Brian Holmes: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2004 | 01:04:16 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Activism, Art Criticism, Art History, Politics, The State, Technology, VDB Interviews, Visiting Artists Program

In this interview, Brian Holmes, an influential art critic, activist and translator, discusses social forms of alienation, human ecologies of power, and the impact of technology on geopolitical social networks. Holmes reflects on his ongoing study of the ways in which the rhetoric of revolution has been institutionalized, as well as artists’ resistance to such cooption. For him, artists working in collectives have the potential to create a new artistic milieu that is not aligned with the dominant model of production. This argument is born out in his published collection of essays, Hieroglyphics of the Future (2003).

Holmes’s previous studies as a doctorate student of Romance Languages at Berkeley, undergirds the scholar’s long-term concern with the politics of communication. Throughout this interview, Holmes describes how the cartography of power can be utilized to better understand forms of agency in new economic system, as well as the conditions of globalization. In addition to such theories, this interview provides entry into Holmes’s personal involvement with Bureau d’Etudes, a French conceptual art group, and the People’s Global Action Network.

Currently a professor of philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Holmes has also served in recent years as English editor of Documenta X, Kassel, and co-organizer of a series of seminars with NYC-based reading group 16 Beaver Group under the title Continental Drift. In 2009, he published, Escape the Overcode: Activist Art in the Control Society.

--Lindsay Bosch

Interview conducted in October of 2004 by Claire Pentecost, edited in 2014.

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