Fortunately, summer in California lasts until the end of September. I am filtering through a number of thought-drifts, and the books pile up, migrate, and reassemble in Warburgian associative constellations. The jumbles here are compiled of queer theory I need to catch up on; punk-anarcho-feminism; texts dealing with embodiment in various, material ways; and prep texts for a course on cinema from the Years of Lead, and for another on the total artwork. Inter alia, Orit Halpern’s long-awaited Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015) presents a marvelous synthetic history of the data-driven “vision-thing” since 1945. Jussi Parikka’s The Anthrobscene (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015) and A Geology of Media (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015) are significant contributions to the vital, emerging field of media archaeology, while Melinda Cooper’s Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008) critiques the discourse and practices of biotechnology. Anna Maria Ochoa Gautier’s Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Colombia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014) provides a fascinating and provocative account of embodied meaning-production, as does the volume edited by Carrie Noland and Sally Ann Ness, Migrations of Gesture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), and Derek P. McCormack’s Refrains for Moving Bodies: Experience and Experiment in Affective Spaces (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013) and, in a different way, Sarah Jane Cervenak’s Wandering: Philosophical Performances of Racial and Sexual Freedom (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014). On the wall: reading glasses; a misprinted postcard of Nancy Sinatra in white go-go boots; and correspondence in response to my Freedom of Information Act request for my files from the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, which was the result of participating in a workshop run by Ken Ehrlich and Janet Sarbanes at Machine Projects in Los Angeles.
Judith Rodenbeck was editor-in-chief of Art Journal from 2007 to 2010. An art historian and critic specializing in art and intermedia of the 1950s and 1960s, she is the author of Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings (MIT Press, 2011). She is currently working on two projects: a longitudinal examination of the intersections of artistic practice and visual anthropology, read through the constructions of gesture and bipedalism, and collection of case-studies of multimedia work produced by key women artists around 1969.