主题：林天苗 洪浩 曹斐 梁硕 双飞艺术中心 TOF小组 江衡 陈飞
新作：刘可 范安翔 高雷 彭涛 熊明非 刘光光 喻子乘 宗燕
Issue No. 82(2013)
Theme: After the Neoliberalism – Kitsch, the Beginning
Academic Host: Su Lei
A.T: Lin Tianmiao, Hong Hao, Cao Fei, Liang Shuo, The Double Fly Art Center, TOF Group, Jiang Heng, Chen Fei
A.N: Liu Ke, Fan An Xiang, Gao Lei, Peng Tao, Xiong Mingfei, Liu Guanguang, Yu Zicheng, Zong Yan
After the Neoliberalism – Kitsch, the Beginning
学术主持：苏磊 ACADEMIC HOST: SU LEI
大卫·胡姆（David Hume）曾经长期专注于感觉和趣味准则的研究，其主要问题在于“感觉和趣味是否可以相互协调一致？”、“如何围绕不同的趣味范式、价值和标准进行审美的评估？” 结果，第一个问题后来发现是无解的，感觉天生具有主观、公正、真实、内在的特性，它不需要外在的参考，而其真实性也不需要和某一标准保持一致。对于第二个问题，他认为审美的判断远比个体内在的真实性要复杂得多。每个人都有他独特的趣味，相似的趣味逐渐结成不同的审美领域并且在内部形成不同的规则和逻辑。从这个角度来看，艺术史中的很多活动是根据其性质和规则来实现的。就如同极少主义艺术、印象派艺术、抽象表现主义艺术、概念装置艺术等都有其自身的创作逻辑和规则。这些逻辑和规则如同刻度一般成为审美标准，并且在不同审美领域内作为身份评估的条件。而另一方面，艺术家根据逻辑和规则生产作品，制造差异。这样，问题就聚焦于：当主观情感被置于不同领域的标准和规范中时，它不再开放、纯粹；而是被修改、绑定并且融入某种模式。只有在这些模式和标准被尽量减弱的时候，私密的真实情感才会最大程度地喷发，这也许就是今年江南style在全世界大受欢迎的原因。
“As a matter of fact, the post-modern situation perfectly put an end to the process of the defined art since the latter half of the 19th century. Despite their effort to cover up this era through some successes, modernism and formalism eventually failed. Outside the post-modern situation, travel, consumption and the booming globalization led to the split and doubt of art and its so-called purity, along with the ending of post-colonial hegemony, cultural hierarchy and Imperial unit system. In a nutshell, art is no longer beauty or fine arts, a cultural era has ended in perfection.”
By Yves Michaud
Culture and New Space
The Neoliberalism Movement, which started in the 1970s, has always attempted to replace the national economic intervention policy of Keynes with the idea of free trade. But on one hand this approach that blindly pushed the society into full marketization and financialization led to the hijack of the original social wealth by opportunists and plutocrats in the financial market; on the other it resulted in the resources of burgeoning fields like telecom and electronics being divided up again instead of being shared. Consequently what follows are the drastic widening gap of wealth and the continuous increase in numbers of Bourgeois dignitaries and proletariat. The reconstruction of class forces and the increasingly apparent class division are one of the major influences brought by the Neoliberalism.
“The neoliberalism comes with extreme anti-democratization. Secondly, the core to neoliberalism is financialization (of the society). When everything becomes commercialized and financialized, individuals will be easily reduced to the appendages of capital accumulation of economic elites, resulting in the loss of individual concepts and values, which goes straightly against the most core value of liberlism.”
By David Harvey
Capital monopoly formed a quasi-totalitarian social control system of economy and culture, lashing against the democratic system that ensures individual freedom. Its inner aggressiveness and unicity have crashed the little yet original individual cultural market, resulting in the new culture which fails to ascend avoidantly returning to the bottom rung of the society, hoping to acquire new vitality in a loose new space and more open aesthetic system. With the explosive economic growth in Asia, countries of the third world leapt ahead in every field, embracing directly the avant-garde ideas. Nevertheless, a huge space was created between this leaping avant-garde ideas and old elite concept, providing a new place for the cultural flow of globalization.
KITSCH and Chaos
“The end of an era and a cultural form is not the end of the world, nor the end of art itself, but that of a technique it self, just like the eras of steam engines and thermodynamics. It’s just that the propagation of these art forms and experiences is no longer aiming for high quality or refinement, much less being organized into an art system that upholds the beauty of aesthetics.”
By Yves Michaud
Originated from the German word “verkitschen”, which means “garbage on the street”and sometimes translated into Chinese as “vulgarity”, kitsch was initially a kind of cheap replica made by the low-end decoration market. At first it stood for a kind of judgment of values, that is, selling them to the rural low-end villas as construction materials and decorations after some simple processing of the extremely cheap materials modeling the classic style (e.g. Baroque). Since then, similar inexpensive products gradually infiltrated into every corner of daily life. Culturally speaking, these inferior replicas with the intention to sell cheap are often mixed with a variety of symbolic images and aesthetic signs, creating an ambiguous, chaotic, clumsy and offending style of decoration. The chaos of tastes, the lack of aesthetic standard along with the ridicule attitude of spectators, result in a great mixture of flavor of the KITSCH Art, which actually involves a question of subjective emotions and objective standards.
David Hume had for long focused on the research of the criteria of feelings and tastes, the major questions of which are “Can feelings and tastes coordinate with each other?”and “How to carry out aesthetic evaluation involving different taste modes, values and standards?”As it turned out, there’s no solution to the first question, for feeling are innately subjective, fair, true and inherent with no need for exterior reference or keeping pace with some standard. As for the second question, he deemed aesthetic judgment to be far more complicated than the inner authenticity of individual. Everyone has his/her own unique tastes, and gradually similar tastes converge into different aesthetic fields and from different rules and logics within. From this aspect, a lot of activities in the art history were achieved according to its nature and rules, just like arts of minimalism, impressionism, abstract expressionism, concept device, etc. with their own creative logics and rules, which like scales, have become aesthetic standards as well as conditions for identity evaluation in different aesthetic fields. On the other hand, artists create differences while producing works according to logics and rules. So the question is: when placed under rules and norms of different fields, the subjective feelings are no longer open and pure; instead they become edited, bound and integrated into some mode. Only when these modes and standards are weakened as much as possible can the private authentic feelings burst out in the greatest dimension. Maybe that’s why Gongnam Style was such a worldwide hit this year.
Bad tastes are often outside the standard system or at the bottom of standards-a space without scales of class. It’s considered an illogical mixture with provocative intention, a visual combination that no longer follows the procedure of the existing aesthetic standards. The invalidity of rules has to a great extent set free the hidden authentic feelings, hence losing its binding force in any inherent aesthetic field. Symbols from different aesthetic systems have become fluid and implantable after losing their solidity in their original territory. They cruise and converge in the cracks of the society, taking in dissociative individuals and reconstructing a new open system. Such cases first happened in the chaotic underclass. For example, the way18th-century European prostitutes dressed themselves is considered to be a classic spectacle of Kitsch and bad tastes. Their low social status granted them the legitimacy of their actions-for solicitation, they no longer complied to the dress code of the upper society, instead they would heap inferior replicas of aristocratic tastes on the open and sensual feminine bodies, like cheap accessories and laces, thus composing an extremely enticing open system.
The establishment of the open system obscured the class scales and aesthetic boundaries of Bourdieu’s “Taste Layers”, the mixture of heterogeneous symbols resulting in the lack of unified judging criteria. In a human history where “the absolute equality of tastes”has never really been achieved, this implicates a latent hatred towards the existing systems and an impulsive form of the art of destruction. On the other hand, Kitsch smoothly infiltrates the process, implying culture’s common inner function of homogenization as well as the rejection of the original local culture. Gradually it builds a barrier-free cultural system inside, serving as an ever-inflating glue of society. Today’s aesthetic taste is exactly based upon the conditions of a public world, a societal world, and a world where subjects exchange and communicate instead of tones of a skeptical and tragic world.
Individuals and Open World
In my opinion, the multiculturalism is real in the world capitalism. I don’t think we could pretend that capitalism is the cover up of some cultural domination, i.e. capitalism actually represents the rule of European or American cultures. No! The modern capitalism is truly multi-national and multi-cultural due to its lack of an eventual referent of social culture. The real horror about the capitalism lies in its rootlessness. In this sense, it is the Real; a rootless machine of abstract symbols.
by Zizek Is the Consumer Society Today’s New Totalitarian?
The global sprawl of Kitsch created a socialized open aesthetic image system, bringing huge impact on the mentality of each individual in the globalization. It also undertook the role of cultural industrialization in the national system while performing the new functions of social comfort and restructuring. The collapse of the original aesthetic system and value system has prepared for the cultural industry era of free creation of individuals, rendering the culture of the whole world to be a common denominator while individuals different numerators.
Then what’s the core concept of “denominator”? The answer is the “eternal open” system established by KITSCH. What’s important is the alluring quality of Kitsch that while taking in individuals it opens to them the door of desire to any direction, rendering them direction-less. On the other hand, individuals slip into an Eden of subjectivism and narcissism due to its form of free creation, which if observed in a broader social space, results in mass culture no longer imposed by some power, the overall cultural landscape formed through the direct participation of each individual and everyone enjoying the right to describe and administer the future of the society. This deep structural mass culture movement inspired countless individual to cast their own cultures into the landscape of reality. Uproaring and heterogeneous diversified culture naturally relates with the process of liberalism until eventually the new liberalism and Kitsch form an alliance in the post-modernity. Everything starts from the chaos created by Kitsch, which helped build a barrier-free social system that’s totally based upon openness.
This will be a new human system built upon the wish of absolute freedom, an eternal open and changing world. Therefore, it also requires the establishment of an individualized cultural hybrid system that could integrate experiences, emotions and information, etc. together. This quasi-post-Darwinism society will be full of randomness. Despite a lot of unpredictability in connection, the open policy will provoke the boldest mutual infiltration and accumulation of culture, bringing a drastic conceptual adjustment in aspects like creative motives and carrying on from the aspect of a brand new open policy.