Reflections on Reading Loop, 1/6/2011

That emancipation does not mean seizing control – but seizing the right to think.

That thinking is a form of dissent. Art and politics can reconfigure what is thinkable at particular moments.

Anonymity perpetuates the performances of protest.

Ben Sachs in Paul Auster’s Leviathan achieves a break in the consensus through anonymous protest (ie. blowing up imitatations of the Statue of Liberty) so perhaps interruptions need to be violent/shocking and anonymous in order to have significant impact?

X, a few comments back, was careful to avoid using the term ‘corner’ to describe the space left outside of consensual liberalism. I worry about ‘icy thought’ and art as the safety valve releasing steam on behalf of the political. Or what passes for steam. Are we constructing a space so intimate – thought/engagement with art – that there is little chance of translation into the business of living?

What is the role of art within the system? Does a practical outcome equal a success (validity?) or is it equally valuable if the outcome and process is purely theoretical?

Feeling like Thirsites, speaking out of turn, worried about being wacked on the back by Ulysses… ‘Art is art to the extent that it is not art’ – like this definition from Rancière (not my favourite definition). Perhaps change some words: ‘artists are artists to the extent that they are not artists’. Wondered about possibility for anonymity and how this might affect things – how it might deflate the cult of personality.

More radical ways of consensus:

  • As genuine possibility rather than unspoken means of control
  • As surrender to order – liberty of loss of ‘self’ – possible for ego of artist?


WHERE IS THE GAP? (And what happens when it’s filled?)

Q. What is the role of art within the system?

A. Art is only important if it destroys the questions asked of it.

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