A Statement on Usages, 2006

13.09.2006 |


Between the alternatives “there will be no art in 2023 as we know it today” or “everything about art will be transformed through corporate capital”, the third way through would risk to be bombastic and respond with a utopian futurist genre of fiction. To conceive a project to be realized in 2023, one has to consider the following:

Will there be art at all in 2023?

Will there be a distinction between the performing arts and other arts? Will all arts become performative or operate performatively with or without performance?

Will artists produce art? Or who will produce art?

Who will be the audience for art?

Will there be any distinction between arts in their media?

How will art be financed and produced?

What will art institutions become?

These questions of course point out that it isn’t self-evident that art in 2023 will rely on the assumptions about art’s semi-autonomy or the changing role it had in Western society as we know it in the 200-year tradition. By 2023, the white population will be drastically reduced to a minority, no longer holding supremacy in the political and economic ideospheres. The question of art’s possibility will divide the Western society in three groups: the “indifferent” and uninterested in art, the “preservers” or tradition-keepers and the operators of “usages”.

The concept of “usages” will emerge around 2015 to describe a practice of which various publics could make use at their convenience. It will be seen related to the final dissolution of national cultural policy and the subsidy system it entails. The only link this practice will maintain with the former aesthetic regime of art: it will be produced for leisure time – the time in which the producers of goods and services of 1st, 2nd and 3rd sectors are not working for a wage. Its function will thus not cave in into one purpose – entertainment or education or social transformation, for instance. The status of leisure, being “extra” or superstructural development of capitalism, will keep the tension underlying the question of what art’s position in the society could be.

An illustration of the types of project that “usages” will develop:

Artists: will act within a platform which is always larger than one artist. The competence won’t be separated in categories of special skill, intellect or emotional capacity.

Art production in this project will involve:

Free public art=the only material part, but imbued with propaganda. It will consist of texts, images, sounds, objects and architectural social spaces – created and displayed in the public sphere absorbing and transforming the functions and forms of commercial messages, graffiti, intervention and action, and media. The free public art will serve political and social expression – it will proliferate to such a degree that it will necessarily elicit awareness and discussion.

“Rent-a-person”. Individualism in creation and appreciation in art will be replaced by one-to-one intimate contact – This form will come out of an exhaustion of the mode of collective reassertion of spectatorshop in spectacle. (Cinema, sport and concert will provide the needs of live collective events in mass-cultural consumption.) Intimacy will be sought out for an intransitive trade of different sorts of services. One will buy the time of the other for subjectification: not to discover the true self but for different technologies of transforming the self which will abandon the question of the self as such. The renter will have to draw the border between (cognitive and affective) production and non-production, on the one hand, and therapy, on the other hand.

Open distribution. Works that resemble artworks will still be produced but in entirely other modes of distribution apart from the existing institutions that will continue to select and show performances. For instance, performances could be rented, or artists would determine when and how they want to present their work regardless of programmes and audiences. Institutions will transform into those that programme and those that are places that convene artists and audiences, houses open for .

Documentation=past-production will be stored in modes that will entertain former functions of criticism, art history, theory and pedagogy as well as reinvention, where it will be immediately made available for future transformation (post-production).

In conclusion, “usages” will only radicalize the already emergent forms of work, distribution and participation of art in a society that would legally and financially encourage and not just tolerate it on its margins.

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