entARTeinment: a GAME of art
’lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate….’
(Dante, Inferno, verse 1)
abandon hope to enter a standard read
abandon hope to read a collection of other’s thoughts
abandon hope to a western academic piece of writing
be open to ideas instead
be open to courage and unorthodox behaviours
be open to a writing style that is part of the argument
be open to play.
Because there is no way i can explain to you about my idea on play, seriously, without being… playful.
Art is not
Art is not activism, art is not political action, art is not education.
Art disrupt and resists the comfortable the stiflingly familiar and the status quo....
Alana Jelinek (Jelinek, 2013, 3)
Art is not. art is not work; art is not production, art is not value. art lies in the freedom to express. and that encompasses the freedom to play as well.
Playfulness and Humour are, for my practice and for what i see as freedom, a fundamental part of art, playfulness being a means to face one’s own failures to grow and better understand our human condition.
Clowning and Playfulness and Mischief are a substantial part of my philosophy of being and i do use them a lot in the way i deliver my art. they allow for democratic, accessible, impromptu, improvised, in the moment, non-judgemental actions and reactions. i couldn’t face the world the way i do if i didn’t have those elements as my constant companions.
And if one looks at the institutional art world… it is a pseudo-game, with less honesty and transparency then clowning or mischief but … it is a game. unfortunately, a game that has been transformed slowly into a money contest, where the players are not playing a game anymore, where there are no set rules anymore, where the art business are making money out of their game assets, us, the artists.
Why Game so and what game: it is about “democratic” relations, accessibility, working on our failures, on the happy accidents and on participation and relations.
I find myself always going back to game structures or methodologies in my pieces. by game structures i mean for example, a basic script of actions, cause and effect triggered by player’s choices, game start and game end, clear rules, interaction, free accessibility and immediate satisfactions …
So that is, really, the first point: i use game as a tool that becomes also an intrinsic part of each piece. the second most fundamental point is, the game i talk about is what i like to call the pure game, the primordial game, that game methodology and system that requires absolute disregard for any other reason that is not just to play for ‘fun’ or shall we better say, the sake of it.
And i will try and demonstrate though both critical and practice base academic methodology that there is a very good reason for that: without playfulness and fun as only conscious objective of playing the game, we lose the purity and beauty of games, we descend into a contaminated ‘game place’ that has only the word game in it but is not a game anymore. so when i refer to the ‘corrupted game’ of institutionalised art or the art world per-se, that is exactly to make the point: it is not a real game; we call it game because we have this need to rationalise something that is completely arbitrary but what we are missing is that if it really were a game, anyone could participate, the rules wouldn’t be property of an elite only and there wouldn’t be any pecunia in it for sure.
This piece of writing is not about commenting on something that someone else has already established; it is about bringing forward an idea, in an experimental way as well as an orthodox way; the mixing of the elements, the way this piece is written, the ‘personalised-case’, the main body and footnotes symbiotic relation, they are all part of the argument. as well as the actual… argument, of course.
My aim is not only to make sense of the core concerns of Play and Game as a pre-cultural, pure, non-antropomorphic, primordial, irrational … thing that exists with or without us – as per Huiziga clearest contemporary theory in Homo Ludens (2003)- but also to show that all of the central postulates around play and game actually legitimise and makes a run for a theory of art that needs an element of game and play to be true to itself.
And, furthermore, that this does not undermine the serious element in art (and play) but rather supports it as most serious pursuits exhibit (or at least should) playful aspects.
Hector Rodriguez confidently and clearly explains,
“the boundary between the playful and the serious is certainly real and widely applied, but not sharply defined everywhere, and always subject to revision. In some cases, the borderline cannot be marked at all. Moreover, ethical questions about civility and fairness are often intimately connected with the act of playing (…) many forms of serious culture originated from ludic actions. Playfulness lies at the origin of art, religion, politics, philosophy, and the law. It is misleading to view these institutions in purely functional terms, as vehicles for the transmission of social values or the reproduction of societal cohesion. Social action is partly motivated by a desire for intense experiences of risk, uncertainty, surpassing oneself, overcoming a challenge, etc. These regions of social life cut across the distinction between the playful and the serious”. (Rodriguez, 2006)
And then he (Rodriguez, 2006) proceeds explaining that a careful understanding of the classic meaning of Play and Game clarifies the fundamental aims and purposes of serious game and also highlights the close connection between Primordial Game/playfulness and key developments in art.
GAME and PLAY
‘no human affair is worth taking very seriously’
Plato, Rep. x, 604
For Plato philosophy is either a joyful game or it is less than nothing, for Kierkegaard, humour is the incognito pdf life that enables us to pass through the world without succumbing to the prevailing mood of alternating agitation and hopelessness (Ardley, 1967, 226).
And for Huizinga, game is not a cultural phenomenon, it comes before culture, before humanity, before the antrophocene epoch, it belongs to nature, to living of any being, to a primordial essence of being alive (Huizinga, 2003, 3).
In my practice i always feel the need to relate to others through a playful relation; game is necessary for me to lift my pieces and my arguments from the low human ground up to a higher angle of vision, as if i take a step back from my human nature, dissociate from it, create a confined space, with specific rules where whoever is interested can come in, to play with me, the objective of it all being to play with discoveries and reflections, to laugh at our failures and look at the
future and how to make things better with a true pure-felt , genuine smile. game and play and fun allow me to detach from this context, this society, look at things from a ‘primordial perspective, not linked to culture, not linked to time, not linked to the anthropocene view of the world only.
Now, if one starts reading around – i did- about game, play, fun in its original state, before culture is applied to it, there are very few writings and most of them feel to me they are constrained by the language we use and the human development we have achieved. so when Caillois argues that Huizinga is wrong in saying all games have rules, because some games like betting ones are arbitrary… well he is already stepping on the ‘anthropocentric’ view of games, and is approaching it in a kind of technically-rational way: betting is based on chance, therefore game of chance have no rules. but, Caillois, step out of this box: the arbitrary chance IS the rule of the game!
and so the freedom of what rules to apply, as sensible or arbitrary as they might be, in a contained space (be it physical
or not), for a contained period and without any other playful reason then… playing for fun.
It is only when we go back to earlier civilisations that we find descriptions and uses of game and play in its more primordial and purist form. the problem with studying game, analysing it, making it ‘useful’ is that, at that very moment, game ceases to exist and transforms into another animal, what i call, the anthropo-shame (pardon the joke). when reason and system and structure from an outside eye is applied to fun, that ceases to be fun for the sake of it, it becomes a second agenda thing. if we are lucky it becomes a second agenda ‘fun-thing’ but, most of the times, it becomes a second agenda ‘profit-thing’ disguised as serious game (what a total contradiction in terms). remember the beauty of play lies in its freedom, arbitrarity of rules, separateness from reality, a se-stante property as i would say in Italian (lat.: per se), and in its fun. one can deny nearly every abstraction, from justice to truth to beauty to god to … but not play.
Play is irrational, is not attached to our human logic, we play and we play through our mind, so play is a mindful thing, but animals play, so it is a mind thing but it is irrational…
therefore we are irrational beings (as well as rational, the two can actually coexist, i believe)
A stepping stone of my theory is the realisation that culture is not just development, it is also de-development, de-evolution in the sense that it brings layer and layers of human, anthropomorphised approach to the world and these layers take us further and further away from understanding basic concepts and realities of us as being part of something much bigger.
So when i go back to the ‘classics’ , i read about Socrate, Plato, Aristotele and before them.
Knowledge is agonistic and polemic/provoking by nature. but in the words of G. Ardley,
…what emerges from the agon depends on the spirit in which it is conducted. (Ardley, 1967, 227)
Inner serenity and self sufficiency of disposition are the vocational push of genuine curiosity and purity of knowledge.
As Ardley puts it very clearly while paraphrasing Aristotele’s magnificent insight into morality, philosophy and knowledge:
Flanking the eutrapelos is, on one side, the agroikos, the rustic, the boor, who is too stiff and serious to be a philosopher. On the other side is the bomolochos, the buffoon, who is too frivolous, fawning and random to be a philosopher. The eutrapelos is on the high mean between the two flanking vices: Thus:
Most of us succeed only in oscillating between agroikia and bomo- lochia, and miss the verticality which leads up to the disposition of eutrapelia. (Ardley, 1967, 229)
Yes, you are right, knowledgable and careful reader: Gavin (Ardley) is talking about knowledge, not art, but i am not just paraphrasing, i am borrowing Ardley’s structure of thought here. so when i talk about games and playfulness, i only and strictly refer to this kind of vocation, this kind of conscious playful approach to art, underpinned by the awareness of our ephemeral, temporary and limited capacities and the wonder of all the rest we cannot understand but we want to experiment and try and understand.
It is conscious playfulness in the sense that i – like Aristotle or Plato or Locke or d’Aquino or Huizinga – have this imprinted truth in me that without playfulness, whatever I land to, is impure and limited because too much linked to only my brain and my capacities, which are limited as human.
The light- heartedness and the joyful feel that come with playfulness bring me back to a primordial state of purity. they are like a rope that lifts me from the ground to the spiritual.
Playfulness is also an incredible weapon against fear, the fear that we have been imprinted with by rigged socio-economic systems. and if playfulness overtakes fear, and if this fear is not justified but only fed by a ‘system of fear’ to keep us valuable and malleable, then playfulness is the one thing we should hold dearly because it is the one thing that can raise our eyes to above the clouds, above the system, out of our gird and contraction and box. to see wider, to see
oltre ‘la siepe Che il guardo esclude’
– Giacomo Leopardi, L’infinito –
Playfulness and Game in my practice
when i make a piece, any piece, it’s as if i had a goblin (a different goblin for every piece) coming to surface to ‘enact’ the piece as a game, with its own rules, its own players (anyone who wants to play and accept the rules of the game), its own theme, that stays true to itself only and a scope that lies only in the feeling of joy in expressing, through crafts and ideas, some self-reflection learnings.
Differently from what Caillois writes in his ‘Man, Play and Games’, for whom a characteristic of play is that it creates no goods or wealth and therefore differs from work and art (Caillois, 2001, 5) a characteristic of art for me is that it is playful and creates no goods or wealth, therefore being incredibly similar to games. Not only, but it is exactly this characteristic of not creating goods or wealth that makes art true to itself, that brings it back to its purest form, like play and game.
For any piece that i make, i have never thought about its money-value, i don’t think money can be a currency for art, not a true one, at least. i have never thought about my pieces productivity-value either and i strongly believe productivity as well not to be a currency for art.
Furthermore, though, none of my pieces are made for an ’afterthought’, for an additional reason, agenda, purpose then the creation of the piece itself. in that lies the fundamental truth for me about artistic practice.
Sometimes, like when i created the piece for the RAF museum, it is difficult to let all possible other agendas behind but it is the most important step for the artefact to be a creation of free expression. in that only we find purity .
And as the greeks would say, have a hope to raise enough to talk to the gods.
So my RAF piece, for which the brief was ‘a celebration of the battle of ….’, i ended up creating a shadow-puppets installation where the audience (and at the Raf there are a lot of kids!) could touch, interact and, literally, play with it.
it’s entitled ‘Messengers’:
The greeks used to believe music to be the highest form of art as it was, like play and game, completely independent from reality and man as such. then comes dance, poetry and plastic arts (those arts that are dependent on the material). now, understanding the spirit of this – rather than just the letter – is understanding that the fact that plastic art were at the bottom of the list is because they were arts that really depended upon the material and therefore couldn’t be as ‘spontaneous’ and ‘apart from reality’ as other forms of art like music or poetry.
But we need to also remember that at that time the ‘materials’ were literally just stones and colours (sculpting and painting). nowadays art is not dependent always on the material, especially if, for someone like me, the material is just any vehicle at my disposal to express something: it becomes an interchangeable, spontaneous tool. it is not specifically chosen; it is not defining of the piece from the beginning. it is, instead, an organic element, integral part of my ‘rules of the artefact game’. as if The Artist in me was whispering: let’s play a game… this material, here, at your disposal, now, free, is what you have to express that interesting idea of yours and to start a conversation. so the piece is created. and then, of course, the piece itself becomes a game where the audience are players, if they choose to. because that is another incredibly important element of play: it is voluntary and the rules are ‘clear’.
Even in performing i stand by this credo. for example my piece in collaboration with Venice, NewSkin (Vimeo, 2020), came out of an impromptu situation: Venice needed a model for her silicon torso and i wanted to just live this space and reborn. so we put the two together and she modelled her silicon torso on me and then literally de-skinned me. All endurance performance was filmed and is definitely non repeatable soon!
In NON-binary BINARY, a solo performance art piece, i used the metaphors of shaving my own hair to talk and provoke on themes of gender, identity and society. i could have done many different things but the use of my hair grew organically out of the realisation of deep meaningful personal memories, cultural meanings and iconography i could play with. The fear and sadness of a forced cathartic moment were smoothened out by playfulness and therefore raised the whole piece to a high level of understanding and growth for me.
Interestingly, the above piece, born and executed as a solo piece, is one of the very few solo pieces i have ever performed. i realised then, while performing it, how important games are in the actual development and creation of my practice. because i didn’t have any ‘companion’ to play with while shaving my head, i played with all the fools inside of me, which would come out clearly through the transformation of my aesthetics, my hair and face make up. that though, when i am alone, is sometimes not enough, to keep me lifted with this sense of ‘freedom of creation’; so, to give a playful support to all my already playful goblins, i added the element of music. specifically, i attached a series of lyrics from the menopause army band (L.Childs 2020), spoken out loud by me and placed consciously on specific moments, to elevate the otherwise far too serious and high-browed structure behind the artefact, to an actual piece of accessible conversation with the audience.
I often use music, specifically sound and dance, as other devices or tools to play with. i love creating soundscapes because that is to me like playing with Ms.SOUND, the ‘other’ player, a game that is completely outside of this reality, completely meaningful in itself and just to itself, that can be completely free.
And that sound, that complexity that is detached from reality in the sense that the Greeks used to look at music, the purest form of art… its airy medium, its magical frequencies, its neuropathological power to our brain, makes it incredibly versatile and pure.
Allow me to borrow Shaeffer’s sentiment,and, …comms quelque chose de toalment inutile, (Shaeffer, 43 as per pdf from Dack, J. 2021), circuit bending is another example of how anything can be sound and music structured when driven by playfulness. although much earlier, in the 70’s, NoiZ music (which i believe started in Italy) is of the same spirit and on the same track, the underpinning primordial focus of noise composers being to satisfy the need to to play with sound.
Below is an example of what i mean by that; how i play with sound: soundscape from Performance and Installation Piece Would You (collaboration with Polly Murphy)
In the attached soundscape i played with sounds recorded from the garden, from my washing machine, from the cats, mixed with sci-fi sounds and SFX that i asked my friends to try and reproduce themselves, like, for example, the pig shouting.
I feel even freer when i can produce and perform a piece in which i am part of the medium to the sounds and visuals. like in the below piece – Synthespian, a digital puppetry performance piece in collaboration with Lucy Childs (Vimeo, 2019).
The combination of playfulness in action, in movement and in interaction with sound seem to exponentially multiply the freedom i am in, in that moment.
The time has come.
The time has come for me to share with you my elephant in the room: i worked for more then 15 year in advertising and creative direction and, although i left if with fury and anger and disappointment, i learnt something very useful there: to produce great campaigns you need a certain chemistry, alchemy between the creative team and the client and amongst creatives themselves and the only way to ‘force’ that, to control the production of that element is through playfulness.
Why? because it strips everything off that is the heavy weight of the market and the brief and the numbers, and is only it, the fun of the creation of an idea.
A vocational intrinsic playfulness allows us not to fall into the mistake of fatuous statements and unrealistic solemnities of our otherwise limited ratio.
‘Fecundity, genuine seriousness, real understanding, are to be found only in aerial flights of play’ (G. Ardley, 1967, 2)
Through mischief, illusion, games and irony my work and i process the failures and contradictions that we are the only masters of, to gain understanding and elevate us to better creatures in respect (for real) to the incredible universe we are part of. seriousness without a fundamental, primordial element of play, would not be genuine, because it would answer to what i call RA – rationalised-aRTgenda- whatever it -or they- might be. A RA is intrinsically not anymore ‘for the sake of itself’, the piece, art. and, therefore, not anymore free, per-se, un-obeying the laws of money or any other ulterior motive, only joyful and primordial.
The physicality, in-the-now, the non-existence of a ‘go-back’ button are characteristics of performance art, of live art; and a fundamental reason of my use of an element of performance pretty much in all my pieces. the ‘enjoyed’ self-coercion to improvisation, to use-what-at-disposal-4free production, to interaction, to potential failures, are all driven by an instinctive playfulness that once rationalised is what allows me to really assure free-ness and purity of art in my practice.
And what, by no exception, i project into what is the world of Art.
PLAYFUL ART AND THE aRT WORLD: the paradox
when we refer to Game, in the ‘business’ sense, when we say ‘you have to play the game’ of the art world or of the system or whatever, we are just incurring in an incredible misuse of words: those are not games, the rules are not clear, not everyone can play, its certainly not free and fun and most importantly… it creates goods and wealth: that is the opposite of a game.
This is the main paradox and contradiction of what our art world – with small a – which is only 1% of art (Sholette, 4)is trying to imprint on us, forcefully and patriarchally, through capitalism: art is freedom of expression, it lives per-se, anyone can make art, its sole scope is to express and connect. but, the visible 1% art world is, by paradox, a massive wealth and money machine that is continuously tricking us into forcefully being part of it, to be recognised by it; it’s a dirty game, non-genuine, hypocritical game; a game the machine has put together, a game where the rules are not made by the players but by the judges and… a game that needs to satisfy mainly the needs of the machine, a machine that has multiple agendas! Just collaterally, as a tool, it contains art… how is that???? and how is it that Art – this time with a capital A, the genuine, pure, respectful, worth Art…. hasn’t called for mutiny on the art world yet?
I call for the abolition of work (Black, 2009, 1) in Art! where is the Bob Black of the art world? is it me?
Marinetti came up with a great manifesto (Marinetti, 1909), he and the futurists really dug into the spirit of art rather than its letter. i have borrowed and revisited the Futurist manifesto to try and express my point in the same clarity and with the same force as them.
The dadaist, the avant-gard, the post avant-gard and situationists were following up on those steps. i love their sense of fight and mischief, provocation, debunk, playfulness and …purity.
Even Schiller tried, poor guy, he tried so hard to communicate the spirit of the art and was put down by philosophers and academics of that time – and of now! – for not being philosophical and consistent enough within his arguments (Schiller, 14). i myself found him sometimes simplistic in his sophisms and process of thought but the spirit he conveys , that is what i loved and understood of him, “for art is a daughter of freedom and must receive her commission from the needs of spirits, not from the exigency of matter” (Schiller, 26). his purity is in his intentions, like the purity of art and artists. he sees (of course, influenced by Kant) a duality, between reason and nature. the real insight lies in when, talking about Reason, Schiller refers to “his personality’ (Schiller, 1994, 29): Reason, or our brain or logic or human intellect, however you want to call it, is just one part of us (being it dual or multiple parts that we are formed of). if we abandon ourselves to reason and reason only, we lose touch with the ‘gods of nature’. and once we lose that purity of intention, we are just commodity producers, workers, in a conveyor belt that we do not even see.
That is the saddest thing.
We stand up high as artists, stubborn of poshness and culture and high-eyebrows thinking and meaning… but we don’t realise … who are we kidding!? how dare we pointing at some inconsistencies in a train of thoughts when the aim of that train of thoughts is not to show consistency or claim a truth but to put light on a path, to explore, understand and better develop that path? how dare we seeking for (and telling off), asking for rational perfection when the only true is that there is no perfection we can achieve. but we can understand how to get nearer and nearer to it.
How can we still be so hypocritical and petty and small to just look and complain about little, shallow, men-made things like consistency, language, precision, progression of thoughts, technical rationalism (Schoen, 1983), academism (Varto, 1983), scientific proofs…. when we know, we know that what really matters and what really pushes things forward is only the purity of curiosity, understanding and freedom of growth.
why can we not stop being so shallow in our seriousness and become a bit more serious about our playfulness?!
why can we not finally act on what we already know being true: we are here to following the spirit rather then the letter of our creations. it is the spirit of art, it is the spirit of playing a game, it is the spirit of the law etc. what matters. Isn’t it?
when i look at artist i know, its always their rebellious spirit, their playfulness, their taking the Mickey openly that lures me. the material or execution is just a vehicle of that.
As if, like for what i find in my practice to be true, game and playfulness were a way to deliver a message.
And performance is a very direct way to involve playfulness so that art become the confronter of the beholders, in a way that, in Laurie Carlos words, is untameable and unmarketable (Goldberg, 2004, 30) and ‘we are kinetic collaborators in the construction of ideas’ (Goldberg, 2004, 12). when to that you add play, the construction of ideas is for others to take and develop and the world surrounding that art piece becomes instantly accessible to all and transformable by all.
The state of flux and constant ‘movement’ of a playful piece, being it performative or not, leave it open bot to all and to itself, allowing it to be a unity, a meaningful essence that exists in the out-of-reality game box and for its sake only (Goldberg, 2004, 10).
My experience as a clown has allowed me to break the barriers of seriousness and use failure to learn with a smile, with laughter. clowning is a philosophy of life (Davison, 2015), is a way to look at the world not being scared of failing but rather using those failures to grow without feeling suicidal.
The seriousness and meaningfulness of the art world is what is dooming art from its purity. these concept are misunderstood, and transformed, and misappropriated, and misused, in our civilised society, for the intrinsic reason of being it a society. although real civilisation cannot exists in the absence of a certain play-element, like the art world cannot exist in the absence of a certain play element, civilisation – and in my argument, art – presupposes limitation and mastery of the self (Huiziga, 2003) – in my argument, the artwork. and, in the words of Huizinga, ‘to be a sound culture-creating force, this play element must be pure. it must not consist in the darkening or debasing of standards set up by reason, faith or humanity.
‘true play knows no propaganda, its aim is in itself, and its familiar spirit is happy inspiration’ (Huizinga, 2003, 211)
and i shall add to this my take on art, which shall be the same: to be pure it must not consist in the darkening or design of standards set up by reason, faith or money.
True art knows no propaganda, its aim is in itself, and its familiar sprit is playful inspiration
And to those confronting with the dilemma of serious art and playfulness, please rest assured that there is no bewildering antithesis between play and seriousness, thus we can play seriously and we can play being serious too… but still playing.
The reality is that the play element in culture has been less and less present and worshipped and more and more put on the side and disregarded since the 18th century. not only from the joy of the aesthetics of the french revolution and romanticism that were having to act as a substitution for religion, we fell into the trap of art-worship and connoisseurship remaining only a thing and a privilege of the few; even worse, towards the end of the 19th century the appreciation of art, thanks mainly to the spread of photography, reached the broad mass with a strange deviation: the idea of the artist as a superior species became accepted by the mass and ‘the public at large is washed by the mighty waves of snobbery’ (Huizinga, 2003, 202).
And that is the failure of the art world, and nobody else but the art world, that engine, that machine that has formed around artists, around people who make artefacts, a whole world of critics, connoisseurs, investors, philanthropists of all kinds, academics, influencers and scientists who are actually producing nothing of art, but the currency market around it. That agenda of currency creation is what kills art, that second purpose that goes beyond the artistic aim in itself. Because of the recognition of art as a cultural factor and therefore its inclusion in the cultural ‘market’, art has to all appearances lost in playfulness.
‘when art becomes self-conscious, that is, conscious of its own grace, it is apt to lose something of its eternal child-like innocence’ (Huizinga, 2003, 202).
Adding to that, my personal belief is that the element of play is the only element in this day and age that can distract and detach the artist from the conscious and meaningful awareness of being part of a cultural context, to let her/him/they free of expressing the self-reflection with purity of intention and communication (to the others, to the world). it is time bound, within being contextual, it can dissociate itself from the outside actuality and its performance is for its own end; furthermore is is a pleasurable relaxation from the strains of ordinary life.
To paraphrase Plato, if life must be lived as play, even more so art shall be lived as play, and then a man will be able to propitiate the Truth and defend himself against his internal enemies and win in the contest. Thus Men will live accordingly to Nature since in most respects they are puppets, yet having a small part in truth. (Huizinga, 2003, 212)
CONCLUSIONS: a gAme of aRT
for Schiller art and the aesthetics of man have a fundamental route in play (Schiller, 1994). Play meaning freedom to act, to create, independently from a force or materialistic need. It is the uplifting of the soul that moves men to play and it is because it doesn’t come from a material necessity that play makes us free, finally liberated from duties and necessities.
This experience, this creation of a space where we can act free is where we find the strong link between aesthetics, beauty and play. And it is because of this possibility to enjoy freedom in an ‘artefacted’ way that consequently (and not prior!) lies the educational value of art. this is one of the ways freedom of play creates a cultural phenomenon.
In the words of Dörnberg, “The quality that we call beauty represents the same lightness of spirit as the game does. In the beautiful work of art, the material is not dominated by the form or vice versa”. (Dörnberg, 2006, 21)
Now, because we are so culturally bound and rationally bound – yes i blame it on or brain – the author then goes on to say that it is exactly because of that educational spin that art is the highest form of play. i disagree on this point. this is an incorrect ‘sophism’.
Having read and understood and finding myself in agreement with the spirit of Huizinga’s book, i argue here that it is exactly because of its ‘bound-ness’ to cultural meaning that art is the lowest form of play. what i am arguing here is that we need to be aware of our unstoppable search for educational and cultural value in art: it is exactly these kind of searches and rationalisations for secondary and third meanings that purity of the freedom and playfulness in art is diluted.
Let’s stop its dilution and misplacement within our existence on this big world.
The undiluted, genuine, free work of art shows a joyful play between form and matter, between beauty and necessity, and thus represents the highest kind of play.
From I can ever recollect through history, art-movements have tried each time to gain some inches towards a ‘True Art’. and with that come concepts of disruption of the status quo, or, at the opposite, total embodiment of it. many have tried to free themselves of the grids of the art world; from the futurists onwards the search for a brake through categories, definitions, descriptions to reach for an ideal free mode of expression is incredibly clear.
Improv Theatre, contemporary dance, electronic music, performance art, spoken word, game art are all forms of escape from the constrained box of what is defined as ‘art’.
Through ‘confronting the beholder’ (Fried as cited by Goldberg, 2004, 10), through interactivity, the illusion of constant movement, a state of flux, these artists retain a tentativeness and playfulness that allows them to step away from the ‘after-thought’ purpose and be there and then, open.
Openness, provocation, trans-creation, are ways to respond to change, provoke change, ways to never settle to a point in time and space; a constant activity of unravelling while providing ambiguity, irrevocably disruptive of the concept of ‘traditional art’ and, in the words of Goldberg (2004, 15) challenging the double-headed canon of the stablished art media.
They are all forms of action against the art establishment in order to – allow me to paraphrase Goldberg again – relinquish the heavy mantel of high art. all of this, at a fundamental level, stripped of all the cultural contexts, in search for a truth that i believe can be found in free art.
And to reach that, i play.
Games are steps on the way to beauty, because they educate the player to enjoy the freedom of creativity.
Unproductive, creative, fun learning is more useful then productive learning. Especially when play is examined pre-education, but for education purposes, we see how this element of non-real, free, unproductive, fun activity is a stepping stone to a more insightful education.
“Contrary to Schiller’s position, Montessori refuses play as a means of education. She holds that children have to work in order to find their way in the difficulties of reality. But in studying her methods one realises that there are many elements of that freedom which Schiller attributes to play. Children can chose the things with which they “work”. They are not forced to use them in exactly the same way that the nurse has shown them. And most important: the children enjoy their “work” thoroughly””. (Dörnberg, 2006).
It’s the ‘consciously playful approach’ that i described at the beginning of my essay that Montessori applied in her learning system, while keeping it separate from the actual ‘work’ that the children are asked to do.
A playful approach to a socio-economic system that we have created allows us not only to detach ourselves from the fears of the society but to keep a perspective and ‘third eye’ on the values and moralities that an unstable, disloyal, selfish and uneducated system is trying to impose on us. so that we might remember this: we are the players of a game we have created. this game has outgrown ourselves and we are not free players anymore. we have become assets … but we can change the rules and … go back to be the players of the game.
For example, if we look at meritocracy, it is based on a utilitarian interpretation of our work and us as a workforce. Utilitarianism as a philosophical system states that the most moral action is the one that maximises utility: in essence, that the end justifies the means. But one of the well-noted problems of adopting utility as the primary measure of morality is that it ignores the concept of justice, as cruel actions are condoned so long as they contribute to the greater good (Ada, 2015).
In its rejection of social justice, utilitarianism is essentially a de-humanising philosophy. It objectifies people.
“A perfect meritocracy banishes all sense of gift or grace. It diminishes our capacity to see ourselves as sharing a common fate. It leaves little room for the solidarity that can arise when we reflect on the contingency of our talents and fortunes.” (Sandel as cited by Lenfield, 2020)
In Civic Culture:
I bring your back to Ancient Greece, where attending the theatre was considered a necessary requirement for eligibility to vote. “The Greeks understood that sharing experiences, particularly the experiences of those who look, sound and think differently to us is a way of understanding the world around us”, writes journalist Lyn Gardner(2017) when quoting Sellars.
In Contemporary Entertainment:
Indeed a playful approach must be the guiding star. for as soon as layers of cultural, social and economical value attach themselves to the ‘purity of gaming’, the whole vocational, intuitive, pre-cutlrual, free aspect of play ends and all we do is an illusion of play. we deceive ourselves, we delude ourselves that we are playing a free game; but our mind is thinking of the assets, the value of those, the monetisation of assets, the capitalisations on winner or lost games, the commodification of … freedom to play.
In the art world – with a small a:
“The most deadening influence on art in our time is the belief that content matters more than style. (…) Artists like Marc Quinn, Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin – all have very clear points to make. Once you’ve understood them, what’s left to say?
Real art doesn’t have a message, doesn’t necessarily say anything. It is an arrangement of shapes, a pattern of words. If you want an antidote to this idea of art, watch Bob Dylan manically arranging and rearranging words on a shop sign he and the band spotted one day. That is art” (Jones, 2009).
Because of its primitive, basic, intuitive nature, playfulness as a ‘philosophy of art’, i argue, transcends and therefore raises Art above all those problematic cultural and socio-economic contexts and purposes that ‘stain’ it of greed, hypocrisy, exclusions which, instead, have, up till now, made the art blanket… very dirty.
I call for a
on the art world
with a small ‘a’ to stop faking it and actually being art, being free, being playful, being joyous and brave, being unconditioned by temporary cultural systems (like capitalism, money etc), being un-educational, purposeless, for its own and only sake. I call for an art that is primordially free.
tales from the Punk Matter…
the invisible moral compass at the art world’s margin.
This essay will use direct research methods (interviews with artists) to open up a space of inquiry and encounter between a specific reading of art and enterprise in the 21st Century defined as ‘Dark Matter’ (Sholette, 2011) and the ethos, attitude and practices of the category of cultural production that goes under the term ‘punk’.
While Sholette uses the metaphor of Dark Matter to describe the invisible enterprise and social force at the margin of the art world, l will borrow that same metaphor and the socio economic insights that Sholette gives us to examine and talk about the profound moral role that a specific category of Dark Matter (the punk culture) plays in keeping the Arts as a beautiful discipline of human growth: a form of criticality and moral compass towards the contemporary art world that has developed whilst remaining invisible to its domain.
I used the reference to Dark Matter in the title because I like the way Sholette uses the concept of Dark Matter to give power to the invisible.
I limit my reference to the author to that and his socio-economic analysis.
But here, I personally want to examine and expand on the aspect of cultural Dark
Matter, the ethical one, the moral one, the idealistic one. I will position myself at a distance from Sholette in the analysis of my idea that Punk culture, as one of the three categories that for the author from the Dark Matter, has, beyond its economic and political role, the fundamental role of moral compass to the art world. And they – the Punk —do so, differently from most of the Dark Matter described by Sholette, by not caring for visibility.
According to the Dark Matter metaphor, while the 1% privileged of the institutionalised art world looks like the centre of the universe, it only exists and is contained by the margins of Dark Matter ‘labour’. Likewise but on a higher level, I will argue that: while we only see the 1% of the art universe that is institutionalised and capitalised and, therefore, somehow morally deviated, the ‘punk art and artists’ inside the Dark Matter are the moral compass that restores the art world to its real values and keeps it from falling completely apart to the evil of money . They – the Punk – do not ‘inevitably challenge normative artistic values’ (Sholette, 2011, 4).but consciously and actively reiterate their own understanding, assertion and embodiment of the art values’.
While we see the shining stars of the art world, most of which are already ‘dead’, the art universe is morally driven, created and contained by the invisible live force of what I call Punk Matter.
I’m no physicist, I’m no economist, I’m am no punk culture expert, but my encounter with some specific artists and my own experience in cultural terms suggests this approach to me.
From John Dewey’s classic ‘Art as Experience’ to Dave Bench ‘Art as Encounter’, as well as several others in between, experience and embodied knowledge are primary forms of direct cultural pedagogy and resistance of top-down narratives.
More specifically, in terms of essay methodology and In light of the fact that western methodology of artistic research is culture bound; I follow and agree with Feyerabend, who reminds us ‘The Western tradition of science uses a multi-layered symbol and coding system; this makes other knowledge systems look incomparable but does not mean that other methods are less important than the Western ones’ (J Varto, p96 ). For, in the words of Varto himself,
‘It is, however, essential that- in the midst of the increasingly academic and pompous art world – the atmosphere of play and fun is maintained as part of artistic thinking and research. When evaluating research , it may be justified to grant the lion’s share of esteem
to the researcher’s insight; an overly balanced work may eventually be uninteresting.
But this deserves a chapter to another story. For the purpose of this essay I just mean to highlight that i am using a valid and academically supported methodology, although based on life experience and not necessarily presented in a systematic way.
The ARTISTS and PIECES chosen
The three pieces I have chosen are ‘Vision of Excess’, a performance piece and also an exhibition, by Lee Adams, ‘The Face’, a screen-printed piece by Jennifer Manning and ‘Am I a Puppet’, a digital puppetry piece by Lucy Childs. I have interviewed all three artists (list of questions in the appendix).
Below are pictures of the three pieces i am referring to.
The reason I enjoy these three pieces is, for the purpose of this essay, because they are practical, clear examples of the approach I have taken, since i propose that all of them elaborate, each in its own way, some of the attributes of punk ethics, aesthetics and positioning within cultural production and distribution, that holds the art world to its ideal values and forms the core of my thesis. these are issues of accessibility, a degree of honesty, a sense of curiosity, a soul of purity, iterations of freedom,a rebellious attitude and, consequently, invitation to engage that they all convey, although the disparity of medium, approach and emotions that guide these three artists to their work.
As Lee Adams says (and Jenny Manning mentions too) being an artist is a vocation: it is all about intentions behind a piece and the intentions of these three artists seem to me, in their disparity of approach, to all come down to the ‘ideal’ values of the art world. If being an artist is a vocation, it suggests that a vocational artistic attitude is based on ethics and beliefs rather then skillsets. And this transpires all the way through their interviews.
The person inside the artist
For instance, L. Adams always wanted to be an artist since the age of 6; he knew that being an artist meant to meet interest ing people, have an interesting life, be able to get your hands dirty while philosophising and he had – and still has – a massive brain. (Lee Adams).
J. Mann ing loved the printing workshop, the fun , the creativity, the play. She still does. And meeting interesting people with whom to have a meaningful conversation is a fundamental matter: if you can’t talk, drink or smoke, out. She can drink, smoke and most importantly, have a proper conversation. all while screen printing and being mother to a 14 years old boy (J. Manning).
L. Childs has been making and playing with puppets and animation since she has memory, from finger puppets to basking through Europe to researching at Bournemouth university; she is part of the ‘Alchemist of the Surreal’ gang, term coined by Michael O’Pray and Arch ie Tait with the group’s members listed by O’Pray as: Georges Melies, Joseph Cornell, Zbigniew Rybcznski, Walerian Borowczyk, Luis Bunuel, Jeff Keen, the Brothers Quay, Jean Painleve, David Lynch, Georges Franju, David Cronenberg, Peter Greenaway, Roger Corman, Roman Polanski, Harry Smith and Jan Svankmajer.
“They are a/chemists in the sense that they blend disparate materials in the service of fantasy; they endow the real, the very materiality of the world its objects, surfaces and textures with an aura of strangeness and the fantastic.’ ( O’Pray, p.254)
Questioning creation, death and human condition through surrealism and surreal phantasies, she is now puppeteering her own digital self.
Their dark matter qualities
As per Sholette, Dark Matter
“makes up the bulk of the artistic activity produced in our postindustrial society. However, this type of Dark matter is invisible primarily to those who lay claim to the management and interpretation of culture- the critics, art historians, collectors, dealers, curators and arts administrators. It includes informal practices such as home-crafts, makeshift memorials, Internet art galleries, amateur photography and pornography painters, self-published newsletters and fan zines.Yet,justasthephysicaluniverseisdependent onitsdarkmatterandenergy,sotooisthe artworlddependentonitsshadowcreativity.Itneedsthisshadowactivityinmuchthesameway certain developing countries secretly depend on their dark or informal economies’ (Sholette, 1973, 4.14)
Looking at my three chosen pieces, and if we follow Sholette, we shall look at the socio economic behind the artists themselves: These artists are all born in the 60’s, all from working class background, all part of underground counterculture and all, one way or another, ‘punk to the bone’ (their bodies have absorbed a ‘body of ideas’ into themselves). You won’t find much on them online, they mostly move in Sholette’s Dark Matter and what you will find as documentation through the institutional art world is nowhere near to the experience one has coming to close contact with one of their pieces
While it feels to me that Sholette’s analysis between Dark Matter and Punk culture in both his books Dark Matter and Delirium and Resistance is somehow limited to its socio-economic aspects and therefore, to me, just one ‘act of the play’, I, as mentioned in the introduction, want to talk about the bigger role of moral guiding star- not limited to social change – that I attribute to what I call Punk Matter, one of the three categories (the punks) that Sholette identifies as forming Dark Matter (Sholette, 2011 , 160).
Let us hear it from the mouth of the artists themselves, as the interviews reveal. As the three artists say, straight away, being an artist is having a specific mindset and sensitivity, it’s about self-reflection, dialogue and growth- Lucy uses the term: human condition. and freedom of expression (L. Childs😉
What they love and want from art is ideas, purity, disruption, challenge, inspiration , transformation, pleasure.
What they hate about it is politics, egoistic intention, stillness, art-fossils. An artist doesn’t stop developing and so their art.
Those are all ideals, values, beliefs, ethics of life. It’s moral content, not socio-economic one, that i am highlighting here. Why do I call them Punk Matter? Surely to begin with, it’s because i am appropriating the terms of Matter and Punk from Sholette who used them in close association (punks are one of the three main categories that for Sholette form the Dark Matter as mentioned before.
But mostly and mainly because if we look at punk and its values, it is about freedom, disruption, transformation, ideas, action… quite the same as above. It would seem my Punk Matter and The Art shall be a match made in Heaven then, but .. is it so? Why does it not appear so?
Let’s try and be methodical here, as per western artistic research requirements, and examine the three pieces, their characteristics and how/if, they link to my Punk Matter as Art world’s moral compass thesis.
What can I tell you about their stories and how their art, as examples of Punk Matter, proclaim and holds the art world to its ideals?
Conceptually the three pieces are profound sentiments, questions and reflections around theme of life and death, human condition, illusions and beliefs.
Lee Adam’s piece is his take on the Acephale, the headless, decapitated man, a figure by philosopher Bataille (1936), from whom the artist is strongly influenced in all his practice: the headless man’s genitals are a skull (Bataille 2018, 11), which Lee transforms in his performance into a Mickey Mouse mask: a profound concept playfully and accessibly reinterpreted ! The visual is surreal. Like Lee says about his other strong influence Ron Athey, for me, his piece “has the ability to perform a magical act of tantric elevation“.
Jenny Manning’s is a blurred face, a smokey face, that hides other shapes. A red dish ocra colour on grey-sh. Sometimes the face seems different although it’s a simple screen print on a t-shirt; it moves with the body of the wearer and with the eyes of the viewer, a bit like Monalisa! It talks about illusion, smoke addiction, blurred human state, blurred margins and a continuous transformation.
Lucy Child’s piece, Am i a Puppet, is about the continuous struggle of human condition of being subject to ego, power trip, cont rol, exploitation. The real time, improvised performance of a digital puppet to which the viewer cannot but relate and dialogue is a total detachment from reality.. within reality: it’s totally surreal.
In a nutshell, they are philosophising on human condition through art: practicing things – practicing life, practicing creation, as Gates would say (Gary Younge, 2014, on line). Interestingly enough, and I open a little parenthesis here, Gates, one would argue, is actually part of that 1% of shiny art world rather than dark matter so there seem to be a contradiction here .But to me that is interesting because it proves artists on both sides of the spectrum, talk the same language, it is the language of the ideal art world. The difference is that Punk Matter can also practice it continuously while the 1% is struggling between ethics and capitalism, being bribed to talk the talk but do not walk the walk.
They are all incredibly accessible pieces in both their execution and delivery: and producing accessible art, to me, says a lot about the kind of personality and morality of the artists. All three artists preach that anyone can do art, no matter the backgrounds; no matter the means; no matter the delivery. That’s why Lucy Childs performs mainly in entertainment situations, or on the street, projecting out of either her home window or a van; the tools are digital puppetry with DIY, off-the-shelf technology . That is why of Lee Adams’ live performance with a cartoon mask, in the Vaults under London Bridge inside a much bigger 48 hrs event that includes party, music, workshops…That is why of Jenny Manning’s drawing directly on a silk-screen that is transformed into a canvas and put on at-shirt to wear. Interestingly so, these are also the artists that will not really have an agent, will not really produce within or for the ‘art system’.
They practice all these believes and values to the core in each and every aspect of their art. They are playfully challenging and disruptive… They want to open up a conversation to grow as beings. They hate closing, they hate stale, they hate stillness.
Allow me a creative connection here… As the candid Desiderio Navarro or Vladimir Maiakowski would have put it: “geometric retro-abstraction: am art without problems:
it is just what you see”(W. B., C.E., Afterall, 2013, 261) and
“why look afar?! Stay put and wait for the communication. You and I, says he, don’t need to think, if the leaders do”. (W. Bradley,C .Eshe, 2013, 261)
And, yet another interesting element: the pieces’ accessibility is also in this under lying sense of ‘macabre festivity’ that lift that real situation of dis-equality, poverty, and marginality… to a mean for a playful conversation and individual and collective human growth.
This quest for understanding human condition and this belief that everybody is born the same (and therefore has same status and can do same things) transpires in every aspect, included the three artists’ aesthetics. They are unique and staggering while conceptually profound. Bare art, post avant guard, illusion, extreme provocation, experimental, real, (Sholette, 2017, 132) and in them, in their slack, experimental, illusionary art they are reiterating their artistic autonomy as a moral critic to the system.
Like the punk aesthetics and inspirations, these artists’ aesthetic come out of the avant-garde, post modernism, post existentialism (BBC, 2017, online) movements, and the belief art is free, for anyone to make (like music). All three of them say it: the crafts of art, the ‘art-skills’ are only tools but one can make anything out of those tools, one can use them as they please and can also make new tools. There are no rules to who can do what.
In the way they deliver their art, their behaviour, within the dark matter, is also punk: they are mainly involved in collaborative project of underground, counterculture art, their projects are challenging the norms of art and its discourse. They know that to be ‘discovered’ means the whole money machine is put in movement and the artist be comes part of that ‘capitalised’ art discourse. This is why they either play on the borders of it or quickly jump in and out of it, they always keep their art accessible to anyone and give much to the system (the institutionalised and capitalised art system).
And they play and deliver philosophical concepts to prove freedom and equality, so that anyone can be privileged enough to do art.
because… a-la Walter Benjamin
“if the enemy wins, not even the dead will be safe”. (W.Benjamin, 2019)
Morally- and politically- Punk
Looking at punk culture, it embraces anarchism for a very moral reason, which is: the starting point and common belief that nobody is superior to anyone, in fact anyone can do anything, anyone is free because we all start from the same point. So a system (in our case, the art system) that says to be democratic but then favours the privileged is a system to reject because intrinsically unfair. As any system, it intrinsically has hierarchies and punk matter does not accept hierarchies because in this sick system, hierarchies mean privileges and punk – matter or culture – do not accept privileges based on social construct. Punk do not accept a democratic system that is not really democratic, a system that continuously fails the weaker, the ones the system was born for: a fake democratic system. Anarchy means that people have the ability to have some form of living together that isn’t a system because they have some code, a moral compass, of freedom and respect of each individual within a group. The same is for these three artists and their art: they reject the system, they play the system, they do not buy into it; even in the aesthetic, as I highlighted before, it’s not about your craft skills, there is no hierarchy in art either, the punk aesthetic grew up on this thing that you can make any thing out of anything.
Because, like punk know that the social system is formed of ruling class exploiting the rest of us, punk matter knows that the art system is the same. as Lucy Childs candidly and clearly put it, “there is a deliberate systematic education of the ruling class, a non education of the majority of the people so the punk matter say<- beep – you!> and doastheyplease“.
Because punk is abut freedom of ideas . (KLF). Punk is about human growth.
Art is not
Art is not activism, art is not political action, art is not education.
Art disrupt and resists the comfortable the stiflingly familiar and the status quo....
Punk matter, like Punk and like Art-, is not. Punk – Matter- is not a culture of aspiration but a culture of revolt. Punk – Matter – is about freedom, to do what you want, to be what you want. Refusing the historical, refusing the system because of the lies on which they are based: think with your head. In Punk – Matter – each individual is part of a flock rather then an army. And as the individual is aware of its presence inside the flock and of the flock and questions what comes so that the individual together whole flock will progress. (G. Graffin, 2013; M. Woreley, 2013).
Punk – Matter- is against tradition, against class, against stillness, against closure; pro the weaker, pro the minorities, pro opening a conversation. Punk matter would never – a reference to the infamous Tate editorial on Freedom of Art – ask the art audience to stop complaining to keep art free. Punk Matter would argue that as long as we keep the conversation going, we are growing.
So, because of this non-hierarchical approach, this non-boxable approach, be cause of the belief that anybody can do (anything, as long as with common sense), be cause of this core moral compass that runs into the veins of the punk culture, it is this role of Moral Lighthouse, Ethical Vocation that these ‘vocational’ punk artists keeps on injecting into the art world.
They are the darkness that make the stars shine. Those stars that once they get to shine, are partially morally ruined in their art purity, just for being incorporated into the Shining bit of the universe. Remember, what we see shining, might well be dead al ready!
They, with their continuous playful disruptions and honest challenges to the status quo, they, the ‘punk artists’ of the Dark Matter, the Punk matter as i like to put it simply, are most and foremost reminder and ‘restorers’ of the art world to its ideal values.
Their return to the romantic ideal of purity and autonomy, their faith in art, beside the corruption within the institutionalised art world, they, as Dark Heroes of graphic novels from the 70’s and 80’s, are continuously bringing redemption to the evil of the art world.
Without them, the art world is lost, is doomed to the evil of money and power.
Sholette, Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the age of enterprise cu/true. 2011, Pluto Press, London.
Sholette, Delirium and Resistance: activist art and the crisis of capitalism, 2017, Pluto Press, London.
Sholette, DARK MATTER Activist Art and the Counter-Public Sphere, Artforum, 2011,
http://www.gregorysholette.com /wp-content/uploads/2011/04/05 darkmattertwo1.pdf.
G. Bataille, The Sacred Cospiracy. The Internal Papers of the Secret Society of Acephale and Lectures to the College of Sociology, 201B, Atlas Press
O’Pray, Michael. (1989) Surreal ism. Fantasy and the Grotesque, Donald James
ed, in Fantasy and the Cinema, London, BFI.
Gary Younge, Theaster gates, the artist whose…, October 2014, guardian onnline, https://www.theguardian.com/society /2014/oct/06/theaster-gates-artist-latest-project-is regenerating-chicago-artes-mundi
W. Bradley,C.Eshe,Afterall, Art and social change: a critical reader , 2007, Tate, London.
BBC doc, Francis Bacon: A brush with violence, 2017, iplayer, https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0Bcwq3v/francis-bacon-a-brush-with-violence?fbclid=lwAR13WBjoQvm-T qDc5wlQoDAygWBBHxxXHb2yQWF7CXVeiCAB FYTndDPwQ2c
John Higgs, KLF. Chaos , magic and the the band who burned a million pounds,
2013, W&N, London.
W .Benjam in, Thesis on the philosophy of history‘ in Hanna Arendt Illumina tions,1973, Fontana Press.
G. Graffin, Punk Manifesto, 2013, https://punxinsolidarity.com/2013/10/22/punk
M. Woreley, Punk, Politics and Youth Culture, 1976-84, 2013, https://unireadin
Jhua Varto, Artistic Research What Is It? Who Does It? Why?, Aalto Univers ity, Helsinki
Other books that i have read and contributed to the knowledge i have put in this essay are:
D. Child, Working Aesthethics: /about art and capitalism, 2019, Bloomsbury Academic, London.
Toby Mott, Punk troubles. Northern ire/and, 2018, Dashwood Books, NY.
Astrid Seme, Baronessa‘s Elsa ’em dashes , 2018, Mark Pezinger Verlag, Wien. Sezgin Boynik, Gregoire Rousseau , RabRab Issue Three, 2016, RAB-RAB :
Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art, Helsinky
Ben Davis, Theses on Art and Class, 2013, Haymarket Books, Chicago Brian Dillon, Essayism, 2017, Fitzcarraldo Editions, London.