[iDC] Art

Rozalinda borcila at arts.usf.edu
Sat Dec 10 15:36:29 EST 2005

brian wrote:
> 2. What I personally wish to preserve and foster is
> a quite 
> different disposition, which entails opening oneself
> up to 
> what might be described as "the time of the other."
> This is 
> something that a society has to cultivate, it
> requires 
> initiatives, institutions, spaces both physical and
> mental. 
> It is indeed a dis-position, in the sense of a
> shift. In a 
> very real way, it puts you outside your own skin,it
> helps 
> you understand the outside - the other - that is
> yourself.
(can art be the space where we collectively experiment
to learn such a "disposition"? can its institutions
really be useful in this way -- ie can we really
imagine art counterinstitutions? i am  as always,
troubled by the spectaclar nature of the visual -- and
am overly cautious when assigning images such a
critical task. but more below...)

> 4. Concerning what can be achieved - the
> subject/object as a 
> result of our actions - one of the things I have
> worked on 
> is trying to reconceive art shows, museums and works
> as what 
> might be called "social analyzers" - ways of
> bringing both 
> the objective forms of social environments, and the 
> subjective qualifications that orient them and make
> them 
> what they are, into question and into public debate.
> I have 
> written a lot about this, and I have always insisted
> that 
> conflict - the kind provoked by symbolic
> interventionism, or 
> what we have been calling "activism" - has an
> important role 
> to play in sparking these processes of public
> questioning.
> Most of my own work has for that last reason been
> very 
> provocative. However, now I'm finished with that
> kind of 
> work, due to the general exhaustion of the vein (the
> fad we 
> were talking about) and also because the stakes of 
> negotiating life in common have gotten a lot more
> serious 
> since 9/11 generally.

Brian, can you expand upon this a bit? Is there an
opposition between practicing conflict and
And what is to be done about this “exhaustion” –
indeed , we have witnessed an absorption of practices
of intervention and subversion, whose circulation and
currency in the art market is perhaps the best
demonstration of a loss in critical power. (this is
not new, nor is it particular to critical practices –
it is the way of market forces to compress anything
into a product).  But the project of making conflict –
not simply resolving differences, but practicing them,
generating and sustaining conflict outside of the only
model left available to us (the gun) – this project
seems far from over. The single most dreadful thing
for me about living in the US is the dissapearance of
social spaces and practices specific enough, different
enough and flexible enough to allow conflicts to be
played out without the inevitability of victory of the
stronger over the weaker. it seems necessary to learn
contestation, critical deviance once again – all over
again. Perhaps art is the place to “workshop” conflict
– but a real “workshop” situation (as opposed to space
or format) involves testing given methods against new
contexts specifically in order to dislodge the
methods, to have them fail, to identify necessity and
make manifest where exactly and how the given methods
are no longer useful.  The performative function of
"workshopping" is to dislodge its own methods and
discourse, to dislocate its own habits of

my suspicion is that artists or art institutions
cannot survive such a continous process of
representational dis-affiliation and secession. 


ps. however i would love to hear more about the B-Zone
show -- in particular how ursula biemann's project
handles the exhibition space. i was hoping to go
myself, but perhaps next time...

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