Zero Squared #74: Conceptual Militancy

Mike Watson is an art theorist and curator based in Italy. He writes regularly for Frieze, Art Review and Radical Philosophy and his book Towards a Conceptual Militancy is currently out from Zero Books.This week we discuss his book, Marcel Duchamp, and the idea of freedom in a world of objects.

Zero Books will be rolling out a membership site this month. Members will get access to members only podcasts, online workshops with our authors, and audiobooks. To find out more follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or check out Zero Books blog at zero-books.net.

In this episode you’ll hear clips from a Situationist documentary called Call it Sleep, an interview with Marcel Duchamp, Pharrell Williams interviewing Jeff Koons, an excerpt from the BBC’s television movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Negativland.

Zero Squared #64: Color and Form

The book Color, Facture, Art and Design is the topic this week as author Iona Singh drops in to discuss Constructivism, materialism and Marx. Iona, as well as being a Zero Books author, is an artist. Those are her paintings on the cover for this week’s show. It was great talking her.

Last week I mentioned and linked to an essay by Brendan O’Neill at Spiked and asked that people reach out to me either through comments, by email, or on Facebook. I received a couple of emails back, one from Vinnie in New Zealand who said he’d been listening to the podcast and who, rightly, accused me of wanting to be Marc Maron. I also received some comments on the O’Neill piece. An anonymous listener said that O’Neill is consistently defends the powerful and the privileged while making an undeveloped reference to “true leftism” and the other comments were fairly similar.

I would just like to point out that, while the rich and the powerful don’t deserve any sympathy there is a danger in getting too invested in the latest charges of corruption. Namely that this will revive a dream of a functional capitalism that manages to produce something like social equality.

The music in this episode includes Velimir Khlebnikov’s The Radio of The Future, a condensed explanation of Kant’s Aesthetics, an excerpt from The Boards of Canada’s song Aquarius, and a history of the color blue. The music you’re listening to right now is from the short film Suprematism in our Life, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Iona Singh and I discuss Color and Form.

Zero Squared #42: The Truth About Art

Patrick Doorly is an art historian specializing in Renaissance Italy. He divides his time between writing and teaching art history in the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, where he was acting director of studies for art history in 2001–02. Previously he was Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art & Design, Croydon College. Today we’ll discuss his book The Truth About Art which was published by Zero Books in August of 2013.

His book:
Traces the multiple meanings of art back to their historical roots, and equips the reader to choose between them. Art with a capital A turns out to be an invention of German Romantic philosophers, who endowed their creation with the attributes of genius, originality, rule breaking, and self-expression, directed by the spirit of the age. Recovering the problems that these attributes were devised to solve dispels many of the obscurities and contradictions that accompany them. What artists have always sought is excellence, and they become artists in so far as they achieve it. Quality was the supreme value in Renaissance Italy, and in early Greece it offered mortals glimpses of the divine. Today art historians avoid references to beauty or Quality, since neither is objective or definable.

In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Pierre Grimes, Robert Hughes, John Cage, Joseph Beuys and George Plimpton on Good Morning Mister Orwell, a BBC interview with Marcel Duchamp, and the theme from the 1968 film “Je t’aime, je t’aime,” and something called “Phased Floyd.”

Zero Squared #19: Listening to Writing and Letters

Daniela Cascella is the guest this week and we discuss her book F.M.R.L. The book is described as “a collection of fragments and essays recording accidents of hearing and detours of thought in response to the peripheral nature of listening and reading.”

Kristen Kreider, author of Poetics and Place, blurbed the book as follows:

“This is writing in its most present sense. Writing that, true to its tense, enacts a continual process of thinking and perceiving. Writing that, spinning its words from sound, gathers up referents in a loose weave. Expansive in scope, and intimate in scale, this is writing where reading dwells in the reverie of detail — and deserves our full attention. ”

It’s Wednesday, May 13th 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear Victoria Hanna discussing the Hebrew alphabet, Bobby McFerrin singing his ABCs, John David Ebert discussing Derrida and Plato’s Phaedrus, Nigel Tufnel playing Lick My Love Pump, Michael Tilson Thomas discussing music and emotion, Grover and Guy Smiley playing Name that Sound, Eric Satie’s Vexations, Gertrude Stein, the Youtube star Sonicstate unboxing a Moog Minitaur, Lester Bangs discussing the state of rock and roll in the 70s, Professor Wright of Yale introducing music appreciation, a mash up called Metal Machine Music for Airports and Sabine Schafer’s “Sound Warp” Installation.