PARTICIPATION: Félix Guattari / Björk / Matthew Barney

"The poetics of the 'open' work tends to encourage 'acts of freedom' on the part of the performer and place him at the focal point of a network of limitless interrelations"
-Henry Pousseur

Reading theory can be like walking through snow, you're definitely not sprinting through it, but(!), I am almost and so very close to being finished with this weighty first section. Because I'm not arrogant enough to believe I can pair down the theory behind most of these essays into a few sentences,  I'm going to save and dissect the golden nuggets for you. Today's golden nuggets brought to you by:

Félix Guattari
Choasmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm//1992

As I mentioned in the last post about PARTICIPATION, this editor gives us a little set up to better understand the context of each essay. Awesome. Let's look at that first. 
"Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm (1992) is the last book written by French psychoanalyst and philosopher Félix Guattari.  In it he turns to aesthetics as the model for a new and ethical behaviour opposed to capitalist rationality.  For Guattari, art is a process of 'becoming': a fluid and partially autonomous zone of activity that works against disciplinary boundaries, yet which is inseperable from its integration in the social field."
 Guattari begins this quote by stating that aesthetics is a model for new and ethical behavior that opposes capitalist rationality. This is a great sentence because aesthetics is a single term with a very broad meaning, in it's most simplified sense, it's a branch of philosophy that critically reflects on art, culture and nature. There are many different kinds of aesthetics that serve a variety of purposes, for  Guattari to give all of aesthetics the purpose of opposing capitalist rationality is a bold statement-one that gives great power to that which we understand and perceive as art. We're off to a great start.  This excerpt begins with Guattari stating that cartographies are vital to collective subjectivity and that art is self sustaining. Guattari speaks about the relationship between artist, work of art, and consumer of art, 
"In short, it is a matter of rarefying an enunciation which has too great a tendency to become entangled in an identificatory seriality which infantilizes and annihilates it.  The work of art, for those who use it, is an activity of unframing, of rupturing sense, of baroque proliferation or extreme impoverishment, which leads to a recreation and a reinvention of the subject itself." 
What Guattari is stating first, is that a work of art should have a rare and clear voice. It is without this that works become prone to fall into categories which are easily identifiable and are one of multiple works in the same category.  It this identificatory seriality that belittles and destroys a work of art. Because a work of art is an act of unframing and rupturing your senses, it will propel you into proliferation or impoverishment, and ends up recreating and reinventing art itself. If art is continually made, then it will continually be reinvented.  He goes on to say that the growth in artistic consumption in recent years should be placed in relation to the increasing uniformity of the life of individuals in an urban context. Saying this, he acknowledges a need for works of art that negate this uniformity. He speaks of the dilemma every artist must confront, 
" 'to go with the flow', as advocated, for example, by the Transavantgarde and the apostles of postmodernism, or to work for the renewal  of aesthetic practices relayed by other innovative segments of the Socius, at the risk of encountering incomprehension and of being isolated by the majority of people." 
Guattari speaks about the daily and continual struggle that the artist must go through. To continue as expected by the rules of the current and accepted notions of art, or work towards recreating art alongside others with the same goal, but at the terrifying risk of not only being misunderstood but being isolated by the majority of people. Guattari continues on, saying that products of science, technology, and social relations will drift towards aesthetic paradigms. I've heard this idea a lot lately, that it's not necessarily artists that we need more of, so much as we need to bring aesthetics/art/creativity to other fields. To emphasize his point, he states, "How do you make a class a work of art?" It's an interesting idea to consider. He continues on discussing systematic rejections of subjectivity and the future of contemporary subjectivity... of which I will save for you later. 

Okay, but let's bring this small discussed portion back to earth. Which artists without a doubt would fall into this category of reinventing art? I suppose that depends on who you're asking and what they're understanding of art is,,  I'll pick a couple, of course from my perspective. BESIDES,, I have yet to talk about this power couple:  

Björk & Matthew Barney! (Applause)

I watched this great clip last night,, one that I think really captures Björk's persona, as well as her desire to create music that people can have a real and tangible connection with. I suppose I attribute reinvention of art with your ability to take risks, and she has. 

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And Matthew, it's sort of a joke how unique his work is. I'll let you watch this trailer for his Cremaster Cycle series and decide for yourself. 

I mean,, I'm not really showing you something you haven't already seen, but when enjoying art, sometimes you like revisiting, and for this post they seemed perfect. Like you. You're perfect too. :)


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