Chapter

Cold World and Neocon Noir

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EXCERPT

The way Art has manifested a comprehension of its relation to negativity, or the question of ‘the unknown’, has produced a fairly consistent marriage of explicit strife and implicit satisfaction. In demanding that art must exit this bind, the question of how art might propose and insinuate itself as a kind of knowledge that can operate as a form of intelligence in the world becomes central. But can art operate as a kind of projection of the yet-to-be-known, can it determine what should be, without missing the point completely and overdetermining the demand for an emancipatory trajectory, and responding, ultimately, only with a deeper conservativism? Namely, a conservativism that would identify consciousness as an end in itself, secured in an ontological regression of a thought thinking thought, precisely because the means of consciousness are all we have available with which to think it. In lieu of any goal or telos, the task of art, if it is to be proposed as a form of intelligence, risks determining consciousness as a thing that can be pictured but not known. This pitfall would result in trivializing both a concept of the image, and the intelligence that thinks consciousness. This is because, in the former, the image is correlated to the limits of a kitsch form of heroically alienated subjectivity and, in the latter, consciousness will always be limited …