Issue #30-31, 2008
+ (presences of art)

Relinked Excerpts From The Essay (My) Artist Self
Bogdan Ghiu

FEATURE REPORT ON THE MATTRESSES OF THE FUTURE

Late one night I watched on TV a feature report on mattresses. In this only apparently minor domain but so close, so immediate and so familiar to us that we do no see it or feel it, of which we must not, precisely, be aware since it is the proper support of our dreams, there is ongoing and extraordinarily intense research, too. There have been revolutions in the unknown domain – from below us – of mattresses.

I went to bed warmed up by this insight into the far future, impressed by a slight nostalgia: my descendants, the men of the future will sleep a thousand times better, more “qualitatively” than I do! They will sleep extraordinarily! They will fell nothing more.

Or not, actually: they will feel extraordinarily good, they will prominently positively feel the Good, as De Quincey was saying about Kant when describing precisely his sleeping technique, his art of sleeping (like a baby, after foetal self-involvement) and the fact that he was really enjoying – as only a great philosopher, prophet of the fate of the whole humanity, could – a perceptible feeling of health (not as absence of ill-health, of suffering but as marked presence of non-suffering).2 The future will be philo­sophical!

My descendants will sleep a thousand times better than I do, will live the Good, while I will just sleep, equally well but feeling nothing more.

What a wonder, to positivize death, to transform it into a state of well-being, to banally insert it into life as supreme Pleasantness. Indeed, in the future to come it will be possible that the Good, the Supreme but so abstract, so impersonal Good will be immediately lived as Pleasantness. Pleasantness will finally go down to history as the concrete, immediate, palpable materialization of the Good. The Pleasantness! The future of humanity will be pleasant, it will be Pleasantness itself. I so much envy the men of this wonderful future!

And all this thanks to the banal, humble mattresses, to the furious – truly philosophical as well – researches in the field of mattresses! This is true work of service to humanity!

The mattresses of the future will be a lot softer; like close and intimate living beings, they will take the shape of our bodies, they will nestle us without deforming them­selves. They will be moral objects.

We will feel nothing more, no opposition, all will curve disappearing around us, inciting us to dream. Life will finally be non-baroque, shadowless, contortionless Dream. We will live exclusively to dream and to directly and immediately realize our dreams. There will be no more television sets, no displays, we will see nothing more, as we do (or used to until) now: dually, passively, separately, trapped in the Exterior, con­demned to exteriority, caught in the rupture. We will be living-dreaming everything, every time: “as in dream”, with images of ourselves as world of ourselves. The image itself will disappear to permanently become reality; an ephemeral reality, precisely because nothing should last anymore as (until) now, since the very duration of things is “the terror of history” and fatality, all must be continually improved, all must become anytime better, from one second to the other, we live in order to effectively realize the Progress, the permanent Better, the infinite Pleasantness.

And all this, thanks to the mattresses of the future!

No opposition, no sensation: all will be soft and befitting, passive, automatically yielding to us, all will embrace us, welcome us with universal hospitality (another philosophical dream which will finally come true!), nothing will any longer resist us, we will have swept any opposition by then. All will disappear. Immediate power, pleasant, foundationless sensation of good – for the sensation of well-being is created precisely by the disappearance of reality.

We will evolve within a concentric void whose warm centre of irradiation we will be. We will keep ourselves warm through a refracting but unrefractory world. On our side, all around us, a welcoming void will spread out. The environment itself will disappear.

Art, the engineering of disappearance.

And then, only art will keep making something appear, will make us feel something.

Art will have to re-create durity, ruggedness, opposition, hardness, the encounter, the contact, the presence and co-presence.

The true revolution is the invisible revolution of materials, the fabrication of matter itself. Today, the image teletechnologies represent only the spade work of this evolution. While nowadays the television sets, the screens, the technological “infrastruc­ture” follow the way and the destiny of the image by virtualizing themselves and flatting, disappearing to realize themselves, similarly, reality itself, the matter itself will follow this destiny.

We will live in cotton wool, slipped into softness, into the void.

Another current sign: the dominating relaxation desire of young people who lay down, even if it is only for five minutes, wherever they might find themselves while assuming the current postures of everyday life, they want to feel pleasantly, to feel the pleasure of simply being: the realization of Dream.

No resistance, infinitely.

And then, only art will still be able to restore the remembrance of reality. Mere reality, timeworn, outdated reality already pertains to the task of art.

The future role of the art will be enormous, monstrous: art will have to re-create not only a world but reality itself. Art will shoulder everything.

In the future, art will completely replace reality, it will have to substitute it, as total ontological prosthesis, so as to re-create the sensation of reality, the “historical”, historicized, outmoded dis-pleasure of being through the other, with, on and against the other.

Art will be the counter-technique of the “Un-pleasantness”, of the “resistance of materials”. Only art will still be able to create the “unpleasant” sensation of history, tardiness, postponement, closure, non-fulfillment, helplessness, finitude, non-realization of the Dream, at a time when engineering will have gone beyond the bounds of all these and when the Human itself will have become the supreme Mattress of Man, the Mattress-Man.

Unfortunately, future belongs to art. We are condemned to become all artists if we want to keep sensing, to keep feeling something, whatever.

HIPEREVOLUTION. TOWARD ANOTHER PRAGMATISM

LIFE WITH ART

OUT OF OUR DEPTH, PLAYED AT OUR OWN GAME

This is not evolution, nor is it revolution: it is hiperevolution. We become/give our­selves new bodies. (Spinoza: “No one has thus far determined . . . what the body can do”– become another!) Hasty, accelerated evolution, impatient rush ahead, toward the Great Solution: we cannot any longer tolerate tardiness, imperfections, the comparison with the disseminated Superhuman, with the ubiquitous ways/instruments of self-realization as Superhumans available to us. So we step on it.

Man must be allowed to permanently lag behind, to be late, persisting in anachrony to himself (as he really is); this will push him to run, gasping for breath, striving to catch (up with) the automatized progress, the progress itself as distinct, parallel history which, finally emancipated from man after man had emancipated, for a moment, from the “terror of history” (Eliade), teasingly outruns man everyday. Bearing in his soul the guilt and loss of the Great Opportunity, forever tortured, obsessed, unsatisfied, uptight, man is forced to evolve, to fill his life with the despair of running to make up for progress.

The horizon of unseen but immediately tangible chances and possibilities of self-realization which he/she can no longer seize, which are permanently escaping man and which keep him feeling enclosed. Progress does not any longer bring up the rear nor does it ride the fore-horse. We live in a world-environment more realized than we are, we, inferiorized beings in an (by an) immanently, not transcendently superior world, the more tangible, immediate, the more tormenting: a world which easily outruns us, which seems to self-produce and reproduce all alone, without us but for us, in an Environment of Good realized outside of us and all around us, where climbing up or remembering is no longer necessary. We just have to adopt it, to use it, to make it forever piecemeal, fragmentarily, imperfectly our own. Accessories of Superhumanity. The Superhuman in accessories. Accessory-man.

After modernity, we escaped by being played at our own game, saved by a fortunate anachrony to the political-industrial Self. It is only for a historical second that the feel­ing of relief lasted. And now we are goaded again, but not macro-historically and politically but micro-historically and economically-technologically: everyday, moment by moment – pastorally-economically goaded by envy. The political has stepped aside.

KONSUM MACHT FREI

With our transition from communism to capitalism, the countries, the peoples, the societies, the states, the men in Eastern Europe, we did not hit upon an established, self-confident capitalism at a stage of pure functioning or that of internal evolution, of “resetting”, but we stepped into a macro-transition of capitalism itself, into a capitalism at the same time exacerbated and diluted, “victim” of its own substantial, hyperbolized tendencies which have become irrepressible, into an “unhinged” capitalism which has simultaneously irreclaimably “fallen” under itself, thus functioning through emphasis, through a perpetual “state of exception”.

This brings forth the fear and the haste to give name to, to proclaim the Globaliza­tion: purely performative gesture, classic disguise of performativeness under the certifiableness (descriptiveness). Self-hypnosis.

This does not involve reality, but a way of reading (a reading grid), a way of inter­preting through naming.

When the “referent” is missing or is chaotic – that would be always – so even more when this substance crisis is, as now, hyperbolized by our postmodern/post-traumatic state, the fear of anomy and no-name-ness pushes us toward relievingly consensual incantations, making us whisper one another, on all the channels, often, all the time: “We have world! The world exists! Globalization! Mondialization! Globalization! Mondialization! They are certain! It is for sure!”

The media news are in every moment the Annunciation3: “We have name! We live (are) an Epoch!“

HABEMUS PAPAM!

HABEMUS NOMEN!

Ever smaller „actants”, always individual and even under-individualized, infra-individualized, micro-individualized actants – the man decomposed into “minimal traits”, into desires and interests (after having reformulated and eliminated desires as “irrational”, the interests are incited to change into market desires, cravings) – submerged into a “World of Good”, a global market-field.

The Anglo-Saxon “philosophical” ideology of methodological individualism and neoclassical economics is based on the uncrossable chasm, abyss between individualities reduced to themselves, kept between their own limits, acting directly on the market ocean.

The intermediary levels, or otherwise put, the “traditional” controlling and standardizing identities, such as the “peoples”, the “nations” or the Parties” are replaced, they are reformulated. The old ones have played their “modernizing” role, it is all over. Now we must micro-collectively be something else: sexes, ethnic groups, organisa­tions, associations – consumers of Good, not only of goods. The Good offered cannot be but con­sumed; the vital, existential relation with Good and Truth cannot be other than that of consumption, which is palely, barely sensibly related to the full-bodied Eucharist.

We do not have access to the production of goods, of Good as world-market, we do not feel that we participate to it, other than insensibly, mediately, collectively. Technology, the world-technology produces them (and self-reproduces) automatically. There is no “mass” self-individualisation other than by the consumption of goods. The production of good is immanently, immediately, contiguously inaccessible (no one can appropriate it individually). It does not offer itself except to consump­tion, it can be only consumed, lived and “embodied” through consumption, “ingurgitated”. Essentially, consumption must be somatized, which means that by the instru­mentality of consumption we offer ourselves the only chance of self-realization through the making of new bodies.

Market metemsomatosis: everyday, a new body. From one body to another, following the track of accessories.

Blackmailed man

After the period of the so-called “Cold War” and the politics of the so-called “nuclear dissuasion”, the world has become an objective situation of blackmail. Today we are pressed twice, blackmailed twice: with our past (the sins and the disasters of modernity) and with the bright future of realisation through consumption. The objective blackmail is often imperceptible, since it is interiorized.

PRODUCTION-CONSUMPTION

(The second ESSAY ON WASTE)

Modernity could not have succeeded otherwise: in fact, it produces directly residues, directly residually. Modernity produces by throwing away, by eliminating, it produces to be thrown away: supine (suspire), signal word, simple-to-use instructions, user’s guide.

Modernity produces residuals; the products of modernity are downright already- consumed: trash. Consumption is anticipated, as a norm. There cannot be on the market other goods than those already consumed, which indicate that (and how) they should be consumed. Since production consumes, the modern-capitalist produc­tion is by itself and primordially consumption of the old, of the already-existing, even before being – and in order to be able to be – production of the new. In capitalism, we consume the waste of the world, the residues of the existent; we make a feast of trash.

 

CONSUMer CONCENTRATION SOCIETY

Comparison between the concentration camps, the Gulag and the hypermarkets, understood as organized types of industrialized space.

The promiscuity men-commodities. Indistinction.

We are not goaded, taken, deported, we are deporting ourselves.

The decision is already taken, given the concentrationist organization of space: let’s buy everything, or, at least, the most of it. Blockage, drowning, suffocation of choice, of the (life, shopping) programme, the commodities call each other at no distance, are huddled together, piled up and aggregated without distance, without passages, merged, hyper-identified, being all the same, in fact only one: the CONSUMER GOOD, GOOD THROUGH CONSUMPTION, CONSUMPTION – THE ONLY WAY TO THE GOOD (caco-pitalism).

Blocked discernment, 0/1: all or nothing.

MORAL DIGITALIZATION

Again: a dive without transition, directly from communism and postcommunism (as false interlude, as false purgatory: the purgatory is the – tax – haven) into globalization. Only the transition to democracy, which is the condition of capitalism, although it is permanently and necessarily violated by the latter.

We stepped not on firm, stable soil, as we are asked to, as we are invited to think, without trouble, but in the midst of a macro-transition of capitalism itself.

The formal-political occults the informal-economical, seriously affecting the social-moral.

Emphasis was placed exclusively on our possible unreadiness for democracy, but no one in the world can be fully prepared for democracy.

However, there was no emphasis at all on our unreadiness for capitalism.

the OLD AND the NEW POOR OF THE WORLD

SAVE CAPITALISM ONCE MORE

A more important historical mission than the presumed and false mission of the “proletariat”. We have been flattered, buttered, historically divinized as the “proletariat”, the producers of history.

Now, no one flatters us anymore, but it is only now that we are the true heroes:

The CONSUMPTION HEROES, HEROES THROUGH CONSUMPTION.

It is not man-the producer who saves history; it is man-the consumer who saves capitalism.

The fate of capitalism is decided in Eastern Europe and, in general, in the marginal regions. We have been integrated, but as marginals, precisely so as to save capi­talism.

Not in order to produce, but in order to consume. Since we have not lived or made the “historic capitalism”, we are unready for consumption, we re-establish in fact the nude definition of capitalism as production of (not only for) consumption. We con­sume by expelling, by unveiling the “essence” of production as primordial consumption, as production of dejections. WE ARE THE SAVIORS OF CAPITALISM!

 

POVERTY SAVES ROMANIA!

UNDERDEVELOPMENT INTEGRATES ROMANIA!

In the East, the essential integrated-marginal region, the visibility, the perceptibility of the phenomenon and of the process which save capitalism through consumption (according to the illusion that History could be saved through production, through action) is indirectly proportional to their acuity. The more acute, the more invisible they are. In the West, due to continuity, this is visible. In the East, due to discontinuity, this is not visible: cultivated by communism as historical scheme of secularized teleological thinking, capitalism Messianically appears in an empty space. The salvation promised by communism appears only after communism, after its “apocalypse”. Messiah saves the world after it ends all by itself with an “immanent”, “objective” self-judgement.

The “optimism of the oppressed” was not in vain, but it is only today that it is realiz­ed, after the death of promise, in a post-world, in the “after-world” of communism-free capitalism, along with its disappearance. It is only communism that perfectly prepared humanity for capitalism (not vice versa). Weakened by its own “structural” contradictions which are about to consume their asymptote (after being for so many centuries its “engine”), this capitalism looks upon its action becoming now a lot simplified, a lot relieved: it does not any longer have to re-educate us, to “civilize” us, we are already exhausted by so much misplaced optimism, it can just simply land us a gaunt hand. It does not have to do anything; it can dispense itself of all the mod­ern­izing pan-liberal effort: capitalism without modernization: historical epochal uncoupling. “It’s all right as it is!” It’s even better!

By why should we torment ourselves with troubles, why should we madly look for troubles, shouldn’t History have finally make us wiser? Why should we fight instead of just living, letting ourselves be beatifically lived (it is simpler!), instead of living naturally the artificiality of the system?

After all this pain and stress, after all this historical torsion, we finally enter THE AGE OF SIMPLIFICATION.

Aren’t we witnessing the supreme triumph of the wiseness of life? And that despite the fact that simplification is based on artificialization, on simulacra – as inevitable condition? If we are better off with simulacra, why shouldn’t we prefer them?

The East and, in general, the marginal-integrated regions “phenomenologically” evidence altogether the existential macro-condition of the consumer, of the man – the consumer, of the man who cannot actually produce otherwise than by simulating production, that is exclusively by consuming.

Here, we were and remained mere importers and consumers of history and this is exactly what now proves to be the naked truth about man: that he/she cannot pro­duce, that he/she can only consume. And when there is nothing natural left to be consumed, the production will simulate the producing and we will continue to con­sume, even it will be artificial things, simulated goods that we consume.

This is because, seriously now, capitalism reached that stage where it goes against itself, against its presumed condition – the market – which it sacrifices now so as to be able to survive.

THERE IS NO PRODUCTION!

THERE IS ONLY CONSUMPTION!

Current capitalism self-sacrifices, unveiling its “essenceless essence”, that it has until recently succeeded in historically dissimulating by its own means, with the unhoped-for help of the “enemies” or partners of historical work.

CAPITALISM = NON – QUALITY = FALSIFICATION

Capitalism frenetically self-falsifies. After having falsified the world, it got on to itself.

Since forever, capitalism has evolved by integrating the negative, by circulating what­ever it misses or what it denies it.

PRODUCTION = ARTIFICIALNESS

Virtualization” of goods, of commodities.

Law: the more production (the voluntarist artificialness of production, production as artificiality) increases (and refines itself), the more the artificiality, the falseness increases (and refines itself).

PRODUCTION IS FALSENESS

PRODUCTION PRODUCES FALSENESS

This is a law, not a deficiency. This statement must be positively, not negatively taken.

(Occulted) banality: capitalism seeks to produce nothing more than unlimited profit. The goods and commodities are the instruments, the paths to this profit, the final goal of capitalism and of the logic of capital.

In consequence, there is an oblique relation between profit and artificiality.

The virtually unlimited profit is artificial, it cannot be produced other than artificially and it produces forever more artificiality, that is, falseness.

Capitalism falsifies.

The technological share of falseness unavoidably increases along with profit.

THE TRIUMPH OF CAPITALISM

=

THE DOMINATION OF ARTIFICIALNESS

Attention! I repeat: these are not, as they may seem, value judgements, but “apocalyptic”, that is to say late, “final” revelations of the artificiality of man, the creator of prostheses.

For a long history, the human prostheses have been symbolical, “spiritual”. It is only now that they become massively material, with man “virtualizing”, „spiritualizing” himself.

Capitalism falsifies and artificializes, thus lying, not admitting is in the course of nature.

In our East: the historical meeting and reunion of terminal conditions – as “parousia” of MAN the CONSUMER – of evacuation, of dilapidation of modernity, which (unlike in the West) is judged and condemned without trial.

These three stand out as essential, for the capitalism of man, under the consumption and consuming, falsely, artificially productive condition of man:

embezzlement

malversation

CORRUPTION

All this is not accidental, but proves – only now and here, in the East and generally in the regions that I called “integrated-marginal” – to be essential. The East, the exemplar case of frame-transition.

We are exemplar! We should keep a school!

We live in and on the embezzlement and malversation of modernity.

Embezzlement, consumption of funds as deflection of capital, as deflection of capital from its historical masks. We live in the denudation of capitalism, not in a deviation from capitalism. It is only here that we live in an accomplished capitalism, not in an undeveloped, “stranded” capitalism.

Here, in the East, and, once again, in the marginal-integrated regions, Corruption proves to be the essential process of capitalism.

Corruption is not an accident, a failure that could and should be remedied – other­wise than falsely, artificially.

Marginally-integrated, as relocation possibility (capitalism has forever been relocating: nomad capitalism, adrift and fleeing capitalism, looking for new resources and new markets: the New World, something to consume by production and consumers for this consuming, disimulatedly sacrificial production),

CORUPtion saves CAPITALISM,

which can continue to occult its “sectary”-marginal disclosures in the over-populated, densely organically developed regions.

The revelation always takes place in the margins. Why shouldn’t we help it seize, “gain ground” on the centre, on the core?

The postcommunist East: pure consumers, the marginalized essence of capitalism. They share precisely the condition of the “new poor” described by Bauman, who cannot any longer figure as missionary “proletarians”, but who realize and practically accomplish capitalism, thus saving it. “The new poor” do not represent a direct resource, they are not exploited, they do not run from but after exploitation, seeking integration and internal segregation, aspiring to become “even more consumer than consumption itself”.

It is exactly what happens now in Romania, in the East, what the mass media are show­ing but do not know how (and do not want to) describe. Marginal truth, essential truth.

PARADIGM SHIFT

The new condition of critique

In order stop producing artificialness and falseness, that is to say in order to stop accrediting the illusion of a possible voluntaristically radical, “modernist” “restora­tion” of man – which is nothing else than “playing the game” of the capital itself – and in order to finally become constructive, as it has been always asked to become, the critique should not any longer negatively qualify or negatively appraise man’s negativity phenomena. Man, or at least the perception of man, cannot be unlocked unless man’s essential, inherent negativity is accepted, acknowledged and creatively pozitivized.

Capitalism has integrated and voraciously feeds itself on what wanted to oppose it and elude it – the art, the creation. The critique of (cacophonic) capitalism must then come closer to art, too, must propose alternatives and quit the game of creation in which it always comes out on the wrong side and which profits the adversary.

Exacerbated by the intellectuals of the apotheotic-monstrous, prophetic end of modernity, the critique cannot be practiced otherwise than as pure inertia, as pure, closed scholastic game, insulated from society.

The critique does no longer exist. Its place has disappeared; it disappeared from the “nomenclature” of the present.

The situation is at least uncomfortable. It is hard to be transparent, to cease to exist.

The critique should not any longer reject, it must attract by proposing alternatives, by creating.

Like every Tom, Dick and Harry, the contemporary man seeks to accomplish, to develop, to improve. But it continues to do it following the model of modernity, by accretion, according to the logic of “supplementarity”, of the organic prosthesis: by adding up capacities, by extension.

The critique should not criticize men’s immediate, practical ideals themselves; on the contrary, it should discriminate between the solutions and the means proposed to it so as to reach these banal ideals.

The critique should criticize the hyper-falsification of solutions and expedients, but without disregarding the accepted and acknowledged, de-negativized, pozitivized, normalized man’s inherent substance of negativity and artificiality.

Falseness, artificialness presuppose ART itself.

Current capitalism has integrated art, by expropriating it, by exploiting up to devital­i­sa­tion its capacity to falsify, to create attractive artificialness, and it has thus reached the point where it has completely falsified art itself.

The problem of art lies at the heart of contemporary society, of current capitalism.

Capitalism has not only integrated, it has also monopolized art, the “artistry”.

The hyperbolic drive that pushes capitalism – which now “genetically modifies” art itself by manipulating its own artificiality gene – toward the production of falseness and artificiality in the search of immediate, unlimited, speculative profit, in other words, the artificiality of capitalism is different from the artificiality of art.

CAPITALISM = ART, CREAtion

ART

=

TRUE

CAPITALISM

Integrated for its inexhaustible creative resources, with the purpose of saving capi­talism by “virtualizing” it, by “immaterializing” it, art can and must become man’s true post-capitalism: a capitalism of production, finally, not just one of (resource) consumption and consumer-based.

Through postcapitalism-art, man can finally transform from consumer into producer of self as [producer of ] new life forms.

Against the final-capitalist sacrifice of quality, against the capitalist radicalized falsification and artificialization of the quality of commodities, goods and products (in the conditions of the generalized, objective decrease of the profit rate, the immediate search for unlimited profit has come to the point where the quality requirements have been totally replaced and the profit increases in direct ratio with the lack of quality, with the purely speculative product: “virtual” goods), art can bring back the quality of „capitalist” life solutions, thus re-establishing man as producer-emitter.

As new critical stance, art has to fight against capitalistically integrated “art”.

ALL-READY-ART

Capitalism, it is known, equals pragmatism. What kind of pragmatism?

Immediately after having launched the appeal to pragmatism, somewhere in the 19th century, the founder of the concept of pragmatism, the American Charles Sanders Peirce, came under the necessity of giving up this concept and of resuming the thread of the request under another name, a new one: that of pragmaticism.

Why is that? Because, like all the revolutionary projects, pragmatism too has been immediately deflected, falsified so as to “be every man’s meat” (this is the deficiency and the fundamental danger of any project of revolution: that is why the program­matic revolutions must be avoided: because they are obligatorily “deflected”, since they are intrinsically “deflectable”), transformed into something else, almost its opposite.

PRAGMATISM  PRAGMATISM

True pragmatism is thus condemned to remain eternally unnamed, and the main proposal (not project) of harmonious bloom for man-the self-producer is permanently deflected and falsified.

At the moment when man was ghettoized as exclusively consumer, after being deprived of the productive dimension (previously exploited and falsified through hyperbolization), the only chance, the only “politics” of restoration based not on a leap or revolution but on the very terms in which the problem is articulated is given by the

PRAGMATISM of ART

ART AS ULTIMATE PRAGMATISM

Pragmatism, in other words the wiseness of art.

Wearied, exhausted in so many respects, maybe people will begin to also feel tired out by the roundabouts of history, by history as roundabout and postponement, as blockage of all “solutions”, each of which is fatally anticipated to be the “final” one, by the presumably comfortable unpredictability of suffering while waiting for some miracle. The suffering which keeps returning, as a “principle of reality”, is actually the unpleasant surprise of the lack of the surprise which was hoped for, which con­tra­dicts their dreaming, their fundamental lack of realism, the illusion, the “narrative”.

The hero of pragmatism is not the successful businessman, it is Bartleby, and it is Daisy Miller, it is Pierre and Isabelle.”4 “Pragmatism is misunderstood when it is seen as a summary philosophical theory fabricated by Americans. On the other hand, we understand the novelty of American thought when we see pragmatism as an attempt to transform the world, to think a new world or new man insofar as they create themselves.”5

I would PREFER not TO"

Bartleby pre-fers for he fore-sees the consequences of his acts, the consequences of any act, of any action. He is the perfect, the accomplished pragmatic individual: “ZEN”. He has interiorized the whole history, out of a pragmatic prudence whose nuances of warning and even menace we must clearly perceive, he remains seclud­ed, “inactive”, a non-revolutionary “parasite”, he pre-fers to remain un-manifested.

No better”

It is better not to”

Bartleby’s lesson: PRE-Deconstruction.

Since pragmatism has been given many deflecting and falsifying uses, deconstruc­tion too should be given ethical uses which transform it from analytical post-action – so called “destructive” of what is “given” and created – into pragmatic pre-act pre-ceding any action, into a fundamentally pragmatic act.

The problem of pragmatism and the problem of art lie at the hearth of all current processes.

PRAGMATISM OF ART

ART

AS

ULTIMATE PRAGMATISM

or man the producer, the creator without “mission”, after man the consumer, after the

Omnivorous MAN,

who rummages through trash, through the falsified goods of the current finished capitalism which is backed up only by the hunger of the marginals, of the “useless” people who postpone its revival through

THE CAPITALISM OF ART.

THE INVISIBILE ARTS

As well as technique – hypostatized by its technological reification (technique as technology) – art disappears, it somatizes itself, it becomes invisible. Art becomes invisible.

As well as technique, its twin sister from which it has separated itself, in which fork man’s instrumentality and self-creative utensilness as man’s ultimate essence, having arrived at the pen-ultimate station, art can still be visible, it is still reluctant to disappear, to redemptively reabsorb itself in man, so that it fights against technology and so that it reinvents-rediscovers the Technique of making the Man, of being Man (something un-given, un-natural and even “against nature”).

Art is still visible. Artists are still hesitating about losing all their autonomy, once and for all.

THE ARTS OF FINITUDE

AND CONFINEMENT

The cultivation of happiness. The confinement cultivates the arts of happiness.

We confine ourselves within finitude and exploit the finitude.

The benefits of finitude (after the eternal, Man-creating fright that it has produced): (it is imperative) not to worry, (perhaps for the first time in history) finitude is per­ceived by the finite, but infinitely “mechanically” reproducible beings, similar to its own alibi, finitude is its own alibi: we cannot do, we don’t have to do anything else but cultivate finitude – for we are finite!

The infinite of finitude!

Confinement within the Self, within the Identical (which intensifies the only possible knowledge: “the backward knowledge”).

Frenetic creation of confinement: the infinite of confinement.

To create confinement.

To create, to invent finitude.

We are not any longer interested in discovering (science disappears), that is in the Exterior, but in inventing, that is in interiorities, labyrinths, barriers, shelters (we find shelter in obstacles): alibi-manifestations of finitude, passional confrontation objects, life insurances.

The new ethical duty (and justification): we must confine ourselves within immediateness, to cultivate immediateness, to fabricate immediately, to create immediateness – which unceasingly flees, escapes us, disappears. (As well as the “object”, the “immediateness” does not exist, it is pure phantasm.)

Now, before and in stead of disappearing redemptively in man, in order to exist “now”, the arts are bound to infinitely invent, to infinitely create finitudes.

THE END OF CRITIQUE

Translated by Andreea Lazăr

Notes:
1. Eu(l) Artistul – Viața după supraviețuire (cod de bare pentru viitorul monstruos al artei) [(My) Artist Self – Life after survival (barcode for the monstrous future of the art)], Bucharest, Cartea Românească, 2008.
2. “Long practice had taught him a very dexterous mode of nesting himself, as it were, in the bed-clothes. First of all, he sat down on the bedside; then with an agile motion he vaulted obliquely into his lair; next he drew one corner of the bedclothes under his left shoulder, and passing it below his back, brought it round so as to rest under his right shoulder; fourthly, by a particular tour d’ adresse, he treated the other corner in the same way, and finally contrived to roll it round his whole person. Thus swathed like a mummy, or (as I used to tell him) self-involved like the silk-worm in its cocoon, he awaited the approach of sleep, which generally came on immediately. For Kant’s health was exquisite; not mere negative health, or the absence of pain, but a state of positive pleasurable sensation, and a genial sense of the entire possession of all his activities.” (Thomas de Quincey,“ The Last Days of Immanuel Kant“, in Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers, vol. II, Whitefish, MT Kessinger Publishing, 2004, p. 135.)
3. Untranslatable play on words: The Annunciation is called Buna Vestire in Romanian, literally meaning “the Good News”. (Trans. n.).
4. Gilles Deleuze, “Bartleby; or the formula“, in Essays: Critical and Clinical, London–New York, Verso, 1998, p. 88.
5. Ibid.