edited by Arjen Mulder, Joke Brouwer, Lars Spuybroek – The Politics of the Impure, Towards a Theory of the Imperfect

V2_ Publishing/NAi Publishers

V2_ Publishing/NAi Publishers, ISBN: 978-9056627485, 208 pages, English, 2010
Did technology historically foster the concept of “purity”? If we look back, we find in mechanical sounds and visual reproduction an attitude towards imitation and then improvement and enhancement of embedded characteristics. “High fidelity” and “high definition” are still popular approaches to sensory delight and the unstoppable complexity of technology has supported this for decades. It’s the same with cleanliness in the design of technological objects, which recently led to transparency as a way of pursuing a consistency of order inside as well as outside. This anthology of texts is in the tradition of V2_ publications, which form a kind of a genre in their own right. It’s an eclectic and balanced collection of texts by artists and theorists that gives an ample perspective on a topic with a truly philosophical and scientific outlook. “Pure” as a dominant concept is here contested through the evolution of machines. The “impurity” of filth, mess or ugliness, both physically and technologically, is relevant to contemporary culture. The impure here is celebrated and found in many different cultural fields, from architecture to biology (where it’s simply essential), maybe missing only the impurity in IT machines (embodied by their fatal errors). The artworks taken as outstanding examples of the theory are gorgeously illustrated and explained. They constitute the thin red line between the different perspectives discussed, unifying the whole book in a consistent and original work.