From Critical Practice Chelsea
The logic of nonsense: Art school's "barbarous" discourse, and its value
- If art school discourse is nonsense, it could have a value - connects to MA's previous discussion - art school and authorship...
- Disambiguiation - denaturalization of culture - culture is language and as such, it can/should be contested - there's nothing natural about culture
- Looking at the academy and the art school - not sure about art school denaturalizing culture - in thinking about the alignments of this scenario - perhaps not about putting things into categories - on one side of the line, we might have taste (academy) and on the other side of the line we might have denaturalizing culture (the art school) - nuancing antagonisms - history is messy
- Whereas the art school might be a negation of the academy and the university - University denies that its pure thought is constructed - it denies its socially situated status - knowledge is know to itself - what's essential in this is the role of critique - and this connects to nonsense - and this is very pertinent to practice-based research
- MA's early university experience - at UCL - (university founded by Bentham) - always struck by the idea that MA was in search of the correct principles of taste while at the same time, being haunted by the feeling that she wouldn't recognize them when she found them - and MA would likely never find them - came to believe that she didn't believe she possessed a requisite form of good taste - this isn't a point about not having a feeling - instead not being a 'Man of Feeling' someone who belonged - What has Bentham done for the UAL? How is the university distinct from the academy? The academy is more open in observing it's elitism - the university doesn't do this-remains mystified. (This is just MA's feeling)
- The project of disambiguation might aligned with an impasse that lies outside the university, might be seen in terms of government under capital
- Wants to explore the art school origins of conflict and how this conflict has been resolved or not
- Back to Cole's 'Chamber of Horrors' - object lesson in good taste versus bad taste - antagonistic clash - capitalism and commerce - might have characterized an art school critique but because of it's failure - it wasn't repeated - sentences the art school to the deadlock of theory and practice - this deadlock produces art school languages as barbarous - MA wants to talk about this as nonsense
- Quinn - language of the art school - language constitutively barbarous - constantly recycles phrases like theory and practice and critical practice - internal struggle of language...If you listen to our language, language of art and design, two projects, two discourses, thinking about this so much...I wondered if the noun phrase "theory and practice" fails to signify - is it barbarous - privileging the signifier over the signified - Typical way of talking in art school - there's a symbiotic relationship between theory and practice...Terry Atkinson: "There's no practice without theory." (Phantom in the Studio?)
- Theory/practice divide - starting point for thinking about the art school and specifically working in the art school. MA wants to do three things:
- Comments of the validity of the claim -
- Assume that it's still descriptively valid - valid for art school discourse.
- Pan out to the scope of barbarism and (non)sense - LeCircle
- Art school speak is foreign in a particular way - not just about disciplinary difference - instead...for something to be foreign inside itself it needs another reference - art school speech is divided when it implies the presence of difference or disagreement - MA is splitting hairs about terminologies - I might want to speak about art school's conflicted languages
- None of us would dispute the antagonism between theory and practice - and so there's a rupture in discourse - but we might want to ask is art school speech is just this - a tension/division between theory and practice - are there other spaces we need to think about - is this a third space? "Theory" returns in both lectures - and both lectures are examples of theory - what is the space of this language in art school practice? Do we hear multiple languages in art school - theory and meta theory? When we do straight theory sessions - we don't talk about theory and practice, instead we talk about theories of psychoanalysis...There is third space, this meta space, it changes what we're looking - various notions of dialectics are taking place
- Malcolm is interested in Freudian time - repressed does change with the passage of time - different from historical time
- What's the value of this?
- Nonsense - in the form Malcolm describes - art school's barbarousness leads to critique (though initially there was a failure of critique) - barbar - relates to the founding failure of critique - by MA wants to talk about barbar as critique - move away from the idea that critique is about judgement to the idea that critique is about power - Move into Foucault
- Read Focault's "What is Critique?" - Art school speech - best example of critique - critique is not a form of judgement but a refusal of governance - emphasis on the foreign - and the idea that critique is not about content, it's about changing the code - art school speech embodies its antagonism of political regimes - so it does a politics of language; it doesn't just talk about it
- Non-sense makes sense - not semantically productive, it is productive when considered as a politics - nonsense doesn't work = does a different kind of work
- Presence of nonsense in language at large...
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