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or its own meta-politics.” 10 - Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, 2006

Above: Renzo Martens, video still from Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London and the artist

Above: Renzo Martens, video still from Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London and the artist

Above: Juergen Teller, Go-Sees (1999), courtesy Lehmann Maupin and the artist

The artists I have mentioned here are not making work as an explicit part of any broader political struggle but, by accepting their complicity in various, potentially corrupt, systems of image-production, their work offers an analysis of the politics of pictures. We began with Bret Easton Ellis, so let’s return to his body of work for a moment: the value of his feminist critique of late capitalist society in America does not lie in any political argument that is articulated (indeed no explicit position is ever taken) but in the insightful accuracy of his analysis of internalised everyday barbarism. Vicky Gold has similarly given up an outside perspective, but in a way that offers a particularly problematic (and potentially radical) formulation of institutional critique. You see, institutional critique artist Andrea Fraser could well have made exactly the same work as Gold in the late ‘80s, seducing a tutor and then turning the tables on the structuring of power within the academy by making the illicit relationship the subject of her degree show. Except that Andrea Fraser would have set about the work with clarity in her aims and she would have known exactly what she has to do to achieve them. Gold, on the other hand, is as much a victim of university power-dynamics as she is a manipulator of them. As often happens when someone is in a position of power over you, she has repeatedly fallen in love with her tutors. Whatever the actual nature of their relationship, her tutor Paul Davis made a mistake and met his match. But whereas Andrea Fraser would have executed a predetermined critique of the institution, Gold has simply directed her own highfunctioning psychosis into an effective dramatisation of the distribution of power between students and tutors. Gold would have been a teenager on the day I was sitting with cabbies in Swiss Cottage, watching planes flying into buildings on telly and thinking about Boris Mikhailov. She wouldn’t have been able to vote when the 18-month process of drumming up public acceptance for the pre-determined invasion of Iraq and then Afghanistan in the face of overwhelming popular disapproval was executed with the predictability of a bad soap storyline. Hers 10 Rancière, J. (2006) The Politics of Aesthetics. Lon: Continuum. p.60.

Stimulus Respond - Binary  
Stimulus Respond - Binary  

The Binary issue of Stimulus Respond, November 2010.