Longue Durée

Another quote from the David Graeber interview in Artforum, in this case in response to a remark by Michelle Kuo about the need to “get a better picture of the longue durée:”

“…I began by saying that when you’re in a crisis, the first thing you have to do is to ask, What is the larger rhythmic or temporal structure in which these events are taking place?”

As pointed out on this blog, this is one of the most important aspects of abstraction, of all modes, all styles of abstraction. What I hadn’t thought of is the importance of crisis in provoking the temporal perspective. Maybe abstraction is a permanent response to crisis, or a recognition of an on-going crisis in the global culture. But this is also one way to evaluate the relative merits of different kinds of abstraction. The more it speaks to momentary everyday experience—the more it participates in the common life—the less perspective it offers. This is a profoundly unpopular view. I expect to be lynched. But what I’m trying to do—and it’s pretty explicit on this blog—is explain that this “elitism,” this modernist/symbolist remoteness, is the only valid political position in art.

On Kawara, One Million Years (Past and Future) 2002

Not the only one, but the best.

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