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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The future of art in an age of crisis—Part 1

By way of introduction I want to point out that as a rule people go about their daily lives and accept the cultural life they encounter as given. The various books and films and objects are “habitual phenomena” that are not generally subjected to serious criticism.

The present economic and social crisis throws the inadequacy of most of what we presently see and hear into relief. We are attempting here to trace out the roots of some of the difficulties. A historical tracing out of the problem is indispensable, in our view.

We are concerned here with two interrelated questions: the future of art and the impact of the present global economic crisis. Let’s begin with the second.

Whatever the immediate ups and downs of the stock market, the dimensions of the economic crash of 2008 are vast and systemic. Contrary to the apologists for capitalism, the present crisis is not a failure of this or that policy, or merely the product of dishonest and greedy individuals. It is a crisis, a breakdown, of the economic and social order. An entire mode of global capital accumulation based on financial operations, fueled by mountainous increases in debt, has collapsed, as our movement has explained.


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