Still a lot to be worked out but OK, why not gamble on FB not even being here in 8 years (as reported in the SMH today) and join this other (maybe nicer) pyramid scheme social networking site. I’m happy enough to say my invite is from Stewart Home – so get in early enough and it might not fall over on you – link page here: http://www.zurker.co.uk/i-226925-yvgyvoykwn
Alistair Gentry: To me it relates pretty closely to the banks being “too big to fail”, I think in this country-
John Hutnyk: Banksy is too big to fail.
Alistair Gentry: Yes, Banksy IS too big to fail.
Julie Freeman: He’s actually very short.
Alistair Gentry: He’s not a big man… in any sense.
Julie Freeman: Allegedly.
From part four of the transcript of the Market Project Too Many Artists debate:
That both Beckham and kate Moss remain mute icons of British glamour, automatons – impossibly beautiful, sublime skills etc., – is the culture industry standard now, where voice, or personality, is inimical to brand. The X-factor, dancing, talk show compare (not J.Ross) celebrity must not have intellect – must be a free slate upon which focus groups and under-assistant promotions reps mould media persona. No surprise that we are more and more interested in the personalities – known, lost or recently discovered – of the past (see Ursula Bogner for one of the better finds). Bring back the old Big Brother and the real Russel Brand, not the bland Hollywood Brand Brand he has so – now silently – become (has he been kidnapped by a wild Xenu-influenced offshoot of scientology or what?).
The TV show Pan-Am is the dying apotheosis of this tendency – fake emote on cue – the very criteria of successful robotics, but a robot made in the 1960s version of the future [as Fuggletronic says], not the dull dystopia of commercial time now.
(note for Kiwi).
[Thesis five, six and seven (of eleven)]:
5. Trinketization would be a diagnosis of limited responses to global reconfigurations of commodity fetishism, where affect and shopping disguise an unbroken deal with hierarchical social relations locked in, unchallenged. Where class/race/gender politics was, we now have lip-service mockery of these same themes, articulated by the celebrity/televisual machine. The contradictions of news entertainment stand starkly exposed and still without purchase. Participation in conceptual politics is voluntary and belongs to an economy of contribution (Boutang 2009) or the ‘attention theory of value’ (Beller 2006). Here circulation, valourization and expression are governed as the activity of bees – who are dying out, but architectural reflection on this process is in even shorter supply.
The contribution economy is appropriate to a Google mode of production – algorithms are enhanced by voluntary activity of ‘political’ subjects – even ones professing artistic opposition to the system. Accumulated hits (like bees visiting plants for pollen) are aggregated in the hive mind of the virtual. My attention to images accrues value for some rather than other scenes. A calculus of image and attention operates to place some scenes before us and to erase others – the significance of Mao or of the collapse of the Berlin wall would be examples.
Surplus attention, surplus value and conceptual elaboration are the machineries of representation as productivity. It is no longer a case of ‘they cannot represent themselves’ but that they are represented by way of their own activity – the algorithm is Napoleon. In the 18th Brumaire Marx offered this formula as a critique of the little nephew, not an indictment of the lumpen and the peasantry who were unorganised, but a condemnation of the opportunist organiser – that Louis Bonaparte who stood above them as their advocate, while all the time advocating only himself as Queen Bee.
6. Art engaged with politics must engage with institutions – galleries, art books, colleges, conferences – and commerce infiltrates and orchestrates every corner of this quadrant so as to show over and over again that the connection politics-to-market is reinforced with steel. Evaluations of art are then always invested, and self-awareness a false economy, still for sale, worked by the hive-mind. In London, even the most ‘political’ of (art) institutions – the Stephen Lawrence Gallery – which at present hosts a show called ‘Re-Framed’ contrasting and dialoguing between street artists and conceptual artists – stages its own branding niche marketing commercialization for attention’s sake on the basis of the old high and low art façade. Adorno had stressed that these two halves are neither halves of any particular whole, nor either immune to the saturation of industrial processes that diminish them and threaten that secret omnipresence. His critique of Benjamin should be read in full.
it would border on anarchism to revoke the reification of a great work of art in the spirit of immediate use-values. ‘Les extrèmes me touchent ’ [Gide], just as they touch you—but only if the dialectic of the undermost is equivalent to the dialectic of the uppermost, rather than the latter simply decaying. Both bear the stigmata of capitalism, both contain elements of change (naturally never and nowhere the middle-term between Schönberg and the American film). Both are torn halves of an integral freedom, to which however they do not add up. It would be romantic to sacrifice one to the other, either as the bourgeois romanticism of the conservation of personality and all that stuff, or as the anarchistic romanticism of blind confidence in the spontaneous power of the proletariat in the historical process—a proletariat which is itself a product of bourgeois society.To a certain extent I must accuse your essay of this second romanticism. (Adorno to Benjamin 18 March, 1936).
7. But what is bad art? What judgement will be made of art when if fails in the service of politics because politics fails and falls short in terms of:
– aesthetic excellence, technical competence, significance, relevance, impact
The most political points made inside a certain frame – gallery, exhibition, border, cartoon – invalidates politics to the degree that it is art, even at its most critical. Billie Holiday only sings ‘Strange Fruit’. Bob Dylan’s times did not a change – and it is no real concern that this jingle now sells automobiles at a time when the automobile industry is in disarray.
Art as decoration is a demystifying containment. Desecration of art contains politics for the domestic. Wallpapers design is now as much a historical condemnation as was Duchamp’s urinal, as Jarry’s Pere Ubu. Merde. No-one even laughs uncomfortably anymore.
Art as insult. The occasions where inwardness or introspection makes for art that exceeds its own containment are the points at which we might be interested.
I’m corresponding with a certain Jen O about her prospective PhD here:
Her day job in marketing reminded me of an anecdote I’ve been meaning to post:
There once was was a workshop once that was run by our marketing/consultancy people. I think this was a rather dim excersize from no doubt excessively paid chancers, but we had fun at this workshop. They asked us to break into teams and brainstorm the five main themes of Goldsmiths mission/brand. Our group had to take the slogan – ‘Goldsmiths offers a transformatory experience’ and make it more ‘edgy’. Stage one we came up with ‘Goldsmiths will change the way you think’, which is OK and I’d been using a version of this for years in introductory talks for new students (I’ve another talk coming up on Opend Day wednesday 18th Feb). But we had to report back at this meeting in front of all the college heads of departments and other tops. All fine, the then head of finance was our designated feedback person, so – with him in a bow-tie – we had him stand up and announce to the assembled heads that our second stage radicalization of that slogan – ‘we will change the way you think’ was now ‘We will fuck with your head’. Much laughter and mock shock, credit to him for doing our bidding. Needless to say, our rewritten slogan for Goldsmiths was subsequently voted down and on the strapline and on the twee little lapel buttons they made as part of the ‘rebranding’ our slogan was not adopted. The badge instead says ‘radical’ – which is of course counter-indicative [but I could not find an image of that badge on line, so will scan it tomorrow maybe, in the meantime see the random badge pic generator to the left, and even better – see here for a better viral marketing move omn Goldies part].
The Observer of course slants the story the wrong way, always appearing to be news when it manages always to voice the ‘news’ of the ‘authorities’ (cops good; and its women and children over against ‘masked youth’ [see pic]). The saturday demonstration in London was about much more than trashing Starbucks or fashion stores, even if people did have to dress up for the occasion [see pic]. There is much to be read between the lines of this Observer puff. Violence did not ‘erupt’ – it started in Gaza. The panic did not ‘ripple’ through the crowd – it was anger at the atrocities and at the introduction of riot cops and mounted police. They say 20k, we say 100k. The relevant number is not in London: how many dead in Gaza today? Still, let’s read the report:
Violence erupts at embassy protest
- The Observer, Sunday 11 January 2009
Violent clashes broke out near the Israeli embassy in London yesterday as tens of thousands marched in protest against the military action in Gaza. Shop windows were smashed and police pelted with missiles by masked youths near the embassy during the largest demonstration in Britain against the Israeli offensive.
Last night, broken glass and debris littered the scene of the disturbances on Kensington High Street, where ranks of riot police waited behind locked gates near the embassy entrance.
Earlier in the evening, a number of demonstrators attacked a branch of Starbucks, smashing its front windows and ransacking it before shattering the facade of a clothes shop.
It continues here. [and must continue elsewhere: see pic]