File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1998/avant-garde.9808, message 53


Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 02:20:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Avant-Garde ???


M wrote:
>  In other words, what is your political theory of art?
>

My political theory of art is that art is political if it  contributes to
the production of  a self reflexive - self consciousness in the viewer/
maker/ culture --  most art that announces itself to be political is
actually is  either social or propagandistic in the main because  it
addresses social issues and themes  -- art becomes a social cultural prop
when it can be used to substantiate models of freedom and consciousness
that no longer have the capacity to induce  a self reflexive - self
consciousness in the viewer/ maker -- ie. it produces a false
consciousness.

 In the case of the above general statement, the term art can be replaced
by such  terms as: education, interpersonal relationships, politics etc.
Also so that this is not taken to be a formalist / structuralist position
by those who can not recognize the subtitles of this formulation ( subject
and object are neither decontextalized nor fixed) -- the notion of self
consciousness here is neither transcendent nor non specific.  It is
mediated by the condition that its content be self-reflexive ie that it
induce  a subjectivity that is capable of viewing itself  both within  the
context by which it was formed as well as in relation to  its ability to
act not only within the world but also upon itself.

 As an aside  resistence is too once sided for it is a defensive posture, a
rear garde action and is premised on the idea that lost is inevitable or
that what we stand for  constitutes a  permanent opposition.  Such a stance
only legitimates what we seeming either oppose or resist. This in itself
may be taken as indicative of the failure to understand that we seem to
approach our conceptual truths through a process in which a proposition is
addressed by a  counter proposition. The dialog between the two functions
as a corrective one to the other for rather than  constituting an
irreconcilable  contradition in which one term must over come the other the
goal is to produce a synthesis that is new terms and conditions.

The avant garde once stood for something -- it represented a model of
freedom and risk, it was the standard bearer of change.  The reason their
is no avant garde is because those who would be AG have a historical model
of what that means on one hand and a reified and antiquated  view of who
and what constitutes both the enemy and progress.

Having written this I will  now retreat and engage in untangling  the
sentences that I have written,  so that i will be able to understand their
implications and discern if I actually believe them and if my actions
coincide with their sentiment.

S.O.




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