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Are art professionals today too hyperactively busy to produce work of lasting importance?


Art professionals today are notoriously busy. They are ceaselessly writing, networking, traveling, tweeting, attending openings, managing their “brand,” and responding to emails. This level of hyperactivity is perhaps required today in order to earn even a modest living in the art world. But how does it affect the work that’s produced, and the discourse about this work? Has the obligation to produce something eclipsed the slow, patient work of producing something good? Does the endless stream of art commentary, on the internet and in print, sacrifice depth of analysis for sheer quantity?


While I think that it would be an overreach to say that our hyperactivity prevents us from producing something of lasting importance, I think it is fair to say that it inhibits a sustained state of reflection on our work, how it relates to others, and how it advances the overall field. As a result, we see a lot of reactionary work that doesn’t necessarily recognize itself as such. To produce is not to create. To produce something and to remain with it enact very different experiences and I think our issue is that we don’t remain with a thought, a project, a potentiality in order for it to shift into another place entirely. It is that shift, for me, that is the something I look for when I look for something lasting.


I agree with jmcanally: to produce is not to create. We can flip it like a pancake, because the inverse works: to create is not necessarily to produce either. But I don’t understand why lasting importance should be a concern in the first place. And I also don’t see the relationship between overworking/overproducing and lasting importance. Many important works are created on the fly. Fast, cheap, and out of control. Useless and silly ephemeral things are often made with loving care and great precision, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Qualitative criteria gives me the creeps anyhow.


Quite an impossible question. The question invites to reflect upon the conflation of artistic to capitalist production: innovation, network, abstraction, linguïstification (Groys). I’m not sure if either an acceleration-ist (no) or naturalist (yes), the dialectical between quantity and quality, will overcome this conundrum.
If I were to say yes, I would be critically affirming its own self-critical gesture, and thus furthering the production of its wrought condition. Since, I would argue, we are already here in the realm of this mode of production.



I think it is self-evident, more or less, that the speed up of circulation via the issuing of grants or funding streams, conferences, art events and so forth founds production, inevitably, in a low grade venality that is itself the repressed driver of seeking recognition. In the end, if one wants to distinguish production and the work, there is a lot of work lacking sinish or reflection or editing, prolixity or its opposite, and a lot that is rivetingly good too, in all genres. The generalised critique of something called neo-liberalism, a term better not used as an alibi for not being-political or simply as a guarantee of being-political, of course means that this ‘critical’ process is wholly immersed in, fixated on and co-existent with its object, its aeroplanes, private universties, charitable spin-offs and so forth. A better way of dealing with this matter is to ask ‘how much does it cost to think?’, in the first place, before taking the money in order to think.


sorry, what is prolixity?