ART AS ANTI-PRODUCTION

painting

Labour becomes productive only by producing its own antithesis (that is, capital)” Karl Marx

Let the artist not kid him/herself: no matter how much the artist creates, he or she does not produce. In order to produce, the artist must find an agent of production.

The agent of production is that which produces nothing itself, but knows how to turn the creations of others into commodities. The agent of production may be a capitalist, or it may be the State, or it may be an antithetical Mr Hyde character created by the Dr Jekyll artist himself. In whatever form the agent of production appears, once the creation is turned over to the agent it loses its autonomy and the artist loses his/her freedom in relation to the work. Even in the latter case, where the artist (anti-producer) becomes his/her own agent: a stress is produced on the artist’s creativity. The marketing of art, in any fashion, produces a stress on art.

The labour of art is, therefore, essentially unproductive. Art only becomes productive when the agent takes hold of the creation and produces it, i.e. turns it into a marketable commodity. In his or her essence, the artist remains an anti-producer; an outsider to the economy; an economic aberration in fact.

The fact that art can survive at all in an economic-political society is an indication of its enormous strength. In theory, it should have been made extinct long ago by both the capitalist and socialist systems that are both so deeply immersed in the politics of production.

Not only is this great anti-producer Art a tremendously powerful human drive and social force, it may also be a marker showing us the way to a post-production society in which capital, perhaps even the monetary system itself, has been rendered obsolete.

In fact, all truly positive, purposive political and social thinking will need to analyse the creative and unproductive force of art in order to revaluate and recreate the positive human society that we are all crying out for. The answer to all our problems lies in the anti-productive nature of art.

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BIPOLAR CREATIVITY

How much does creativity benefit from a bipolarity of culture? Western creativity is nurtured by its Judaeo-Christian dogma on one side and its Hellenic-Humanistic rationalism on the other. Rationalism and irrationalism; world and Spirit; nature and anti-nature. the fruits that can be picked from this plant with its bifurcating roots compared to more singular stems, like the Islamic One, or Mediaeval singularity, stand out as testimonies of the richness of bipolarity. A richness which is amplified by the eclectic branching that must come from globalisation.

Real scientific advancement is very often retarded by well-founded suspicions. Science has been so badly used and manipulated over the centuries that the most creative scientific ideas are often branded as madness or monstrous, not necessarily because they sound too fantastic to be possible, but because they sound inhuman. Extreme science has been responsible for so much change (both good and bad) and will be responsible for very much more – but, how can we ensure that science is used positively? Might the very creativity that is possible in science, and is an inherent part of science, not also be responsible for a necessary perversity? How much does creativity rely on transgression?

Creation must be allowed to transgress if it is to achieve the fluid, flowing mechanics of change that we now associate with all creativity. Control is anathema to transgression, but not to creativity itself. All artistic and alchemical processes demand a fixing agent to stabilise it and prevent the chain of reactions caused by transgression from tearing it apart. Creation must be fixed, and that fixation should be an ethical, humanising force, designed to evoke the general good in the purpose of the creation rather than the aim of profit, power and manipulation.