[-empyre-] Of Dystopias

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD mtata at ipublishingllc.com
Mon Apr 6 17:26:19 EST 2009

Actually, I think that what is so wonderful about capital and the "ism" that cements it into a concrete system of relations and effects is its dystopic quality.  To use Joseph's word, capitalism always involves a gamble: one might even go so far as to identify a leap of faith required by the venture in and of itself.  It even appears that a suspension of the ethical is very much in order when one trades--without, of course, launching one toward the zone of the religious, as with Kierkegaard's tripartite schema.  Unless one’s religion is money…
The dystopic quality of American capitalism in particular results from the incredible dissonance and cacophony it sponsors, fosters, creates (in Nick's etymological sense of the word).  In this schizophrenogenic arrangement, I am pushed and pulled in every direction: for example, I am told my body is or warned it may become obese, supermorbidly obese, thin, scary thin, etc.: I just can’t win.  In fact, after I watch a tearful Marie Osmond explain how she lost her spare tire after the “Dancing with the Stars” diet inspired her to recapture her youth by shedding unwanted pounds, I am shown an ad touting the general yumminess of the Whopper.  No wonder D&G home in on the schizoid quality of our society: I agree, but enjoy the ride, even when I fly off the tracks and watch hopelessly as Newton’s laws determine my final resting place.  
Furthermore, it is the diffuse quality of the spectacle which makes our world such a noisy one (Debord had to arrive in our discussion at some point!).  For me, at least, the insanity and inanity of the diffuse spec are fantastic, flooding me day and night with a chaos of bodies and egos and imagos whose streaming is simply much too much for me to absorb or process (mathematically, and dynamically, they become sublime).  While the concentrated spectacle does have its charms—here I am thinking of all those wonderful and very manly paintings of Saddam Hussein which we on the other end of the boob tube only see during an even more manly incursion of American military power into one of his seized palaces—it does not produce the wild energy of the capitalist dystopia.  
And so one Hussein equals about a million Britneys.  


Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA


> Date: Sun, 5 Apr 2009 08:33:25 -0700
> From: editor at intertheory.org
> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade Winds
> ghh...what might an 'extra-marketable' utopia look like...?
> Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D Editor, Kritikos http://intertheory.org
> --- On Thu, 4/2/09, G.H. Hovagimyan <ghh at thing.net> wrote:
> > From: G.H. Hovagimyan <ghh at thing.net>
> > Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade Winds
> > To: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> > Date: Thursday, April 2, 2009, 8:03 AM
> > 
> > 
> > On Apr 1, 2009, at 8:35 PM, Michael Angelo Tata,
> > PhD wrote:
> > Aside
> > from Warhol, the place toward which my mind immediately
> > turns as I think about what Nicholas refers to as the
> > Immaculate Deception is Camille Paglia’s identification of
> > Jacques Derrida as a junk-bond salesman in her “Junk Bonds
> > and Corporate Raiders” (part of Sex, Art, and
> > American Culture). I think my
> > mind races to this piece of writing because it does raise
> > the important question of the potential bankruptcy of theory
> > in general (a risk that does not seem to plague philosophy
> > quite the same way). 
> > Well now what. 
> > As a child of the 1970's art world, I
> > remember Warhol as more commerce than art. He did have
> > three areas of production that related to each other and
> > were reflections of commodity capitalism, the mode of
> > America in the late '60's. The three areas were
> > his films which involved a party culture at the factory, his
> > silkscreen paintings and Interview newspaper. The social
> > scene,party culture migrated to Studio 54 and the clubs in
> > the 1970's. My friend the Art Historian Alan Moore
> > coined the term, "Clubism" when that scene morphed
> > into the Late Seventies East Village Punk/Performance
> > scene. 
> > The idea of a brand name and signature style was
> > the legacy of Warhol's silkscreen paintings. Interview
> > was a sort of media art work that was about celebrity as a
> > commodity. The progression of these notions
> > in American Culture continues. Reality TV shows are about
> > banal people being promoted to celebrities. celebrity as
> > commodity becomes a quality that can be created by
> > obsession. The signature style/ brand name products of
> > Warhol became appropriation in the late seventies and
> > copyright, remixing and sampling culture in the present.
> > The other part of this commodity matrix continued in the
> > 1980's when the market became more important than the
> > art object or the ideas behind it. This occurred with the
> > Neo-Expressionists and Neo-Geo. The discussion was that if
> > there is an end to historical modernist progression than all
> > styles are viable. The market decides what is art. Money
> > trumps ideas. This market logic was manifested in the
> > first explosion of 400 galleries in the East Village in
> > Mid-80's and continues today in various art market
> > expansions in particular the latest L.E.S galleries and
> > the art fair as a sped-up/condensed art buying
> > experience. I come from the intellectually
> > opposite camp. I believe in Idea overs form and in
> > particular that art should be a force for experimentation
> > that critiques the main culture rather than glorify it. I
> > also feel that the utopian spirit in art is alive and is an
> > anathema to the "Extreme Marketism" of the art
> > world mantra of unique object/signature style/ brand name.
> > What this means is that in this 21st century art world the
> > signature style and uniqueness of any any art work gives way
> > to collaboration and collective expressions. Interestingly
> > enough that doesn't mean that individual expression and
> > creativity goes away. Within any collaboration there is
> > something else that occurs; the collaboration encourages the
> > individuals to push their practice further and to look at
> > the world from unthought of points of view. 
> > What has occurred in the USA with bubble markets
> > is a lot of money (capital) in the world seeking a safe
> > haven and a decent rate of return. The US has been the
> > beacon for this because most of the rest of the world is
> > politically unstable or doesn't give a decent rate of
> > return. Essentially it's capital looking for an
> > investment instead of a producer looking for capital.
> > It's essentially a disease of success like obesity.
> > It's also a consequence of the dismantling of our
> > manufacturing base. Manufacturing creates wealth. The
> > logic o Capitalism is the differential. Labor is still the
> > basis of that. What happens now is that we have a
> > situation where the culture and the world are trying to find
> > a new world system based solely on ideas and abstractions.
> > The problem is that the motivating force behind this is
> > greed and markets. In an earlier time it might have been
> > war, conquest and plunder that was an organizing principal
> > for societies. This current moment is about creating small
> > utopias that are outside of the markets. 
> > G.H.
> > Hovagimyanhttp://nujus.net/~gh/http://artistsmeeting.orghttp://transition.turbulence.org/Works/plazaville
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > -----Inline Attachment Follows-----
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
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