The Art Historian of Post-Modern Life

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Dean Kissik writes for the Spike magazine about politicans and other non-artists as artists or about the dynamics that unfold once you start thinking about non-artists as artists.¹ Here are two quotes from the text and a shituationist reply.

Glenn Beck, practises something similar and has very often been described as a “performance artist” himself. Glenn Beck reminds me of a Tea Party vision of John Bock in his mania. He rose to prominence scrawling insane mind-maps across the surfaces of Fox News whilst delivering impassioned, conspiracy and doom-laden performance-lectures such

Glenn Beck can indeed have this nice soft yet subtly agressive tonality of Allen Ginsberg. And he does not need to be mixed with Godspeed You! Black Emperor (stream below) to produce ambient aesthetics. Which does not make him an ambient artist, but this is where Dean Kissik takes us, to the intersection where artistic strategies and politics start to overlay each other.

For example, an art history of Vladimir Putin not only can portray him as a performance artist, but also situate him historically in performance art.

When in the fall of 2012 he attempted to guide a young flock of migrating cranes across a Northern Siberian mountain range in his hang glider, dressed completely in white, was that not a worryingly unhinged happening? A stab at placating the masses through heroic absurdity? It feels more like a doomed-to-collapse Bas Jan Ader performance than it does traditional statesmanship. And it is a well-recorded fact that Putin’s most powerful adviser and chief ideologist from around 1999 to 2013, Vladislav Surkov (the grand vizier, the grey cardinal, the “political technologist of all of Rus”) took pleasure in cherry-picking ideas from the more provocative edges of Russian performance art, as Peter Pomerantsev has discussed at length in this magisterial essay, “The Hidden Author of Putinism.” So in the same way that Oleg Kulik impersonates a dog to suggest the brokenness of Russia, the President might impersonate a soaring crane to reaffirm its limitless ascent.

Concerning certain necessary crampings of art history, the shituationist institute would like to reply:

It’s art history struggling with pop and politics, forever and ever. But the twists and turns of this academic corpse unveil some flight lines from the shematisms of the discipline: for example let’s watch more TV with our art historian eyes. But. We also have to go back to the tools of art history and ask if what Jeff-Damien Putin Kardashiankanyetrump is doing is really so different to the old rhizome of aesthetics, politics, economy in which flourished Gustave-Theodore Baudelairebonaparte, maybe it is that very old very muddy very durable structure from the pre-spectacle, that is still permeating the post-spectacle of our times, where the liquidity of code and money of the cybernetic machine has mobilized everything, the thingiverse and the wetware and the visual acts, for an aesthetic and economy more powerful than the visual order of the spectacle that had as its mode the freezing of the world into images. This speculation on an Urszene does not necessarily mean that there will be an Endszene, but let’s keep digging, in the archive, in the nets and with varying concepts of materialism²: not to see what is happening now, and now, and now and now, but for a shituanalysis of what is this shit and how.

¹ Dean Kissick – Everyone is not an artist. 18.2.2016

² see Alexander Galloway’s answer to the Questionaire on Materialism of October magazine




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