Thursday, 23 July 2009

I just couldn't resist

This is off topic of course, but occasionally you simply have to write what's on your mind. In my last post I noted that there's a movement to create an economy for HD that makes it cost as much as 35mm - what I've written below, I suppose, is in contradiction to that.

There is now a movement to promote a 'Free Economy'. An economy where all the normal functions of exploitation exist, but hidden beneath the surface. As artists we are the guardians against the hidden atrocities of social form. The owner class requires profit to function. The artist class, sadly, has joined in this production of wealth. Artist - stay awake. Google that fine line from the poem and u get a u tube video of a baby trying to stay awake.

Ha Ha.

'The situation is nicely summed up by' - if the situation can be nicely summed up, we'd better abandon ship, derail the train, blow up the building, set fire to the symposium - Freeconomics.

But free - what does that mean?

This idea, without context, is almost worthless. It's worthless because it like all ideas sits within the social and economic context of the production of meaning.

When each young artist constructs a work, are they mindful of the context of that production? Do they know, for instance, why those most beautiful of medieval artifacts, the Limewood Altar Pieces of Middle Germany and the Netherlands are disfigured by the context of their own production? That they served as ego enhancing commodities for the owners? Whoever owns the biggest, finest, altar piece has the biggest cock. That’s why the religious system effectively banned their production. They were a statement by Mammon about Mammon. Do the new young video artists understand where they stand in terms of the stream of commodification that is now prevalent in the selfs' need to be an 'individual'? Do they just want to say something - loud. Do they just want fame?

Is the 20th centuries grand modernist curatorial project finally bankrupt - running on empty - or to paraphrase Pete Townsend, ‘drawing energy from a pyre of burning artists?’

In terms of Wired and it’s push towards marketing its editors book on the idea of Freeconomics (what a Bush-like word!) big thinkers bore me as they offer off-the-peg-solutions to difficult problems that they themselves not only identify, but promote. That's when the bullshit detector rings loud. It's an industry.

We, 'artists', have to enquire much deeper than the theorists who simply respond. We 'artists' are mining at the coal-face of reality. We 'artists' trace our lineage back to the mind in the cave that drew the first cave painting, or carved the first flute maybe some 100,000 years ago. We the artists trace our gaze back to the ape looking across the tree canopy and wondering - just wondering - and possibly 'responding'.

To respond is not a freedom - its a biological act. To respond intelligently, is also an accident of evolution. To respond with a conscious gaze - which may determine that no response should be made at all - that is the issue within freedom. The rest is just commodification at a late stage of capitalism.

Fortunately, there is a new paradigm arriving shortly at another platform.