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07 Nov 2013

The outline of my talk at the Escape Velocities symposium on November 13:

The Human Centipede, A View From the Art World
Is it possible to understand the function of art within any consequential prescriptive or interventionist mode synchronous with the descriptive resources of the modern system of knowledge? In other words, does art have any import for a project of construction aimed at liberation of intelligence, illiberalization of freedom and collective enhancement? The positive answer to this question it will be argued hinges on a systematic extrication of the definition of art from the contemporary art world. Aimed at debunking the more ambitious claims of the art world with regard to speculative vistas and political vocations, this presentation involves an etiological scrutiny into premises of two international group art exhibitions, ‘Speculation On Anonymous Materials‘ and ‘and Materials and Money and Crisis‘. Underlining major tendencies of the art world in its search for contemporaneity and pertinence, these exhibitions accentuate the two faces of the same art world currency: longing for the outside and critical self-reflection. One through producing impersonal experience and diversification of the bijective space of affect into a myriad of relations and complicities, and the other through a politically sober introspection into the conditions under which its horizon has been integrated.
However both accelerative projection and decelerative reflection are retrofitted into a world of cognitive templates whose nebulizing function creates a cultural fog of conceptual conflation and practical impotency. It is through this operative fog that some of the more insidious mechanisms of neoliberal capitalism are directly plugged into the cognitive infrastructure under the guise of a world that appears determined to extend the plasticity of imagination and expand frontiers of action. But this is a world in which the financial closure of capitalism is cloned and grafted onto a cognitively maimed economy for accumulating false alternatives in the name of liberation of imagination and action. A suture of different overambitious vocations and driven by the wealth of waste it generates, the resulting beast is a prophetic vision of a tightly connected and controlled society with a single closed alimentary circuit, the human centipede. Those who scheme to infiltrate this world in order to militantly or cunningly liberate it from the inside are locked into the compactly segmented structure of the metameric organism. At once necessary for the growth yet expendable, every insider is a new addition to the iterated sequence of mouths and rectums through which the art world bootstraps itself – a miracle made possible by a simple but efficacious financial and cognitive algorithm. Dreams of acceleration or deceleration, speculative enthusiasm for the outside or critical self-reflection are revealed to be simply changes of frequency in the rate of the said iteration.
Time and Location:
November 13, 7pm
311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
T212 619 3356

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