Books

Sven Spieker (ed.), Destruction. Documents of Contemporary Art  (Cambridge: MIT Press/Whitechapel, 2017).  

The effects and meanings of destruction are central to the work of many of our most influential artists. Since the early 1960s, artists have employed destruction to creative ends. Here destruction changes from a negative state or passive condition to a highly productive category. The destructive subversion of media imagery aims to release us from its controlling effects. The self-destructing artwork extinguishes art’s fixity as arrested form and ushers in the ephemeral and contingent “open work.”

The Big Archive. Art from Bureaucracy (Cambridge/Mass.: MIT Press, 2008)

“The typewriter, the card index, and the filing cabinet: these are technologies and modalities of the archive. To the bureaucrat, archives contain little more than garbage, paperwork no longer needed; to the historian, on the other hand, the archive’s content stands as a quasi-objective correlative of the “living” past. Twentieth-century art made use of the archive in a variety of ways—from what Spieker calls Marcel Duchamp’s “anemic archive” of readymades and El Lissitzky’s Demonstration Rooms to the compilations of photographs made by such postwar artists as Susan Hiller and Gerhard Richter. In The Big Archive, Sven Spieker investigates the archive—as both bureaucratic institution and index of evolving attitudes toward contingent time in science and art—and finds it to be a crucible of twentieth-century modernism.” (Press release)

 (Korean Translation)

Sven Spieker/Mark Lipovetsky (eds.), The Imprints of Terror. The Rhetoric of Violence and the Violence of Rhetoric in Modern Russian Culture. Anna Brodsky/Mark Lipovetsky/Sven Spieker [eds.], Vienna: Wiener Slawistischer Almanach. Sonderband 64, 2006.

This edited volume, dedicated to the memory of Marina Kanevskaya, investigates the importance of violence and its philosophical and ideological underpinnings in contemporary Russian literature, art, film, and philosophy. Participants include Sven Spieker, Mark Lipovetsky, A. Banerjee, E. Dobrenko, D. Brandenberger, A. Prochorov, A. Brodsky, M. Epstein, M. Lipovetsky, G. Shapiro, A. Efimova, D. Kujundžic, I. Sandomirskaja, A. Genis, M. Kanevskaya, and D. Possamai.

Sven Spieker (ed.), Bürokratische Leidenschaften. Kultur- und Mediengeschichte im Archiv (Berlin: Kadmos, 2004), 386pp.

The volume brings together essays by philosophers, historians of science, literary theorists, and art historians. Located at the intersection of art, science, media studies, and art, the book investigates the relationship between cultural production and bureaucratic administration. One key concept at the center of Bürokratische Leidenschaften is the archive whose reach and influence is traced from Hollywood film to library organization. Contributors include Stefan Rieger, Boris Groys, Wolf Kittler, Bernhard Siegert, and Sven Spieker.

Sven Spieker (ed.), Gøgøl: Exploring Absence (Bloomington: Slavica, 2000)

The book explores the theme of absence in Gøgøl’s works. Its working premise is that in Gøgøl’s writing the unsayable and the sayable cannot be viewed in isolation from each other; in order to understand either, we have to examine the other. Includes essays by Boris Groys, Renate Lachmann, Mikhail Epstein, Michael Holquist, Mikhail Yampolsky, Sven Spieker, and others. Also includes the last article by Yurii Lotman, written specifically for this volume and published here posthumously.

Figures of Memory and Forgetting in Andrej Bitov’s Prose. Postmodernism and the Quest for History. (= Slawische Literaturen) Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1995, ISBN:978-3-631-46940-8.

A monograph on one of Russia’a most celebrated contemporary writer, Andrei Bitov (1937-2018). It’s focus is the problem of postmodernism in Soviet literature during the «period of stagnation,» with special emphasis on the psychological, aesthetic, and epistemological implications of Bitov’s postmodern treatment of memory. In the author’s prose, the intellectual’s efforts to transcend the Stalinist past in order to reenter history at a point prior to the Stalinist trauma are mostly unsuccessful. Bitov demonstrates the failure of modernist and pre-modernist models of mnemonic representation as his characters’ efforts to realign themselves with the modernist avant-garde routinely meet with the impossibility of establishing any viable meta-positions vis-à-vis official culture.