No Pop

It’s obvious that the realm of the mass media has increased hugely over the last sixty years, and continues to grow. It’s also clear that more people spend more of their valuable time paying attention to it. Those developments are a legitimate object of study, but I see hardly anyone—maybe no one—going about it the right way. A genuine materialist would aim for an objective measurement of how the human brain is occupied, and that could only be done from a position outside. The idea put over by the Pop artists, that the content of the mass media is a dominating aspect of our reality today, is clearly wrong. The real thing is the way that the consciousness of individual human beings is occupied by the content of the mass media, not those images or slogans themselves. Hope the point is coming across. One of the strongest features of abstract art is its refusal to play around with pop culture, and the so-called impurities of so-called post-modernism are really a kind of failure. They offer no perspective on the world and do nothing for abstraction.

Albert Oehlen, Loa 2007

Albert Oehlen, Loa 2007

If an artist like Oehlen, for example, instead of presenting his own demonic possession, would present it and step back, he would make something more abstract. But this is a debatable point—some would say that’s exactly what he does. I think something is lost in the layering of perspectives, because they all collapse down to the same position in the end. In this kind of work, the notion of critique becomes a tiresome alibi, because it can’t survive the multi-perspectival exercise anyway.

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One Response to No Pop

  1. Peter Stott says:

    The only way to smash the media’s power is to develop transcendental technology to reveal the uber-perspective everything fits into. Unfortunately the media is aping this, providing a simulacrum of it, on every image, every camera shot, every fade from one image to another, rather like the ugly sisters trying to fit into Cinderella’s glass slipper, to usurp the visual power of ‘God’ and claim it for themselves.

    Art too, thrashing about in no-man’s land, trying desperately to hook into the transcendental and failing miserably, as in the above image.

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