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Entries in subversion (1)

Wednesday
Oct192011

the impossibility of dissidence

Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell's defaced library covers. The Guardian. Comment is Free, October 14, 2011

Click on the image and it will take you to an article by Jonathan Jones on the impossibility of dissidence in art today.  Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, young unpublished writers in the early 1960s used to take dull dustjackets in the library and change them into something subversive, definitely something very funny.  They were sent to prison for it.

Jones points out that outrage has become such a general condition of art that it is impossible to actually be outrageous.  One just has to read The Daily Mail, that stalwart of conservative ladies of middle England, to see how far outrageous celebrity culture has penetrated a most unlikely society.  

Something in this reminds me of the architectural conversations of thirty years ago, when modernism all of a sudden was named a rupture in a more organic development of traditional spatiality.  Modernism was the outrage, and the radical position was to excise it.  Yet the very notion of radical acts is itself a species of modernity.  

Is it more that there is nothing one can do in art, or architecture or design that is so offensive, so radical, that it shakes the viewer out of complacency?  Is it that we are immune to shock as the time-space continuum is so compressed that we have seen it all?  This would seen to indicate that the passivity of consumption has rendered us complacent on a grand scale.

Will the Occupy movement be consumed in the same way?  Perhaps, and it is this that will drive people to violence – the impossibility of dissidence in a 'liberal' society.

 

later, this very same morning, I came across Chloé Roubert's post on just how riots are being commodified.