«La Société Anonyme is a fluctuating group of artists and theoreticians who work specifically on the relations between critical thinking and artistic practices. LSA was founded in 1990 and has so far produced 45 works, including texts, videos, installations and web pieces. La Société is currently working on the problematics of the web, as related to a critical extinction of the separated existence of art in contemporary societies.»
Redefinition of artistic practices in the 21st century (LSA47)
1. We are not artists, and we are certainly not «art critics». We are producers, people who produce. We are not authors either, for we believe that all ideas on authorship have been overwhelmed by the logic of the circulation of ideas in contemporary societies. Even when we define ourselves as producers, we feel the need to clarify: we are producers, yes, but also products.
Our own work, the activity that specifies it, is really what produces us. Perhaps we could even say that our work basically has to do with the production of people, people like us. The question of author identity, or his/her condition, is a definitively hackneyed question. Nobody is author: every producer is an anonymous society -indeed we would say: the product of an anonymous society.
2. The figure of the artist is living on borrowed time. Nourished by fantasy and imagery belonging to other anthropological ordinances, the aggregate of isolations and inclusions that prefigure her social standing, assigning her a certain share of remaining, no longer relevant totemic power. Nowadays, all who dedicate themselves to such beliefs are either guilty of utter ingenuousness or the most hypocritical cynicism.
3. «Works of art» do not exist. What do exist are labours and practices that we can call artistic. They have to do with meaningful, affective and cultural production, and they have specific roles in relation to the subjects of experience. Yet they have nothing to do with the production of particular objects, but rather only with the public impetus of certain circulatory effects: effects of meaning, symbolic effects, intensive and affective effects …
4. For more than one reason, we ought to compare the labour of artists with that of dreams: it is a production that induces superficial formations, which express, translate approximately, a state of unbalanced energies. What is essential about them is not the form or appearance they acquire in a given instant, but the field of intensities -in other words, the differential of potentials- in which they take place.
5. That production ought never to be mistaken for any object or form whatsoever: it is an operator that introduces itself efficiently in a given system, destabilizing the equation of equilibrium governing it. But it is not appropriate to devise a mythology in this respect. The way in which this destabilization operates is something very similar to the introduction of a mere clinamen, something as elemental and frequent as that which makes it possible for two drops of rain, falling at the same time from the same cloud and towards the same earth to have the capacity to, at some point in their relative trajectories, collide -get to know each other, let us say.
6. To describe current societies as «societies of knowledge» -or still worse, as «societies of cultural capitalism»- is to forget to what extent their constitution is carried out, precisely, upon the exalted consecration of foolishness, of ignorance. Nevertheless, we admit that each of those figures is no more than a degree of the others – perhaps their zero degree. And we therefore allow the labeling of ours as «societies of knowledge» or of «cultural capitalism» -but always under the rigorous observation of that quantitative clause gradated precisely to the lowermost position. What we wish to say is that as long as it can be understood that as such societies of knowledge, contemporary societies could in fact be characterized, with utmost certitude, as «societies of (very scarce) knowledge» or even as «societies of (un)cultural capitalism»…
7. Artistic work no longer has to do with representation. Would anyone think that that of the dream -that which induces an «apparent content» in whoever relives the «latent» one, or tells it in the morning- has to do with the «re-presentation»? Of what?
Negative: Dreams express an economy of forces, a tension of energies, a disposition of the differential distribution: it is a melody of desire, never its painting; it is presence, never re-presentation. From now on, that mode of labour we call artistic ought to be consecrated to a similar production -in the sphere of happening, of presence: never again in that of representation. There is nothing worthy left to represent, there is no longer any claim-worthy dignity in the task of representing. It is no longer just that of «not committing the indignity of speaking for another» but rather that no sign, effect, object, figure, no entity or existent can feign any dignity whatsoever if its labour is only or mainly meant for another, to represent it…
8. This world and the other do not exist. Art cannot keep claiming to inhabit an autonomous sphere, a separate dominion. Not even to argue the «overcoming» operation of its split up statute. The class of objects is unique, they all enjoy the same calibration and suffer the same «objective» deficiency of fantasy. If art work still has to do with the «phantasma’, with the circulation of ideas (in its characteristic fuzzy fluxing) and the productivity of sense or desiring energies (in their magnificent diffusion), it is beginning to be time to avoid mistaking that halo -that aura- for something adherent to the materialness of some order of «specific objects».
9. The transformations of current societies determines the complete inadequacy of the presently hegemonic regime of public circulation of artistic production. This is particularly true regarding two circumstances: 1. the displacement of the visual signifier toward the territory of the moving image -and the resultant increasing obsolescence of the spatial devices of the organization of reception, of the modes of expectation; and 2. the same spuriousness of any requirement of specific objectification.
It is not only that much of the resultant energy of any artistic practice does not require culmination or specificity in any unique object, but now not even in any multiplied object either.
For the new practices, not only is it senseless to speak of originals -it is also so to speak of copies (for being as it is in music since the transition from disk to MP3 has been accomplished). The time when the regime of public circulation of products resulting from artistic practices referred to some type of «objects» is completely over and finished.
10. In the societies of the 21st century, art will not be exhibited. It will be broadcasted.