Tuesday, May 16, 2017

artspeak's fumblings


aLfrEdo tRifF

it's difficult to remain neutral with artspeak. the style oscillates between the pseudo-theoretical (derridean deconstructive morsels, demanian undecidability rants, neocolonial gobbledygook), and the epihanic (kantian & lacue-labarthian "sublime" de rigueur).

here is just a paragraph from übercurator carolyn christov-bakargief of dOCUMENTA 13:
dOCUMENTA 13 is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated, to theory. These terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual energetic and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary.
1) dedicated to artistic research" (that's easy!) &
2) "forms of imagination that explore,"

*commitment,
*matter,
*things, (granted not all things need be matter)
*embodiment, (of matter? matter and things? does it matter?)
and active living! (as in promoting health? this is trending in the millenial department!). don't forget this oversupply as you plow along.

2.5) "... in connection with, yet not subordinated, to theory."

in artspeak, "subordinating" carries a fetor. yet, not appealing to theory is considered unsophisticated. granted, art is not theory & theory is not art, so what's this union?

contemporary art is generally a commentary on influences. the modern, the contemporary's predecessor, permanently influences the latter. so, the influence, although implicit, now becomes explicit.

up to this point, the contemporary professed non-subordination. remember 2.5)?

theory plays a nasty game: if you leave the door ajar, it comes in uninvited. with theory, non-subordination is a form of subordination. 

that's why contemporary art comes scaffolded with theory.

next,

3) we learn these things 1)-2.5) above, are "terrains,"

now we have a non-sentence, from "these terrains" on, that is. but we still don't know what "these terrains" refer to, what they predicate, in case they did.

christov-bakargief take us through a metonymical chute-the-chute, whereby any new phrase will be automatically subsumed under the previous one, for instance:

"artistic research" and "forms of imagination that explore commitment" become... terrains, where, as the curator suggests: "...politics are inseparable from a sensual energetic and worldly alliance..." and so on,

what are we doing? why don't we just surrender & let artspeak carry us across the land expanse, that is to say, " between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges"?

as the paragraph closes, it warily drops one more: "both ancient and contemporary."

aye.

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