One difference between sadness and depression is that, while sadness apprehends itself as a contingent and temporary state of affairs, depression presents itself as necessary and interminable: the glacial surfaces of the depressive’s world extend to every conceivable horizon. In the depths of the condition, the depressive does not experience his or her melancholia as pathological or indeed abnormal: the conviction of depression that agency is useless, that beneath the appearance of virtue lies only venality, strikes sufferers as a truth which they have reached but others are too deluded to grasp. There is clearly a relationship between the seeming `realism’ of the depressive, with its radically lowered expectations, and capitalist realism.
“‘Design’—the art, science, or business of representing others visually—serves the dreams of the commissioner. And when there are no dreams, practical goals will do. Can design itself, however, dream? In the human mind and body, dreams play an essential role in ‘post-producing’ our lived experiences. Thus, can design, devoted as it is to life, still be healthy and self-repairing when it can’t dream?”—Metahaven, Uncorporate Identity, 2010.
The aesthetics of productivity is made up of graphs, statistics, to-do lists, countdowns, post-its, trills and notifications. p.84
Entrepreneurial time is the predictable time. On the contrary, the precarious perspective focuses on the uncertainty of an exploded time, junk time, “timeless time”... p.86
Perhaps, it is by these propositions we can begin to step outside of our world into new ones where we can think and posit outside the looping nature of our time. In these worlds we are free to define progress for ourselves, not left to the modernist-capitalist understanding which we keep falling back upon. Through these postulations we can begin to imagine new futures that differ and reject the ones we are presented with. Instead of Mars, which is a modern nostalgic fantasy, we should look to the exoplanets and embrace their multitude and the confusion and possibilities they bring. In these worlds, upon these distant heavenly bodies, we are the Ubik, outside of time, the creators of suns and worlds.
If we regard the artwork as an object, Harman’s theory offers a justification for a belief in the autonomous, inherent reality of the artwork. Its unique quality can neither be fully explained by the process of production, nor can it rely on its relation to the beholder: “At issue is the independence of artworks not only from their social and political surroundings, their physical settings or their commercial exchange value, but from any other object whatsoever.” In addition, the object takes the place formerly occupied by the genius—an individual possessed by an inherent talent or ability that is not subject to educational efforts but naturally inborn, and for this reason someone who is self-reliant and free of outward relations.
The only realistic artist, then, is God, if he exists. All other artists are, ipso facto, unfaithful to reality.
Value, in an economic sense, is theoretically created by new things based on new ideas. But when the material basis for these new things is missing or actively deteriorating and profits must be made, what is there to be done? Retreat to the immaterial and work with what already exists: meaning.
Meaning is always readily available to be repeated, remixed, and/or cannibalized in service of creating the sensation of the new.
Leftists are currently insisting that Biden will inevitably lose to Trump, but the reality could be far worse. He’s the perfect expression of our senescent age. A politics of grudgeful stasis; in other words, a politics of defacialisation, a politics of social distancing, a politics of the coronavirus.
In the end, after the chaos, the impact of the virus might be almost undetectable. You will be lonelier than before, but you were always lonelier than before. You will be feverish and breathless, but you were always feverish and breathless. You’ll sit in your isolation tank, and sometimes your hands will twitch, all by themselves, towards the alien entity that was once your face.
But today’s rich don’t generally wear the 2020 version of royal purple, something like parametrically fitted garments made of nanofibers embellished with synthetic mother of pearl (which might be the results of real growth). Instead, they wear $500 cotton t-shirts with inscrutable references and visual motifs pulled from a smörgås-moodboard that makes little “sense” in any generalizable way. The t-shirt’s price clearly isn’t a function of its material makeup, but rather a result of some form of manipulation of meaning associated with it. But because meaning (or its substrate information) is infinite, it can only become a luxury once it carries the illusion of scarcity.
These industries have long been accustomed to masses of employees willing to work for social currency instead of actual wages, all in the name of love. Excluded from these opportunities, of course, is the overwhelming majority of the population: those who need to work for wages.
“Do what you love” disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is a privilege, a sign of socioeconomic class. Even if a self-employed graphic designer had parents who could pay for art school and co-sign a lease for a slick Brooklyn apartment, she can bestow DWYL as career advice upon those covetous of her success.