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THE SHAPE OF CONTENT (1957):

July 11, 2013

NOTES ON BEN SHAHN

The question of the maintenance of artificial human contexts at a soul-or visceral engagement-level; understanding the relationship between art, the individual and establishment society/culture:

 

SATIRE [   ?   ] ART

-Art as an experiential authority in itself; an explosion as voice-even pictorially-as force in itself, and therefore its own authority-just intrinsically as it is fiercely individual; all art, even the most culturally strapped religious-cultural iconography.

 

-Art first substitutes authority in its very nature; ridiculing and questioning authority in the form of satire is art’s natural next step-obviously.

 

INFERENCES AS INTERROGATIONS

1) What is a true-accurately understood-relationship between Disciplinary Society and art? Tentatively, art itself flies in brazen contradiction with the homogenizing forces as the tendencies of Disciplinary Society:

 

Art as anathema from establishment culture standpoint

 

Art as only tolerable in a docile, systemically domesticated sense

 

Can establishment culture actually permit it’s self to support and foster the true spiritual energy and natural authority of art and the real artist?

 

2) Is it conceivable that in a hobbesian world of structural, pitted dialectic struggle, one side would actually promote and foster-nourish and truly strengthen in some way-its adversary?

 

-If true, it would imply a clear understanding on the giving side of its separate identity, outside of the dichotomy it forms with adversary-and that on certain levels, both sides are different and contain elements that are not truly offset as real conflict.

 

-If true, would imply a clear understanding of a systemic, diachronic and really mutual dependence of the giving side on the-in this specific sense-weaker side, even though the weaker side may not be conscious of the deeper and more profound nature of the union through apparent conflict between the parts.

 

-If the above is true, then the giving side would be, really, in a position of tacit oversight regarding its surface level, or apparent, adversary.

 

-If all of the above is true, this situation could really be described as revolving master-subordinate relationship in which the master is also the servant, just as the servant is also the master.

 

Specifically: the future of industrial, disciplinary society as diachronic survival-which would in no way rule out its possible evolution and transformation-would depend on a higher, more sophisticated understanding on the part of the powers that be as cerebrum of the financial, techno-military advertizing state regarding individual freedom and the psychological nature of man; the creative impulse of the individual must be protected in individuals beyond its industrialization as graphic design, for example-it must be fostered and nourished as, really, an innate and natural state of the soul of people, even-and most especially when this would be in contradiction with the homogenizing tides of historical Disciplinary Society and its current form as consumer society.

 

But to attain this level of understanding-and to actually guarantee this form of tacit, systemic oversight as responsibility for collective man and the well-being of the human condition itself-it is necessary to be one’s self imbibed by-or in-the deepest of humanistic understandings of man and of human experience; and possessing just an MBA not only incapacitates you at this level and in this de facto role as overseer of man, it in fact makes you dangerous-lethal-to the survival of society itself.

 

3) What would be the true-or more accurately understood- significance, form this standpoint, of the cultural changes that occurred most openly by the late 1970s and of which Ronald Reagan as figurehead would be a broad and general symbol of?

 

I am now.

Orange

 

 

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