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No New Kind of Duck

Diaphanes Verlag, Zürich/Berlin 2016. Broschur, 360 Seiten, € 30,00, CHF 35,00, $ 30,00

‘Can you play this song?’—‘Can you carve a good duck?’

No New Kind of Duck seeks to coin concepts for what we get to know by doing art and being among people. The book is the outcome of an exchange between editor Jan Verwoert and the participants of the Graduate School at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK), the artists Alex Martinis Roe, Jeremiah Day, Azin Feizabadi, Lizza May David and Ralf Baecker as well as composers Nuria Nuñez Hierro and Björn Erlach.

No New Kind of Duck features an introductory essay by editor Jan Verwoert on the politics of artistic knowledge production. It comprises a series of discussions in which the contributing artists and composers name the stakes of practicing theeir art today. In parallel, the book presents a careful selection of original artistic contributions. The book won’t use words to justify works. It understands the coining of concepts and making of art as two closely related yet distinct material practices. We speak. We act. We put both together in a book.

No New Kind of Duck is born out of the spirit of Berlin as a polis, a place where people live to make art and, at the end of the day, get together to talk concepts and politics.

The title originated in a remark by Mike Kelley (recounted by Day) on how asking a Rock guitarist ‘Can you play this song?’ echoed the question posed to a folk artist: ‘Can you carve a good duck?’—whereupon the contributors agreed laughing that, yes, for sure, we want No New Kind of Duck.

Jan Verwoert is a critic and writer on contemporary art and cultural theory, based in Berlin. He is a contributing editor of frieze magazine, his writing has appeared in different journals, anthologies and monographs. He is a professor for theory at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts he teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam and is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy, London.