[iDC] Art, Lifestyle & Globalisation Questions

Cecil Touchon touchon at sprynet.com
Sat Mar 31 19:15:39 EDT 2007

If artists are to engage in any dialog of a public nature such as
exhibitions, publications, performances and whatnot, how shall they build
enough wealth and capital to sustain their activity and carry on a home life
(support a family)? Capitalism as in produce objects to be sold? The public
dole? Maintain poverty? Work for a corporation?


If artists wish to engage in helping to shape the world to come, toward what
are they moving in terms of a desired result?


Is it enough just to complain about, point out the problems of, or screw
with the things you don't like? Assuming the answer to be no, what else
should one's time be spent doing in order to feel that one is making a
difference or helping to move the world in a better direction?


I notice that universities are training a lot of people to work for
corporations and show them how to find ways to screw the general public out
of small enough amounts of money to avoid calling it criminal behavior, yet
we all know it is and are being screwed over regularly.


How do we train ourselves and our children to shape the world into a place
we are not afraid to live in? 


How do we establish and honor higher standards of living our lives so as to
generate joy and peace?


What ideals should we establish among ourselves that we can all support


Why should we merely accept the ideals that organizations and governments
and corporations want to instill in us for their benefit?


Why do we allow ourselves to be thought of as corporate consumers and
properties of a state?


What would it be like if artists decided to shape a world where artists
would want to live in? What would be important to them? How would they do




Cecil Touchon




-----Original Message-----
From: idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net [mailto:idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net]
On Behalf Of Alan Clinton
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 9:02 PM
To: dew.harrison at rgu.ac.uk
Cc: idc at bbs.thing.net; dewharrison at yahoo.co.uk
Subject: Re: [iDC] Art, Lifestyle & Globalisation


A couple of thoughts here related to the questions you have posed.  First,
the rhetoric of purity (is there an outside of capitalism?) can be, I think,
an endgame producing the sort of corporate artists Stallabras describes and
those who are overly concerned that they may make a mistake with their art
(or their theory)--no one wants to be called a hypocrite.  


The problem of artists, intellectuals, and capitalism is a real one.  Should
I refuse to teach at the Georgia Institute of Technology because of its ties
to the military industrial complex?  If I had refused, when I was just out
of graduate school, I would have had little opportunity to critique the
system in anything resembling a full-time way--I wouldn't have had those
impressionable students either.  But then, if I had gone too far in my
critiques, I would have been fired.  Artists, it strikes me, are in a
similar position.  How to survive in an organism long enough to destroy or
recreate it? 


Rather than attempting to start from a position of purity, perhaps we should
recognize that people will find themselves starting out from various
positions of impurity within the system.  And, there will be many ways of
working against this system, of speaking to it in ways that I call,
borrowing one of Derrida's metaphors, "Tympanic Politics": 


"In his elucidation of marginalia as a discipline unto itself, Derrida gives
a poetic anatomy of the tympanic membrane and its surroundings.  The ear is
swirling, labyrinthine, and cavelike.  Penetrating its depths presents a
difficult, frightening prospect.  In addition to traversing a maze of
passages, one must confront the wall of the tympanum which has the
capability to muffle the loudest of noises.  If normative discourse/art does
not reach the inner ear with the proper sense of volume or urgency, then how
is one to suggest the political or historical importance of a particular
issue?  For the alternative would be to shock the system in such a way as to
puncture the tympanum altogether, effectively dismantling the apparatus so
that nothing can be heard at all.  It would be as if Constantin Brancusi, on
the verge of rejecting Rodin's method of clay modeling with taille directe,
had shattered The Craiova Kiss with the first hammer strike into formless
stone.  Derrida's answer to such questions, of course, is always a more
specific anatomy of the situation at hand.  He suggests that since the
tympanum is oblique with respect to the ear canal, its subversion requires
an oblique approach as well (taille indirecte?), some form of rhetorical
ambush.  How does one 'unhinge' something that cannot be shattered?" 


Alan Clinton


On 3/28/07, dew.harrison at rgu.ac.uk <dew.harrison at rgu.ac.uk> wrote: 

   Dear IDCs,

   I have been enjoying the recent discussion sparked off by the passing of
Baudrillard and would like to move the debate at a tangent to this, but
continuing with ideas surrounding forms of social control, power and
politics. I     am concerned with the domination of the corporate within the
cultural and     wonder at the position I find myself placed in as an artist
and academic working     in an educational instituion. 

> Digital media and new technology is reconfiguring our relationship with
the world and is also affecting how artists relate with their public. Now,
new locative technology can position art in the everyday of people's lives
and activities outside the gallery space. Although psychogeography and
mobile media enable the 'interactive city' for artists to key into, they
also promote ideas of corporatised play in an urban space and tend to be
interventionist and intrusive. 'Big brother' media and cctv  surveillance
allows for few informal, ungoverned social meeting places. This means that
artists are having to find interstices between the formal constructed and
observed social spaces where unorthodox art can happen to engage with its
audience. Just how is such practice being supported within the neo-liberal
economic structures of globalistation? Julian Stallabrass suggests that this
only produces artists (in Brit Art particularly) who posture as edgy, risky
individuals but who are in real terms busy establishing market positions for
themselves. The answer lies somewhere in the inter-related issues of art,
lifestyle and  globalisation. 
> In the 1960s Marshall McLuhan predicted a technologically enabled 'global
village' and issued the warning -
> "Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has
become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of
science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes
inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase
of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total
interdependence, and superimposed co-existence." 
> I would be extremely interested in your thoughts on the extent to which we
are 'aware of this dynamic' and offer some questions which might help  probe
the territory -
> Corporations are rebranding themselves around lifestyle, is this
influencing creative practice or vice-versa? 
> How do the principals and aesthetics of open source and democratic media
sit alongside corporate products (iPod etc)?
> How should arts organisations and institutions respond to open networking
and ideas exchange, what is a node and a network in cultural terms? 
> Are artists the software for the corporation hardware, or the activists in
sheeps clothing?
> Where does government funding for the arts sit in the global cultural mix,
or is corporate money driving the cultural agenda? 
       With thanks and kind regards,

       Dew Harrison.

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