Text 5 – To Make Out Under Representation : Technsoscience and the Terms of Art’s Survival


‘To Make Out Under Representation…’ offers making, across the contemporary arts, as a paradoxical struggle to survive while trying to reconcile irreconcilables: how to cling on to elements of the modern arts’ legacy in the face of a general aestheticisation of culture managed according to the interests of global representing institutions.

Under the systematics of  representation (embracing the complex of relations between capital/state/technoscience’s knowledges/calculative information and communication systems/common sense) Art’s Body becomes a mutant, a hybrid undergoing continual re-modelling in the spaces set up for it under the rule of the info-spectacle.

To preserve the possibility of this Body’s ‘out-ness’ (its becoming-elsewhere) requires makers to pass through and out of representation’s conventions and machinery. Art challenges makers to leap away from culture’s representing conventions and towards the demands of solitude, touch, memory, and plurality at the extremities of language’s (and thus ‘meaning’s’) threshold. Making’s ‘take’ on its own energising as multipli-sensuous is contrasted with the controlled, now digitised, flow of electricity on which everyday life under the info-spectacle is now precariously dependent. Making challenges itself to undo the binds holding it to the institutional forms of controlled energy-power through exploring the energies intrinsic to its embodied becoming.

Above all, making has to expose itself as the ‘beyond’ of, ‘other’ to, the typifying socialising work accomplished by analysis’s production of ‘objects of knowledge’. It takes on the machinery of representation in spite of knowing only too well that it can only make its way on the former’s terms as they work themselves out through the intertwining of electronic and social powers with digitisation.

Along the way certain affinities with the writings of Benjamin, Kristeva, Agamben, Bonnefoy, Heidegger, Rimbaud, Merleau Ponty, and Bernhard are noted.