Tuesday, January 14, 2014

culture as a form of brainwashing

aLfReDo tRifF

in this epoch of the art fairs & biennials, art becomes a medium for sale and tourism.

this new form of art presentation can be problematized: how many of these events are really about what one naively calls art? we're ready to ask, can art be art independent of art's cultural spectacle?

before the art fair/art biennial paradigm the art object's physicality was primary. now a mere nominal referent. what matters is not art but its supererogatory cult**ural spectacle. what we call art today is spectacle excess. what audiences around the world experience is the cult* (of the as if) of art. coming back to plato, this new paradigm brings back the mimesis phenomenon only that "there is no reality anymore," as jean baudrillard would've said (i.e., art IS the new reality = the hyperreal).   

art is a cultural cluster of stereotyped experiences courtesy of the art market.

this Mona Lisa you take for granted is not the physical Mona Lisa*

let's say that the constant presentation of the art object within these new contexts (the fairs and the biennials) modifies the quality of art's overall perception. art is not (anymore) this particular thing imbued with aesthetic values (what we learned in art history), but a ceremonial cluster arthoodicating & selling art commodities.

if "great" art is dictated by the establishment via arthoodication, then culture becomes a form of brainwashing.  


*for example, physical presence is still relevant for the art object's identity, but it's not as significant. today, the majority of people that have seen the Mona Lisa have not seen the physical Mona Lisa. one could argue that to have an HD image of 780p/1080p of the Mona Lisa is enough for your average experience. after the digital revolution "experience" is in need of revision from the relational/aesthetics's presence paradigm.

in other words, the physical Mona Lisa is to art what gold reserve is to the Federal Reserve. as close to presence itself. one could argue that even ca$h reserves stored physically in a bank vault are less primary (paper can be printed, gold needs to be extracted and it's rare).


Malagodi said...
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Malagodi said...

What matters here is pattern recognition and the context in which that pattern 'fits'. This is true of all branded commodities. Physical presence can be a game-changer, like being in the presence of a Warhol or a Dali, or being in front of the Neptune at the National Museum in Athens, but few ever get to actually do that, and even fewer have the skills of observation for it to make a big difference. So for the vast majority, pattern recognition is all there is.

The problem is that we have only one word for art (as we have only one word for music), so there is generally no distinction between art and decor, or between music and audio entertainment.

The principle difference between these functions is that art or real music is disruptive whereas decor or entertainment is self-confirming.

People talking to each other in galleries. People talking to each other in music clubs. Where is the disruption of normal life of which we are in such desperate need? How much better that we should come to our senses without violence.

Oh weary me.

Alfredo Triff said...

well said mal-a-godi!