Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tricksters of the Real

I finished writing what I hope will do for a bio for an upcoming reading… as follows
Jacob believes that poets and artists are the ultimate subversives. Not prophets and seers, as the Romantics thought, not hermetic guides blessing humanity with visionary truth, but…
tricksters of the real,

Marxists …
of Night at the Opera, destroyers of painted sets ripping away the masks of power, tearing down the curtains of the Corpratocracy--all that makes it possible to believe in what Joe Bageant calls the American Hologram--the artifice of the military/industrial/prison complex. By using the stuff of our collective illusions as raw material for… play,

for delight,
for life

—they...we... poke holes in the artifice that everyone might see, that the vision be not for the few, but for all.  

… in reading it over it occurs to me that there are some interesting implications here: that the subject matter of the artist (and I’m using art as an inclusive type, an active, shaping relationship with a complex encounter—one that includes on the same plane: direct perception, memory, ideas, associated cognitive and psychic material) as stuff already worked over and encountered in itself, as artifact… as culturally conditioned, and thus, problematic vis a vis—what is ‘really real.’
The problem … is not that of an opposition of real-in-itself-nature and artifice, but (thank you Levi Bryant*) of aspects or ‘kinds’ of reality … the artifice being no less real than unculturally conditioned nature.

The artist/poet offers a parallel critique of received reality to that of both science and philosophy, but in a more holistic form… seeking to reconcile cognitive and affective experience—to more closely approximate a direct relationship with the natural world and/with our cultural overlay of the same.
I think of the painters of the cave walls… that already present… there was some experience of alienation—of dissonance between the encounters of the hunt, and what it must have meant to them for their survival—imaginatively, intellectually (yes, intellectually!) . Some terrific gap those images were fashioned to reconcile, to bridge.
Somehow this makes me wonder if that isn't part of the 'message' of those images... the wonderfully rendered natural renderings of bison and horses and bears and ...  the questionable status of the human stick figures  who so uncomfortably inhabit the same space ...
, let the ring of the Imaginary refer to the domain of ideology, signs, group identities, political parties, images, the content of media, the sense or meaning possessed by cultural artifacts such as films, clothing, commodities, certain norms, etc., collective narratives, texts, and so on. It is important to emphasize that in placing these in the ring of the Imaginary I am in no way suggesting that these things are unreal or demoting their status. Here the category of the Imaginary retains some of its Lacanian resonances. Lacan associates the imaginary with the domain of meaning (hence the reference to cultural artifacts, texts, signs, etc). Likewise, Lacan associates the category of the Imaginary with images (visual, acoustic, olfactory, tactile, etc), as well as the domain of the ego and identity.
from Ontology over Epistemology

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