2016 ~ SUNDAY MAY 1 ~ ROAMING ASSEMBLY # 5 ~ PROMETHEANISM 2.0: ‘NONTRIVIAL ART: TRANSFORMATIVE INSTRUMENTALISM’, TALK BY PATRICIA REED
Nontrivial Art: Transformative Instrumentalism
Contemporary Art (CA), in its systemic condition, is buttressed by four core axioms that have been notably identified by Amanda Beech and Suhail Malik: art can be anything and anywhere; it is semantically precarious; it can only gain meaning through the correlation of interpretation; and, it is non-propositional. Guided by such conditions, CA can only adhere to models of negative freedom (functionally speaking) that are isomorphic with our neoliberal hegemony, even though the rhetoric and discursive sphere surrounding CA make political claims otherwise. This talk takes up the discrepancy between what C0ntemporary Art (CA) says it does (its idealisms) and what CA does in reality - shifting the focus to what Art ought to do in terms of demands and functions. Taking up the rather Promethean appeals for 'transformation' asserted by Walter Benjamin, yet adapted to our contemporary historical condition (qualified by planetary complexity and what A.F. Schmid calls ‘Integrative Objects’), the talk looks at how art could be affirmatively instrumentalized as a positive 'freedom-to' if it is to participate in a project of post-catastrophic world-making.