How did we get into this mess and is there any way to get out? We seem to be on the precipice of nihilism. A triumph of destruction.The final trashing of sound values and tradition. Everything as a giant ponzi scheme with the Bernie Madoffs just spokes in a wheel, diseased branches on a sick tree. And the tools on the toolbox don’t work anymore. We have had a nihilistic debunking of banking, similar to the Marcel Duchamp revolution in painting, and this led to a whole new idea of money. The physical economy took second place to the idea of money and value; the ideas of derivatives and financial instruments trumped the wealth creating value and labor involved to make value. In fact, tangible economic proof became merely illustrations for the ideas of money. Like Duchamp, the financial system is conceptual, searching to create its own “ready-mades”, distancing itself from the physical aspects of wealth creation, towards an intellectual expression.
But Duchamp’s very physical readymades were in a sense more physical, present, tactile, than a painted picture; after all, they occupied a real space instead of creating the illusion of one. The so called physical expression in animal disguise. Duchamps was creating at the same time that Keynes’s ideas on money and banking were gaining currency; the whole idea of money being an intellectual exercise,the miracles of abstraction and surrealism within fiscal deficit financing; again in the real sense, the distinction between wealthy and poor, like Duchamp, became more physical and present.
Walter Benjamin was also part of this troika of modernism with his intellectual exercise in messianism where redemption would be a release from the danger of salvation and would be accompanied by “divine violence “, a sort of cut whereby a profane world finally separates from the transcendent, distinguishing itself not in an event in which what was profane transforms into the sacred, and what was
lost is found again, or what was broken became repaired, but negatively, the irreparable loss of the lost, the definitive profanity of the profane. This is not the destruction of law but the sundering and splitting of our subjective ties to its obscene underside Not the end of the world but the passing of the figure of the world.
(see link at end)…Indeed, I am prepared to argue that money rushes in to full the vacuum of existential meaningfulness left by art that has lost spiritual purpose. To put this another way, speculative investors in art, that is, those who buy it as a material investment rather than for its spiritual qualities, and thus in effect deny them, and in general show their spiritual indifference and existential backwardness, are comparable to the “locusts” that Franz Münterfering, former chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic party, called hedge fund investors who make hostile bids for companies. “Locusts. . . move into a field, eat it to the ground, and move on to the next without looking back.” …
…Let me conclude with a suggestive anecdote from Paul Raffaele’s account of his visit to the Korowai, a New Guinea tribe of cannibals (Smithsonian, 9/06). Once a human being becomes a witch (khakhua) he or she becomes edible because he or she is no longer human. White men (laleo) like Raffaele “are forbidden to enter their sacred river, and [his] presence angers the spirits. KorowaI are animists, believing that powerful beings live in specific trees and parts of rivers. The tribesman demands that we give the clan a pig to absolve the sacrilege. A pig costs 350,000 rupiahs, or about $40. It’s a Stone Age shakedown. I count out the money and pass it to the man, who glances at the Indonesian currency and grants us permission to pass….
…”What use is money to these people? I ask Kembaren as our boatsmen paddle to safety upriver. ‘It’s useless here,’ he answers, ‘but whenever they get money. . . the clans use it to help pay bride prices for Korowai girls living closer to Yanimura. They understand the dangers of incest, and so girls must marry into unrelated clans’” (p. 57)….
…I suggest that money has entered the sacred river of art and muddied it, even as it attempts to undo its sacrilege by paying artists off. But it looks like the relationship between art and money has become incestuous, suggesting that the marriage between money and art will produce defective artists. It already has, in the form of anti-artists.Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/kuspit3-6-07.asp