Wednesday, 7 March 2012

MYLF communique in discussion

While the MYLF Manifesto/communique which launched this blog has already been discussed, elaborated on and developed in other platforms (one example would be my participation and statement in the recent 5-year anniversary of the performance group Public Movement, an event which took place in the Tel-Aviv Museum in February 2012), it has almost never received a direct response. Since one was very recently made, I thought it would be interesting to post it here alongside my short reply and hopefully generate further discussion.

This is the comment made by Bertrand Marilier, followed by my response:

Hi Avi, after much Griffin and Sternhell I was all ripe for your manifesto, and it certainly resonates with my personal concerns, yet I have a few questions!

My first reaction (it's not that related but you might remember my biais for all things religious;-) was concerning your statement that art becoming life is a fundamentally secular and revolutionarry phenomenon – while I would agree it is revolutionarry, as in it represents the ultimate qualitative change, it’s secularity I am less certain of. I think whichever position you take towards religion, as long as it is not fundamentalist, you will have to percieve the Word, be it oral myth or holy book, as a form of fiction or fictionalised account, whose true meaning holds in its symbolic interpretation.

Also I think both Stockhausen and Debord were addressing a question concerning the limits of art and what separates art from politics. Although limiting art to a particular set of ideological tenets certainly limits its innovative power, relegating it to the closed and well defined realm of art for art's sake narrow it's conceptual perspective drastically.

I think art creates in terms of content but nowadays more than ever, creates in terms of medium too, and as you hinted politics are becoming increasingly aesthetics. The myth as we understand it in our contemporary societies, and the sorelian myth more than any other, is essentially an expression of a linear narrative, which in actualizing it we make into a cycle. The actualization of the myth is what grants its sanctity and like a myth with no ritual is just a story, I am inclined to think that art without impact is just an image.
I think art as to be militant, even if militantly apolitical.

Take care!


Hi Bertrand, sorry for not responding earlier, I waited until I am sufficiently in focus to answer your questions. Then I realised you didn't ask any...I agree with your last statement. Other issues you raised are ones I think of and consider a lot, therefore I will respond briefly and generally otherwise I'll be sitting here writing all day...

Yes, I too seek the relationships between art and myth, and my love for modernism is based on finding powerful traces of that relationship in it - often in contradiction with one specific modernist art movement or another's statements of intent. The statements might indeed be secular and narrow, but the artwork itself rises above that.

Re art and politics - as a radical aesthete I consider all contemporary languages, politics included, inferior to the artistic language. Politics is but one tip of many in the iceberg of art. It is narrower and smaller, and it is integrated into it. Therefore I find many of the calls to politicise art absurd and redundant.

Yes, myth needs to be actualised and activated. But art with no impact isn't 'just an image'. Rather, art that focuses on content/inferior languages and is not self-aware of itself as source, generator, conduit of meaning by merit of what the image radiates, has no impact.

Hope this clarifies my position a bit more.


1 comment:

  1. Immediate response from Bertrand, and another from me -

    Bertrand: Hiya Avi, no problem, I just have a lot of spare time!
    This certainly clarifies your position but also leads me to ask another question - if you see politics as an expression (albeit a potentially corrupt one) I can imagine that you judge of all things, political or creative, on a unified scale of beauty rather than good.
    In that regard, for example, do you consider woman's equality to men as promoted in punk culture, to which you were referring to earlier, as beautiful? If you do how does this inclusive aesthetics translate into the realm of say music, or visual arts?

    Avi: Well, I solve these issues by separating the grand/philosophical scale from the immediate/pragmatic one. On the grand scale I'm a nihilist seeking cure; pragmatically I am a social democrat with anarchist sentiments. Therefore, I only use good and evil in the limited context of daily life without needing to address their grand meaning. Not as a cop out, but because, to quote from a song by Beyond Dawn, "everything is beautiful, it's just a matter of distance". I can say that pragmatically speaking, gender equality is beneficial, IE good. However, this assumption has no meaning.