Re: Question to ganahlmarx - "No. 4"

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Posted by rainer ganahl on December 01, 2000 at 02:18:51:

In Reply to: Re: Question to ganahlmarx - "No. 4" (Who is Anthony Iles?) posted by Craig Martin on November 30, 2000 at 12:36:37:

Craig Martin:
Mr.Iles' points elicit another 'circular' manifestation in the process of reading Marx. The question returns to the possibilities of reading the texts, not without the burden of history - as you Rainer quite rightly point out, given the material circumstances - but without recourse to institutionally determined discipline. This circular frame may perhaps be broached by reading outside the frame?? I unfortunately do not have the means to demonstrate this. However, we again return to not just the economic, social or revolutionary potential of Marxism, but the legacy of the academic discipline in itself. I stress again the idea of reading 'outside' the disciplinary frame but perhaps not 'without' it, as Hegel aptly demonstrated. Any move beyond the limit is in itself a measure of that limit. I would like to pose the question as to whether the opportunity really does exist to ideologically determine a non-space in which to read?? .....Art & Language...........

Rainer Ganahl:
Do you really think that a “non-space”, an ideologically non-determined space exists even independent of reading? I have difficulties to conceive such a ‘non-space” since I think that our orientation, understanding and acting in the world is always socially and discursively mediated, i.e. e. structured by ideological formations inscribed in language, representation, signification and exchange.

You might as well ask: is there an extra-discursive realm in which we can step, not even talking about reading. I doubt it thought there exists – like with everything - always a longing, a desire for a radical outside, a way to transcend our linguistic, discursive, ideological, representational, institutional, social, economic, historical, political and even imaginary limits. But it would be rather naďve, to think that we can escape any kind of ‘framing’ without getting defined by it. My approach of reading Marx, whether I call it non-academic, non-institutional, non-disciplinary, dilettante, or pathetic for not stressing the word artistic - might be very quickly identified and categorized along the usual parameters of knowledge production and low key activism.

This impossibility to transcend our differential relationships with our back grounds and our social and ideological premises isn’t necessarily the equivalent of a totalizing determinism that doesn’t leave us any room for change, self-definition, and difference. Quite the opposite, knowing where we come from, what we are dealing with and what we are running against helps us to gain some relative independence.

Frankly speaking, it would be very foolish to romanticize my relative ignorance of academic Marxist studies and the protective security belt that a conceptual art context provides which consists in my case of well respected and well connected institutions like Bookworks, museums and galleries.

Practically speaking, my reading of Marx really depends on the few people that show some interest in my semi-public readings. It too depends on the institutional or non-institutional framework that invites me or which I try to provide. If participants have some philosophical and/or university back ground a discussion looks different than when I am reading with young art students, who see in my one week workshop some kind of ongoing performance, group therapy or imported spectacle.

Literally speaking, if we want to change the world and the art world, and not just to interpret it, we need to do something: communal reading and social discussions already are such actions that hopefully will have consequences in our personal and interpersonal lives. Since all our tools and machines are in permanent “revolution”, be it “high tech or low tech” we might better stay at home, read and say no to superfluous consumption.

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