22 May 2021

Jappe—Debord—The Supersession of Art

Anselm Jappe
Guy Debord (1993)
trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (1999)
...to actualize artistic values directly in everyday life as an art that was anonymous and collective...in such a way as to transcend the dichotomy between artistic moments and moments of banality. (68)
I suppose this drags us kicking and screaming into trying to define Art, for if these are indeed hallmarks of supersession, then as such they betoken something of a radically different type. I usually argue for defining by reception rather than by intent, hence the notions of anonymity and collectivity are certainly not incompatible with classical and romantic conceptions of art. It is the blurring of distinction between the artistic and the banal, rather, which seems so thoroughly at odds with common sense, i.e via the Everything and Nothing problem. What could ever be more numbly terrifying, or terrifyingly numbing, than such a life without contour? This seems to place Art on a pedestal, thus representing the ecstatic pole which in alienated life is necessarily balanced by proportionately severe suffering. If the poles must balance, however, would moderation not be preferable to the opposite extreme?

[from a post-it, 2017 or 2018]

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