Happening, performance or video art, but also scenic assemblages, incubators and other products of “creative industry” including homo urbanus-like photographs, light and sound installations or multimedia performances – these are all manifestations of contemporary culture which prefers design. Art prefers aesthetics which is reduced to aestheticism without an ethic dimension and this is why as part of culture it stands in opposition to its remnant, a mass culture.
This opposition may be felt more than ever although cultural unification, oriented towards techne, is accompanied by clichés about creativity, experimenterism and unconventionality. It’s no wonder that amidst the façade of grace, empty decorum for a sensual pleasure and a mosaic with special effects, which by the entry of the human co-regulator into an interactive space enables to assemble ephemeral experiences from audio-visual pictures, also industrial products and instruments are considered works of art.
Indeed, the high, which cannot be separated from the low, has nothing in common with elitism, which enjoys playing at scorning simplicity and moralism and condemns entertainment very much. Art in its aesthetic function has always been and will be a minor issue, in the same way as its critique. To demand the opposite would be an illusion. We are not interested in saleability or advertisement which does not make a greater demand for goods in the environment of the inhabitants’ negligent purchasing power. Why do we sell books as others? Alas, in this society nor book may be produced otherwise than by means of money. We are born into conditions which we did not choose, so we have to move among flies in the market. The previous generation cannot expect that we are going to be grateful for them.
This what changes is a social function of art and this is influenced neither by politics nor law. Its position is going to remain the same until economic mechanisms of dividing social wealth change and attention is going to be diverted towards an excessive consumption by individuals, just like postmodernist philosophy enjoys doing with phrases about consumerist society, as if will was enough for it.
Are we conservative when we prefer originality to fashion? Maybe. In any case, we refuse to consider pole dancing to be ballet.