Art and Power in the Age of Empire: Greg Egan's Society of Control. By Extrapolation

Art and Power in the Age of Empire: Greg Egan's Society of Control.

By Extrapolation

  • Release Date: 2011-03-22
  • Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

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Description

The precise realization of the appearance--the surface, I call it, however three-dimensional--is only the most rudimentary beginning. It is the network of relationships between the subjects, and between the subjects and their setting, that constitutes the challenge for the generation that follows. (1) * In these lines from Greg Egan's short story, "The Caress" (1990), artist and pharmaceutical empire heir, Andreas Lindhquist theorizes on the future of "Lindhquistism," an art movement dedicated to the recreation of classical paintings in real life. Lindhquist achieves these effects by manipulating bodies, light, and space, but, as the above passage suggests, he envisions a future where artists shape the entire "network of relationships" that circumscribe the subjects of the painting. The idea of controlling whole networks of relationships implies an artist with daunting power, who is capable of extending and influencing the array of relationships that shape the ways we think, live, and relate to objects and individuals in the world: an artists who shapes subjectivity itself. As Egan's short story plays out, Lindhquist succeeds so thoroughly that his artworks transgress the boundaries between performance and real-life experience: life literally copies art.