Dear JohnI recently contacted you about talking at the Alternative Art College event in May and now i am currently writing my MA diss on the ‘Autonomous education/learning space.I was wondering if you had time to answer briefly a few questions written below, It would be great to have your input.The questions below are broad and provoking.
These questions require much longer answers than I can give. If you want to be involved with Higher Education Quality Assurance you must find a way to format these as multiple choice tick box questionnaires – only this kind of practice counts in the metrics-regime HE sector today.
I wish i had time to do this in person as it would have been a very
1. How do you feel you function within the institution? Is it possible to function autonomously within an institution?
I joined the University system in order to maim it. OF course even this position is now totally in complicity with its afterlife – ie, a life after its already tragic-yet-welcomed demise.
2. When it comes to the element of an art input do you feel it enhances the production of ‘alternative’ learning or education
Art input is the path to complicity made palatable to those who think radical activity lies in the pretense of form and formlessness. The only thing radical in art is that it continually gets co-opted into Institutions, suggesting that there is perhaps – ever so maybe – something worth co-opting. This of course is its value, to capital, and it is a facade. No, worse, a charade. Perhaps a puppet show. Answer A.
3. If situated outside of the institution does it have a increased
What is outside? Do you mean art? The autonomy of art is a faded inversion of its former subservience to power. Now it is mere decoration. The only radical artists are part time landscape gardeners working in the suburbs, never likely to be nominated for the Turner Prize. Is this what art can be. I think its best we have another look at Adorno’s great book ‘Aesthetic Theory’ – the question is still unresolved as to whether art remains the place of ‘a secret omnipresence of resistance’. Probably not.
4. In regards to the relationship an individual can have with the institution, it is possible to see
contradictions, I see this as positives as it is a corner stone of how to function when creating work in an art practice, do you feel the
role of the contradiction is important when creating ‘alternative’ learning spaces?
See Mao – On Contradiction. This is the essay that must be brought to class. Its not so much that there are contradictions to be understood, but there are only contradictions, to be managed – which is why the quality assurance people offer their inane questionnaires – they produce these things to justify their own contradictory non-practice as a malignant and parasitic growth that fosters bureaucracy within a zero-degree blast zone of what once was education and thinking.
5. DO you feel that there is a definitive model for which
education should proceed?
There is a definitive model of how to resist education. Education is not a social good insofar as it reproduces class hierarchy. This of course is not news. See chapter 16 of Capital.
6. when it comes to suggest that either are a blueprint for a ‘better’
HE structure do they then become what they once were opposing? or are
neither of them opposing the institution but merley reflection on its
When were they oppositional? The opposition here is an integrated structure. It thrives on complicity and the fiction that greater thinking and critique can have some autonomy outside of the very contradictions that make it possible. All else – and this is a very big else – is training for the alpha, beta and theta drones required by the market system. Tragically, the old university (heaven forbid if we were to save that battered carcass of privilege) is no longer even the preferred mode of preparation for the military-entertainment complex of contemporary capital. Hence McDonalds degrees for graduates of the McDonalds Olympics… etc…
Thank you again i hope these questions make senseBest Paul
* The Alternative Art College *
Yup, all good. Write well. J