[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 53, Issue 31

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Tue Apr 28 18:06:12 EST 2009

Some artists concern themselves with the character of crisis more generally.
Our culture seems to be one of crisis, a culture that thrives on crisis.
Crisis has been commodified, rendered part of the
military-entertainment-complex (Dietz). The andrenalin generated by a
meltdown, a terror strike or a pandemic washes through our cultural plasma
like a drug. We all get high together.

Is it the being high that we crave, or the sense of being together? Or both?
Or something else?

You cannot respond rapidly to such dynamics. You need to go slow, almost as
a response to the speed of events. This is not only to be able to develop a
considered response or position but to decouple from events and establish a
degree of otherness in relation to what is in effect mass-hysteria. Being in
the midst of it you will never see what is going on ...

Simon Biggs
Research Professor
edinburgh college of art
s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM/Skype: simonbiggsuk

From: <empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Reply-To: <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2009 10:04:42 +1000
To: <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Subject: empyre Digest, Vol 53, Issue 31

I was countering this generalisation, which is uninformed because, as
I was suggesting, there are many many artists working globally who do
not 'react' (ie quick, immediate etc) but rather 'respond' via
carefully thought out and quite lengthy engagements with what is
actually an ongoing period of crisis. Where we might want to locate
the beginning of this depends on what part of the world you live but
many people would probably say - sometime during the 1970s or 1980s.
The recent 'financial' crisis in these more longitudinal views is
understood as unfolding in this context, then. And so if some, all or
many of the artists I might have named and others are now 'responding'
to this recent 'crisis' it is more often than not because they have
been thinking about things for quite some time!

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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