Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New graeber

Sometimes the terminological overlap between "democrat" and "anarchist" seduces Graeber into some peculiar historical revisionism, as when he attempts to theorize something called the "democratic unconscious" innate to mankind, a latent force behind populist revolutions and the eruption of democratic spaces. It's just as well he's already outed himself as an optimist: there are less kind terms, after all, to describe his indulgence in a narrative that idealizes pirate ships as the "perfect intercultural space of experiment." Graeber cites the swashbuckling adventure tales told in colonial America as evidence of the power of the democratic unconscious to manifest rebellions at crucial historical junctures, as in the case of the colonists' war for independence. He groups pirate ships with "those spaces of improvisation just outside the control of governments and organized churches" that would compose a real history of the democratic spirit. Frontier communities are another locus of historical fantasizing for Graeber, who cites recent historians' discovery of "just how thoroughly entangled the societies of settlers and natives were in those early days." While this may be true, touting the anarcho-democratic credentials of American frontiersmen feels like an uncomfortably sanitized account of colonization. Moreover, after decades of hackneyed Hollywood narratives of hyper-individualism and violent macho vigilantism, it is disorienting, and a bit disheartening, to see these staples of boyhood escapism — pirates and the Wild West! — repurposed for imagining a post-capitalist future.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Zizek on The Act of Killing

Could the same not be said about social practice, in which an artist objectifies participants so that participants become actors in the artists private fantasies?

At the very least, this criticism must hold true for some poorer projects, in which an attempt to manifest a space for the commons actually produces a shared private space.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Artist Curator

So I am finding my work is becoming more and more like curating, only a curator who gets their hands dirty and crosses the border into the area of lived experience and a curator who curates them self to make their own work. So maybe, if in the 60's the conceptualist generation started to theorize and discursively contextualize their own work and began to write as a part of their work, perhaps in reaction to the excesses of Greenberg and Rosenberg in dictating the meaning of work, perhaps a generation of artists are gradually incorporating curating into their work, to wrest control from the overly powerful and determining role of the curator in the last 20 years. I need to read a paper that accounts for this rise of the curatorial though.