alienating and liberating

The art of Hollywood, or really the business of Hollywood is to dumb and trivialize any critical currents into marketable product. Absorption and coop-tion skills that dumb everything down into cheap neutral entertainment where meaningful content is parceled into bite-sized modules like baby food, pablum, that is easily assimilable into the digestive tracts of the wider, what Guy Debord termed the “the Society of the Spectacle” ; creating a dependence as a demeaning fate for those speaking Voltaire’s truth to power: an almost pathological addiction to the propaganda arm of the military/industrial complex known as the culture industries.

Dix. Paul Ferdinand Schmidt. Esther Leslie:He examined strategies that would avoid the pressures on artists to be individualistic, competitive or promoters of art as a new religion or an evasion of the ‘political’. He evaluated artists’ efforts to work out cultural forms that could not be recuperated by fascism. He assessed what the new mass cultural forms that existed radio, film, photography, photomontage, workercorrespondent newspapers - meant in the wider scheme of the social world, and how facts such as mass reproduction change humans’ relationship to culture of the past and the present. read more: http://spektakel.blogsport.de/images/EstherLeslieWalterBenjaminPoliticsAesthetics.pdf image: http://hikiculture.net/topic576-50.html

Though the dynamic has been with us since the advent of film, the basic business model has arguably been a well functioning machine. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. Its fairly clear, that despite the early regard for the potential of the medium, Hollywood’s addiction to the profit system guarantees that it acts as a reproducer of the dominant culture and its ideology which is the bourgeois market system catering to the not dumb but not quite smart enough. In other words, its a reactionary guardian of the status quo where familiarity with the aesthetic object is within very narrow realms and its fetishization makes it all powerful yet powerless.

Dix. Hans Theo Richter. Guy Debord: It is itself one of the consequences of that system. There can be no freedom apart from activity, and within the spectacle activity is nullified — all real activity having been forcibly channeled into the global construction of the spectacle. Thus, what is referred to as a “liberation from work,” namely the modern increase in leisure time, is neither a liberation of work itself nor a liberation from the world shaped by this kind of work. None of the activity stolen by work can be regained by submitting to what that work has produced. read more: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/1.htm image: http://hikiculture.net/topic576-50.html

Edward Bernays:THE great political problem in our modern democracy is how to induce our leaders to lead. The dogma that the voice of the people is the voice of God tends to make elected persons the will-less servants of their constituents. This is undoubtedly part cause of the political sterility of which certain American critics constantly complain.

No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders. …

"A technologicallyprompted process of breaching distance, of bringing art, data and materials within the ambit of the masses – to be used and manipulated by the masses – is the paramount promise outlined in ‘The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility’. The new art forms met the viewer ‘halfway’, exiting from darkened niches, out of the gallery, from the captivity of singular time and space. In the age of technological reproducibility, art was, at least potentially, removed from its traditional spaces; indeed, art disintegrated and multiplied all at once. As Benjamin's tale of the fate of art goes, by 1900 or thereabouts, art had the opportunity to break away from or be broken from magic, ritual and religion. By 1900 photomechanical reproduction was perfected, swallowing up the images of all previous art and generating its own inimitable forms." read more: http://spektakel.blogsport.de/images/EstherLeslieWalterBenjaminPoliticsAesthetics.pdf image: http://visualrian.com/images/item/9125

Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people.
Disraeli cynically expressed the dilemma, when he said: “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” He might have added: “I must lead the people. Am I not their servant?” Read More: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/bernprop.html

For Esther Leslie, then, the early Mickey Mouse shorts are to be considered significant cultural productions alongside the visual art of Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee or Marcel Duchamp, the music of Igor Stravinsky or Arnold Schoenberg, or the cinema of Sergei Eisenstein or Charlie Chaplin (the last-named, at least, being a case of an artist the reception of whose work has long straddled the high/popular cultural divide); while what she sees as the Disney studio’s later inexorable artistic decline would then become a classic example of how radical tendencies in popular art end up cannibalised and neutralised by the dominant economic system. ( Christopher Rollason) Read More: http://www.wbenjamin.org/hollywood.html a

Dix. Seven deadly Sins. Mark Vallen: Considering the barbarity that was all around him, it is remarkable that Dix painted anything at all, but even the most distorted of his expressionist grotesqueries contained more truth, and yes, beauty - than all the realistic classical nudes and respectable portraits commissioned by the German bourgeoisie of the period. Dix’s creations were beautiful, simply by virtue of the truths they told.... read more: http://art-for-a-change.com/blog/2010/01/why-beauty-matters.html image: http://hikiculture.net/topic576-50.html

…Her position, substantiated through close argument and carefully accumulated detail and quotation, constitutes in theoretical terms an interrogation of the notion of an absolute divide between high and mass culture. In certain periods of political and cultural ferment, she argues, new forms appear that question that divide to the point of dissolving it. Thus, in the 1920s and 1930s, while ‘modernist theorists and artists were fascinated by cartoons’ (v), the ‘relationship between intellectuals and popular culture was **productive** in the sense that both intellectuals and mass culture producers recognised, in some way, that all was to play for, that transformation was a virtue, a motive and a motif, that dissolution of form, including the form of the mass itself, was on the social agenda’ (vi-vii). She approvingly quotes Walter Benjamin’s positive response (from ‘Erfahrung und Armut’ [‘Experience and Poverty’], an essay of 1933) to the dissolution of form in early Mickey Mouse: ‘The existence of Mickey Mouse is just such a dream of today’s people. His existence is full of miracles, which not only outdo technical wonders, but make fun of them too a redemptive existence appears’ (85-86). Unfortunately, Leslie argues, this ‘redemptive’ dimension of the formal anarchy of the first Disney cartoons was progressively squeezed out of the studios’ later products, giving way to an increasingly safe, unthreatening, three-dimensional illusionism. Read More: ="http://www.wbenjamin.org/hollywood.html">http://www.wbenjamin.org/hollywood.html a

Mark vallen:Like many German artists of his time, Heartfield was a militant anti-fascist and a communist, but his artwork was also revolutionary when it came to technique and aesthetics. He was one of the very first to explore photomontage as a new means of artistic expression, and some of his sparing designs - stripped down to only a few iconic images combined with text - made him the predecessor of today’s minimalist and postmodernist artists. read more: http://www.art-for-a-change.com/blog/labels/German%2520Expressionism.html image: http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/photo/john-heartfield-the-corpses-of?context=popular

Its the same process when a Bernard Madoff claims “willful blindness” by others as being partly responsible for his fraud. And in his disingenious way, he was right in claiming his numbers, or rather their consistency was not plausible. But Madoff and his willful blindness is the same as Hollywood and their own bubble that is simply promoting the types of situations that lend themselves to these frauds by succumbing to the innate preference of a familiar; a comf.rtable. bias that reinforces the common and sugar coats the tragic flaws and absurd failings. In Madoff’s case it was the homogenous culture and their comfort and ease with each other that put them in denial of seemingly shady and obscure fundamentals.The racism and bias within the system demands periodic sacrifices, in this case mostly jewish investors, but a few half-assed reforms and eventually the unaccounted for 60 or so billion will find its way back into the system. Lassie always comes home.

Donald Kuspit: What Hollywood accomplished with its brilliant dialectical feat of appropriating Dix’s figures — banalizing his highly individualized, “scandalous” figures into slick, impersonal, marketable stereotypes — was to change the Weimar Republic wasteland they inhabited and symbolized into an entertaining paradise: a perverse paradise, no doubt, but still a paradise of free love — physically free if emotionally costly love — and, one might add, of “free art.” Without their critical edge and sting, they are fashionable mannequins on a commercial stage, however ostensibly — superficially — free spirits, as all figures that seem out of the bounds of social respectability, and charged with raw animal instinct — all “transgressive” figures that seem to lift the repression barrier — appear to be. Read More: http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/otto-dix3-24-10.asp a

Dix. War. ---‘Aestheticisation’ is the appeal to the eye. Politics, under the sway of aestheticisation, was a passive matter. Masses were represented from the outside, as masses in rallies or war. The fascist camera gobbled up passive masses as the raw material for an aweinspiring fascist ornamentalism. Having infiltrated a medium that came to meet its viewers halfway, the fascist camera reestablished distance. Halfway came to seem a long way again. It was the same sort of gesture as that made visible by John Heartfield in his photomontage of Goebbels hanging a Marx beard on Hitler. The Nazis moved halfway towards acknowledging the political desires and ‘rights’ of the masses to democratise property relations and be politically represented, but transmuted it craftily into an illusion, a deception, a surface.--- read more: http://spektakel.blogsport.de/images/EstherLeslieWalterBenjaminPoliticsAesthetics.pdf image: http://ocaphotodpp.blogspot.com/2010/12/art-of-germany-in-shadow-of-hitler.html

ADDENDUM:


Esther Leslie: Given his own precarious freelance existence, one of Benjamin’s key concerns was with the changing status of the intellectual, writer and artist over the period of capitalist industrialization. He tracked, for example, the changing fortunes of
the avantgarde in nineteenth century France. He wanted to understand the ways in which artists are skewered by the contradictions of capital. In his studies of Charles Baudelaire, for example, he notes how the failure of social revolution in the late 19th century, and the inescapable law of the market, bred a hardened hoard of knowledge workers condemned to enter the market place. This intelligentsia thought that they came only to observe it – but, in reality, it was, says Benjamin, to find a buyer. This set off all manner of responses: competition, manifestoism, nihilistic rebellion, court jestering, hackery, ideologueism. Benjamin diagnosed the situation of cultural workers that preceded him, always keen to assess their class and political positions. Read More: http://spektakel.blogsport.de/images/EstherLeslieWalterBenjaminPoliticsAesthetics.pdf

This entry was posted in Art History/Antiquity/Anthropology, Cinema/Visual/Audio, Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion, Miscellaneous, Modern Arts/Craft and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>