THIRTY THREE PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW SOCIOLOGY OF ART

_ Kubilay Akman



I.
Today we have arrived the level where we can redefine the concepts concerning art after radical transformations and turbulences of the 20th century. Today art waits to be defined. Art and theory have gone hand to hand for a long time. During this interactive companionship theory trickled into art and art leaked into theory, shadows have mixed into each other. In this environment of indefiniteness the explanatory power of theoretical approach weakened and had a crisis. It must be highlighted now that theory is an effort to understand and to explain. Sociological/theoretical approach directed towards understanding art, even if it is included by arts now and then, has to act for comprehension of artistic productions, praxis and movements.

II.
Art resists to be understood; desires it, but resists at the same time. This situation is based on the charm of power provided by being closed as well as art’s common past with sorcery.

III.
Contradiction between power and resistance has lost its manifestation coming from the past. We live in an age today that everybody takes a portion from the strength. Some artists intends to share the sovereignty offered by art, some others try to save their power and sometimes the game of sharing becomes a strategy of power itself.

IV.
Art is everywhere: in art galleries, museums, streets, theaters, books, garbage cans, restaurants, TVs, beds, bodies, houses, social relations, situations, conditions, tastes and all other perceptions. People who desire and do not desire art, who like and dislike it are exposed to art and perform it at any moment.

V.
Art is like a journey that you experience without a map. This journey has got a flexible route that is determined by conditions, environment, artist’s will and choices of art audience. Nobody can envisage and predetermine the route from the beginning.

VI.
Beauty is important still. However the measures on beauty provide an endless diversity.

VII.
Artist is a social subject. Artistic behaviors even which are considered as the most individual and unique ones happen in an interrelation with social structure and social relationships.

VIII.
Human of today is afraid of consciousness. Being so much widespread of drugs is because of the fear of people about consciousness. Dilemmas of modern society do not offer any opportunity for solution to people. On the one hand art operates as a medium to paralyze consciousness and on the other hand it serves as a perfect catalyst to be more consciously.

IX.
Art, if still we talk about it, is seductive (Baudrillard) and therefore one of the most feminine elements in social field.

X.
Money is seductive as well and art world is seduced by money on a large proportion. Some art guerrillas (Alexander Brener) who resists against this rotation appears as a different social phenomenon.

XI.
There are thousand of creatures dancing around us. We call these creatures as concepts or images now and then. We do not know what are they exactly; they are maybe beings between concept and image. We realize through a smoke that we have started to dance too as these concept-images drive us into dizziness.

XII.
The total pictures that we have intended to construct are escaping from us, as the mirrors are broken.

XIII.
Work of art is open (Umberto Eco). All attempts to close work of art will be absorbed by its openness and profundity entirely.

XIV.
There is transversality between other types of artistic expression. No story finishes at all in the same land where it began.

XV.
Sometimes dark streets are more secure than broad squares. If the aesthetic thought would not like to go out from the universe of ideology, this is just because it would be dissolved as meeting pragmatic realities of the age.

XVI.
It is not possible to make exact separations between society and state. We were talking about the ideological apparatus of state (Louis Althusser) in the past, today, the societal ideological apparatus work like states themselves and art is trapped by them usually.

XVII.
The specters that were told by Karl Marx are not haunting over Europe and the all world anymore. But specters, new ones are everywhere. Human beings should love specters because their way passes by art galleries too sometimes; their some marks are seen on paintings, sculptures, videos and installations.

XVIII.
Sociology that was born to analyze and to orientate modern societies seems that being has completed its function on a vast scale today. Sociology of art also may be considered as a refugee camp for sociologists from whom society does not expect any noticeable service more.

XIX.
The world had an era when European culture has been spread through the help of American cultural production media. Even Europe itself has become a “specter” haunting over the world. In our age, the media that has served to spread European culture and which is also a western product itself can provide a proper ground for more democratic exchange and communication of world cultures.

XX.
An evident bridge is built between consumer society and art with Pop Art. Nowadays a lot of consumption objects are so artistic that they can surpass Pop Art works of the past. Millions of young people who have never heard even Andy Warhol’s name have an artistic pleasure themselves from the bottle designs of energy drinks, CD covers, concert posters, perfume cans, etc. without any substantial intellectual background.

XXI.
Academies are pressed between the dilemma of traditions and adaptation to the age. The academy has realized that its existence depends on a transformation process. It needs a new face to be able to exist, but the melodies it sings will remain the same with this new appearance.

XXII.
Art market is a tremendous machine. This machine spread the canals where artistic pleasure flows and one-dimensional readings will not be able to give us any knowledge about the general structure of this machine. This market, as all markets, has some rules too and also it is manipulated despite these rules often. Art market has got a masculine character obviously as well.

XXIII.
The main aim of human thought is to draw some planes over chaos (Deleuze). Art appears, as one of these planes as well as it is a version of chaos itself.

XXIV.
The Western thought is in tendency of classifying, dividing and limiting time and space. However time and space overflow that kind of interferences. Aesthetic meaning exists with this overflow together. Aesthetic thought is one of the perfidious children of the West.

XXV.
Repetitions kill the meaning. Our age is hurt with repeated themes just like it is performed in a piece of techno-music. Today the rhythm is a trap.

XXVI.
Always a divine light is observed in art. This light is not a compass and we should not expect that it would orient us towards the right art; because there is not anything that might be called as “right art”. However, this light seems sometimes as the unique truth.

XXVII.
Announcing death of art is one of the biggest lies. All murder attempts against art have been concluded with failure. Art is alive still.

XXVIII.
The magical value and power of art are in the agenda now again. It is indefinite that if this would be a white or black magic.

XXIX.
Nowadays it seems that everything is tried. Maybe now the virtue is that trying to rediscover modest harmonies of the past rather than participating the race of searching new things always to experience continuously.

XXX.
Art has got a nostalgic characteristic part always.

XXXI.
The unexplainable excites people. Secular narratives do not get societies excited anymore. There is an inclination again towards the mystical. It is possible to see numerous examples in cultural lives for this process.

XXXII.
Clamor is everywhere. Maybe in the near future becoming silent will appear as an artistic style rather than expressing yourself.

XXXIII.
According to me, Dalibor Martinis’ The Finally Dinner provides productive associations concerning the matters of art, society and culture. A similar of Jesus’ Last Dinner represented in this video-installation. The table is decorated to resemble the original last dinner with its real candles; but dishes and eating hands are projected on it. This projected record is from a performance that the artist did before with his friends as focused on the same subject. Audience may listen with headphones the sounds of Andy Warhol, Mickey Mouse, Marilyn Monroe and the other figures from the 20th century. Martinis’ work shows us how the icons about and from the modern society have taken the place of religious images of the past. At the last dinner of art the artist, audience and the modern figures included make finite one become eternal in protection of the work. Also there is a traitor around the table, a traitor who wishes to announce death of art maybe; but art will exist too as the work remains. Moreover, in Martinis’ installation each seat is free surrounding table and everybody could experience any position as seat the place he/she would like. The border between fidelity and treachery has been left to the choice of audience. The last dinner of art continues as an endless feast.


Kubilay Akman mkakman@mail.com