Faculty Writing: Jeff Koons, Alexa and Housework, and Interviewing Donna Haraway

In Anachronism and Antiquity, Mathura Umachandran dissects antiquity as theme and tool within the artwork of Jeff Koons, the artist whom “the art world loves to hate.” Writes Umachandran, “Koons deals with the concept of aesthetic originality through the extreme practice of reproduction. He is deeply invested in the copy: for example, the painting of an Old Master that appears identical but is not quite to scale or the ancient sculptural group that is reproduced from its Roman copy in place of the original. These are copies that revel in drawing attention to their iterability. Koons’ mimetic practice constitutes a transcendence of sorts, but that is a term so featherweight in its critical purchase that it sails out of the window.”

In New Political Science, Amy Schiller investigates the advent of home-based AI services such as Alexa—“the logical conclusion of a conjunction between digital and affective labor”—through a Marxist-Feminist framework. For Schiller, such devices pose “questions and paradoxes of the call-and-response affective presence in the performance of household work; the subjectivizing and alienating effects of the automation of domestic labor; rearranging of the human-machine assemblage; further isolation of domesticity; and maybe even the potential liberatory opportunities of automation.”

On Jacobin’s The Dig, Alyssa Battistoni played guest host and conducted a long interview with philosopher Donna Haraway. Topics covered include Haraway’s work, from “The Cyborg Manifesto” to her recently released Staying with the Trouble, to the prospects for a socialist-feminist future in the era of anthropogenic climate change.

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