Proud To Be Flesh
A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net
Edited by Josephine Berry Slater, Pauline van Mourik Broekman, Michael Corris, Benedict Seymour, Anthony Iles and Simon Worthington
1. Direct Democracy and its Demons:Web 1.0 to Web 2.0
2. Net Art to Conceptual Art and Back
3. I, Cyborg: Reinventing the Human
4. Of Commoners and Criminals
5. Organising Horizontally
6. Assuming the Position: Art and/Against Business
7. Under the Net – the City and the Camp
8. Reality Check: Class and Immaterial Labour
9. The Open Work
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)