Sunday, November 18, 2012
The Weak Universalism, by Boris Groys.  Deeply relevant to my interests, esp. paragraph #2, below.

"Of course the question arises of what has happened historically to transcendentalist, universalist avant-garde art. In the 1920s, this art was used by the second wave of avant-garde movements as an allegedly stable foundation for building a new world. This late avant-garde’s secular fundamentalism was developed in the 1920s by Constructivism, Bauhaus, Vkhutemas, and so forth, even if Kandinsky, Malevich, Hugo Ball, and some other leading figures of the early avant-garde wave rejected this fundamentalism. But even if the early generation of the avant-garde did not believe in the possibility of building a concrete new world on the weak foundation of their universalist art, they still believed that they effectuated the most radical reduction, and produced works of the most radical weakness. But meanwhile we know that this was also an illusion. It was an illusion not because these images could be made weaker than they were, but because their weakness was forgotten by the culture. Accordingly, from a historical distance they seem to us to be either strong (for the art world) or irrelevant (for everyone else).

That means that the weak, transcendental artistic gesture could not be produced once and for all times. Rather, it must be repeated time and again to keep the distance between the transcendental and the empirical visible—and to resist the strong images of change, the ideology of progress, and promises of economic growth. It is not enough to reveal the repetitive patterns that transcend historical change. It is necessary to constantly repeat the revelation of these patterns—this repetition itself should be made repetitive, because every such repetition of the weak, transcendental gesture simultaneously produces clarification and confusion. Thus we need further clarification that again produces further confusion, and so forth. That is why the avant-garde cannot take place once and for all times, but must be permanently repeated to resist permanent historical change and chronic lack of time."

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