The attempt to fit artistic production into neat categories of commodity relations, since at least the 1970s, has been a complete quagmire that ignores the immaterial, discursive, (perhaps neo-Trotskyite), practice so endemic to “contemporary art.” Gillick explains that “art is a series of scenarios/presentation that create new spaces for thought and critical speculation.” Further “art is” not a functioning relationship of producer and consumer structured by a pre-determined imperative to work, but an “ethical equation where assumptions about function and value in society can be operated upon.” For Gillick, they are at best “capitalizing” upon an immaterial labor or good, a situation afforded to them by the “constant restructuring” of the “models of the recent past.” “The notion that artists are a perfect analogue for the flexible entrepreneurial class is a generational concept that merely masks a lack of differentiation in observation of practice and the devastating fact that art is in a permanent battle with what came just before.” Some have even advanced the proposition that artists should be paid for their work/time when included in exhibitions. But how do we engage them in such a materialist position in light of this? How do we use precise terms to pin down commodity relations when at every turn the practice "defies the logic of capital"?  

Pt. 3/n...towards and/or away from means of image distribution


Two things are interesting about reading Sanchez and Bishop together. Note how Bishop’s preference for mainstream ground-floor-gallery art clashes with Sanchez’s nuanced exploration and acceptance of alternative means of image distribution (Contemporary Art Daily, tumblr., etc..). Both are primarily concerned with reception theory, or art’s place in an attention economy. Referencing Bourriaud’s “disembodiment of the internet”, Bishop leaves us to view contemporary art production moving away from the dominant means of image distribution, which she allies with a refusal to “thematize” the "logic of our dominant social field." (Internet centrism, again). Sanchez argues that software produces a “different kind of image.”






Pt. 1/n...

Sanchez investigates the reconstitution of the image through adaptations to software and hardware, claiming that galleries/artists shift their production to accommodate the format of mobile screens. Sanchez writes about exhibitions that he hasn’t visited—viewing them only on Contemporary Art Daily—upending polite ekphrasis. His analysis is fully committed to art’s reception, relocating the discourse from creation to the networks of distribution. He haunts us with our inevitable de-subjectivisation: How do you craft discourse about a work that appeals to the anxiety of the scroll, truncating the structures that undergird prestige and judgment? Resulting works are addressed to a platform, not aesthetic subjects. 



Chat Room is the Bruce High Quality Foundation University's invitation and application-based, 3-month long, 12 class course that focuses on one topic a week relevant to contemporary art and/or media theory through readings and discussion. This fall Chat Room II  is led by Brad Troemel. As part of my participation, I will be writing 100 word responses to the texts and the resulting discussions. I may publish multiple posts containing discrete thoughts for each week and/or reading; this is, after all, some pretty heady material. I hope this adds some reflection to and record of the group’s otherwise verbal exchanges.



AuthorMike Pepi