Re: [-empyre-] Do You Still Your Own Reality?

In retrospect (post-election), and as a citizen of the U.S., it occurs to me again that way forward for (political) artists (again, here at least) is no longer tactical subterfuge, but a long term strategy of analytical practice that produces "reality congruency" tools/experiences that are non-didactic and non-ironic. In much of my country, (the only I can speak for), many people are suspicious of teachers and knowledge workers unless they are vetted by a church, and really are impervious to irony. Culture jamming, media manipulation, and subterfuge that draw out the contradictions (mostly by giving gentle assistance to machines such as the Bush-machine, which are on some level self-ridiculing to begin with - like the Yes-men and smoky the log, for example) indeed bring much joy in revealing the now fully merged fundamentalist/corporatist world-view for what it is. But it reveals it, over and over again, only to the choir. In a democracy, there is sometimes a price to pay for making fun of people.

At the same time we are competing with a representational machine that is able to reflect a great deal artificial-ridiculing back against reason; to create artificial realities for reasonable people to think about and respond to (in a mode of constant defense), and to do all of this with a much greater array of media resources that artists could ever hope bring to bear. Politically then, there is little we can do in the short term. Art can best serve reason by turning back toward it; trying to serve and fortify it without being cheeky. In the U.S. anyway... In short, the way forward would seem to be a long-term strategic radical transparency, dialog, and honesty over tactical culture-jamming and subterfuge.

Brett Stalbaum wrote:

Hi Randall,

Given, yes. But it raises some interesting questions. At this moment (politically/tactically) is it most effective (or interesting) for artists to perform their own "pre-emptive reality annihilation" (or perhaps: envisioning an alternative future and trying to instantiate it as the Rove's of the world seem to do quite successfully), or to "culture jam" any such (nearly psychotic) right-wing reality distortions (using them as art supplies and comic fodder - seemingly easy to do), or perhaps to formulate an art practice that turns to and engages with (or grapples with) the real maintaining a general goal of producing tools (be they analytic, aesthetic, software, hardware), that are useful for individuals in terms of formulating their own, more congruent readings of the real? All? Something else?

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