I have been thinking about the avant garde and how all art post the avant garde is just about newness – whether this is radical newness or newness in interpretation (such as Lacan’s interpretation of Freud). It is like the artistic singularity. By singularity I am considering that every historical step into the future represents a phase transition or change in conceptual schema, so that the context is different than it was for the last whatever – a piece of art work, robotic consciousness, whatever.
First off, this untethers the singularity from science and computer science, and refers to a world, where the rules of the game change with every move of the game. This is not necessarily form divorced from content, or some sort of hylomorphism, but even something like the category of art (and this could be aesthetic, economic, cultural) changes with every new work of art – so that the very concept just refers to a certain trajectory or rate of change.
So lets talk historical avant garde vs neo avant garde (ie contemporary art) as discussed in Foster’s “What’s Neo about the Neo-Avant-Garde.” This is all about repetition (counter to my singularity thesis), and the idea is that the neo avant garde actually completes the project of the historical avant garde. It is a repetition. Its creative interpretation (or deconstruction) is in contrast to the nihilism or negation of the avant garde, and that it is here that we can actually define the institutions of art, rather than with the manifestos of the historical avant garde. This all sort of smacks of accelerationism but whatever.
What the neo avant-garde did was a sort of second digestion of the historical avant garde to turn it into a capitalist category, which is what everything is these days anyway. Capitaalism is the symbolic system that has a place for everything, although it is on capitalisms terms. There is no outside capitalism. In the words of Parmenides it is the IS -there is no IS NOT.
As mentioned in the Foster article, the avant garde did not destroy art, or the categories of art, but made art indestructible. But an avant garde only exists if it has a neo-avant garde like Freud only exists if he has Lacan. We we are witnessing in all contemporary artforms is the dissolution of the symbol from its meaning -the classic Lacanian Schizophrenic. The tufted couch button is attached to the batting but to nothing else.