“What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.” Vincent Van Gogh
“Only the suspect artist starts from art; the true artist draws his material elsewhere: from himself. There’s only one thing worse than boredom — the fear of boredom — and it’s this fear I experience every time I open a novel. I have no use for the hero’s life, don’t attend to it, don’t even believe in it. The genre, having squandered its substance, no longer has an object. The character is dying out; the plot, too. It’s no accident that the only novels deserving of interest today are those in which, once the universe is disbanded, nothing happens — e.g., Tristram Shandy, Notes from Underground, Camus’s The Fall, Thomas Bern hard’s Correction, Duras’s The Lover, Barry Hannah’s Boomerang.”
David Shields, 611 Reality Hunger
“Today, when we can eat Tex-Mex with chopsticks while listening to reggae and watching a YouTube rebroadcast of the Berlin Wall’s fall—i.e., when damn near everything presents itself as familiar—it’s not a surprise that some of today’s most ambitious art is going about trying to make the familiar strange. In so doing, in reimagining what human life might truly be like over there across the chasms of illusion, mediation, demographics, marketing, imago, and appearance, artists are paradoxically trying to restore what’s taken for “real” to three whole dimensions, to reconstruct a univocally round world out of disparate streams of flat sights.”
Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstacy of Influence
“The lack of general historical life also means that individual life as yet has no history. The pseudo-events that vie for attention in spectacular dramatizations have not been lived by those who are informed about them; and in any case they are soon forgotten due to their increasingly frenetic replacement at every pulsation of the spectacular machinery. Conversely, what is really lived has no relation to the society’s official version of irreversible time, and conflicts with the pseudocyclical rhythm of that time’s consumable by-products. This individual experience of a disconnected everyday life remains without language, without concepts, and without critical access to its own past, which has nowhere been recorded. Uncommunicated, misunderstood and forgotten, it is smothered by the spectacle’s false memory of the unmemorable.” Guy Debord, 157 Society of the Spectacle
“A one-hour episode of reality TV can take as long as sixteen hours to film. The shots where judges like myself give mean looks to the artists before pronouncing decisions on their work last something like three seconds onscreen, but require fifteen minutes of us all staring at one another. (The cameras have to be moved around and positioned so each person can be filmed.)”
Jerry Saltz, “Work of Art Recap: Harsh Reality”
“Now, this triumph of the idea of art over art itself, and, with the ready-made, the triumph of the idea of the object over the object itself are but an aspect of an immense feed-back, of an instant recycling of all events and images in the visual universe and to the realm of media. But also our intellectual and political life, our actions and our thoughts are affected by this automatic selfrefraction. Everywhere the process of image-feedback (“retour-image”)induces everything to focus on itself, to duplicate itself in advance, cutting short the process of representation – a phenomenon particularly noticeable in the field of photo-graphy, where very few images, be it a face, an event, a human being or a landscape, escape that image-feedback. Most of our images mask themselves with a con-text, a culture, a meaning, an idea of themselves and this leads to a kind of blindness described by Sanchez FERLOSIO (a spanish essayist): ” There is a terrible form of blindness, which allows you to look at things and not to see them. Time before, we did not look at things, we just saw them. Today all is wrapped in duplicity, no impulse is pure and direct. That is how the countryside has become a landscape, that is to say a representation of itself … Wherever I set my eyes, I see that terrible scenery that people glorify under the name of landscape ” It is our faculty of perception itself, our immediate sensibility that have been aestheticized. Sight, hearing, touch, feeling, all our senses have become aesthetic in the worst, the most banal sense of the term. And any new vision can be born only out of a radical deconstruction of this image-feedback, a resolution of this process of countertransfer that obstructs our vision, in order to reinstate the world in its radical illusion – its original state indeed, for the world itself is actually without return, without screen, without selfreflection. This process of reduplication, of cyclical confusion with our own image must be clearly distinguished from our mirror-relation, where on the contrary we take distance from our own image and enter within an open process of alienation and alterity. The mirror, the glance, the gaze, the scene open up to a tranfer, eventually to a poetic transfer, to a whole culture of the metaphor which is quite the opposite of that visual and aesthetic enclosure.”
Jean Baudrillard Integral Reality
It is as if I was to take my eye, to throw it away, and still be able to see. Video is originally a de-corporation, a disqualification of the sensorial organs which are replaced by machines…The eye and the hand are replaced by the data glove, the body is replaced by a data suit, sex is replaced by cybersex. All the qualities of the body are transferred to the machine…We haven’t adjusted yet, we are forgetting our body, we are losing it. This is an accident of the body, a de-corporation. The body is torn and disintegrated.
Paul Virilio Cyberwar, God And Television
Today, one often hears that the art of our time functions increasingly in the same way as design, and to a certain extent this is true. But the ultimate problem of design concerns not how I design the world outside, but how I design myself—or, rather, how I deal with the way in which the world designs me. Today, this has become a general, all-pervasive problem with which everyone—and not just politicians, movie stars, and celebrities—is confronted. Today, everyone is subjected to an aesthetic evaluation—everyone is required to take aesthetic responsibility for his or her appearance in the world, for his or her self-design. Where it was once a privilege and a burden for the chosen few, in our time self-design has come to be the mass cultural practice par excellence. The virtual space of the Internet is primarily an arena in which MyFace and MySpace are permanently designed and redesigned to be presented on YouTube—and vice versa. But likewise in the real—or, let’s say, analog—world, one is expected to be responsible for the image that he or she presents to the gaze of others. It could even be said that self-design is a practice that unites artist and audience alike in the most radical way: though not everyone produces artworks, everyone is an artwork. At the same time, everyone is expected to be his or her own author.
Boris Groys Self-Design and Aesthetic Responsibility
In my experience, you always think you know what you’re doing; you always think you can explain, but you always discover, years later, that you didn’t and you couldn’t. This leads me to suspect that the principal function of human reason is to rationalize what your lizard brain demands of you. That’s my idea. Art and writing come from somewhere down around the lizard brain. It’s a much more peculiar activity than we like to think it is. The problems arise when we try to domesticate the practice, to pretend that it’s a normal human activity and that “everybody’s creative.” They’re not.
Dave Hickey Interview
A few ideas to think about. Reality will continue….