War, A-Z

The Dictionary of War project takes as its impetus the refrain of philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, "At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something." Whether read as a statement of looming powerlessness or a celebration of the power of theory, the argument makes a fittingly anxious backdrop for the collaborative Dictionary of War, which gathers scientists, artists, theorists, and activists to create an alphabetical index of "key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created." These include terms like "Stance", in which filmmaker Khalo Matabane compares what it means to take a stance in combat and to take a stance as an artist; "Disappeared", in which Sylvere Lotringer considers what truly happens to disappeared soldiers, and the fact that, despite periods of invisibility, "the war is never over"; or "Pleasure", in which Avi Mograbi explores the perceptions of ex-soldiers regarding their military experiences and the often unspoken "pleasure of controlling other people with the tips of your fingers." The project began in 2006 as not only a publication, but more importantly a public forum in which to discuss the terms at hand, and a website that functions as platform for the presentation of entries and video archives. In the last two years, sessions have been held in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz, and Berlin to discuss and debate the lexicon of conflict. This year, the project moves further east, to Novi Sad, a thriving creative center which has become an important point of congregation for artists and activists. On January 25th and 26th, the new media center, Kuda will play host to the newest iteration of the project, which features contributions by a range of impressive participants, including Hans Bernhard, Galit Eilat, Geert Lovink, Martha Rosler, and Florian Schneider. If you can't make it, visit the highly engaging online archives, for this and previous years. - Marisa Olson