Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Guardian
Rock stars tethered their jet skis to the back of it during the film festival in Cannes, its clean lines have impressed quayside onlookers in Antibes, and England footballer Frank Lampard is reportedly set to propose to his television presenter girlfriend on board.

There can be no doubt that Roman Abramovich's enormous yacht Luna is enjoying the spotlight this summer as it tours the Mediterranean. But the citizens of Venice, a city more familiar than most with extravagant displays of wealth down the centuries, are not impressed.

The Russian oligarch's £115m, 377ft behemoth moored unannounced last week at one of the city's most stunning lagoon locations, as Abramovich and his girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, pitched up for the Venice Biennale.

Local residents, accustomed to stunning views over St Mark's Basin, found themselves staring straight at the twin helipads and bulletproof windows of the vessel, which dwarfs all rival yachts at what has become an annual reunion of some of the most expensive private vessels in the world.

Cannes and the The Biennale:
An awards ceremony and marketplace for the makers of products that offer an ephemeral experience, products which are available relatively cheaply and in many cases worldwide;  a festival based on the market for valuable objects, nonetheless including theater of the sort fit for an audience of aficionados of contemporary objecthood.

Cannes deals in visual "entertainment" while also making claims to seriousness. The Biennale deals in visual "art" and claims to represent a heritage of vanguardism. What are the economics, the politics, the philosophics of each? Which is more modern, more democratic, more post-democratic, more reactionary? What are the relations of modernism, anti-modernism, and anti-bourgeois conservatism, to authoritarianism, fascism, anti-fascism, and democracy? Complex questions. At some point people will begin to ask them.

Philosophers descend from priests, and contemporary philosophers if they're interested in art, choose to ignore that the first art in the age of mechanical reproduction was the novel. Philosophy opposes fiction, and theories of modern art opposed the "fiction" of pictorialism. The implications of that preference are unexamined.

No comments: