Crisis of Artistic System


“Reclaiming culture from industry and the British “Creative Economy”: An investigationof new configurations of the artistic system”

A paper given on the 11 November for the European Congress of Aesthetics in Madrid under the name of our collective Doxa. The paper is a bit rough, since I wrote it during the occupation of Deptford Town Hall. The core question of the artistic system for us today is the crisis of creativity. We propose to understand this crisis in three perspectives, namely: the limitation of the understanding of creativity, proletarization of artists under the speculative economy, and the organization of amateur production. If we refer to the myth of the UK culture industry, at the very beginning Chris Smith in his speech “No Wealth But Life: the Importance of Creativity” quoted John Ruskin’s Unto This Last, “There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy and of admiration. That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings…” well… then this creativity in the present has nothing to do with life, only profits and speculation (not to mention the cut on arts and humanities).

The particular thing interested me is the article “Marx After Duchamp, of The Artist’s Two Bodies” we quoted from Boris Groys. It states that since Marcel Duchamp, the ready-made or the industrial object replaces the intimacy between the artists and his works, which were based on bodily gestures. And as it was further supplemented from Marc Jimenez that Duchamp emphasized to him that he was making “object of art” but not “work of art”. The significance for me, is that the technical object is creating a short circuit, and from that moment on, the aesthetic experience, aesthetic judgment, and art production gain new relations with technology. A return to the good old days aesthetic judgement system is impossible (a necessary confusion: Marc Jimenez was defending Takashi Murakami on one hand and attacking Christian Boltanski on the other hand), and the future remains technologically dependent. The production of digital objects, for example amateur videos, photos, songs for Boris Groys are today repeating the post-Duchampian artistic practice, i.e. creating short circuits. This post-Duchampian artistic practice is now also subsumed to algorithms, creativity or even art is or at least becoming algorithm-driven.

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