[-empyre-] Artists' responses to the so-called "crisis"

joseph tabbi jtabbi at gmail.com
Mon Apr 27 02:29:26 EST 2009

Nice of you, Anna, to inform us “what Joseph is talking about” really.

I was talking about artist responses.

Just not the artists you wanted me, or the list, to talk about.

I am a guest on this list, this month.  Among various posts on a
number of topics, I notice these periodic, sometimes truculent,
sometimes emotional, calls for discussants to stop talking about some
things, and talk about other things instead.

And when the call goes unnoticed? Well, we hear about it.

We have artists “everywhere” who are working “amid, through and via
crisis to work with what might be transformative about crises.” (Anna)

Must they?

Must we?

And must the response be registered quickly, before the crisis passes
and we’ve missed an opportunity for transformation?

The requirement of ‘response,’ in the arts and academia, strikes me as
a symptom of market conditions, not an answer, and doubtful as a route
toward cultural change.

When scholars focus so earnestly on “crisis” as a mode of
transformation – and “response” as an artist's role, are we not
imposing a kind of market discipline on artistic practice?

Are we inclined, some of us, to impose the same discipline of call and
response on each other?


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