[-empyre-] Restart

again …. Greetings  to everyone on empyre,

I thought that I might simply press RESTART on this discussion as it’s launch seems to have been somewhat dispersed – almost before it began! I also recognize that a number of us are also participating in a concurrent list – the IDC – whose discussion somewhat mirrors our own – as much as we’d like we can’t be all places at all times!

I had sent out a preliminary statement a day or two ago that I had hoped would generate some commentary on the statement “what is to be done…”. I am pasting it below and will then reply to a couple of responses of the past day or so.

Thanks for your patience with this –


It could be suggested that Roger Buergel's laudable utterance of “what is to be done?” is being imagined within a seeming consensual utopian dream for global salvation through the exhibition of various cultural practices. My reading of the subtext of his statement is as a collective consciousness or understanding of art practices as inhabiting the realm of an almost secular spiritualism and, as such, a wish for artists to engage in a somewhat evangelical aesthetic response.

The implicit assumption of a narrative trajectory for art practices - for education practices - assumes a collective set of purposes and necessities and, yes, impossibilities. It requires that we think and evaluate education practices and directives through the gelled lens of globalism which offers us a branded patina of regionalized specificity and individuated experience. Any understanding of what constitutes education and artistic practices needs to be based upon what it is that artists do, where they do it, how they do it ... and why they do it. As we understand, artists do different things in diverse cultures and are accompanied by a dissimilar range of relational dynamics and understanding. Where they are "educated, " how they are "educated" or 'trained" and what they ultimately produce speak to the complexities and inherent ambiguities that exist within these varied contextualized and often, institutionalized and commodified platforms. A relevant query here is whether or not the construct of an exhibition such as Documenta is effective in adequately providing a context for various art practices to function as modes of transferable knowledge within the “global complex of cultural translation?”

Christiane Robbins

J e t z t z e i t
Los Angeles  l  San Francisco

... the space between zero and one ...
Walter Benjamin

The present age prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, fancy to reality, the appearance to the essence for in these days illusion only is sacred, truth profane.

Ludwig Feuerbach, 1804-1872,
German Philosopher

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