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Damien Hirst

DAMIEN HIRST: THE CAPITALIST SUBLIME?

Friday, 1 June, 17.30-19.30
Senate Room, 1st Floor Senate House (Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU)

Luke White (Middlesex University): ‘Damien Hirst: The Capitalist Sublime?’

Damien Hirst is perhaps the absolute epitome of the capitalist artist. He is also a figure – in the bare objective terms of his economic and institutional success – who demands close attention as a cultural phenomenon: not, perhaps, an exemplary artist for our era, but certainly a deeply symptomatic and significant one. He is also a cultural producer who, whatever we may feel about his ethos, at his rare best has provided us with some of the art world’s most memorable, iconic images of recent decades. 

To better understand the Hirst phenomenon, this paper makes an analysis of his place within a long line of cultural producers who have been involved with the commercialised and commodified instantiations of art oriented to the sublime, a lineage stretching back to the modern (re-)discovery of this aesthetic in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It proposes that the sublime has been an aesthetic profoundly implicated in the rise of capital, and is intimately intertwined, in particular, with the highly liquid, ‘imperialist’ forms if this that characterise both the contemporary Neoliberal scene (of which Hirst might be imagined to be the court painter) and that of the eighteenth century alike. This paper seeks to define a Hirstean or capitalist sublime in which the fantasies of the modern, capitalist subject and its structuring experiences in the social and economic are reflected, formed and negotiated.

Luke White is Lecturer in Visual Culture and History of Art and Design at Middlesex University. His PhD was entitled ‘Damien Hirst and the Legacy of the Sublime in Contemporary Art and Culture’, and with Claire Pajaczkowska he was the editor of The Sublime Now (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

All welcome!

www.marxisminculture.org

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‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

 

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski/blog

North Atlantic Oscillation

North Atlantic Oscillation

MARXISM IN CULTURE – PROGRAMME FOR SUMMER TERM 2012

Friday 18 May

Forgotten Futures: Municipal Cinema as the People’s Cinema?

Elizabeth Lebas (Middlesex University)

Friday 01 June

Damien Hirst: The Capitalist Sublime?

Luke White (Middlesex University)

Friday 15 June

Fashion and Materialism

Ulrich Lehmann (University for the Creative Arts)

Friday 29 June

Book Launch of Steve Edwards’ (Open University) Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems – published by Afterall

All seminars start at 5.30pm, and are held in the Court Room (unless otherwise indicated) at the Institute of Historical Research in Senate House, Malet St, London. The seminar closes at 7.30pm and retires to the bar.

Organisers: Matthew Beaumont, Dave Beech, Alan Bradshaw, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Larne Abse Gogarty, Owen Hatherley, Esther Leslie, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Chrysi Papaioannou, Nina Power, Dominic Rahtz, Pete Smith, Peter Thomas & Alberto Toscano.

For further information, contact Warren Carter, at: w.carter@ucl.ac.uk or Esther Leslie at: e.leslie@bbk.ac.uk

Soft Coda, by North Atlantic Oscillation, from their ‘Fog Electric’ album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkAhSSeR8j0 

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‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Taking to the Streets

RETURN TO THE STREET

27-28 June 2012
Goldsmiths, University of London

A two day conference exploring the shifting role of the street as discourse and real physical space in the context of contemporary culture and politics

Identity formation and public debate do not simply occur online or through new media technologies. As the recent excessive imprisonment of those involved in the UK riots this summer demonstrated, the control and regulation of real bodies within real spaces is still very much at stake. Within the context of riots, protests and occupations in the UK and worldwide – the street appears to have become once more the space where people gather to be heard and counted. Considering this ‘return’ (although it is questionable whether we every really left the street) how might a line be drawn between the type of discourse which pays lip service to banal, neoliberal fetishised notions of street as site and object of subversive cool – incorporating graffiti, fashion, skateboarding, hiphop – and a more critical and engaged examination of processes of exclusion, confrontation and violence which constitute the everyday reality of life on and in the street. The street is and should not simply be flagged up as a site where power relations are toyed with as part of an ongoing Damien Hirst-meets-Banksyesque flirtation between public and private space. Such fetishisation ignores or glosses over notions of territory, surveillance and fear.

Yet at every moment attempts to challenge existing power structures from within the space of the street are at risk of being recuperated in the service of bourgeois, neoliberal modes of consumption. The return to pedestrianised zones in major European cities is frequently part of gentrification processes and occurs within privately owned spaces with the aim of encouraging consumerism rather than increased social interaction precluded by motorised city spaces. The festival atmosphere at protests and occupations might also be considered not simply as a means of creating greater solidarity amongst participants but as embodying a Bakhtinian form of carnival in which the political impetus of the event or movement exhausts itself in a media circus of spectacle and rhetoric staged between protestors and law-enforcement. Similarly, how does the crowd or the collective end up reproducing existing forms of exclusion in claiming to speak for the masses as a homogeneous whole? Those whose access to the street is already restricted due to race, gender or disability must frequently concede their voices to those for whom the street is taken for granted as usable, occupiable and negotiable space. At the same time, a more critical stance is needed towards both the romanticisation and demonization of the crowd in public space. It is, for example, naive to think that issues such as the systemic street harassment of women in Cairo disappeared completely during the occupation of Tahrir Square yet this was the rhetoric widely presented. Conversely, how might the pervasive politics of fear which posits the crowd as unruly mob or herd, keeping people off the streets, through the imposition of curfews and devices like the mosquito be redressed? What needs to be done to encourage greater mobilisation on the street from different groups and individuals?

The aim of this conference is to rethink the street both in terms of its radical potential as site where dissent, critique and change can all be achieved whilst remaining critical as to the limits of such radicality. Where does the street lead us and what happens off the street? How might we avoid the dead ends and turf wars involved both in conceptualising and using the street? How might we set about building a new politics of the street? We welcome proposals for papers, discussions, short films, mini-workshops and other interventions engaging with the above issues and questions.

Topics might include but are not limited to:
– street as fetish object
– societies of discipline and control
– inclusion/exclusion/exchange
– street as site of resistance/containment
– subversive potential/impotential of street art and fashion
– hiphop struggles and activism
– surveillance – cctv and self-mapping apps
– politics of the crowd
– negotiating the street – strategies and tactics
– territory/circulation
– politics of fear
– living and working on the street
– off the street

Abstracts/proposals of 300-500 words should be sent to: S.Fuggle@gold.ac.uk by 3 February 2012.

Programme will be confirmed in early March 2012.

Organised by the Centre for Cultural Studies with the generous support of the Department of Media and Communications, PACE and theGraduateSchool, Goldsmiths.

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‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic