blueprint for the future
Post #248 • April 1, 2004, 5:21 AM • 5 Comments
Surfing the web with things on my mind, I ran across this quote from Jean Baudrillard:
Reality itself founders in hyperrealism, the meticulous reduplication of the real, preferably through another, reproductive medium, such as photography. From medium to medium, the real is volatilized, becoming an allegory of death. But it is also, in a sense, reinforced through its own destruction. It becomes reality for its own sake, the fetishism of the lost object: no longer the object of representation, but the ecstasy of denial and of its own ritual extermination: the hyperreal.
Realism had already inaugurated this process. The rhetoric of the real signaled its gravely altered status (its golden age was characterized by an innocence of language in which it was not obliged to redouble what it said with a reality effect). Surrealism remained within the purview of the realism it contested - but also redoubled - through its rupture with the Imaginary. The hyperreal represents a much more advanced stage insofar as it manages to efface even this contradiction between the real and the imaginary. Unreality no longer resides in the dream or fantasy, or in the beyond, but in the real's hallucinatory resemblance to itself.
How true. I've had postmodernism all wrong - this is the blueprint for the future. The hyperreal calls into question the entire process of looking at itself, rendering a reality of unreality that no realism can adequately portray. Jacques Lacan:
In the scopic field, everything is articulated between two terms that act in an antinomic way - on the side of things, there is the gaze, that is to say, things look at me, and yet I see them. This is how one should understand those words, so strongly stressed, in the Gospel, They have eyes that they might not see. That they might not see what? Precisely, that things are looking at them.
Like the yin and yang, this dialectical model invokes a discursive apparatus in order to question inherent ends of the colonialist/structuralist metaconstuct, an idea with pressing applications to art. Theodore Adorno:
A successful work of art is not one which resolves contradictions in a spurious harmony, but one which expresses the idea of harmony negatively by embodying the contradictions, pure and uncompromised, in its innermost structure.
It's exactly this kind of negative harmony that a postcolonial art/world can recapitulate into its own subset of antistrategies, allowing receptive ontologies to aggregate around a meld of polisemical, deconstructive phenomenologies vis à vis their performative countersignatures. Judith Butler:
The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.
Artblog.net will strive to develop the ideas of these writers and others in the coming months. Enjoy, and feel free to contribute.