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The politics of the radicant can be summarized as a focus on the present, experimentation, the relative, the fluid. As my dear friend and fellow curator Amy Lynn Kazymerchyk points out, the adoption of these politics into the cinema or the gallery conjures “a shaking of the foundations of those institutions as repositories for determined forms, coded knowledge and language, and also the parametres for investment, participation and contribution.” Kazymerchyk proposes a thought experiment to rouse some possible consequences:

What if documentary media art, newspapers, commercials, cereal box advertising, radio jingles, women’s toiletries and car parts were all exhibited in the same program to talk about the influence of Marilyn Monroe on industrial capitalism? I absolutely love this idea, to put the value of the art object (both materially, conceptually and pedagogically) in the same category as domestic food or commercial advertising. What kind of a translation could potentially happen between cultural artifacts–especially if these artifacts also cross over societies/contexts, but share some similarities, like time frame. I wonder if a similar experiment can be done with the artist or maker, to expose the identity bind?

I believe that Kazymerchyk is fundamentally interested in re-articulating how power functions in art contexts. Instead of calling out an artist on their identity or the society they are embedded in (or that their work was constructed in), what happens when the curatorial lens focuses on the material of the artist’s work, or takes on the work’s referents? What happens when we step outside of our embedded histories and meet each other in the realm of ideas? It is vulnerable because, for instance, neither the curator nor the artist have control over the reading of their work, which is situationally constructed. And this means that the reading of a work is mutable. Which really does a number on the idea of authority.

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2 thoughts on “

  1. amy lynn says:

    I think I sound a bit like Andy Warhol. Perhaps it would have been more thought provoking if I referenced the shrapnel of a demolished building, a fur remains of a run over raccoon, a stack of unsold and outdated newspapers, and movie posters from a bombed out theatre in Baghdad. I didn’t mean to make it sound so pop culture focused.

    Perhaps I was thinking about this scene in Elodie Pong’s video After Empire in which Marilyn Monroe and Karl Marx meet face to face in some kind of purgatory. It’s quite funny.

  2. No! I like the pop culture because it takes a consideration of art outside of art land and forces me to consider how I approach the legitimation of art objects. Popular culture legitimates itself in relation to the market. How does art do it? This ties back to the discussion about Work of Art and the diversity of opinions regarding the relationship between creativity, criticality and capitalism.

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