Shoebridge Richard Dawson / Zeigam Azizoff

"There are precious few arenas left in which contemporary art and culture are examined from a critical perspective that is willing to challenge both the clichés of academic art theory and the techno-topian disengagement of contemporary new media discourse. Proud to be Flesh provides an invaluable guide to the past fifteen years in the evolution of art; a period during which the boundaries between art, culture and technology have been eroded and re-consolidated in ways that are both troubling and promising. Mute's writers remind us that there are always real bodies, and consequences, behind the gleaming abstraction of 'new' media. They have managed an almost impossible task: to remain both substantively critical and accessible to a wide readership."

Grant H. Kester

Chair of Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego, and author of

Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (2004)

"At a time when recent advances in digital technologies are still considered innovative and are yet an unexplored field for many of us, Mute can already claim scholarship in this area. I think Proud to be Flesh is an invaluable reference tool for my own research and it should be on the desks of all digital media curators and educationalists."

Nayia Yiakoumaki

Archive Curator, Whitechapel Gallery

“Proud to be Flesh indicates […] what we might call a topological media model, one that is founded on a distributed and immersed tracking of cultural and economic antagonisms and events. Less the communication of a message, the political product here is precisely the intensive field of collective problematisation that is brought into being.”

Nicholas Thoburn

Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Manchester University

"This collection of articles from the many incarnations of the Mute project is a great read, and a summation of that remarkable period of recent British history running from 1994 to 2009." 

James Heartfield

Writer, lecturer and director of development think-tank Audacity

Read his full review in Spiked

  

"It is the broader cultural questions of the last two decades that really animate this anthology and contextualise the art it touches on; where else will you find a study of the free software movement in Africa, an examination of the 'Californian Ideology' of hippie capitalism, and the popping of the myth of openness as a revolutionary ideal? While Mute's examination of the dematerialisation of goods and the rise of fictitious capital proved immensely prescient, if financial theory is too abstract for you there is always the section on urban regeneration and the privatisation of public space, of which Benedict Seymour and David Panos's 'Fear Death by Water: The Regeneration Siege in Central Hackney' is a cracking example, acidly recounting the police siege that effectively cleared an area marked for gentrification. Essential reading for anyone interested in the ways in which evolving technology and business practices transform our culture - and how we might oppose such influences." 

David Barrett

Art critic and artist

Read his full review in Art Monthly

"One of the things that makes Proud to Be Flesh more than interesting is [the] multiplication of both connections and contradictory positions, as the provisional but often passionate mode of much of the argument rubs up against empirical research, philosophising both academic and homespun, documents of practice and utopian proposals in a sometimes dizzying proliferation of paradigms. Several of the essays reproduced here have become widely cited contributions to a larger debate, but you would need to have paid very close attention to Mute over a decade and a half not to find something new, or overlooked, in the propositions on offer."

Will Bradley

Writer and curator

Co-founder and director of The Modern Institute in Glasgow

Co-author of Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader, (2008)

Read his full review in Afterall

Buy online

Hardback £44.99Softback £24.99+ P&P UK £4 Europe £7 US/World £14+ P&P UK £4 Europe £6.67 US/World £12.76 Price (select region, inc. P&P) UK £48.99 Europe £51.99 US/ World £58.99

Price (select region, inc. P&P) UK £28.99 Europe £31.66 US/ World £37.75