surfing through entire worlds made of contradictions
It is strange to think how,
in spite of so many young artists now playing with digital aesthetics, it was actually Warhol who saw it coming most clearly. The massive shift from depth to surface that Warhol explained with celebrity culture and advertising has now taken hold of language itself and spread across the planet. It’s no wonder that since the 1990s, the political, social and economic aspects of artistic production have become increasingly interchangeable and hard to distinguish from one another. Planetary networks have become places of profound confusion and dislocation. We know from the start that we probably won’t find what we’re looking for, so we learn to search sporadically and asymmetrically just to see where we end up. This might look and feel like drifting and traditional or conservative notions of substance will always try to dismiss its noise, its cat videos and porn, bad techno and bombastic contemporary art, but one should be careful not to underestimate the massive distances being crossed in the meantime.
These distances are themselves very quickly reformatting our consciousness and cognitive capacity to absorb entire worlds made of contradiction—not only in language but far beyond language as well. Some people might already be there: scammers and tricksters, the frazzled post-studio artist and the post-institutional independent militia, political dissidents and unruly journalists who know never to trust their maps. They know that contradictions don’t resolve, rather you surf across them using empathy and solidarity, emotional blackmail, jokes, pranks and vanguardism as norm. Our ability to traverse these contradictions may very well become the backbone of the global telecommunications network we used to think was an Internet.