"…context is much more specific than one might think. When we look at photographs, we process them according to the context we find them in, the context they’re used in. Different contexts work with very different rules. This is also why there still are so many debates about aesthetics: The same aesthetic can have very different meanings in two different contexts. Crucially, for certain contexts we are trained to see certain types of aesthetics. We can talk about photography as much as we want, but it’s not one monolithic entity, where one size fits all, where every discussion automatically makes sense for every context. Thus when we talk about photography, we have to make sure we establish the context."
- We have been contemplating Art under the same aesthetic rubric since Kant and the Romantic era
- Life is inherently more interesting, beautiful, sublime, etc. than art
- Poetics rather than Aesthetics (Aesthetics is spectatorship)
- The politicization of art can also be considered within the aesthetic sphere, because the work then creates and treats a political issue, or ideology, as attractive or not (art as political advertisement, superfluous when it achieves its goal)
- From the perspective of aesthetics, art has no privileged position (important delineation)
- Aesthetic discourse when used to legitimize art, effectively serves to undermine it
- A generation of image production rather than image contemplation
- The politics of art has to do less with its impact on the spectator than with the decisions that leads to its emergence in the first place.
- Poetics as in autopoetics, or ‘the production of one’s own public self’
- Development of a brand, commercial image production, trendsetting, etc
- Today, every public persona is also a commodity (self-commodification)
- Market forces: everything can be interpreted as the effect of market forces. Groys then claims this to be a null interpretation of things because it is to evaluate art without its history (Art has existed before capitalism, etc.)
- A sociological analysis of art considers an art as emerging out of, or being the product of, a present or past social context (and encapsulating this context) but, this isn’t a sound evaluation because the social and cultural milieus that supposedly art exemplifies are ‘artificial’ in themselves because they are the creation of artists, of a persona
I currently see performance in a very simple (yet useful) way: performance is nothing other than the process through which an object is translated into a version of itself able to be experienced by another object. By translatable object I don’t only mean a musical score, a theatre play, an idea, or even a person; rather, an object (like Graham Harman demonstrates) is anything that has an autonomous existence: from a person to a rock, from a shot of electricity fired by a neuron to a bankrupt financial institution, from a debt-ridden national economy to a melting iceberg. Performance is, in my view, that which allows for an object to manifest itself in the experience of another object by performing a double of itself. So yes, a performance is always performance and object at once. Because all objects that are given to us (or to any other objects) in experience are performances of other objects.
I’d say there are at least two different kinds of performance: the performance that brings forth an object’s double onto another object’s experience (the kind of performance I mentioned earlier) and then there is a particular second kind of performance, a performance that starts by being like the first one but that then becomes something else. It begins by translating an object into the phenomenological realm of experience but then, for reasons that, in my view, have to do with a change on the way objects engage with each other as audiences, it goes beyond the experience of the given sensual object to suddenly denounce the presence of the real object hidden behind it (even if it never really makes it known). I see it like the Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt, the defamiliarisation effect through which audiences realise the play they’re watching isn’t reality itself: they become aware of the fiction of theatre; the presence of the actor behind the character is denounced. If the first kind of performance gives us the experience of what graham Harman has called ‘time’ (by allowing us to perceive sensual objects and changes in their sensual qualities), then this second kind of performance gives us ‘space’, the sudden realisation that the real is much deeper than we had hitherto known. It is also this second kind of performance that is usually associated with the art object. However, in my view, it has nothing to do with the nature of the object being experienced but with the nature of the experience itself. If we are to truly support a flat and democratic object-oriented ontology, then we cannot divide the world into ‘normal objects ‘and ‘art objects.’ Art objects don’t exist ontologically. What exists is a particular kind of relation between objects, the aesthetic relation. The aesthetic relation can in principle exist between any two objects. If we think about it, that has already been the case since the first avant-garde. just think of Duchamp’s ready-mades: they are objects like all others; the only thing that changed was that they were placed in a context that triggered an aesthetic engagement on the part of the audience, that context being the so-called ‘art exhibition’. However we do not need art galleries to tell us when to engage with other objects aesthetically: I can be enchanted by anything around me as long as I allow it to myself. It’s almost like my teenage LSD tree-hugging trips. Didn’t ‘they’ say something about opening the doors of perception? Perhaps we are the new hippies but without their terrible sense of fashion. Anyway, I digress here. Let’s just say that in a world made of equal objects and ridden of anthropocentrism, there is no privileged ontological space for ‘art objects.’ Because if we allow the art object to be in any way privileged, then we are a step closer to getting back to anthropocentrism because if art is special, then so must be its creator (the human genius). There is no art; there is only aesthetic experience.
"TILLMANS: That’s very true. There is this looking at the world as shapes and patterns and colors that have meaning, and you can’t deny the superficial because the superficial is what meets the eye. The content can never be disconnected from the surface, and this active interest in surface can never be disregarded from the good art that we admire."
~ via Wolfgang Tillmans - Interview Magazine (2011)