Requests and Antisongs: A Reading List

The ICA Bookshop's handpicked selection of titles related to James Richards: Requests and Antisongs.

Abi Bryant and Peter Willis

9 Nov 2016

To coincide with the final weekend of James Richards: Requests and Antisongs, the ICA Bookshop's Abi Bryant and Peter Willis have put together a reading list of titles exploring topics from technology and the internet in contemporary art to the politics of image.

In Requests and Antisongs, Richards presents three works which continue an ongoing exploration of the emotive power of appropriated digital video.

Request and Antisongs
ed. James Richards and Mason Leaver-Yap
Published to coincide with a sequence of exhibitions by James Richards including his exhibition at the ICA, Requests and Antisongs functions as responsive and expansive to the shows themselves. A new series of specially-produced collages is accompanied by texts from Dan Fox, Chris McCormack, Fatima Hellberg, Ed Atkins and Steve Reinke.

The Wretched of the Screen
Hito Steyerl
This collection of essays, which includes the landmark In Defense of the Poor Image, is introduced by Franco “Bifo” Berardi as representing “a sort of reconnaissance mission” into uncertain, shifting terrain. Steyerl develops a politics of the image, one which reflects critically on the flow of capital and the ephemerality of the present, whilst evoking the openings and potentials that new configurations can provide.

The Autobiography of Video
Ina Blom
This is not just a study of the impact of video technology on artistic production, nor a straightforward media archaeology of a medium that has both essentially disappeared but also had intense ramifications on how we create and digest culture. Subtitled The Life and Times of a Memory Technology, Blom’s text is an autobiography of video itself, a medium built for autobiography. From the drawings of Ray Johnson, through the proto-video of painting, the appropriative collage of Raoul Haussman and all the way up to the utilitarian socialism of Nam June Paik, this collection recasts the life of moving image work as a fiction as yet unfinished.

You Are Here: Art After the Internet
Omar Kholief
Drawing together contributions from artists, writers and curators to explore the continually evolving relationship between artistic practices and internet cultures, You Are Here is an accumulation of contradictions. Through bringing together multiple voices and projects, this collection reveals a snapshot of a specific moment, yet one which is open-ended, discursive and provocative – reflective of possible presents and potential futures.

The Rhythmic Event
Eleni Ikoniadou
The Rhythmic Event is impressive not just for its range of applications across digital humanities, media theory, art history and sound studies, or that it attempts to forge a rigorous new approach to the sonic and its relation to perception, temporality and experience, but also because it’s written entirely in iambic pentameter (OK, that last one is not true).

Appropriation (Documents of Contemporary Art)
David Evans
All (Walter Benjamin, p.150) words (Barbara Kruger, p.115) in (Okwui Enwezor, p.137) this (Douglas Crimp, p.189) text (Guy Debord, p.66) are (Lucy R. Lippard, p.50) appropriated (Benjamin H.D Buchloch, p.179) from (Richard Prince, p.84) the (Sherrie Levine, p.81) book (Cindy Sherman, p.118) Appropriation (Isabelle Graw, p.214) edited (Iwona Blazwick, p.5) by (Laura Mulvey, p.120) David (Elisabeth Sussman, p.92) Evans (David Evans, p.12).

A Primer for Cadavers
Ed Atkins
Collecting together for the first time a selection of Ed Atkins’ texts, frequently written to accompany his films, commissions and exhibitions, A Primer for Cadavers is densely layered, restless and visceral. Atkins’ texts overlap and seep into each other as he writes around the corporeal “an elegiac, erotic Frankenstein for the twenty-first century” (Joe Luna, Afterword). ■

James Richards: Requests and Antisongs runs in the ICA Upper and Lower Galleries until Sunday 13 November.