Monday, May 18, 2009

Death Came To Them Daily In The Form Of Ideology

Fig. 1. Sungsoo Koo - Tour Bus (from the series Magical Reality, 2005-2006), 2005

'Works of art are often sites where the issues or questions a community or culture finds urgent, fundamental, or troublesome are elaborated and negotiated. In part, this is a matter of what Nelson Goodman calls the "cognitive efficacy" of visual representations: through representing or symbolising selected elements of "the world," experience is made susceptible to ordering and rearrangement; the world can be more completely grasped, ordered, illuminated. Visual representation is, consequently, a vehicle for the increase of knowledge, both scientific and nonscientific. But knowledge is ideological: what passes for knowledge at any given moment is radically conditioned by a complex of regnant interests, values, utilities. What may seem at first a pure discovery, an objective truth emergent in visual representation - linear perspective is a good example - is later revealed as a culturally specific, ideologically* engaged, contingent construction.'

Michael Leja

* 'Ideology designates a rich "system of representations," worked up in specific material practices, which help form individuals into social subjects who "freely" internalise an appropriate "picture" of their social world and their place in it. Ideology offers the social subject not a set of narrowly "political" ideas but the fundamental framework of assumptions that defines the parameters of the real and the self; it constitutes what Althusser calls the social subject's "'lived' relation to the real."' (James Kavanagh)