Dear Temp,Blue and hello Metaphysiker
In Antwort auf:
This idea of the concrete and specifically meaningful product or performance,formed through explorative activity, makes it clear that the antithesis that is sometimes posed -- is art a (physical) product or thing,or is it an (experienced) idea or meaning? -- is a false one.
Dewey usefully observes that ‘‘the actual work of art is what the product [whether performance or physical object] does with and in experience.” That is, there must be a product, whether performance or physical object or document or text, but in order to function as art this product must matter specifically and concretely within human experience.
Presumably we all know that Chapter of Adorno called"the ontological need".There's a sense in which Adorno is taking especial care not to fall into the trap which most critics of Heidegger and the fundamental ontologies fall into: equating ontology overhastily with Fascism.
Rather, the rise of the ontologies corresponded to a genuine social and political constellation, that of the grinding scarcity of interwar and Depression-era Europe, which Adorno wants to emphasize and stress. The ontologies, in other words, have a paradoxical truth-content, to the extent that they serve as an indispensable index of falsity. Adorno also specifically ties the ontologies to the rise of mass culture, going so far as to suggest that both phenomena are substitutes for genuine social needs, not always directly expressible or communicable by subjects, due to the baleful spell or bane of the totality, which disfigures and distorts all subjectivity, forcing human beings to conform to the needs of the market forces, however insane or violent these latter might be, instead of the other way around. Note that Adorno's initial term for this bane, a concept he will explore in greater depth in Part II of ND, is "context of deception", which could also be translated as "context of delusion", though "deception" sort of fits more with Adorno's local emphasis here on the culture-industry and the consumer culture of monopoly capitalism, as the swindling or defrauding of subjects. Though this may sound harsh to our ears, which are attuned to a dynamic, complex and in many respects progressive media culture, you have to remember that Adorno is talking about the consumer culture of the 1940s and 1950s; the few examples of old newsreels or wartime films which we see today don't really do justice to the idiocy and crudity of the thing - generally speaking, only the most interesting and creative stuff is rebroadcast today. But many of the cultural works of that era were really atrocious, brimming with the most appalling racism, sexism and xenophobia, and we would react to them exactly as Adorno did.
"Is not all life the struggle of experience, naked, unarmed, timid but immortal, against generalised thought?" (W.B.Yeats)
NietzscheIsDead, 21.03.2005 17:44