Manifesta Journal #18: This Situation Never Leaves our Waking Thoughts for Long

Journal, 2014
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Parallel to the fateful “Russian Spring” and the continuing tragedies in Palestine, Syria and Iraq among others, editorial work on this issue focused on a central, recurring question: how can we continue to work under current conditions? A massive global shift is underway in the order—or shall we rather say, disorder—of things. Notions of hybridity and unevenness have been gobbled up by notions of hybrid war, with its ghost armies and its highly addictive image productions. All the old foes of censorship, criminal persecution, and instrumentalisation are back with a vengeance, but there is nothing old about the choices they prompt. In the age of hybrid war and velvet revolutions, things are much more complex.

Caught up in the confused dynamics of political turmoil, the conditions hold us hostage unless we can somehow manage to change them. If we accept and internalise the imperatives of power not to address “complicated issues,” however, we will most likely ignore these “elephants in the room.” How can we describe the difference between our various complications, and do they really add up to something like a global turn? Furthermore, how can we continue our various engagements, despite the overwhelming pressure to boycott, withdraw, and resign?


From its inception, Manifesta has made publications an integral part of the biennial process as a way to document different elements of each edition, from the pre-biennial process to an in-depth look into our diverse programmes.

Through these publications, we aim to foster dialogue, expand knowledge and create a lasting legacy for each biennial edition. From in-depth essays and insight from Manifesta’s director, creative mediators and a wide variety of stakeholders, to captivating visuals and behind-the-scenes glimpses, our publications provide a comprehensive exploration of the ideas and concepts explored during our biennial.