12 August 2012

Lingua Franca (Note to Self)

"Catchy but meaningless -- good!"

From the "Fax-Bak Service" series of corrected gallery press releases by BANK (aka U.K. artist John Russell), circa 1999. Click or drag into menu bar to enlarge, or see the selective archive here.

Archive link found via the article "International Art English" by Alix Rule and David Levine...

"The language we use for writing about art is oddly pornographic: We know it when we see it. No one would deny its distinctiveness. Yet efforts to define it inevitably produce squeamishness, as if describing the object too precisely might reveal one’s particular, perhaps peculiar, investments in it. Let us now break that unspoken rule and describe the linguistic features of IAE in some detail.

IAE has a distinctive lexicon: aporia, radically, space, proposition, biopolitical, tension, transversal, autonomy. An artist’s work inevitably interrogates, questions, encodes, transforms, subverts, imbricates, displaces — though often it doesn’t do these things so much as it serves to, functions to, or seems to (or might seem to) do these things. IAE rebukes English for its lack of nouns: Visual becomes visuality, global becomes globality, potential becomes potentiality, experience becomes...experiencability."

Yep, and it's been in that sort of a rut for over 15 years now. I even find myself lapsing into that sort of auto-pilot/default mode with a recent assignment I was offered, reflexively falling back on the internalized grad-school species of discourse that I've been trying to disable and undo over the past ten years. So much for circumscription, it is to shrug. About as equally shrug-worthy as any number of doleful articles I've encountered about "the death of art criticism" over the past few years.

Rule and Levine article via the recent edition of Triple Canopy.

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