Sie sind auf Seite 1von 17



1 2 7 8 10 15 16

Barry MacGregor Johnston, Psychic Curfew Emily Wardill, The Diamond (Descartes Daughter) Mark Leckey, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore Charles Atlas, Blue Studio: Five Segments Josef Strau, What Should One Do Charles Atlas, Blue Studio: Five Segments Ed Atkins, Deant Delight: The Freedom of the Dilettante
Barry MacGregor Johnston Psychic Curfew (installation view at Orange County Museum of Art, Orange County, CA), 2010 Mixed media installation, dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist and Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles Mark Leckey Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (video still), 1999 Video, color, sound, 15 minutes Courtesy of the artist, Gavin Browns enterprise, New York; Galerie Daniel Bucholz, Cologne; and Cabinet Gallery, London 2011 Mark Leckey Charles Atlas and Merce Cunningham Blue Studio: Five Segments (video stills), 197576 Video, color, sound, 15:38 minutes Courtesy of Charles Atlas and Vilma Gold, London

2 THE DIAMOND (DESCARTES DAUGHTER) Script This is a stand in for Francine, Descartes Daughter, who never washed up on the shores of Sweden. She is a twelve-year-old girl playing a Nintendo Wii under a strobe light and dressed in a home-made version of the costume that tienne-Jules Marey dressed his subjects when conducting Chromophotography. I ASK HER Do you remember a scene from a lm where there is a diamond in a room protected by lasers? I SAY I remember watching a lm with this scene when I was your age. There is a diamond in a room protected by lasers which criss-cross the darkness. The thief has to dodge these lasers because if he breaks their beam, he will set off an alarm and be caught. The thief would then lower a robot hand through to grab a hold of the jewel. The robot hand was steadier than his hand. I remember the scene but do not remember the lm. I asked other people if they did. I asked my friends, my family, I asked in the lm shop near my home. I even asked Yahoo. I was told to look at: Mission Impossible, I + II Oceans Eleven and Oceans Twelve The Thomas Crown Affair Entrapment The Pink Panther The Thief The Man with the Golden Gun Diamonds are Forever MacGyver None of these lms had the scene as I remembered it, so I decided to remake it myself. Only, this scene would be made in such a way that the people present on set would be constructing rather than attempting to avoid the security system protecting the jewel. There would be a diamond in the centre of a room which was spot-lit. A single laser beam would cross the space. It was like the room that I could remember from the lm that I could not nd. And then, because I shot my lm on lm it became an object in the space just as the diamond is an object in the space. My lm became a diamond. And I wondered too, if the diamond might become a mouth--refracting words as a crystal would refract light, off in different directions and separated into many colours. DESCARTES DAUGHTER SAYS Orange Puce Acid yellow Scarlet Green Red Yellow Red Lilac Blue Turquoise Violet Red Magenta And turquoise Pale green Amber Maroon All in the dark I SAY Or perhaps the words themselves would scatter. DESCARTES DAUGHTER SAYS Opposite you dont have to pay Pyramus What do we want Ive seen a lot look like Himself In de branding Authors claimed Rolls deep Deep toughie Riko Top ranking Cardigans from days gone 3tbps for grilling Because he can jig Following our conversation The girl was beginning to enjoy it But his paralysis Lapsed devotees. Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Steven I SAY But who would speak these words? Not Descartes second daughter who would only, if able to speak at all, only repeat prerecorded phrases that were chosen to sound like someones idea of a little girl:

4 DESCARTES DAUGHTER SAYS I would like a sweet Hello, my name is Francine I SAY Or perhaps she would speak in logic experiments that resembled the format of Laurence Weiners famous Declaration of Intent (1968): (1) The artist may construct the piece. (2) The piece may be fabricated. (3) The piece may not be built. Perhaps Descartes Daughter was Conceptual Artist A Conceptual Artist And would speak in the format of logic experiments: An Ant is able to carry much more than its body weight Preoccupation with weight loss has been proven by scientists to make a person less intelligent Intelligence is an unquantiable quality Therefore, an ant carrying a person who is on a diet is of indeterminate intelligence Warhol claimed not to not have a self Oprah Winfrey says that you have to love yourself in order to be loved No-one loved Warhol A persons image of their own life is often very different from the reality A picture is not a description with words Therefore, words. Unfortunately, the answer to the riddle was an image. But that image was remembered to be different from the way it had originally existed. Descartes Daughter spoke in these logic experiments which were rational to the point of being irrational. The whole world was Descartes Daughter, washed up and stunted. Performing actions that were thought up with a machine in mind. Answering the same questions over and over again. Repeating actions with mini conclusions. Descartes Daughters face is blown up to 19ft across. Her handwriting is produced by a computer but stylised to look as though it were hand written with a faint blue fountain pen. And her sex is fantastical and hairless. She is a Readymaid spelt M-A-I-D. Her technological make-up would have worked just as well if it were housed in a at board but she has been formed into the shape of a human being who resembles an attentive 15-yearold girl. He felt that this would People had become machines but machines were better because they were more reliable. (PAUSE) tienne-Jules Marey and his breaking down of people into frames, still images, allowed that human movement be analysed. In the science of industrial management his method of decomposition and his subject, human motion, were used in America to control the production and efciency of the labor force.

5 be the last time he would travel. The philosopher Rene Descartes had been summons by Queen Christina of Sweden, who wanted to know his views on love, hatred and the passions of the soul. He had been in communication with the Queen for some time but did not want to be part of her court. He felt, he said, that thoughts as well as water would freeze over in Sweden. But Christinas wish was his command. Filled with foreboding, he packed his bags, taking all of his manuscripts with him. Descartes Daughter, Francine, had died at the age of ve of scarlet fever. He told a friend that her death was the greatest sorrow of his life. However, he was travelling, he told his companions, with his younger daughter Francine; but the sailors had never seen her and, thinking that this was strange, they decided to seek her out one day in the midst of a storm. Everything was out of place they could nd neither the

6 philosopher nor the girl. Overcome with curiosity they went into Descartes quarters. There was no one there but on leaving the room they stopped in front of a mysterious box. As soon as they opened it they jumped back in shock. Inside the box was a doll, a living doll, that moved just like a little girl. Descartes had constructed the doll himself out of clockwork and metal. It was indeed his progeny but not the one that the sailors imagined. Francine was a machine. When the ships Captain was shown the machine he was convinced that it was some instrument of dark magic--responsible for the bad weather that had hampered their journey. Descartes daughter was thrown overboard. I expected the thief to be a man; perhaps it was a girl. I had only seen a robotic hand after all, steadier than a human hand.

WHAT SHOULD ONE DO What real feeling of freedom. Now nally I seem to be allowed ofcially to write real stupid, as I always wanted to and as I was sometimes even told to do. No big expectations now. Like being an artist. Isnt it one of the earliest learnings while slowly learning about the difculties to become a real professional artist, that your work needs at least a little injection of stupid in order to make it a good work, in order that it can achieve a certain amount of communication value. Like just look at the wall rst and then describe its lines of broken color for instance. Which wall is it and write where it is. Be stupid. Isnt it good for the text and for the reader if it is stupid? Yesterday I went down to the city. It is Florence, Italy by the way, and I went to the bookshop. What else? I felt everything turned wrong with me and my works. The young Italians were populating the river cafe in the late spring sunny day. Sensual, good looking and relaxed. I just came from Germany and even the dogs look human here. Even the older ones smiled into my pale face and I said, I just came from the apple store and they told me my computer e morte. She said, morte? And smiled. But at the bookstore later I took the Kerouac book out and opening in the middle, watching out for help by the mysteries of coincidence I found my I Ching of the day, and the text said: never rewrite anything, write as quick as you can. I was typing and typing, Kerouac said, and my friend came in and said, hurry up lets go, the girls dont wait. And I wrote quicker then ever before and did not lose a minute and got to the bus with him for the party and he looked at the written papers and said this is the best you ever have written. But I, me in Florence, Italy, I turned the book back and left for the bus. I was living in an artist house in Florence and searching for a cigarette, I entered one of the empty studios, which was still empty yesterday. Lots of pencils were scattered around everywhere, on the table on the oor, a few pieces of destroyed pieces of paper in between. I


searched all parts for the cigarette, but was astonished by the hidden language of all these half done objects, so much, that they felt like almost speaking to me as good art I guess should do, as I moved around in the deserted production sphere of another artist. There was one instrument like a complicated saw or metal cutter, looking like a precision instrument, but then there was one piece particularly, an old red brick on the oor, but it was bound by some black thick ribbon, leather like and the ribbon, was scattered in a weird direction on the oor as if it was a dogs leash. It was not just meaningful in a sexy way, it was like really meaningful in an existential way, like saying everything has to be bound to something to make any sense. The day before I was at a fashion shop and when I left the changing room all three people in the shop, the owner, the daughter of the owner and the artist stood there and looked at me, as if their tools fell off their hands. They stood like specially positioned chess gures and the feeling touched me as if I was a chess gure too and so I made one more step out into the room, and I felt like a chess gure moving the rst time out into the open eld and being suddenly trapped in the gaze of three much stronger gures. It was a gothic fashion shop and while waiting and looking around without touching rst I had decided to choose myself, not just waiting, and I chose two things. One was a long skirt. It was made of strong heavy pinstripe velvet and had two sweet little buckles, one on each side and a long zipper on the back. And now wearing it, I just felt really strange in the middle of the shop so much squeezed and exposed in between everybody. Even trying to describe the situation I am in on that day of quick writing it does not help to solve the mystery to recover a text, the text just written a few days ago and which is in fact still in the human memory almost word by word. So let me go ahead, with what I would write instead. What happened after the fashion shop visit and its embarrassing moment between the shelves in front of the gothic changing room.


I decided to leave as quickly as possible and my expression of denial to buy the sweet long skirt was leading me quickly into a discussion with the owner and her lazy daughter, whose order to take it with me I absolutely could not refuse. It was not that expensive and so I went with the most beautiful content of a bag to the bus and again as in the situation of presenting myself wearing the skirt I felt interestingly strange. Though denitely not bad at all. At the bus station I hoped the bus would not arrive for awhile, as I feared the closeness of other people, kind of feared being exposed to them, although the huge powerful dark skirt was hidden in my bag next to the dead computer. I should add that Florence is one of these cities where taking a public transport vehicle is always a very pleasant experience even when it is really crowded, as these good looking people behave so smooth and gentle around each other with the greatest politeness but still look at each other deep and sensual. I almost was at the point of not nishing the strange skirt dressing moment story here and keep the embarrassment for myself alone. But as the non-productive attitude text is, as many other texts, just a declaration of embarrassment as well, and as I am not able to really recover its story from my memory, I should rather nish with the changing room affair. The moment when I turned back into the soft negligent atmosphere of the gothic changing room, a man, another third person working in the shop quickly rushed towards me while I actually wanted to let the violet velvet curtain fall between me and the shop space and to nally undress from the comfortable but embarrassing pin striped skirt experience. He was looking very soft Italian but still working class in his whole attitude and asked me if it does not t well or if there would be any problem with it and he asked it in the most common way as if I just tried on my usual Levis trousers. The shock of this encounter with him did not nish my weird strange new feelings about wearing a gothic skirt with buckles and strange belts and very charming looking metal D-rings. In fact, the opposite. It was like


another further step of embarrassment pleasure as he started touching me on the hip and around as if trying to nd out if everything ts well just technically and that way for sure he must have discovered my embarrassment. But instead of showing disgust and as well instead of showing any fun in the situation he just turned round saying, it is alright, really no problem, an expression which I later in the bus thought, healed me from all inhibitions and restrictions, or actually revealed them nally to me. It was like thinking, what a forgiving sweet and warm universe do I live in since the moment I left the store. Excuse me to mix this maybe most profane sensual experience with any spiritual narrative, but I was, while pondering the experience of a classic personal liberation situation, obsessively remembering the story of Jacob, the father of Josef and the very strange paragraph, which is called Jacob is wrestling with the angel. Jacob often escaping something, once is escaping his enemy and his most oppositional gure, his brother Esau. Once, when it becomes night and he is eeing away in order to hide again, he meets an angel and the angel wants to ght with him. Therefore in order that Jacob cannot run away, the angel touches his hip, and Jacobs certain nerve of the hip for moving his leg is somehow lame and he cannot run away and has to ght with him, and then Jacob ghts with him the whole night and when it becomes slowly day again the angel leaves him, but says, from now on you are not Jacob any more, from now on you will be called Israel. Anyways, while writing the non-productive attitude I felt quite productive in fact and it seemed to be such a long time away when I was doing what I understood as non-productive experiments. Experiments, because instead of doing so, I had on the contrary an almost theological belief in the redeeming qualities of productivity. But as someone, maybe someone like a nature scientist, who is trying to prove the existence of some hidden quality, I believed that in order to prove its central quality, I would rst have to exclude this quality of productivity from its context and see what happens without


it. It is stupid to ask what is an artist and even more so, what is art, I thought kind of navely, but it could be interesting to ask, if one or I would be an artist even without making any work or any object. Could one still call this existence an artist? Or, as I learned later, isnt the artist who does not provide any productivity not slowly becoming the disparate person who is left by all his virtues, slowly falling apart and corrupting slowly all of his self soon as well? And isnt the one artist, even not so talented, but never leaving the ways of productivity the one who will stay strong and alive until his last days? It is no pleasure to meet these artists who arent able any more to talk about their interests or about their production, fall instead into the traps of gossiping, the traps of obsessive control behavior or even into deadly envy? Still I questioned the old mechanism, that the only way to prove or even to detect the existence of an artist is his evidence of productivity. So the question was how to detect an artist in the millions of other people even if he or she is not showing the evidence of productivity. I was interested in this experiment too seriously, probably because of being a bit too young too late, particularly in the idea of being the scientist who uses himself for his experiment, as I thought that was what art is about, proving something by putting your one self into danger and exposing yourself badly with it. If you focus a few years on this situation of course you stop worrying about productivity, but you sacrice your credibility for the rest of your life. For sure in Germany. But you might develop great qualities like fear and certainty of onrushing doom at any moment. And you can never see yourself anymore on any upwardly mobile trajectory. Even in case you actually are. The only way or step out would become the productivity of confessional self-exposure. Josef Strau


16 DEFIANT DELIGHT: THE FREEDOM OF THE DILETTANTE Ed Atkins There is no method, and there is no authority. Paul Feyerabend, Experts in a Free Society // Specialismalong with its cabal of synonyms: expertise, connoisseurship and masteryis the dominant administration of capitalist hegemony; it is crucial to the ideology of labour, professionalism and the generation of capital itself. In this essay, I intend to reappraise this pre-eminence of specialism via the writing of Paul Feyerabend, whose writings on the dangers of specialismin terms of immaturity, narrow-mindedness, andvia Aristotleslavery; will contrive a broader examination of the problems of specializationeconomic as well as spiritual. From here I will begin to develop a possible alternative to specialism in the strayed gure of the dilettante. Beginning with the dilettantes apocryphal conception in the sybaritic gentlemens clubs of the 18th century, I intend to explore the process of defamation that the gure of the dilettante underwent through its relatively short life and why, with a view to rejuvenating that primordial dilettante: a person who takes delight in knowledge entire and of itself. // The philosopher Paul Feyerabend spent a great deal of his life arguing against the ideological primacy of expertise. He argued that an expert, by denition, is someone who decides to devote herself to excellence within a particular area at the expense of development in others. In this sense, he sees the expert as immaturenaive to the full compass of life because of their blinkered devotion to a specific area. 1 Like an adult restricted to the diet of an infant, the expert has an underdeveloped knowledge of what might be considered peripheral to their particular speciality. The complications that a diversity of interest might effect are pre-emptively screened out in order that the specialists focus remains sharp specialist. This deliberate restriction does notFeyerabend is careful to mentiondebar an enjoyment of tangential interests, but these forays are restricted to the condescended arena of pleasure and private life. Such subsidiary interests bow out of sight of their specialty, conceding their inefficacy in so doing. The specialists research practice operates within a structured (scientific) methodology. Furthermore, the categorical framework implicit within any particular
1 P.K. Feyerabend, Experts in a Free Society in! Knowledge, Science and Relativism: Philosophical Papers, vol. 3, J. Preston, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 113.

17 science is necessarily organised restrictively so that empirical data can be generated. Although empiricism here seems mandatory for gathering data, ironically it cannot function without the illusion!of holism, albeit lexically contrived. The imminent threat of variation may therefore be stemmed by the designation of the anomalous, thereby maintaining a chimera of precision via an invisible, specialist grip. Feyerabend uses the example of language to clearly elucidate paradoxical empiricism that appears through restrictive specialism. His chosen example (an introduction to a book entitled Human Sexual Response) is demonstrative not only because it illustrates the restrictive language of a particular specialism (in this case, socio-biology), but also the potentially dangerous and dehumanising effect of such an avid monological discourse when applied to its subjects. Such effects are exemplified in the following extract cited by Feyerabend: In view of the pervicacious gonadal urge in human beings, it is not a little curious that science develops its sole timidity about the pivotal point of the physiology of sex.2 Feyerabend states that this is no longer human speech. This is the language of the expert. Importantly, he also notes the conspicuous absence of pronominal subjecthood in this writing. Coupled with the extraordinarily excessive use of technical terminology (pervicacious?),! this creates a potential schism between the authors and their readers: either by permanently excluding those who are not fluent in this stylised language; or by invoking an exclusive coterie of specialists who, in a Sisyphean gesture, continually delineate their territory with barbs of impassable language, separating themselves from the uninitiated. The riddance of the pronominal self (I or, in the case of the example, we) is also the banishment of subjectivity itself, again with the aim of achieving a (paradoxical) form of objectivity. Objectivity is revealed to be the jurisdiction of Method and academic specialism: Feyerabend continually afrms that this objectivity is the great impasse, dividing the specialist from the layperson. One exemplary schism opens when specialists are consulted over and above laypeople in order to advocate, generate or justify government policy, underlining a meritocratic, rather than democratic, ideologyhowever, this is perhaps itself suggestive of a freedom from the tyranny of a specialist hegemony of knowledge. Feyerabend cites Aristotles notion of balance and a sense of perspective as a condition to being free. Here, every area of knowledge available to him is given its due, and allowed to converse with every other, regardless of

Ibid,. p.115.

18 their apparent practical or fantastical application. Emotional knowledge is as important as more classically intellectual or academic forms of knowledge: an interest in ballistics does not necessarily supersede an interest in bees, despite a professional investment in the one or the other. Here lies one of the other problematic delineations of specialism: it is almost always allied with professionalism, and thereby a necessary seriousness that accompanies economic obligation. There is an assumptive transparency to these accepted relations, returning us to a political determinacy of capitalism. Expertise in a eld correlates with pay and power, incentivising the need to specialise and de-incentivising the needor even the desirefor breadth of knowledge. Economically, it has long been assumed that an ever-increasing delineation of speciality within the professional sphere is the most productive model. The success of Adam Smiths principle of the division of labour concerns success predominantly through speed of training and production. However, there are many failings of this model, particularly in its latter-day, ever more complicated subdivision of areas: labourers are less and less exible because their skills are less transferable as they become more specic in their application. Moreover, there is a distinct danger of unemployment should an industry fail or become outmoded. This is particularly evident in the rapidly progressive sector of technology: a production line manufacturing a complicated piece of machinery might consist of twenty different professional specialists, each performing an individual, highly specialised task. If that industry becomes unstable or changes its manner of production even in a minimal senseits workers are ill equipped to adapt. The level of training received is directly proportional to the work that is its goal, and therefore does not necessarily stray beyond. This is economically sound because it manages, in the most restrictive way, roles within an industry; clearly delineating boundaries, in terms of money, and also knowledge. Administered ignorance, in the form of specialist education, perpetuates division, not only in labour, but also in society at large. Conversely, the experts at the other end of the scale might perpetuate error in order to maintain tenure, power. And to mark a distinction where Feyerabend does not, the financial and emotional success of a specialist seems entirely contingent upon whether or not they had a choice in specialising; or whether, under acute nancial pressure, they were compelled into it. At root, it is important not to underestimate the vital role education plays in determining specialisation. The privilege of professional choice is bestowed upon those who have relevant qualifications (as recognised by the respective administration) and a sufciently specic knowledge base, accrued through education that is both state legislated and privately intoned. Although Feyerabends image of a specialist is an intellectually immature individual, this immaturity occurs, ironically, and in the case of scientists, mathematicians, and other bona de expertsafter! the particular decision to specialise has been made. Growth is stunted from that decision: the specialist area continues to swell while its periphery wastes away. Feyerabends specialists are academics (he draws particular attention to the problem of academic tenure within his essay Experts in a free society3, and it often feels like he has a particular reader in mindperhaps Imre Lakatosi), and he clearly presupposes at least some of the privileges required to be able to choose a specialisation. Karl Marx dened the necessitated choice of the labourer, and the symptomatic segregation of society as alienation, with those workers becoming spiritually depressed as a result of their enforced reduction to the status of mere machines built for one specic purposeii. He also suggested that a complete, balanced life within his communist society was itself a transcendental state of labour, with people expressing themselves through a variety of creative work, rather than the restrictive course

19 of specialist and repetitive labour. To clarify, it is clear that there are at least two different and potentially oppositional areas of specialisation: specialisation that occurs through choice and leads to nancial reward and coveted power from expertise; and specialisation which is necessaryagain for nancial reward, but not for power, respect or expertiseand which is not chosen but is initiated previously to an inevitable professional specialisation, in the recesses of primary education, social standing and aspirational potential. This latter version of specialisation is superficially differentiated from the former by being predominantly economically manifested, whereas the former predominantly intellectually. They share a common epistemology (grounded in incentives of power and wealth), but also a common rejoinder: specialisation is a distinctly problematic paradigm of knowledge production and social position, which runs the risk of perpetuating ignorance, meritocracy and social schism. It seems clear that a critical and resistant alternative should be sought. // The word dilettante rst appeared in English in the early 18th century, directly imported from the Italian word of the same spelling, which describes a lover of music or painting; one who takes delight in the arts (from the Latin dilettare

Ibid,. p.112.

20 meaning simply to delight). Initially, the term was used exclusively in this earnest and positive sense. It wasnt until the latter part of the century that the now dominant and pejorative use of the wordto cynically describe a devoted amateur; a supercial interest in the arts entered common parlance. Over a similar period, The Society of Dilettanti grew in inuence and notoriety. Set up by the infamous rake Sir Francis Dashwoodiii, The Society of Dilettanti was initially founded as a dining club for an exclusive coterie of young noblemen who had been on the Grand Tour. Over the next twenty years however, the club became ever wealthier, and subsequently grander in aspiration. It sought to correct and purifyiv the collective aesthetic appreciative capacity of the English people, and played a major part in the founding of The Royal Academy. The denigration of the word!dilettante!from its denition of a genuine appreciation (even!love) of the arts, to a barren, idle and affected!admiration!of the arts, coincides with the rise of The Society of Dilettanti. It could happily be attributed, at least in part, to their arrogance in attempting to act as aesthetic corrective to a philistine populous, and their sordid reputation as a troupe of drunks, philanderers and occultistsv. It is also worth noting that membership was made up solely of noblemen, whose power and wealth were hereditary, and sustained through cultural hegemony. A century before the mass industrialisation and rural exodus of England, the ruling-class exercised their control through, not only economic or military might, but more importantly, through an invocation of cultural capital4. A lack of interest in society coupled with their inveterate interest in the arts, the occult and classical antiquity, leads one to the conclusion that their ultimately privileged position (as distinct from that relatively meager privilege enjoyed by academics and scholars) allowed them to sidestep the problem of specialism altogether. No choice had to be made because there was no harboured aspiration to achieve a (non-existent) higher position within society; greater respect and power (cultural capital was, as EP Thompson noted, the primary source of power in the 18th Century 5 ); or more money (which was inherited and for them, to all intents and purposes, unending). Operating at this blas pinnaclerather than at its basethere is no call for expertise because none of the common incentives to specialise are present. If a specialists immaturity (in Feyerabends sense) stems from a selective pursuit of excellence in a narrow eld at the expense of all others; then the immaturity of the members of The Society of Dilettanti (as evidenced in their obsession with all things esoteric and unreal) is endemic. That professional specialism is of little or no personal relevance to the 18th century dilettante seems clear, but the particularities of the historical moment that gave birth to the henceforth pejorative dilettante are certainly important in order to locate an equivalence in more recent times. The word!dilettante! has today lost its historical particularity (inevitably, with the specific contingencies of rulingclass existence in the 18th century inevitably falling by a post-industrial wayside), but has nevertheless retained its pejorative cast, having never been able to reclaim that lost, afrmative etymology in the intervening years. I would like to suggest that the persistence of the gure of the dilettante as a person who desultorily follows a branch of the arts or knowledge [] for amusement onlyvi is directly linked to the growth of capitalism as the dominant ideology and the previously mentioned economic success of Adam Smiths system for the division of labour. Capitalist professionalism is the ideological and lexical glue that bonds specialism with the economy, and simultaneously excludes the possibility for dilettantism to be revived without its pejorative tarring. However, if we can establish that this pejorative termthough rooted in a genuine resentment for a decrepit and bloated rulingclass who could afford to maintain both a Kantian disinterest and a

21 genuine indifference to the fine artsis maintained today through an insidious and assumptive connotation related more to not being a specialist than being a genuine dilettante, then we might begin to unearth a positively-charged antonym to specialism. Firstly, it is worth divesting!dilettante!of the spurious synonyms that are presently afxed to it. Amateur (which comes complete with its own fractured etymological and sociological history), is a particularly stubborn euphemism, often happily used interchangeably with dilettante. There are, however, signicant differences. The gure of the amateurvii is dened in opposition (whereas the dilettante is dened in affability) to the always-already superior gure of the professional, who defines the conditions of the amateurs existence: one cannot, for example, be an amateur matchbox collector, because there is no professional equivalent.! Amateur! operates as a prex, a conditionjust as! professional! doesthat marks a division of skill, time and money. Where the dilettante is uninhibited, the amateur is cast into shadow by their counterpart, the professional. And although any residual amator!(love) within the amateur might decry the nancial incentive in the practice of the pure pursuit, it is also bluntly true that all professionals were once amateurs viii. Similarly to those of the dilettanti, the origins of the modern amateur are to be found in the ruling-classes of the

4 P. Bourdieu,!The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature!(New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). 5 E.P. Thompson,! The Making of The English Working Class (London: Victor Gollancz, 1963).

22 18th century, and the inceptions of leisure time. Originally the denition of an amateur was contingent upon a class-system that predates the middle-classmeaning that amateur pursuits were the sole prevail of the rich. At rst, the oppositional relationship of amateur to professional was less apparent, due in main to the fact that those gentleman amateursix that availed themselves of leisurely pursuits only recently made professional, were not financially motivated, and therefore did not desire to progress to professional status. The amateurs subsequent attachment to social and economic liberation and mobility during the 19th century goes some way to explaining why it entered favourable parlance. The modern amateurx is now regarded as a serious individual (serious being an important qualifier, and one that the delight of the dilettante clearly lacks), either because they desire professionalism, or because they have chosen a particular area within which to attain a high level of skill or expertise. In this sense, the amateur life runs in parallel with that of the professionally specialist life; and although an individual can certainly engage in more than one amateur pursuit, each is defined by a particular level of investment; a seriousness that describes a chosen pursuits importance above the myriad others. Furthermore, such seriousness, import and devotion require time: patience and practice are needed to become good enough to be an amateurto be distinguished from the novice or the dabbler.xi The dilettante, on the other hand, does not appear on any hierarchy of skill, devotion or seriousness; on the contrary, dilettantism is an approacha methodologythat might be employed across a variety of disciplines and interests. The skills acquired in progressing to the level of amateur blacksmith will not provide any advantageous skills when subsequently embarking on the pursuit of, say, amateur cricket; on the contrary, the means of approachthe intellectual welcome that the dilettante extendsis necessarily and denitionally the same regardless of practical distance between areas. ! Ultimately, amateurism stands firm under the banner of specialism and alongside professionalism: allied and constituted by one another through mutual aspirational motivation, the one buoys the other with platitudes of devotion, seriousness and authority. Amateurism is guilty of the same immaturated ideology of which Feyerabend accuses the chosen professional specialist: both opt for particular expertise and power at the expense of progress in other areas. The financial incentive in amateurism, although disguised by its apparent antonymic relation to professionalism, is produced by that very collusive relationship amateurism abets professionalisms adherence to capitalism by providing practice. By contrast, when stripped of its ruling-class vestige, dilettantism is originally and fundamentally (going back to its positivist pre-history) disconnected from any hegemony of knowledge; it is instead, and crucially, dened by its blind embrace of varietyhomogeneously treating everything as heterogeneous, worthy of consideration or perhaps, that sneered at delight. This homogeneous delight does not, however, stem from an ulterior, nancial incentive: it cannot support the capitalist ultimatum of choosing a specialism. Neither does it actually preclude differentiation, because it makes uniform the supposed affectation of interest and knowledge, and extends them. It is also worth noting that a uniformity of enthusiasm for anyor everything, does not preclude the idea that the homogeneous level of investment by the dilettante is low; on the contrary, the opportunities afforded by a breadth of consistently maintained interests might, according to Feyerabend, prove to be antidotal to the immaturity of specialism: [No subject] can demand exclusive attention, and each of them must be pursued with restraint. This restraint cannot be achieved abstractly, by devoting oneself to one subject and thinking that there may be a limit to it [but] it must be supported by the concrete experience that goes on outside

23 the limit [] it is this concrete experience which prevents him from becoming a slave [] You can be a free man, you can achieve and yet retain the dignity, the appearance, the speech of a free man only if you are a!dilettante.6 ! Prejudice and intellectual bigotry are the dangerous potential side effects of specialism. More importantly however, as mentioned earlier it is freedom that is truly lacking in Feyerabends specialist; specifically, an Aristotelian freedom of equanimity and perspectivexii. That this balance might only be achieved via the intellectual generosity (and arguable vacuity) of the dilettante, has repercussions outside of Feyerabends strident assault on academic and scientic method. As noted earlier, there is a crucial difference to be drawn between two types of professional specialist: those who chose their specialism in order to accrue expertise, connoisseurship and power; and those whose choice was involuntary or made because of necessity. The incentive to specialise that is ideologically and nancially proffered by capitalism, can be more accurately considered an order, in the case of economically disenfranchised members of society. The resistant alternatives that dilettantism might offer are unavailable,

Feyerabend, p.117.

24 simply because capitulation to participation in a minutely divided labour force is the only financial viability. Issues of intellectual freedom or Aristotelian perspective and balance do not enter into itthe pervasiveness of capitalism means that in order to make moneyor indeed surviveone must engage in its economic model. The intellectual immaturity symptomatic of professional specialism is both affect and effect of capitalisms insidious success. The exclusivity perpetuated by the specialist (as above) via linguistic, denitional authority (educational or devotional trophies), essentially serves to reify the dominant hegemonic and economic structures, leaving little potential for movement between disciplines and authorities, much less between chosen specialists and those for whom specialism has been administered or enforced. In order for dilettantism to become a viable alternative to specialism, it must become both nancially and spirituallyxiii. // The original Society of Dilettanti were dilettantes of particular cultural products: supercial aesthetes dabbling in the artistic and philosophical currencies of a Europe on the cusp of the Enlightenment. Crucially however, they were not practitioners of their interests: with a few notable exceptions (Joshua Reynolds, for example), The Society of Dilettanti were spectators, commentators, philanthropists and tastemakersand not artists, musicians or writers. It is interesting to note that dilettantism has its roots in an experience of culture and knowledge of creativity, but that the Dilettanti were aesthetes in a theoretical sense. A Kantian definition of beauty as the experience of a disinterested pleasure rhymes cynically with the practices of the noble, cultural capitalists of the 18th century. The very notion that the manner in which one experiences real beauty in art is through!disinterested!pleasure would certainly have afrmed the connection that they made between artistic appreciation and power: disinterest assumes the nonvested position of the non-creator. As mentioned earlier, the conditions of professional specialisation are economically motivated, and the primary condition for 18th century dilettantism was a lack of this motivationxiv. According to Aristotle, all paid employment absorbs and degrades the mindxv, which is presumably to say that a golden carrot dangling before the free person is ruinous. This serves to underline the nobilitys status as custodians and sole appreciators of the most rened aesthetic experiences. Giorgio Agamben, however, in his book! The Man Without Content, underlines the shift that Nietzsche argues for in his!Genealogy of Morals: a move away from an aesthetic of the spectator whose investment in the work is quintessentially objective and disinterestedto that of the creator, whose sacrifice and motivation is often extraordinarily! interested xvi. It is here, I believe, that we find the source of the dilettantes associated supercial and triing nature: the dilettante was a spectator, a steward, an observer and a critic; whereas the specialist was a creator, disbarred from the central role of spectatorial epistemology:! disinterest. Leaving behind the class-based scaffold that supported these possible definitions however, we are merely left with the residual social accrual of interest and disinterest, labour and management. If Nietzsche is right, then the move towards an aesthetic of the creator accompanies a social shift away from the class castes and blood colours of the 18th century, and towards a blurring, if not a!reversal!of class delineations, as the middle bleeds across the social corpus, and leisure becomes no longer the sole domain of the nonprofessional, disinterested wealthy. In order to progress the notion of the dilettante, however, it is important to separate it, at least partially, from this perceived spectatorial and power-oriented conception. With the post-industrial middle-class comes a number of complicating economic and social factors: the victory of capitalism over communism meant that, as previously mentioned, capitalist ideology was, and is, ascendant, meaning an economy of specialism might prevent a culture of hybridized spectatorship

25 and creativity from emerging in the middle-ground of the middle-class. There still remains the problem of dilettantisms innate disinterest in nancial gain because it is an!effect! of that gain, and perhaps cannot precede it. In order for dilettantism to lose this position of privilege, it must acquire a creative and laborious interest at its heart. The reexivity of postmodernism might begin to provide an answer to this problem. Reflexivity, as a sociological constitution, was rst posited in the early 20th centuryxvii, but became particularly associated with postmodernism in the centurys latter decades with the reemergence of (post-)Marxist sociology; and specifically the appearance in the 1970s of identity politics. Through this sociopolitical corrective, a perceived growth in the public awareness of selfhood, of identity, emerged. Self-reflexivitythe ability to objectively assess oneself (a decidedly tautological concept in such rhetoric)provides the self with a secondary, spectatorial, and even custodial perspective of itself. For the specialist, it potentially opens up a knowledge of themselves from outside their specialism; from outside their ideologically constituted limits. This externalized assessment is spectatorial, othering, and dilettante, grounded on an external (superficial), essentially disinterested social position. Aristotles free man, updated to a contemporary context, is asked to maintain objectivity,!in particular with reference

26 to himself. Specialism tempered with objectivity, with self-reexivity, allows an unprivileged dilettantism to enter the subjective fray, albeit as an observer of the self. In this way, it may be possible for dilettantism to temper specialism, and for it to enter into a creative and professional dialogue with specialism. Importantly, identity politics has also worked as a restorative to history: one of the dening characteristics of postmodernism was its ironical and absurdist appropriative mandatewith particular recourse to modernism, but also to pre-modern epochs such as The Enlightenment and The Renaissance. Previously immutable, infallible epochs became, refracted through a lens of contemporary life, inauthentic, mythical. Strategic uses of historical anachronism, genre collapsing, or the blurring of documentary and ctionxviii, were all tropes in the arts that emerged from the fierce experimentation of modernism, but were subsequently realised and mitigated by a postmodern doubt often expressed through pastiche of historical hubris. The performance of previously expert roles as now anachronous clichs questions the certainty, the assurances of truth that a particular coterie of specialists might assert. Expertise is particularly absurd if the subject within which one is an expert is effectively made redundant by a new, even more precise truth. This risk of redundancyand subsequent pasticheis made more galling in the terms of the administered specialist. Without choice, a professional specialism can be consigned to the unnecessary overnight, with those associated specialists left in a purgatory of useless knowledge. For certain postmodern practitioners howeverxix, redundancy, failure and anachronism became emblematic of the precariousness of truth and of specialist knowledge in ones own time. By learning a particularly specialist area of knowledge, and superimposing it over another, one could expose the metaphorical (mal-)content of that specialism. The transference of a specialist area of knowledge from truth, via redundancy, to metaphor, is the proof of Feyerabends skepticism of specialist ideology, particularly regarding that of the sciences. The moment in which dilettantism becomes vital in this correcting process is in the overlapping of specialisms; the knowledge of and in a specialism (enough to understand and perhaps employ its methods) whilst remaining essentially detached from itin observancein order to be free, but to also bear witness to that freedom. // Thus, because it can happen that everyone at some time fries a couple of eggs or sews up a tear in his jacket, we do not necessarily say that everyone is a cook or a tailor. Antonio Gramsci,! The Prison Notebook
NOTES // i Lakatos was a close friend of Feyerabend, despite having almost completely opposing views on scientic method and the ideology of scientic truth. Their correspondence from the late sixties onwardswhen Feyerabend was lecturing in America, and Lakatos at LSE in Londonhas been published under the title, For and Against Method,!a play on the title of Feyerabends most famous book,! Against Method, published twenty years previously. ii Marxs concept of alienation is one of the most crucial humanitarian aspects of his theory. Let us review the various factors as seen in our supposition: My work would be a free manifestation of life, hence an enjoyment of life. Presupposing private property, my work is an alienation of life, for I work in order to live, in order to obtain for myself the means of life. My work is not my life. (Marx, 1844) iii Dashwood was an Etonian who worked for a brief stint as Chancellor of the Exchequer under William Pitt The Elder; but who is best remembered as the rake that founded an array of exclusive members clubs in London, apparently for the practice of rather risqu hedonisms. iv Often quoted though seldom cited, the correct and purify tenet is described as the essential gist of the societys mythical manifesto. It also points toward conceptions of a philistine populous, posited by Dave Beech and John Roberts as the spectres of art and aesthetics: the philistine is insensitive and brutal; the denitional other of art and aesthetics. The role of the philistine, they argue, is as a ghost that haunts aesthetics. Through questioning the ontology of the philistine, Beech and Roberts can appraise issues of privilege, power and symbolic violence that about in the autonomous work of art (Beech & Roberts, 2002). [T]he philistine doesnt invent arts negations, rather it produces them out of an inversion of arts false afrmations. (ibid., p. 299.) The philistine might provide a link between the specialist and the dilettante, whether constituted empiricallywhich would be tantamount to a social grouping, a category; and thereby a specialist delineationor theoretically, which would treat the philistine as ideological, situating the problem elsewhere, which would seem to be dilettantish (ibid., p. 44). v Dashwood also founded The Hellfire Club, notorious as a haunt for those of upstanding social status who wished to indulge in deviant or immoral behaviour. The motto of the club was,!Fay Ce que vouldras (Do what thou wilt). !

vi The OED goes on to describe the dilettante as a person who studies a subject or area!supercially, as not thorough, triing, and!amateurish. vii Curiously,!amateur!has an etymological root that is as sweet as that of!dilettante: the Latin,!amatorone who loves. viii Robert A. Stebbins, in his article for The Pacic Sociological Review entitled,!The Amateur: Two Sociological Denitions,!draws up an interesting if rigid system that casts the amateur as a mediator between the public and the professional; a functionally interdependent relationship (1977). ix Amateurs who practiced their pursuit for the love of it, played avidly and often to the highest standards without making the leap to professionalism. This is because they did not require the funds that professionalism would bring as a reward, being as they were invariably gentlemen in the rst instance. Nevertheless they were often highly respected individualsperhaps the most famous amateur of them all was W.G. Gracean amateur cricketer who is widely regarded as the greatest cricketer in history. x Stebbins term. As differentiated from previous historical paradigms of the amateur (1977). xi As differentiated by Stebbin (1977). ! xii In his essay,!Experts in a Free Society, Feyerabend quotes Aristotle on the degrading aspects of specialism: Any occupation, art, science, [] which makes the body, or soul, or mind less t for the practice or exercise of virtue, is vulgar; therefore we call those arts vulgar which tend to deform the body, and likewise!all paid employments, for they absorb and degrade the mind. There are some liberal arts quite proper for a free man to acquire, []!but only to a certain degree, and if he attends to them too closely, in order to attain perfection in them, the same evil effect will follow. (Feyerabend, 1999 p. 118) Nietzsche describes the slave as being the dictate of consensus: Nowadays it is not the man in need of art, but the slave who determines general views: in which capacity he naturally has to label all his circumstances with deceptive names in order to be able to live.(Nietzsche, 18712 p. 165.) xiii Nietzsche seems to suggest that the spiritual liberty of asceticism has the!potential for dilettante interpretation (one ne day [they] decided to say no to any curtailment of their liberty, and go off into the desert; quoting Buddha: freedom is in leaving the house); but becomes overcome by an animalistic acute sense of!smell that abhors [] any kind of disturbance and hindrance [] to power, action, [] and in most cases, actually, his path

to misery. In asceticism the philosopher merely sees an optimum condition of power, afrming his existence and his existence alone. (Nietzsche, 1887 p. 77.) xiv It is interesting to note some alternative translations of the term le dsinteressement (as used by Kant): as well as disinterest, it might also mean selessness or self-sacrice. Although the 18th century dilettante may not fit these two saintly descriptions, the potential for dilettante dsinteressment to be a seless activity provides a striking counterpart to the obvious ego in the power sought through expertise. xv As quoted by Feyerabend, but taken from Book 8, part 2 of Aristotles!Politics. xvi Agamben, quoting Stendhal, underscores the seemingly interminable promesse de bonheur (the promise of happiness) which an experience of beauty might hold for the creator. This promise, in its interminableness, is binary to the unknown loss of Freuds melancholia; the mourning of which is impossiblejust as the happiness in Stendhals promise is impossible for the artist. xvii The Thomas theorem, formulated by W.I. Thomas is 1928, held that the subjective interpretation of an action causes the action; and that objectivityand thereby truth per seis irrelevant. xviii Authors such as Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover and Gilbert Sorrentino took on the experimental mantel of modernists such as Beckett, Joyce, Perec and Abe, but confused and worried them. Dazzling tropes combined with Arthurian idiom; interviews were scuppered by cut-up; game shows littered with philosophy. xix Conceptual art of the seventies often described the fallacies of truth through illusion: Linguistic constructions of truth often rebuked observable reality (Robert Barrys Inert Gas Series, for example); or tautologically proved itself (Kosuths Five Words in Red Neon).

Edited by Alun Rowlands and Matt Williams NOVEL draws together artists writing, texts and poetry that oscillate between modes of ction and criticism. A cacophony of voices, which is the primary condition of writing, seeks to break the habitual methods of representation and productions of subjectivity. Disconnected from any unitary theme these texts coalesce around writing as a core material of a number of artists exploring language and ction. This ction acts as a speculative force, no longer dened by what is said, even less by what makes it a signifying thing, but perhaps as a mode that exists parallel to the visual. Here, art writing is an apparatus for knowledge capture, informed by theory, lm, politics and storytelling; writing as parallel practice, different, tangential; writing as political ction; writing as another adventure on the skin drive', renegotiating unfullled beginnings or incomplete projectsthat might offer points of departure. Amidst the insinuated narratives and materialized visions there is a concern for writing and the impossibility of ction which is at stake. NOVEL asks us to think of writing as something distinct from information, as at least one realm of cultural production that is exempt from the encompassing obligation to communicate. NOVEL is distributed through events, readings and screenings which are staged at venues that become the loci for reading, furnished with artworks and related lms that augment the ctioning of a scenario. This scenario will be the summation of multiple experiences and anxieties that demands new forms of critical ction. These new strategies require an active protagonist, a polymath who can amalgamate them with uency. Fiction is not made up, it is based on everything we can learn or use; a zone in which all sources of knowledge are valid.

Ed Atkins Charles Atlas Barry MacGregor Johnston Mark Leckey Josef Strau Emily Wardill