Nina Power: Do you think art has become indeterminate as well?
Sylvère Lotringer: Absolutely. This has little to do with individual works – whether good or bad – only with the dizzying change of scale, the massive production, circulation and consumption world-wide. The art market has expanded exponentially and has been losing its shape to achieve monstrous proportions. It is occupying all the space, wildly metastasizing in every possible direction. It is so bloated at the core that it doesn’t seem able anymore to digest all the data. It is on its way to surpass its function. The early 1980s orchestrated the return to painting, and gave the art market a chance to fasten its hold. But it didn’t stop there and it didn’t take long before art started outgrowing its own boundaries, opening itself up to the exchangeability of capital. First it absorbed photography, until then considered unworthy; then it move to architecture, fashion and design. Along the way, it has integrated ‘outsider art’, abolishing its own internal limit, and put together ubiquitous ‘installations’ liable to be pitched anywhere and provide a fast pedigree for ‘rogue nations’. Today it is difficult to imagine anything that could be excluded from art. Its field has expanded exponentially to include the entire society. Along the way, it has grabbed anything that could be used for its own purpose, recycling garbage, forging communities, investigating political issues and perfumes, tampering with biology, etc., simultaneously appearing and disappearing with an ambiguous promiscuity. Art has finally fulfilled the program of Dada with a vengeance, embedding art into life. The only thing left for art to do is ‘auto-dissolve.’ Most avant-gardes promised too much and never delivered. Their manifestos of ‘auto-dissolution’, on the contrary, revealed them at their most radical and paroxysmal moment. This moment has come to contemporary art, and it may even spare itself the trouble of publicizing its own exit. Forget art then. Unless it is capable of bringing us up to the next paradigmatic shift, as Andy Warhol once did, forgetting about its own name and past history. Artists themselves maybe have been showing the way by venturing so far astray from home. All it would take is to cut off the umbilical cord that still ties art to the market, or rather turn it into a rich rhizome. Some art groups are already working at it. Autonomists used to say, ‘The margins at the centre’. We haven’t yet given art a chance to grow autonomously.