Fraser Chapter 3

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S.R. So the next step is the third question. Can you figure out if there is something like a specific aim that you can formulate that you are following with your own practice in the field of art? Is it possible to say something like that?

A.F. Well, I've had a few. My approach to art-making really starts with aims. There is this notion of project work which I was also involved in trying to articulate in relationship to a notion of art as service-provision in the mid-90s. There's another way of understanding a notion of project work as art with a project, as opposed to art simply that's undertaken on a project basis, on a project-by-project basis. And that's how I would like to understand my approach to art-making, that is a project having a project. It means something that is really larger than a specific medium or a specific practice, a specific procedure, a specific approach to art-making. But it's an ongoing investigation which itself is subject to re-definition over time. And that's also how I understand the tradition of critical practice that I identify with and I think I'm very located in historically. I'm the product of the Whitney Independent Study Program and the journal »October«Â and the theories of post-modernism in the 80s around a notion of critical practice. My project as an artist, I think, has really always been not to pursue a critical practice but to try to understand what the conditions of a critical practice might be. Because I think what institutional critique teaches us, and also what the sociologies of art, such as Bourdieu's, have taught us, is that many of the symbolic revolutions of art have in fact been more reproductive than critical and that a critique is very, very difficult to accomplish. And so I see that very much as what my aim as an artist is, although it's also important to me that how I understand critique is not only within a Marxian tradition of ideology critique or, I don't know, rather the traditions of critique. But it's also a kind of analysis in a psychoanalytic sense that a critical practice has to engage not only hidden interests or the kinds of interests that are produced by the institutions of art or by the field of art. But also in a psychoanalytic sense, the kinds of desires and fantasies that are produced by the field of art and institutions of art. And in relationship to those interests and to those desires and fantasies, I see my project as not so much being to expose or uncover them because in a way I think, »They are on the surface. They are evident, they don't need to be exposed«. I always like to quote Lacan: "The desire must be taken literally". It's literal. But how they are produced – the mechanisms of the production and re-production of those interests and those fantasies. I also like to quote Bourdieu who said that the properly social magic of institutions is their ability to constitute anything as a legitimate interest, as an interest that will be objectively paid back within the economy of the specific field or institution. So that's how I see my work.

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