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artintelligence » The Situation Now


March 15, 2008

The Situation Now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Graham Coulter-Smith

Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent, 1999. C-print mounted on Plexiglas in artist’s frame, 81 1/2 x 132 5/8 inchesAs we approach the fortieth anniversary of May ’68 here is a relevant juxtaposition of image and text, a quotation from Sadie Plant’s The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age: “A staggering abundance of commodity choices is offered, and identification is demanded not with a single commodity but the commodity system itself: it is the spectacle as a whole which is advertised and desired. The lights, the opportunities, the shops, the excitement: the attraction of capitalist societies has always been their glamorous dynamism, the surfeit of commodities and the ubiquity of choice they offer. But in practice, anything can be chosen except the realm in which choice is possible. One can choose to be, think, and do anything, but as the roles, ideas, and lifestyles possible within capitalist society are allowed to appear only to the extent that they appear as commodities, the equivalence and homogeneity of commodities is inescapable in the most private aspects of life. The shops always carry everything except the thing one really wants; they are ‘full of things’.” (Plant 1992: 24). Andreas Gursky’s photographs average $100,000 a piece.

Illustration: Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent, 1999 C-print mounted on Plexiglas in artist’s frame, 81 1/2 x 132 5/8 inches

Video clip: Ikea sequence from Fight Club, 1999, dir. David Fincher, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk.

Quotation: Plant, Sadie. 1992. The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age. London/New York: Routledge.


  1. I have looked through all these posts and hardly anybody has posted a comment. I wonder if the site should not consider writing about something that people are actually interested in? Today ‘Art’ is a not a subject that most people are interested in or can be bothered to think about let alone read about.

    Sad but true.


    Comment by George Barry — March 17, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  2. I am certainly interested in reading about situationism in art now. thanks, there george.
    populism is no excuse. just look at jim carrey.
    in other news, a fabulous quote, from a fabulous book. I wish people would continue this kind of anarcho-materialist legacy from the warwick school a bit more.
    so much to be explored.

    Comment by erin — March 24, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

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