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The Nomad and the Altermodern: The Tate Triennial


Marcus Verhagen Available online: 07 Dec 2009

To cite this article: Marcus Verhagen (2009): The Nomad and the Altermodern: The Tate Triennial, Third Text, 23:6, 803-812 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528820903371206

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Third Text, Vol. 23, Issue 6, November, 2009, 803812

The Nomad and the Altermodern


The Tate Triennial
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Marcus Verhagen

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Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, trans Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods, Les Presses du rel, Dijon, 2002 Claire Bishop, Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, October, fall 2004, pp 51 79; Anthony Downey, Towards a Politics of Relational Aesthetics, Third Text, 86, 21:3, May 2007, pp 26977

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From the moment in 2007 when the Tate appointed Nicolas Bourriaud as curator of the 2009 Triennial, it was clear that the show would be greeted with a widespread interest that in some quarters would be tinged with scepticism. Bourriaud, who co-founded the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, is best known as the author of Relational Aesthetics, in which he championed the work of artists who organised meals, games and other social occasions and presented the resulting interactions as the artistic substance of their projects. Bourriaud saw their works as micro-utopias that created new social bonds in an atomised society.1 The book made a powerful impression in much of Europe but met with a warier response in Britain where critics argued that relational work of the kind defended by Bourriaud advanced a misleadingly rosy view of social exchange and that the writer sidelined aesthetic concerns in the application of purely political criteria.2 In hiring Bourriaud to curate the Triennial, the Tate took a calculated risk. The show that Bourriaud has now put together for the Tate departs from the format of the three previous Triennials in several respects. Whereas the earlier exhibitions showcased the work of prominent and emerging British artists, this one involves, out of a total of twenty-eight, eleven artists who are not British, though two live in London, and a further three who come from Britain but live elsewhere. And while earlier Triennials were essentially surveys, this show has a bold intellectual agenda. Like several recent biennials, it was preceded by a series of events, the Prologues, as they were called, featuring performances, films, talks and panels and so serving as a means of anticipating the show and mapping its central concerns. Two of the talks delivered in the Prologues, one by Okwui Enwezor and the other by T J Demos, are published in the catalogue, which opens with Altermodern, an essay by Bourriaud himself. This is where the problems begin. Bourriauds text, which like so much of his writing employs the rhetoric of the manifesto, announces the end of postmodernism and the advent of a new altermodern culture, his neologism playing on the modern of modernism and modernity and

Third Text ISSN 0952-8822 print/ISSN 1475-5297 online Third Text (2009) http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals DOI: 10.1080/09528820903371206

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Nicolas Bourriaud, Altermodern, Altermodern: Tate Triennial, catalogue, Tate Publishing, London, 2009, no page numbers The putative connection between postmodernism and a postcolonial culture that concerns itself primarily with roots and origins is discussed at greater length in Nicolas Bourriaud, The Radicant, trans James Gussen and Lili Porten, Lukas and Sternberg, New York, 2009, pp 2544. Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic; Modernity and Double Consciousness, Verso, London and New York, 1993, pp 1213 et passim T J Demos, The Ends of Exile: Towards a Coming Universality, Altermodern: Tate Triennial, op cit, no page numbers It is worth pointing out that when Bourriaud associates postmodernism with static, essentialist conceptions of subjectivity, he is at loggerheads with some of the more compelling analyses of postmodernist culture. Fredric Jameson, for instance, consistently argued that postmodernism sees the disappearance of the unitary, internally coherent subject, and his view was echoed by David Harvey. As Jameson famously put it, under postmodernism the alienation of the [modernist] subject is displaced by the latters fragmentation. Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 1991, p 14. See also David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, Blackwell, Oxford, 1989, p 54.

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on the French altermondialisation (literally: other globalisation), a term that is used to designate those communities and organisations that are agitating for more equitable forms of global exchange. Altermodernism, as Bourriaud describes it, is the diverse cultural constellation that has emerged in response to globalisation. It is conditioned above all by the growing mobility of the artist, who has become a nomad, or homo viator, moving in space, in time and among the signs. The point is made repeatedly: under altermodernism, trajectories have become forms, displacement has become a method of depiction and works peregrinate through time and space.3 This is presumably why Bourriaud invited contributions from a number of non-British artists. If the contemporary artist is a nomad, the concept of the national school or culture becomes uniquely unhelpful as a notional context for an ambitious show. Bourriauds thesis has two central flaws. His critical reassessment of postmodernism is unconvincing and his conceptualisation of altermodernism is too vague to enhance our understanding of the art of the present. He associates post-colonial postmodernism with essentialism, with a quest for roots and origins, with a static, unipolar conception of subjectivity and with multiculturalism.4 Bourriaud makes no effort to engage with those post-colonial theorists who, like Homi K Bhabha, have advanced fluid, performative models of subjectivity, or with those who, like Paul Gilroy and Kobena Mercer, have warned against essentialism and the rhetoric of rootedness. It is never explained to the reader why his understanding of post-colonialism apparently differs so radically from theirs. And some readers will notice that his outline of altermodernism paradoxically echoes a powerful strain in postcolonial thought. In privileging movement and translation over fixity and belonging, he is in fact rehearsing a view that is expressed and more cogently supported in many of the texts of the past twenty-odd years on the legacy of colonialism and the promise of multiculturalism. Indeed, his homo viator, who moves between cultures and fashions hybrid new forms, is not unlike the sailors who serve as emblematic figures of cultural mediation in the writings of Paul Gilroy.5 A sympathetic reader might argue that Bourriaud, in speaking of post-colonial postmodernism and implicitly aligning it with the identity politics of the 1980s and 90s, is actually expressing a wariness not towards postcolonial thought but towards multiculturalism as a benevolent but confining bureaucratic imperative and towards art practices that pander to reductive, time-worn notions of difference. That is the position that T J Demos adopts in his catalogue essay when he comments on the institutionalisation of multiculturalism and the commodification of difference.6 But the question remains: why should this bureaucratised multiculturalism stand as the truth of postmodernism? It bears little relation either to postmodernism as it is commonly understood or to the work of the many presumably postmodernist artists, such as Jimmy Durham and Sonia Boyce, who have considered the aftermath of colonialism in historical and not in essentialist terms. Altermodernism, defined in opposition to post-colonialism and postmodernism, turns out on closer examination to harbour elements of both.7 When Bourriaud speaks of altermodernists as nomads who transform ideas and signs, transport them from one point to another, he is

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Bourriaud, Altermodern, op cit, no page numbers Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay, trans Jeanine Herman, Lukas and Sternberg, New York, 2002, pp 714 et passim

10. Craig Owens, The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism, in Beyond Recognition; Representation, Power, and Culture, University of California Press, Berkeley Los AngelesLondon, 1992, pp 5269

creating a picture of the artist which is consonant with the classic account of the postmodernist as a sampler, a figure who collates existing cultural forms.8 Elsewhere, Bourriaud talks of the artist as a semionaut who annexes existing signs and submits them to a process of postproduction.9 This conception of the artists work is entirely in keeping with Craig Owenss thesis on the allegorical character of postmodernist art. According to Owens, postmodernist work operates an allegorical doubling by appropriating sites, texts and images and redeploying them in order to suggest new and possibly critical readings.10 Much of the supposedly altermodernist work in the Triennial is, in Owenss sense, allegorical. Tacita Deans The Russian Ending (2001), a series of images based on early twentieth-century postcards of sites ravaged by war or natural disasters, is a case in point. Dean, having learnt that early Danish film-makers occasionally made two versions of a film, one with a happy conclusion for the American market and another with a bleak ending for Russian consumption, enlarged the postcards and covered them with the notations of an imaginary film director. This director, who was plainly intent on devising a suitably maudlin final scene for each hypothetical film, showed a relentless cynicism; on one shot of a dead minke whale, we read (not) MOBY DICK a cheaper production audience sympathy with the whale her last toothless smile (no more shrimps) final shot (how could they?). The horror of these scenes is conveyed not through their ostensible narratives but through the cruelty of Deans humour which serves on an allegorical level as an appeal for a wary and informed approach to the consumption of images. Numerous other works in the show, by artists such as Peter Coffin, Matthew Darbyshire and Joachim Koester, also work allegorically on historical materials; on the evidence of the Triennial, the postmodernist sampler is still with us. It will take a more rigorous and sustained argument than Bourriauds to convince a sceptical reader that postmodernism has run its course. As a conceptual tool in the analysis of contemporary art, altermodernism has another drawback: it is too broadly defined. Many artists of the past travelled, like the altermodernist, in space, in time and among the signs. Artists have always projected themselves back in time, reimagining a mythical past, revising historical narratives or reinterpreting the scenes of earlier artists. And they have long travelled to faraway locations, either in fantasy, like the nineteenth-century Orientalists, or in reality, like Paul Gauguin and countless other artist-travellers. Many photographers, in particular, have premised their work on travel, from Maxime Du Camp to Sebastio Salgado. And many artists of the 1970s and 80s reflected on the growing pace of global exchange, as Alighiero e Boetti did with his world maps woven in Afghanistan, for instance. So if we take Bourriauds portrayal at face value, seeing the altermodernist as an artist who establishes connections between points that are remote in time or space, we are liable to suppose that altermodernism long pre-dates postmodernism and modernism, for that matter. That is not to say that Bourriaud is wrong to dwell on travel. Certainly, artists today travel more regularly than they did in the day of Alighiero e Boetti. An examination of the nomadic ways of the artist could bring a sharpened understanding of the art of the present but Bourriaud provides no such examination in his text. For the writer, the

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11. For more critical treatments of the artistnomad, see T J Demos, The Ends of Exile: Towards a Coming Universality, and James Meyer, Nomads: Figures of Travel in Contemporary Art, in Site-Specificity: The Ethnographic Turn, ed Alex Coles, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2000, pp 1026; and Marcus Verhagen, Nomadism, Art Monthly, October 2006, pp 710.

nomad is a translator who brings one culture into contact with another and reveals in the process the cultural opportunities that are afforded by globalisation. In Bourriauds scheme, the altermodernist nomad is not just an effect of twenty-first-century modernity: he or she is an exemplary figure. But in elevating the nomad, the curator glosses over the widely differing objectives and experiences of different travellers. The artist, in moving from place to place, shadows the movements of other nomads of businessmen, tourists, migrants and refugees and their travels unavoidably serve as a backdrop for his or her own experience of displacement. After all, the habits of other travellers largely shape the modern travel industry and so directly impinge on the movements of the artist. And in todays world the most powerful are themselves nomadic as they direct and follow the flows of international capital. Indeed, the rhetoric of open borders is a crucial support of the neo-liberal ideology of the open market, even as it draws a veil over the difficulties that many, particularly economic migrants, have in travelling from country to country. So in sketching an indiscriminate defence of the artist as homo viator, Bourriaud runs the risk of suppressing the diversity of contemporary travel and unwittingly endorsing a blinkered view of globalisation.11 Bourriaud presents travel as an unambiguous good, monolithic and freely available. We need a more nuanced grasp of the contemporary modalities of travel, one that recognises the new avenues of exchange but also the new constraints and asymmetries that condition the experience of displacement today. Fortunately, the show is more complex and revealing than the catalogue essay, particularly on the subject of movement. In some of the exhibited work, in the photographs of Darren Almond for instance, the traveller is presented in terms that largely chime with Bourriauds argument, as a visitor with a privileged perspective on the singularity of the faraway location. But in other works, such as those by Franz Ackermann and Walead Beshty, a more insightful picture of travel comes into focus, one that situates it in a richer sociopolitical context and uses it as a means of addressing globalisation and the more repressive mechanisms that have attended its development. Almond shows several large photographs of mountains in the Huangshan region of eastern China (2008). Like other photographs in his Fullmoon series, these were taken by the light of the moon, the artist using an extremely long exposure to dispel the darkness and create images that resemble daytime photographs. At the same time, the tepid, milky light draws out the eeriness of the serrated ridges and misty valleys. Almond writes, in a short text in the catalogue, about the scroll-painter Jiang Tao who depicted the Huangshan mountains in the mid-seventeenth century, and about the island of Rgen in the Baltic Sea, where Almond, inspired by the paintings of the German romantic Caspar David Friedrich, took other photographs in the same series. And he adds that by photographing at night he avoids the crowds that gather at these sites by day. So it would appear that night-time photography allows Almond to reactivate the gaze of the romantic who, like Friedrich at Rgen, marvels at the appearance of the natural world. This vision is predicated on displacement; in the Romantic understanding, the artists power to project his or

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her wonder onto the landscape that provokes it is secured by the unfamiliarity of the surroundings and their remoteness from the prosaic urban setting of the artists ordinary existence. But here the signs of displacement are airbrushed. The series expands on the association of the full moon with magic and with altered states by presenting the photographer as a seer. He conjures daytime out of night, ancient views out of contemporary tourist sites, the technical feat of illuminating the landscape standing as a metaphor for the visionary character of his gaze. But Almonds work also conceals; in this instance, it hides all movement while also effacing the signs of tourism the railings and steps, cable cars and viewing platforms. In other words, the artists response to the site is conceived in the photographic display as a largely hermetic event, one that recalls other such events in the past but obscures the conditions of modern travel. These are photographs that are largely organised around their own omissions as they work to maintain a distinction between the creative engagement of the artist-nomad and the administered and commodified experience of the tourist. While Almond elides the economic and geopolitical underpinnings of modern travel, other artists in the show, including Franz Ackermann and Walead Beshty, explore them to good effect. Ackermann casts the traveller as a central figure in Gateway Getaway (20082009), an installation that fills a room and offers a dizzying account of a technologically advanced society in the throes of an unspecified crisis. In the centre of the room is a large cage or prison cell, while next to it lies a pile of found objects, including flags, empty glass jars and used luggage tags. On one wall is a large photograph of a man, presumably a traveller, who is seen from behind; hanging from his belt is another luggage tag. But the room is dominated by large wall paintings that draw on both sci-fi imagery and modernist abstraction as they trace vast networks of cords and girders that radiate from deserted command centres and weave in and out of crumbling, unmoored structures. In these images, Ackermann engineers a constant semiotic slippage; his looping bands of colour look like fibreoptic cables but also occasionally like veins and sinews, his ruined structures have contours that resemble those of regions or countries on a map, and so on. The artist is plainly describing an imploding society and the de-territorialising and apparently corrosive effects of the information technologies that underlie it, technologies which, it would seem, constantly threaten to transform real entities into virtual ones, bodies into signs. The other elements in the installation, the cage, the found objects and photograph of the traveller, expand on Ackermanns dystopian fantasy while anchoring it more securely in the current order. In situating the flags next to the empty jars, the artist implies that they are fit for recycling. He may here be alluding to the dissolution of nations such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, but the nearby luggage tags suggest another reading. The arrangement may be understood as intimating that the power and symbolic reach of the nation-state is waning in an era of mass travel and enhanced global communications. The man who appears in the large photograph with a luggage tag dangling from his belt is pictured from the waist down and looks trim and young in his jeans travel, in Ackermanns world, has a muted youthful glamour. Or does it? The tag can also be seen as suggesting that, following the growth

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12. Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, Blackwell, Oxford, 1996

in air travel and the emergence of budget airlines in the 1990s, the traveller has come to be treated in much the same way as his luggage, as an item to be processed. Or it may be interpreted as a reminder of the heightened security fears that have transformed air travel since the events of 11 September 2001. Ordinarily, a luggage tag acts as a marker in a tracking system, so the tag here may refer to the apparatus of surveillance that follows travellers as they move between locations. The cage itself similarly serves as an allusion both to the systematic efforts of rich countries to keep economic migrants out (by means of installations such as the Texas border fence) and to the treatment that illegal migrants often receive when they are apprehended (and confined in detention centres such as the notorious one on the Italian island of Lampedusa, for example). On a formal level, the cage echoes the grid-like patterns and skeletal architectural structures that proliferate in the wall paintings. So Gateway Getaway puts forward an image of a fully networked society, a world without borders in which flags are redundant. But this image is qualified by details that draw out the disappointments of travel and the barriers to migration. For that matter, the first of those images is as desolate as the second, since in the wall paintings the signs of interconnection, of travel and transmission, are hedged about with intimations of destruction and decay. Manuel Castells has described the network society that emerged, with the advent of cybernetic technology and the rapid rise in global trade, in the aftermath of the economic crises of the 1970s. For Castells, power in todays world is not concentrated in institutions but distributed in networks; and the development of this new economic and social order has undermined the logic and politics of place, provoking those who have been marginalised by it to form cults of identity, stressing a single shared attribute or conviction, which may be racial, religious or political, as the basis for an alternative and often reactionary social pole.12 It is in this context that Ackermann situates homo viator. The modern nomads are not for him figures who pass easily from place to place, re-combining various cultural artefacts, as Bourriaud would have it, but travellers who are at risk of losing either their bearings or their liberty in a network society that depends on the efficient transfer of capital, goods and data but severely constrains the movements of dispossessed men and women. Ackermann resorts at times to a heavy-handed symbolism. The flags and recyclable jars, for instance, sketch a premise that is put forward with more ingenuity and visual brio in the wall paintings. But this is a powerful installation all the same. It advances a rich and lurid formal idiom for the description of the network society and serves as a useful corrective to Bourriauds conception of the nomad. Beshty has a more laconic manner, but like Ackermann he views travel as crystallising the fears that often attend inter-cultural dialogue. Beshtys Transparencies (20072008), which were realised by passing unexposed photographic film through airport X-ray machines, bear ghostly striations against hazy, coloured backgrounds. These pictures, with their sumptuous patterns, bring to mind the photograms of artists like Man Ray and more generally the promise that abstraction was seen to hold in the interwar years. Inasmuch as the striations look like vapour trails, that promise is connected in the photographs with the allure that air travel had for much of the twentieth century, when it

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13. Paul Virilio, A Travelling Shot over Eighty Years, in War and Cinema; The Logistics of Perception, trans Patrick Camiller, Verso, London, 1999, pp 6889 14. Hal Foster, The Crux of Minimalism, in The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the Turn of the Century, MIT Press, Cambridge, MALondon, 1996, p 43

connoted freedom and discovery. The images bring about the collision of those heady associations with the more nervy experiences of contemporary travellers, who routinely have their luggage checked by X-ray machines and their identities by fingerprinting and iris recognition devices. Beshty is alert to the multiple uses of photography, which is an artistic medium, of course, but also an instrument of surveillance. Indeed, as Paul Virilio has repeatedly pointed out, photographic technologies are pivotal in the conduct of war, when military advantage often hinges on the ability to see while remaining invisible and aerial reconnaissance is carried out by planes that are effectively flying cameras.13 So in these works visual pleasure turns out to be a contingent effect of the militarisation of areas of transit and a corollary of the erosion of civil rights in the name of counter-terrorism, the artist drawing a remote but discomfiting parallel between the gaze of the viewer on the one hand and the attention of the security guard or military planner on the other. Signs of displacement are also overlaid with hints of violence in Beshtys FedEx Boxes (20082009), glass cubes that have been sent by delivery service from one exhibition to another. The cubes, sitting on the cardboard boxes in which they were packed, have cracked surfaces that testify to their travels. They are plainly modelled on minimalist objects, such as the mirrored cubes of Robert Morris, while in their cracks they recall structures damaged in violent conflicts. Hal Foster argues that the minimalist object forcefully situates and interpellates the viewer but he regrets that in this address the viewer is considered primarily as the subject of phenomenological perception, not as a being whose cultural responses are conditioned by specific historical pressures; in Fosters own terms, minimalism does not regard the subject as a sexed body positioned in a symbolic order any more than it regards the gallery or the museum as an ideological apparatus.14 Beshty shows a spare irony as he remedies this in his cubes, some of which are made out of mirrored glass and so reflect a cracked image of the viewer and the gallery. In the FedEx Boxes as in the Transparencies, we are addressed as political beings, Beshty foregrounding the globalisation of the artworld and the nomadism of the artist while clearly using his materials and technical aids to reframe those processes so that they resonate with the globalisation of violence. Bourriauds text revolves around nomadism, a concern that also animates many of the works on display at the Tate, but other interests and affinities are also apparent in the show. It is clear as you walk from room to room that the curator has a taste for psychedelic effects and for works that tap incontinent carnivalesque energies literally so in the case of Nathaniel Mellorss video installation Giantbum (2009). More surprisingly, the show also demonstrates a commitment to work that embraces narrative and speaks in the first-person singular, often reflecting in the process on the nature of artistic labour. In their installations, Mike Nelson and Lindsay Seers comment on their own artistic trajectories and hint that the artist is a lonely, fixated, possibly delusional figure. It is intriguing to find private worlds such as these in a show curated by the man who, in Relational Aesthetics, famously celebrated the social encounter as an artistic form. Then again, his concerns have plainly evolved. Among the few works in the show that can be said to have a relational dimension are the witty installations of Bob and Roberta
Walead Beshty, Installation ofFedEx Large Kraft Boxes 330508, International Priority, Losoil on canvas and watercolour, courtesy the artist, Jay Jopling/White Cube and Neugerriemschneider, , 2008 ongoing, glass Tate Photographylaminate, silicone and cardboard, courtesy Wallspace, New York and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, photo: courtesy Tate Photography Franz Ackermann, Gateway Getaway , 20082009, installation, mixed media, wall painting, AngelesTijuana, TijuanaLos Angeles, Los AngelesLondon, October 28, 2008January 16, 2009 Berlin, photo: courtesy with safety glass

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Walead Beshty, Installation of FedEx Large Kraft Boxes 330508, International Priority, Los AngelesTijuana, TijuanaLos Angeles, Los AngelesLondon, October 28, 2008January 16, 2009, 2008 ongoing, glass with safety glass laminate, silicone and cardboard, courtesy Wallspace, New York and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, photo: courtesy Tate Photography

Franz Ackermann, Gateway Getaway, 20082009, installation, mixed media, wall painting, oil on canvas and watercolour, courtesy the artist, Jay Jopling/White Cube and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, photo: courtesy Tate Photography

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Bob and Roberta Smith, Off Voice Fly Tip, 2009, mixed media, courtesy the artist and Hales Gallery, photo: courtesy Tate Photography

Smith, who used conversations with Bourriaud himself as the basis for many of the placards that litter their (actually, his) works and reflect corrosively on the intersecting histories of political protest and consumer culture. Even here the artwork is not unambiguously relational in the sense that it records rather than instantiates the encounter. The Triennial is a compelling show that is organised around a weak premise. To celebrate the nomad without discriminating between different experiences of travel, as Bourriaud does in the catalogue, is to turn a blind eye to the unevenness of global development, to the divergent trajectories of those who have benefited from globalisation and those who have not. There are echoes in Bourriauds text of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negris vision of nomadism or exodus as a form of refusal
Bob and Roberta Smith, Off Voice Fly Tip , 2009, mixed media, courtesy the artist and Hales Gallery, photo: courtesy Tate Photography

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15. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MALondon, 2000, pp 21014

and hence a liberating political gesture, but even Hardt and Negri qualify their view by adding that to many migration brings only poverty and isolation.15 Sadly, no such qualifications intrude on Bourriauds analysis, which is also blind to the obstacles that stand in the way of many wouldbe travellers. The show itself, on the other hand, offers sharp insights on modern travel. It does not present a consistent picture nor should it. But in its better moments it uses the nomadism of the artist as a means of tracing the contours of a globalising world. Almond stages a succession of visual epiphanies, isolating travel from its material basis and so lifting it out of time, but other artists, notably Ackermann and Beshty, concentrate on the very phenomena that are screened off in his photographs. What their installations share is the conviction that new economic and geopolitical realities call for retooled artistic forms and strategies. And in their pieces that retooling speaks to the violence and disruption that have accompanied the processes of globalisation. Ackermann works to create an idiom that adequately conveys the phenomenological thinness and discontinuity that are, so he plainly feels, the cost of global integration, while Beshty comments on the rise of a global state of emergency. Where the artist pictures the pathways of global exchange from within, as a nomad, his or her travels result not just in a new set of combinatory cultural forms, as Bourriaud would have it, but in new ways of examining global exchange. The nomad is directly implicated in the contradictions of globalisation. Viewed as a coherent figure, he or she magically resolves them, but where travel explicitly serves as a means of insertion into global circuits of trade and migration, it can bring those contradictions out in high relief.