D(E)Sig(nn)er Capita(Lism) (Part Rhizome) Continue again….
The Legacy of oppositional criticism, of a negative position claiming moral superiority and distance from those ideologies in which fine art participates, can’t be sustained any more–Johanna Drucker.
Ah…the subtlety of complicity that ensconces itself in the strand of contemporary art, a complicity that masquerades as insouciance, indifference, and ultimately symptomatic of hyper-digitalized suffusing the So(C)ial. The gradual synchronized decomposition of the social as Bernard Stiegler contends unveils a diabolism that generates disconnection and importantly decomposition of the social itself.’ How does the function and role of Contemporary A(R)T play a role in solidifying a regime of decomposition, alienation, and ceaseless commodification? Importantly the (E)ye (I) and its increasing modulation according to a paradigm of hyper-realism, commodification, and acceleration that has underscored the increasing significance and importance of visual studies and their examination into our inexplicable condition. Yet, the discourse surrounding visual studies still lodges and finds itself in a seemingly deadlock situation that bears difficulty diagnosing or prescribing sustainable, constructive and subversive engagements. Therefore, the fundamental question remains how can contemporary art serve as a methodology to confront, encounter, and disturb an increasing narcotized and paralyzed S(U)b Ject?
The Kantian investigation into Art and its purpose remains the sine qua non of confrontation for philosophers, theorists, and artists alike. It is an investigation that lays out the foundation between the basic questions between Nature and Man, and his relation to Reason. Essentially, Kant’s critique and exploration stems from two major texts Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Judgment which excavates into the nature of Aesthetics and its evo(k)cation of pleasure and displeasure and his prominent concept of the Sublime. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant contends that aesthetics operated as a science of senbility provided to the subject through a priori forms of time-space as transcendental categories. Significantly, the element of the Sublime fundamentally challenges and divorces itself from a sensible and contained realm of a priori demarcation. The ‘object’ ensnares the gaze through variegated responses that run the gamut of seduction, repulsion, inspiration and fascination, where one becomes instantly affected. This unexplainable experience deprives the cognition of properly articulating the encounter. An Encounter that bears a mark of excess, an excess that snowballs into a process of becoming, where an Event emerges that is predicated on the nature of affect. Kant outlines his belief that if art is considered genius then it adds to Nature, whereas in the realm of the second category of affect and sublime, cannot be moulded in a category of purpose. Rather it evades a purpose, which now we have seen has permeated postmodern thought that has attempted to surmount the power and hegemony of Reason. Therefore, if art can add to Nature and subsequently upset reason, how does it does a piece of art reveal its potency that might only contain in itself a non-effective function within the greater space and sphere of society and the Political?
The function of the institution or gallery space has transpired as a site of critique in its employment as a point divorced or seemingly separate from the marketplace. It is Separate to the degree where a ‘use-value’ does not necessarily intends its material circulation through a matrix of labor forces, products, and distributive channels. Yet, the gulf of separation struggles in itself to anchor and discover how to conceive its role in regards to operating as a space of transformation or idealization apropos a utopian setting. Therefore, the object (physical or demarterialized) embeds itself within a space, that could aspire to eschew ideology or a site of criticism that facilitates its capacity to fulfill a aspiration of social critique. Cultural Theorist Theodor Adorno contends that art in itself anticipates and fulfills a role of autonomy that incarnates a form of negation, because once embedded in this space it codes itself within the conditions of production, reception and distribution. The emergence of schools like Institutional Critique endeavor to underscore and highlight the material conditions that are solidifying an institutions’ irrespective social and political consciousness divorced from social apparatuses. Albeit, this might be a cursory and inadequate description; it engenders the question as to how to frame and understand a gallery and museums’ role in their function within the social sphere. The historical, social, linguistical, visual, theoretical, and political processes are unearthed to reveal their constitution within a web of constructed forces to understand how the museum or gallery itself becomes symptomatic of various articulations. Yet, merely critiquing the museum or gallery itself does not adequately ascertain a question as to how Art still remains a site of struggle for variegated in how to properly diagnose its role or lack thereof amongst hypervisualized culture.
The inexorable proliferation of technologies and industries designs a new field of distribution that does not necessarily predicate itself on an institutionals legitimation. The seemingly democratisation and accessibility to technologies that allow users to map, create, design, and create projects through web, phone, and several applications instantiates a shift towards dematerialized space. A space that conceals encrusted highbrow/lowbrow, or distinct class divisions that were tackled and delved into through schools like Institutional Critique.