Continued from “The Time That Remains, Part I: On Contemporary Nihilism” in issue 28.
To live is therefore also, always, to experience in the past the eternal amplitude of a present.
Is there a way out from the compulsive repetition that is symptomatic of our times? Boris Groys has defined the specific artistic gesture of the universalistic, messianic avant-garde through what he calls “the weak gesture of avant-garde” in opposition to the strong gesture of historicism as a form of domination in official culture. The avant-garde is not something that occurred once, but something that must always be repeated, precisely because it has been incorporated into the forgetfulness of historicizing culture and its ideology of progress. In this regard, the very notion of repetition, or even “re-volutio” understood as the circular temporal movement enacted by a self-repeating gesture, is inherent to the avant-garde. For Groys,
it is not enough to reveal the repetitive patterns that transcend historical change. It is necessary to constantly repeat the revelation of these patterns—this repetition itself should be made repetitive, because every such repetition of the weak, transcendental gesture simultaneously produces further confusion, and so forth. That is why the avant-garde cannot take place once and for all time, but must be permanently repeated to resist permanent historical change and chronic lack of time.
Read the full article here.