Malcolm Quinn: Bentham and the Art School

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<br> Tuesday Night Training Event - March 2, 2010 <br> What Malcolm does - technologies of the self, assembling of actor networks, reality of incoherence - primary analytics - serves to orient what it is he wants to say about the art school - What he thinks is so interesting about the publicly funded art school: raises various issues - identity, ethics and the autonomous construction of ethical judgments under capital in a way the private academy of art has never done - looking at the difference between privately funded art academy and public art school<br> Malcolm will be discussing these things via Bentham<br> Critique of constructing identity and the possibility of constructing an identity. <br> Why Bentham? What's the connection between Bentham and Lacan? Lacan is interested in the symbolic... <br> Bentham's philosophy points to the symbolic - an order of communication, language that connect you and me...we need a construction of language to get along - in constructing a symbolic order - divorce ourselves from nature - difference between ladies and gents...<br> How do we get along in this new capital universe without killing one another? We need structures to communicate with one another in a meaningful way. <br> Bentham's Theory of Fictions: Pick up where we left of with Hume - taste communities and taste cultures - we can develop groups with better taste - finer and finer taste - Bentham is often perceived to be a philistine (dislikes people coming along to disrupt their fun with their high art) - but MQ is coming at B via the symbolic order

  • Rationale for philistinism under capitalism
  • Bentham is really having a go at the notion of identity - you can't build your identity on the grounds you have good taste - because it's wrong - but he's not just a philistine, he's getting at the relationship between language and power... - good taste is a problematic term because it's connected with power and privilege
  • Disambiguation - (invented by Bentham) It is a distinction applied to words - taste is like church - it represented "sinister interest" = groups of people who work against the common good... Taste for me is about propping up power and privilege (aristocracy and the Tories and Wigs) There's a politics at this time - free trade, political economy, rational thinking vs. landed gentry - Benthemites through that "the people" (non partisan agency) that could radicalize party politics and bring it to an end.
  • There can be no professor of taste - because such a position would necessarly part of an interest group
  • Move from Bentham to Benthamism - Henry Cole - "a bit trade" - his status as a Benthamite slightly ambiguous....But he build the art school
  • Bentham called for recoding of British law - his main life's project: recoding British law...reform by recoding - recode everything
  • 1835-1836: Select Committee that funded the first publicly funded art school in Britain - radical moment of government - Benthamites - clear division in the RA between art and trade - the moment you make art a trade, you destroy it...But this proves to be a kind of disambiguation - disambiguation of the RA - distinct from the art school: The fate of the RA and the birth of AS = bound together...Practice of clarifying and rationalizing...
  • At the same time: No intellectual property rights and status - John Martin's work plagiarised...so needed a symbolic order and, in the process of finding it, Bentham, in his disemambiguation - puts ethical judgements at risk...There's a revaluation of all values - what can be certain about? There's a sense these Bethamites are attacking everything - they're attacking social life in their attempt to make it meaningful and accessible to all.
  • Malcolm begins to read paper: Brings us up to the present day...Art school introduced symbolic capital into society.
  • Terry Atkinson's Phantoms of the Studio - a plea for attention to the language and cognition in the art school - today: pedagogical turn - The School of Saatchi - reaesthetiization of the art school...Art school UK - rolling aestheticization - where it's art vs. admin....Cultural admin is a research issue to be addressed, it's not a problem to be removed...Extreme aestheticization - us versus admin...The idea of the art school...remains linked to public administration...the art school begins with this question of the public - what it is...Tension between pubic/private - RA occupying public buildings but behalving like he's

The Bureaucracy of Beauty Dutta - Henry Cole - MIT - colonial export of the British idea of the art school - when we think of aesthetics, we think of artists; we don't think of governments...Doesn't accurately place utilitarianism itself in...?

  • There's a perception today that utility is bad - but back in Bentham's day, utility was the highest thing you think of...it was about a radical moment when non abstraction of people's politics are being introduced
  • Revisionist utilitarian - John Stuart Mill - Bentham is an ethical void - and we should get back to virtue ethics - good character (from Aristotle - upward spiral of good self) utilitarian ethics (submit ethics to tests of cognitive clarity - and it works by effects [what impact does it have]) - challenged the idea that being gay is wrong...there's no sense you should be naturally adverse to anything - judged based on impact on others...Kantian deonotological ethics - good rule ethics...
  • Utilitarian ethics gets a bum deal - Quinn is aligning Terry Atkinson's plea for cognitive emphasis with utilitian ethics...
  • What is the problem of cultural administration and how is the art school bound up with this notion of the public?
  • Today, the private academy is the keeper of the art school soul...
  • The salon idea is replacing the idea of the public art school - there is a general need to denaturalize the studio and the lecture hall
  • What the Benthamites promoted in art - normal rules of cognition - Andrew Hemingway UCL, Marxist AH - Genius, Gender and Progress Art History 16, 24 - These rules of cognition were to be the basis of public pedagogy...

Smith - calls for useful, rational knowledge - for example, the education of women - women learn useful stuff and not flapdoodle of theology...Utility is female and Daddy = virtue ethics...Build your character...Art school is female utilitarian and university is the Daddy...Art school embodies the ethical risk...academy version of ethical risk: nude models...The risk of ethics not having a meaning....Or simply something we use to establish a symbolic order.

  • How does the symbolic order work? Isn't it funny that shoes are the way we do ethics? Pitches us into this space into ethics under capital - partly because it got plugged into goods in a very particular way...

What is the studio has been put under language...today, the lecture hall has been put under the banner of aesthetics Perhaps it's about some origintory issue...Dewey's formulation: The problem of the public - What is the public? It's the idea of finding an institution that would take on the value of public education - retreat from this issue. The art school was bound up with the museum and the public...and the only sphere where these connections are being made is in research...Research is the one place where these issues of aestehtics, art admin...aesthetics and language...aestheitcs and the public...The problem with the pedgagogic impulse is that...there's a sense that admin is our enemy and art is the solution...

  • What was put into play in 1935 is in danger of being pulled out of play today...Perhaps that's something to take forward...
  • Something you have to nonpartisan public...i.e. they were at least professing that they weren't of a class...

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