Marxism and art

Seamus Malone redye at dorsai.dorsai.org
Fri Jul 7 17:32:19 MDT 1995


On Fri, 7 Jul 1995 glevy at acnet.pratt.edu wrote:

> James Garrett wrote:
>
> > We consider a work great not because of its "atemporality," but because it
> > represents the struggles of the events it depicts.
>
> Jerry:
>
> >From this perspective, wouldn't the greatest works of literature be
> non-fiction and the greatest films documentaries?  Surely, there must be
> other factors besides the representation of struggles that determine
> whether a work or art is "great." In addition to content, isn't the form
> and technique used by artists important in differentiating mediocre art
> from "great" art?
>
> Let's talk some more about art and Marxism.  Perhaps some of the
> "lurkers" are interested in this subject.
>
>
>      --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---
>
I guess I think this is true. The two most important works of art in the
eighties I would say were Chris Marker's *Sans Soleil* which was a
pseudo-documentary about memory and forgetting, and *Blade Runner* whihc
everyone knows now from all those footnotes in Zizek, its a narrative
sci-fi film. Likewise, while I think there is great literature which is
narrative etc, some great literature is non-fiction. I think I understand
this break down in genre etc as actually having a very  revolutionary
function and shows a decidedly leftist trend in the artistic strategies,
not that it can't be co-opted. In the case of both Blade Runner and Sans
Soliel however, what I see as marking them out is their ability to at the
same time reveal and depict relations of domination, to illustrate them,
and at the same time to take up a critical reflective relation to their
means of reproduction, distribution etc. The figure of memory or history
in boht of them is key to this, because cultural production is generally,
as a record of its moment of production, a function of social memeory,
but at the same time (and they shed lgiht on each other this way) taht
memory is always tied to a fiction, or the *producedness* of the
produciton of memory- it is produced from a postion of interest. In this
way the fiction becomes a documenatry of making fiction, the documentary
a fiction of true historical recollection (i.e. it shows interest behind
the production of "truth")


Seamus Malone redye at amanda.dorsai.org


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