‘Art’ vs ‘art’

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“Photo-montage as a Weapon in Class Struggle” outlines the usage of the technique of photo-montage for the purpose of political propaganda in Germany in the 1930s. The essay seems to contrast ‘Art’ with ‘art’, thereby providing a push back against “art for art’s sake”. By recognising the inherent potential within the medium of the photo- montage to manipulate it’s content to form new relationships, oppositions, transitions and intersections, photo-montage becomes a new tool to shed light on social reality. Furthermore, the essay destroys the supposedly neutral stance of ‘art for art’s sake’ proponents, arguing that the ability to be neutral is a privilege and privilege is inherently political. Hence non-representational bourgeoisie montages which aim to be purely formalist, are in itself political by attempting to adopt dead-end perspectives. The author reflects upon the deliberate shunning of the photo-montage as a tool of advertising by the bourgeoisie media during the time of economic crisis in lively contrast to the embracing of the tool by proletariat media.

I find this argument comparable to the state of architecture at the moment. ‘Starchitecture’ has become akin to the photo-montage of the elite, which continues to pretend to reinvent itself in a series of formalist experiments,  disengaging with the political struggle which architecture is at the forefront of. Meanwhile, architecture for the proletariat, although capitalising on its political relevancy often is shallow and ill executed.

 

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