[-empyre-] TAZ-mania

naxsmash naxsmash at mac.com
Wed Apr 22 05:47:24 EST 2009

A good thought about how art practice matters, gives me a moment to  
smile while on a very grey bus lumbering into Chicago.

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 21, 2009, at 10:15 AM, davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>  

> Thanks for spending a little time on deCerteau...
>> And as for your call to revolution, to “arms,” as Nick might  
>> call it, given
>> his initial interest in creativity and armature, I think of de  
>> Certeau’s
>> notion of La Perruque in The Practice of Everyday Life: all those  
>> tiny,
>> little breaks in the system we effect each day, everything from  
>> oppositional
>> shopping (label-switching, kleptomania) to the simple act of  
>> writing a love
>> letter “on the boss’ time.”  No giant Arendtian break, but  
>> sweet and
>> individual tears in the social tapestry that give meaning to the  
>> banal, the
>> programmatic, the codified, the staid, the static.
> I think this might be wear the artist's work is important.  Brian
> mentioned previously the idea that a crisis of confidence is precisely
> what is needed to turn people away from this idea that financial
> markets are the measure of a society's health and that Wall Street is
> somehow "sexy."  For years, the evening news would should the Dow
> Jones Industrial Average as a shorthand for the "health" of the
> economy.  But as my father got older and had difficulties finding
> employment and finding stable housing, I always saw the Dow Jones as a
> fetish that was increasingly divorced from any stable referent...  it
> would climb and people would cheer....  but for a growing segment of
> the population, things got harder and harder.
> I don't think that artists should have to worry too terribly much
> about fixing everything.  But what artists can do is illustrate the
> many small moments and mark them so that others can see them.  Rather
> than exposing the insufficient nature of the financial system at
> delivering social goods....  art can illustrate the many other sites
> where social goods are delivered.  The artist does not have a special
> corner on the market of these small detours, they just have a great
> excuse for talking about detours--they're artists!
> We all make detours throughout our days.  In fact, we live for the
> detours.  Art can provide the occasion, the pretext, and the excuse
> for making a detour.  (If you have a friend shoot you in the arm...
> normally this is frowned upon.  But when Chris Burden decides to do
> it...  people think about it differently.)
> But even within finance itself, we live for detours.  If you listen to
> talk radio, they love to go on and on about this idea of the "welfare
> queen"--who has children so she doesn't have to work (The Octo-mom is
> just an hyper-example of this).  Talk radio personalities love to rant
> and rave about how lazy welfare recipients are...  about how unjust it
> is for them to be unproductive, but still draw an income, by working
> the system.
> BUT....  if you listen to these very same talk radio personalities,
> they gush with praise for elite investors.  The paradigmatic hero for
> our age is the man who gets rich on the stock market.  Why?  Because
> the investor figured out a way to make money without breaking his back
> all day.  Warren Buffet or Donald Trump or whoever has figured out a
> way to make money without actually doing anything, by working the
> system.  This is the kind of a god that we can believe in....  the
> kind of figure who can transcend the evil that we fear (poverty, being
> a nobody, etc.)...  who can warp the laws of the material world and
> triumph over them.
> What is this dream but the hope for a detour?  Instead of working all
> day, I might be snatched from ill-fortune by purchasing the right
> thing at the right time.  Hence, the "success" of
> multi-level-marketing companies like Amway and Herbalife and
> Monavie...  they offer the working class person a chance to be "the
> boss" and to reap rewards by having others do the work for them.
> (And, in the process, they tend to lose money....  but more
> tragically....  they lose friends.  The biggest irony: the money they
> lose and the work they put in, the very fruits of their failure, will
> be used, up the ladder, as evidence of "success.")
> Artists can do a lot just by affirming "human"
> experiences--imagination, love, tragedy, laughter, absurdity, etc.  I
> cannot tell an artist what he or she should or shouldn't do...  but I
> do prefer artists who can speak to me.  I like art that taps into my
> notions and desires in such a way that I feel validated in my
> experiences.  And, I love art which helps me see something that I
> didn't quite understand or couldn't precisely articulate in a way that
> makes the experience useful to me.
> In short, these little ruptures are everywhere all the time.  What
> artists can do is mark them.  They can show people that their own
> lives are filled with meaningful alternatives to the machinations of
> capitalism.  And, in the process, people might seek happiness in one
> of the many compelling alternative narratives.
> Peace!
> Davin
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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