Extracurricular  /  Seminars

On Appropriation

Saturday 18 December, 8:00 – 10:00pm

In the last meeting of the Machete group, we considered the theme of negation from various theoretical perspectives, and, further, how those themes had impacted contemporary artistic production. Building on Debord’s notion of detournement in his chapter “On Negation,” we now turn to the theme of appropriation. In this turn a new set of problems emerges: Does appropriation name a useful tactic in the recuperation of genuine critique? Is appropriation ever able to truly wrest the taken image from the dominant culture? In what ways can appropriation serve as a regressive move – in the colonial encounter, for instance? The discussion will be framed with theoretical readings from Isabelle Graw, Benjamin Buchloh and Homi Bhabha, and will be presented by Avi Alpert, Alexi Kukuljevic and Edward Schexnayder.

01. Bhabha-Mimicry and Man (224KB)

02. Buchloh-Parody and Appropriation (1.7MB)

03. Buchloh-Allegorical Procedures (3.5MB)

04. Graw-Dedication Replacing Appropriation (6.4MB)

The Machete Group organizes workshops, mini-seminars, reading groups, screenings and other events open to the public that have as their general focus the intersection between artistic practice and its theoretical articulation. The guiding proposition of the Machete Group is the claim that practice without theory is empty and theory without practice is blind. The goal of the center is to engender a rigorous and open atmosphere outside a strictly academic context that encourages autodidacticism, a willingness to question all forms of mastery and specialization, and the desire to think critically about artistic practice in an historically, socially and politically astute manner.

The Machete Group is an international consortium of artists and intellectuals based at Marginal Utility Gallery in Philadelphia. The Group runs the magazine Machete, offers seminars on current issues in the arts, and is invested in developing new collective forms of artistic and intellectual practice. Its members include Avi Alpert, David Dempewolf, Etienne Dolet, Ludwig Fischer, Alexi Kukuljevic, Holly Martins, Gabriel Rockhill, Theodore Tucker, and Yuka Yokoyama.

The Machete Group seminars are monthly workshops on current issues in the arts run by Alexi Kukuljevic, Gabriel Rockhill and Avi Alpert (as of fall 2010).