Reflections upon the intellectual/ artist's role in society- which roles
are considered adequate and which roles are seen to have outlived their
function- have long since emerged with his image as a public figure. During
the sixties and seventies a universalist model of critique was forced
into retreat, among other things because a consensus debate became more
and more conscious of its isolated character and because one no longer
had the same faith in the professional intellectual as keeper of the true,
the good and the beautiful. At the same time comes a flourishing of alternative
models with specific but also abstracted representations of intervention,
analysis and critique of social relations. Later, representatives of this
intellectual genre were being hailed as postmodern heroes or subject to
indignant critisism. However, this was prerequisite to the current state
of affairs where no method of interpretation any longer inhabits a dominant
position, but rather is staged !
as a fashionable discourse or time-based theme for discussion. The biggest
challenge has therefore been to maintain a level of interest in the media-based
discussion for longer than just until the next critical marking.
It is therefore reasonably interesting to apply a research perspective
in art, being able to work with long term projects, and dealing with reformative
prospects. Contrary to an ideological reformation, critical-analytical
work does not have to entail a redirection and following replacement of
power-structures- that would mean an inclusion in and adaption of these
relations. Even though we as cultural producers can and should reject
the demand for a specific methodology for research (that would fall into
either an enlightenment project or into experimentalism with no other
goal then the liberation from material limitations) an analytical approach
to the pedagogical creational practices of art should be shed light upon.
An example of the pedagogical and conservatory function that has been
tied up with the role of the artist is the use of the antagonizing figure
associated with the exorcism of inner demons combined with social inadaptability
or a general feeling of impotence. !
Oppositions are presented in dramatized form, for example through the
historisizing of the cultural conservative. The cliché is here
the caricature of the rebellious artist or the socially ostracised aestheticians
vengeful attacks on established culture, pompous in its leanings towards
self promotion and martyric posing as well as cross and negative towards
good taste and the distanced viewer. Whether he is portrayed as degenerated
or pubertal he is often written off from culture-critical potential. The
precondition for a position within an institutionalised discourse is a
hint of psychological or anthropological interpretation. The strange
and unpleasant thereby becomes a disarming positioning of
exterior and interior limits. The positioning of the conditions of production
for art within a similar dialectic means that any intervention is connected
with a form of disciplining and every liberatory project with a kind of
The pedagogic pretensions of art, whether they be based on mythical, technological
or historical-analytical visions of development and teachings, construct
the dialectic between the constructive and the destructive in the social
organization and environment. From the last part of the 17th century and
onward there is a widespread conception of art sharing and borrowing pedagogical
ambitions with socio-biological history writing and ideas. It happily
mediates the visionary ideas about culture spanning different phases from
birth to death and is mirrored in the individual biographical development
of the artist as a process moving towards conclusion and dissolution.
Ernst Cassirer, in his The Logic of the Cultural Sciences
from 1940 describes a similar rationalist stoicism. Through a universal
organic functionalism culture and science has a shared symbolic basis
for understanding that enables a connection and potential unity.
Art on the other hand has gone through a structural change, similar to
that of psychology and ethnology, and no longer has its field of knowledge
as a life form or organism but rather like these other fields expands
the discursive in the crossroads of other humanist fields of science.
In the Order of Things by Michel Foucault it is described
how psychology and ethnology points to borderline experiences for the
regimes of knowledge through the unconscious and the experience of the
In art globalisation shows how modules and displacements of representational
forms and representations of the self form the conditions for the actual
through discourse. These representations equip art with a notational machine
of aesthetic-political objectivity that it incorporates in its formations
of regimes and terminology.
A reflexive attitude, as it is used in the social sciences, can also be
applied to art in order to replace the more structural self-understanding
(art as a profession among other professions, differentiated between traditional
art and interdisciplinay art). This attitude puts faith in the individual
actor and individual initiative interprenating and communicating with
other interpretations, and is perhaps closest to a liberalist rhetoric
of a game(the art-game). It rests on the idea of a potential for self-realization
through a heightened professionalism of the artist, a code-breaking and
mastery concept, and therefore includes an inherent contradiction when
is comes to the basis for a self-reflexive art. Strategies of communication
and the application of games theory can in addition quickly come to reveal
itself as confirming and supportive of art as a corporate-strategic means.
Stephan Dillemuth and Anthony Davies have both questioned this understanding.
The former through!
his positing of the dilettante as a model for art-production, with its
dispelling function on the demands for an academic administration of identity,
normalization and professionalized mediation. Davis has in collaboration
with Simon Ford written the manifesto Art Capital, where the
collection and control of information is described in a scenario with
hybrids of these professions and network strategies: culturepreneurs,
culture brokers and Total Role in Society shows how these free spaces
are shrouded in secrecy and general post-fascism in the form of cultural
Through increasing professionalization functions like accessibility, reproduction
and circulation are maintained, but at the same time exclusion, closing
off, limitation and denial of limitations are exercised. All in all the
conditions for production and the determination of the process (the completion
through frequency, developmental potential, ability to adjust to different
agendas, generational patterns and communication effect as the goal of
the political economy) are being claimed. At the same time the use of
art for the differentiation of regimes and development of urban centres
ensures that it is not necessary to aim for seamless networks and stable
structures, as in state institutions (with the ideals being the national
museum and the authority of the cultural celebrity).
Research somehow becomes self-evident in instances where surveillance
and the gathering and testing of information is raised against withholding,
manipulation and control on behalf of power. This can be retraced to classic
schemas of intelligence or journalism, while with art theories of information
reflect the kind of ties information is subject to. Single reactions,
protests or subversive means is not enough against the mega-machines of
media and information-highways. It becomes more important for the artist
to appear with an accent, a local consciousness, than with an imaginary
world language he himself has the grammatical understanding of. While
it is pointed out, among others by Hardt and Negri in Empire,
how the new capitalism itself produces the local, an attempt at controlling
production through isolating disconnections will not be an alternative
to a theory for the liberation of the means of production. An ontological
absence is here pointed out, a systematic lac!
k in thinking, as opposed to a surveying understanding where any local
identity is dispelled and works only rhetorically by pointing to something
it itself is not, but uses as its testground and performs tentatively.
In the by now traditional but multi-faceted state-capital axiom, where
the political economy is increasingly pure bred on the terms of capitalism
and turns a traditional rebellion upon itself, the subversive becomes
a pattern of communication, and any short term tendency is reflected in
the economy. At the same time long term political planning maintains its
knowledge and power over life and the subject through bio-political means.
These are, roughly retold, described by Foucault as the evolution of power
technologies that interfere in the individual's self-constitution as productive
desire, and today represent a transitional state towards more sophisticated
mechanisms of control in the global economy.
The discourse of globalisation demonstrates how the socio-cultural field
is systematized through psychological and ethnologic areas of knowledge.
They are deciding for the terminology and direction of globalisation,
based on their self-referentiality and methods for founding the conditions
of cultural conceptualising. We can also see that this knowledge has a
privileged role where the political economy makes advances as globalisation-ideology.
Global art can contribute with dearly needed promises of a quasi-universal
community where local conditions stand in the way of market-liberalist
expectations of development and motivation.
Art-as-research should make clear to itself which means are at its disposal
(knowledge-formations), but should avoid naming a goal or a motivation
that re-installs a new knowledge regime (a theoretical model with a specific
use). This does not mean that it acts as a counter-science, but that it
points to knowledge being created, either under a larger schema of discourses
and systems or relating analytically to these. Against the expansion and
appropriation of these regimes this kind of research is without a field
to work within. The field art is for example subject to psychological
and ethnological analysis that make it a quasi-abstract dimension of reality,
as symbolic value. What is important is to show how art avoids internment
in categories that serve a knowledge-regime only to be circulated in a
program of institutions, identity-production and political-economic interests.
Alternatively, the production itself represents a subjection to an apparatus
tion that catches up with art and gives it a goal. Likewise but inverted,
the subjective-paranoid anti-production entails a precise reconstruction
of the apparatus as a code-machine.
The internal production of art has a similar form of self-confirmation
in the external production. Not only does art relate to its own internal
economy of desires, fears or dreams, but it is also defined into a fluid
economy of identities and possible motives in global art. With globalisation
it shows how this new administration of identities reproduces local relations
of knowledge, but delinated from any connection with concepts of social
self-determination. Also, it is possible to locate a fluid transition
between the local and the global in the denial of the border it inserts
between a universal strategy and a local tactic by instituting individually
tailored solutions. This is the same problem that ethnology encounters
in field work, where it becomes dependent on constituting the primitive
as an identity. In order to construct a universal account the ethnologist
must distance himself from the primitive reality of the primitive, unless
he himself wants to surrender his !
pretension to universality and himself become primitive.
Again, it is a positive task for art-as-research to foreclose and reject
dimensions like global subjectivity, while at the same time relocating
a concept as a minority art that is not reducible, or possible to enlarge,
to subjective entities. Later on this might give birth to deformed concepts
like global art or intersubjective art, but the starting point is that
this kind of art comes into being (intrudes) within a self-referential
system and thereafter develops its own uniqueness. Within the system,
it poses the possibility of breaking down the system, emulgating or dispersing
from it . A condition for this is that art is produced at a level of abstraction
that is the hallmark of all minority art, that no longer is self-referential
but communicates with its externality (as a confrontation between different
modes of understanding) and render all meetings physical confrontations
that vary in duration, that surface and then disappear without giving
itself away and that no lon!
ger only institutes demarcation lines through its intensity but mark the
intensification of relations by the powers that be. As the staging of
meetings, a minority art produces leitmotifs and refrains, possibly viruses,
that put the way power speaks and operates out of play. Minority art and
refrains as they are described by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand
Plateaux are examples of how concepts work as tools for critical
analysis, or art-as-research if so preferred.
No matter which direction this work takes, it directly or
indirectly describes a relation to power, or rather a distance to power
that need not claim to be critique. That it still challenges as provocation
or affects a level of tolerance, is connected with the affective way in
which such a project is constructed. Academically established discourses
may not correlate to the conditions for communication and exchange, which
will necessarily appear as tapping, breaks and interruptions with these
discourses that are established inside the regimes that need an affective
rethinking- i.e. as amateurish and through affection/contamination. This
is however a principle that describes activist groups, minority movements
and pressure groups, who by confronting power, regimes and a general fascist
lifeform pressure these to give up more and more of their
self-confirming postulates. In any case a temporary rejection of an individual
and global control-force is enacted through the coll!
ective utterances of subjectivity, rather than by the subject matter itself.
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