Variable Capital: A conversation with Common Culture

David Campbell

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Common Culture discuss the thematic concerns of their curation of the exhibition Variable Capital with David Evans talk about it's relationship to Common Culture's own exhibition practice. Critical Dictionary is an ambitious cornucopia of thoughts, images, and illustrations from online art magazine Inspired by Georges Bataille’s critical dictionary, the project strives to declassify terms in a playful manner emphasising the open-ended, the provisional and the unfinished nature of language. The title alludes to the mock dictionary that Georges Bataille edited for Documents in 1929 and 1930. Like its famous precedent from Georges Bataille, Critical Dictionary aims to puncture pretension, bringing words and their referents down to earth using a playful manner to declassify or undefine terms. Abandoning the conventional approach of dictionaries and their solely supportive use of imagery, Critical Dictionary allows images to act progressively and many of the entries are illustrated by several examples leading to an evolving discussion on interpretation. Critical Dictionary includes contributions from artists, illustrators and photographers including Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, David Campany, Common Culture, Karen Knorr, Ann Lee, Jake Walters and Penelope Umbrico. Entries include Accident, Civilization, Drone, Error, Fragment, Informe, Metaphor, Monument: Mycelium, Portrait, Quotation, Retort, Smell, Touch, Umfunktionierung, Voice, Wander, XXX and Zoo. Critical Dictionary provides a thought provoking take on language and preconception through unique imagery and the playful re-organisation of texts and images.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Dictionary
EditorsDavid Evans
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBlack Dog Publishing
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)978-1907317491
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011


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