There is an exhibition on at the Old Truman Brewery at the moment called GazeAndBody. What’s it about, I wondered, as I picked up the leaflet. Well:

“The work commissioned by Rotoreliefs in Vibe Bar is focused on discourse and is materialised in videos and performances (Gaze & Body) which are interconnected by the concept and the translation of visual images into words.”

Now, I’ve done a degree in social sciences. I know what discourses and concepts are, but this is baffling. Is it meant to mean something, or is it a hoax to gull card-carrying PoMos into looking pensive while watching porn?

4 Responses to “Artbollocks”

  1. disgruntled Says:

    I gave up on this sort of stuff after I had to take a module on critical theory as part of my MA. The tutor handed us out some photocopied sheets to study for the next class. ‘The last line of each page is missing,’ she said. ‘But don’t worry because it doesn’t make any difference to the sense.’

    And she was right.

  2. pouletnoir Says:

    I have little doubt that critical theory is useful, but many academics who specialise in it seem to have lost sight of their original mission. I thought that critical theory was intended to point out the mistakes made by other social theorists by exposing their assumptions. (Or, as a critical theorist would say, by deconstructing their paradigms.) But this mission to clarify the shortcomings of other theories fails if they use stultifying jargon. One can’t help but suspect that some of the duller academics resort to jargon because if they were to explain themselves in plain speech they would be stating the bleeding obvious.

  3. disgruntled Says:

    It’s worse than that. Once I’d decoded their jargon their arguments turned out to be full of the sort of flawed reasoning – circular arguments, ad hominem attacks, false analogies – that we cut our teeth on in first year philosophy. Naturally when I pointed this out (I’m irritating that way) the tutor says ‘well when you say that argument’s fallacious, by whose logic are you judging it’ at which point I gave up and took my outmoded empirical thinking away to go and talk to people who still made sense. I’m obviously beyond help

  4. pouletnoir Says:

    Ah, that’s the problem with language, isn’t it? We’re forced into certain ways of thinking. The solution is obviously to make up an entirely new obfuscatory language that prevents anyone from proving anything. What is proof anyway, but an oppressive tool of The Man?

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