Like John, I’ve found it remarkable that this rather strange and to me unfamiliar genre can turn so quickly, skidding into new territories, welcoming different styles and tones and positions, and maybe even obsessions. Our conversation on repetition has certainly not been repetitive; it’s not mimicked the logic of dialogue; it’s not quite been writing in the old sense, either, since it doesn’t get congealed or quite finished. And amazingly it’s found a kind of progress. We’ve gotten somewhere, haven’t we?
So then, another turn: I am fascinated by Drew’s remarks on a new relation between the “surface” of artworks and their “implied reality,” by which I think he means their sources in nature. And I am no less drawn to Amy’s puzzled rumination on how art can so often and powerfully rebuke the suffering and injustices that capitalism (the “DSC”) causes without in any way diminishing that art’s prestige within the system or the enjoyment that those who profit most from the system take from it.
Mightn’t that be partly because so much art can be conceived as, again in Drew’s words, an “aesthetic intervention on . . . the real” rather than actually as real? In the end, of course, what intervenes on the real is real, and if art manages to make such interventions, which (as John reminded us in the live chat yesterday) it often enough does, it’s real too. And surprisingly, as John also has reminded us, it’s often out of modest and practical gestures and projects (I’m tempted to use the Situationist term derives) that art achieves maybe its least modest aim: to be real. I’d say, that, despite appearances, Godard too is a modest artist on those terms.
One of repetition’s promises is, then, to puncture the divide between art and reality: to turn mirroring into repeating with significance and elucidation, to turn aesthetic disinterest into experimental expectancy (precisely not an expectation of the merely unexpected, the novel), or into joining the rhythm of things as they happen and exist in the world.
So I’d say where we’ve gotten to in this discussion is away from haunting. And, more arguably, also away from a desire for the new, the other, the transformative. Call it a progress out of progress toward a future in which is nothing is old and nothing is new.