Issue

2.7 / Production and Value

December 19 2010

Introduction

December 20, 2010. Embedded in the outcries that led to the censorship of A Fire in My Belly from the current (privately funded) exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery was the hackneyed refrain of “not with taxpayer dollars,” which could portend further attempts to erode the already sparse civic funds available to the arts.  But, as Matthew Rana points out in his feature in this issue (and echoing questions raised by the Shadowshop exhibition), concerns about support for artistic activity are not limited to the United States.  The challenges for survival that cultural producers face are global ones.

Rana’s essay originates from his presentation at “On the Conditions of Production,” a conference in Stockholm to which AP writer Anthony Marcellini also contributed.  His philosophical and allegorical narrative on identifying value in an object is featured in this issue as well.  Taken together, the articles point out the extent to which processes of commodification determine value in art, trumping its social, discursive, and political potential.  Recognizing that potential and creating survival strategies for artists are entwined issues that demand broader receptivity.  But who is listening, besides those already invested? – PM

Features

Voice of an Object in and of Itself

Voice of an Object in and of Itself

By Anthony Marcellini

We are aware of the consumptive desire for an object’s utility and market value, but we also know that we can never fully know an object. Our relationships are typically not with the objects themselves, but with the various processes that these objects enable.

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The Circuit and the Singularity

The Circuit and the Singularity

By Matthew David Rana

In the United States, Sweden is often invoked more broadly due to its Janus-face as an exemplary socialist state; on the one hand, it exists as the specter of the welfare-state that the right doesn’t want “us” to become, and on the other, it is fetishized as the last vestige of the socialist-democratic dream that the left apparently yearns for. In fact, it was this latter face that was invoked during the event in Oakland: Sweden happily provides a wealth of funding to its artists, whereas in the United States, this is mostly left up to the market (arbitrarily) and the private sector (begrudgingly).

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