Thursday, 3 May 2012

A sick landscape and black holes

I had  a nice if brief conversation with M yesterday. M is doing a PhD. I won't give the title here as I think there's a way to go on that as yet, and I suspect changes are on the way.

In one of his peices of writing he stated

"landcsape is sick"

This is led to a conversation about how one of his supervisors considered this to be 'overly polemical', as M described it. Be that as it may, its a nice line, and it rings true in some respects. 

Later in his text M quotes Baudrillard from 'between Difference and Singularity' where Baudrillard states,

'we can oppose this paradigm of the totality of globalisation, where all differences must be intergrated, but as differences, not must create your own underground, because now there's no more underground, no more avant-garde, no more marginality. You can create your personal undergound, your own black hole, your own singularity'

Once again I find myself thinking, with a sense of anxiety and near panic, about the 'closures' which necessiate the 'opening' of the Instituion. If a subject/voice is seen as aberrant in the institution of knowledge, if it is in some way an eruption, then it is necessarily singular. 

If M cannot write the words 'landsape is sick', or if the words 'landsccpe is sick' cannot  ( should not ) exist within the framework of research and knowlege production, then I must assume that knowledge, as understood by the Academy, is global, universal even and by definition cannot live with eruptions of singularities.

This brings me to remind myself to dig my own black holes  and that hopefully if I dig enough of them I'll create an underground which might just join up with someone else's.




  1. Andrew Stones:

    Can I just say that as well as being sick, landscape is also bangin'?

    Whilst I once enjoyed Baudrillard, I now find that the only way to take statements like the one you quote is as a kind of language mash-up; for in what knowledge field can a 'singularities' and 'black holes' (from astrophysics) be close to a 'personal underground'? If all these terms are, here, metaphors, with no anchorage in the actualities that gave them legitimacy in the first place, then it's hard for me to trust any insight (about the world at large) imputed to Baudrillard's statement.

    Isn't globalisation (in intention) only about wealth - trickle-up economics - everything else being secondary and accidental? Globalisers attempt only to get all the money in the world to trickle up towards the sites of aggregation they occupy themselves. Disinterested as they are in non-economistic ideas, globalisers are, philosophically speaking, null targets.

    If personal sovereignty is now most widely enjoyed in the guise of consumer choice, this is not because globalisers have anything against marginality or difference, but is a side-effect the great many ways instituted of getting money to trickle up towards particular sites of aggregation.

    Extremes of personal sovereignty are tolerated within an economistic orthodoxy when they produce amusing or entertaining products (often categorised as "artistic") which can be monetised for consumption in one way or another. Claiming absolute personal sovereignty can be called 'creat(ing) your personal underground' but its corollary is alienation and loneliness. Art schools are/were micro societies in which some extreme forms of personal sovereignty could be enjoyed without alienation.

    Unable to monetise their primary practices (making works of art), seemingly powerless to oppose economistic orthodoxies about what life and society are for, institutions of the public (non-commercial) art world, including art schools, have set about monetising all the processes and discourses around the primary practices which brought them into existence; without necessarily touching on the central question to which your post, Steve, alludes: what is art for?

    Finally: if you are so close enough to a black hole to be able to dig in it, you're about to be "torn limb from limb by forces beyond your imagining" as some pop-physicist said, somewhere.

  2. Thanks for this Andrew, dodgy metaphors aside, I quite like the language mash-up. I don't think the astrophysicists own the words any more than Baudrillard did. Its really interesting what you say, about trusting the insight. I guess I trust it because it rings bells for me, there is some potential in it, however dark .
    I think the way you describe the art school ( 'micro-societies in which personal sovereignty could be enjoyed without alienation' ) is brilliant. I wouldn't say its what they were like, and I certainly wouldn't say it's what they ARE like, but it is still worth thinking its something they ( or something like them ) could become.
    As for alienation and loneliness...what can I say. I agree, I'm being torn limb from limb on a daily basis.