Electivity and value

This is from a comment by Chris Goode on DC’s (Mo, Feb 6, 2012). It superbly describes (or more than that: demonstrates) a definition of value in respect to art that is currently about to lose its validity, because the distribution of information no longer creates the kind of scarcity its economy builds on. To acknowledge that is, I think, an important first step towards finding out what, if not restrictions of its material accessibility, our appreciation of art could be based on today. For despite the thousands of times Benjamin’s verdict on the loss of the artwork’s aura has been quoted, art theory seems to have little to offer in terms of an answer, particularly concerning the so-called ‚live arts.‘ Wherefore it will be interesting to listen to what art practice has to say.

„I’ll admit I do have some sneaky sympathy with the idea that there was a certain kind of virtue pre-internet in having to work really hard to pursue your enthusiasms if they were anything other than mainstream. I mean I absolutely love what the web has made possible in terms of being exposed to new stuff, I wouldn’t roll that back for all the performance art groupies in Performance Art China. But there was something very formative about my relationship with, like, the small press poetry scene when I was growing up, and zines and libraries and having to travel to stuff sometimes… This sounds pathetic but there’s something in it — I think about it a lot in relation to theatre. I really like that there’s so much theatre now in unusual spaces, that it goes to find its audience wherever they may be; but I also really value the experience of electivity. I think a big part of being a really alive and engaged citizen is about wanting, and about seeing yourself wanting. What do you want, what will you inconvenience yourself for, where will you show up at a time you didn’t appoint, what will you invest your time in because you value it so much. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen any more, and I do think our lives are massively enhanced by the information richness of our present culture, but I can sort of see why someone of Gen[enis P-Orridge]’s vintage would so value that dissipating relation between knowledge and effort, so much of which is ultimately about liveness, showing up, bodily presence in real places where strangers live.

No, it’s no good, I sound like Melanie Phillips.“

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