A Conflict Between Debord vs. Baudrillard

Works by Richard Prince from 2014

Works by Richard Prince from 2014

From «On Kenneth Goldsmith: The Avant-garde at a Standstill» by Joshua Schuster, found here.

«Goldsmith’s poetics (my hypertxt) still need to respond to the lame-duck status of recent Baudrillard writing. Maybe not a wholesale return to Marx, but since labor can trigger both boredom and events, Goldsmith’s intuitive understanding of how work is being redistributed in the 21st Century (via copying, archiving, moving information, plundering, etc.) will be of help for a new challenge to the ongoing disenfranchisement of labor.

Goldsmith’s work entertains a conflict between Debord vs. Baudrillard. Both see that the contemporary is saturated with so much capital that the real (of desire or of suffering) is no match for the insatiable demands of ersatz reality whereby ideology is absolute and commodities control the fate of cities and personal identities. Yet whereas Debord still conceives of resistance under a Marxist banner led by a universal class doing battle in the streets, Baudrillard has not left the living room and is watching television flicker a revolution in technology and media every second.

Return to Debord’s critical concept of spectacle, which he defines as “capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image”. Perhaps we could describe Goldsmith’s books as language accumulated to the point where it becomes image. Day is exactly this unit of capital accumulated as image in the block of a book. By including the text of ads and all the marginalia of newspaper operations in the same flow of writing, Goldsmith provokes a reading that does not distinguish between capital and content, administration and meaning.»


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