with: Patrick Quick, Chunyin Rainbow Chan, Akil Ahamat, Roslyn Helper, Kiah Reading, Stephanie Overs & Bogna M. Konior
Individuals must become both more united and increasingly different.1
Félix Guattari made this apparently contradictory plea in response to the observation that consumer capitalism delimits the range of possibilities for subjectivity. According to Guattari, an individual is forced to choose between a limited variety of products, opinions, and ideas—the market demarcates subjectivity. Despite this apparent drift towards subjective standardisation under recent forms of capitalism, the individual is obliged more than ever, to produce itself as a differentiated singularity. To accrue cultural and financial capital one must attract attention, one must stand out; the market thrives on aesthetic difference.
Guattari’s response suggests that a move beyond the market as the preponderant subjective container, must be based on a form of social unity that embraces difference. The works in this exhibition inhabit this contradictory terrain. How is a social unity, with its connotations of standardisation and normativity—to be thought of in relation to the production of aesthetic difference that is vital to contemporary economy? Same Same is a response to this contradiction, a détournement of the uncanny sameness of networked consumer experience, a working through of the actually-existing context within which aesthetic differentiation is attempted.
In very different ways, the works in Same Same all make use of generic tools of production, distribution and communication to broach a series of questions related to this tension between the whole and the part: Does the subjective and aesthetic differentiation that network capitalism demands make political alliances impossible?Can amplifying corporate aesthetics produce a meaningful critique of their underlying rationale? Can processes of individuation be de-coupled from the market forces with which they are currently imbricated?
Through their use of the default media tools and interfaces of network capitalism, the works explore (among other things), an inter-subjective unity, a sameness within which difference is produced and perceived in ever tightening circles.
Process and Assorted Documentation, designed by Thomas McAlister:
Tom Smith is a Sydney based artist, curator and musician. His current interests include the tyranny and poetics of the generic, aesthetic standardisation in music production, and the emancipatory potential of default media platforms. His current work includes curatorial projects, experimental performance works, electronic music, and scores for dance and film productions.