Commodification & Subjectivation: A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter

February 10, 2010

I am studying the artwork as commodity at university at the moment as part of a module on ‘Commodification and Subjectivation’, but maddeningly I forgot about this one: ‘A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter’ by Caleb Larsen, which is fairly interesting to contemplate with regard to commodity and subject. It’s a work which constantly attempts to sell itself.

It’s interesting to try to identify a subject at work here (artist-creator? the capitalist system? the object itself?) but strictly it’s all of the above, putting me in mind of Deleuze on structuralism: “Structuralism is not at all a form of thought that suppresses the subject, but one that breaks it up and distributes it systematically, that contests the identity of the subject, that dissipates it and makes it shift from place to place, and always nomad subject, made of individuations, but impersonal ones, or of singularities, but pre-individual ones. This is the sense in which Foucalt speaks of “dispersion”; and Levi-Strauss can only define a subjective agency depending on the Object conditions under which the system of truth become convertible and, thus, “simultaneously receivable to several different subjects.”” (How Do We Recognise Structuralism?, 1967)

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2 Responses to “Commodification & Subjectivation: A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter”

  1. kzurc Says:

    I like this one… how did you come across studying art as commodity? Is it a class? what is the point of the class?

    • suicideally Says:

      It’s a module as part of an MA in either Modern European Philosophy, Contemporary Critical Theory or Aesthetics and Art Theory (I’m doing the first one). The class examines changing notions of the subject from the Greeks, through Kant, Marx (where the commodity form comes in), the Frankfurt School and French anti-humanist thought.


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