Open Ended: A Broader Dialectic Emerges

Richard Serra said that to him, sculpture means “…a life-time involvement.”1 He remains singularly committed to that involvement, working directly in the fabrication of his works. Seeking to establish a new perception for the viewer rather than represent an idea, Serra’s goal for many years has been to establish a space that an individual can experience. At first glance, however, his works seem almost too rough and intimidating to be engaged with properly. His ability as an artist, at least in some capacity, has been measured by his ability to overcome this apparent contradiction. In two of his recent works, he has achieved this by synthesizing the two considerations. Richard Serra’s construction of space in Blind Spot and Open Ended establishes a dialectic between the direct experience of the work imposing itself on the space of the viewer and the participatory experience of the viewer entering the work’s created space. This dialectic represents a masterful fulfillment of the smaller-scale considerations of Serra’s more recent works. Continue reading

Commodification in the Information Age

The images and theme come from the popular YouTube video Did You Know? 3.0

The focus of videos like these on the quantitative aspects of information (measured in bytes) rather than the qualitative demonstrates the treatment of information as a commodity. This focus presents a view of information with value intrinsic to itself rather than use value in relation to other commodities. In addition to reinforcing the pseudo-futurism of high-tech globalization, it presents the idea that regardless of how the information is applied or what the information itself is about, the information itself has value beyond its potential use or exchange value. The very act of producing information, whether that information concerns Harry Potter fan fiction or cluster bombs, is seen as beneficial to society. Continue reading