August 2003
volume 1, issue 2


Counter Cultural Dialectics

I offer that although the fields of art that are developing around the dialectics of military and economic globalization are new, there are already emerging fault lines. This is to be expected, especially in a movement that wishes to affirm and empower the global multiplicities to resist in mass diversity. One emerging conflict is that of the tension over the value and efficacy of subversion; whether that is in the form of militant resistance to symbols of power, or in the form of Situationist detournement. Subversion is either seen as an invaluable tool to puncture the spectacle of a corporate/fascist state, or conversely an end in itself unable to affirm anything other than that which it is unable to name.

To conclude, Holland Cotter in a New York Times article dated Jan 19th wrote; “Thus a counter culture. I have no idea what it will, or does, or should look like. An eye-popping hacktivist web site that carries transformative information across the globe? A
collective of young artists having fun making books that only they and their friends will see? Or something totally other. But if contemporary art, marginal and minute as it its influence is, doesn’t get it together to offer new models for a future some of us still hope to have, chances are at this point nobody will, and that’s more than a shame.“ Although I have arguments with the way that Cotter characterizes counter culture as a phenomenon whose sole location lies in the Sixties, I do agree with his desire to affirm the power and the need for artists (and I would add activists) to set new terms. These would be terms that both inspire and help to discover other ways to negotiate our world.

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