Re: [-empyre-] following

On 13/03/2007, at 5:05 PM, Henry Warwick wrote:
What I liked especially about him was his abilities with analogies and his
imaginative ways of rethinking the obvious. Not that he was necessarily
correct, but that his ideas and connecxions could be interesting.

It seems to me that in Henry's account (which I am largely in agreement with in the part above) lies the appeal of JB to artists. I think it was in an interview with Mike Gane that Baudrillard noted that the fine arts community gave him the most support, even though they "misunderstood" him. Like any artist, though, Baudrillard always seemed to me to avoid being understood, he didn't want the responsibility that might lie in a practice based on understanding, and he embraced the provocateur role.

The most interesting aspect of the wake for me has been having to reflect on the appeal of Baudrillard to a number of my art and design students when I was in a teaching role. Perhaps one of the things a reconsideration of his work can give us is a sense of the different type of work that theory does in different domains - reading for pleasure, reading for change, reading for political strategy, reading for aesthetic stimulation, etc...

I guess I've always found artists and provocateurs more interesting when they're acting with accountability to existing social/political movements, rather than as lone ranger types. That's my materialist training and bias, the cui bono question. It's not quite the right question to ask of the aesthete (though I think it is the right question to ask of the aesthetic). So the conversation never worked for me. And it never seemed to work for the people I see as mentors, either. And he was so hostile to the movements that shaped my politics that it just meant I could never feel inspired to find the inspiration he provided for others - my loss I guess!


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