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Spike - Issue 79 (Spring 2024): The Pessimist Issue

Eco ruin and refugeeism, illiberalization and inequality, hot wars and a New Cold War – the polycrisis hydra is always growing another head. But it’s also a state of mind, an identity crisis brought on by paralysis and cognitive shock. Was it always like this, but with less media reach? Or is capitalism really burning itself out, just without any redemptive zest? The arts are expert at thematizing the woes that affect them – hello, Biennale and documenta – but maybe polycrisis is an instructive metaphor for what’s breaking creativity: the commercial takeover of discourse, the bureaucratization of curating, and the dopamine highs of self-branding.

Maybe we’re at a crossroads between recovery and death. But Spike #79 is clear-eyed about the fact that pessimists are never disappointed.

With Henrike Naumann, Shirin Neshat, Roberto Villanueva, Ben Davis, Mire Lee, Precious Okoyomon, Ivan Cheng, Nil Yalter, Anna Jermolaewa, Catherine Liu, Oliver Ressler, Morag Keil, Jeppe Ugelwig and many more.

UK cover price: £16

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