Elliott Sharp, 8/11
The avantgarde is dead, long live the avantgarde, or: old garde against avant-garde...
As long as it is possible to gain consciousness of a certain social status quo, a socio-economic, political nexus of cultural actions and reactions in a certain state of historic vacuum, unconscious collective forces of destruction, leading cultural movements sustaining artlike expressions excluding art as an exception, there is the possibility alive to set advanced positions: these advanced positions mean self sufficient art itself - not "art pour l'art" - but art that is subversive and political by itself without any impositions. Every crucial act of life is "avantgarde" transgressing the mere factor of cultural sustention.
As long as certain works of art will transgress the idealistic illusion of a historic "whole", a whole of homogenic psycho- and sexual-economic ensembles, there will be existing some sort of "avantgarde". In case of any avantgarde phenomenon every try for historiography seems even more senseless than in other cases concerning postpolitical attempts. Any cultural structure that sets no advanced positions is doomed to die. Every esthetic process is stifled when avantgarde is understood as "télos", working by beginning and end, as a mere even "revolutionary" historic phase with before and after, as a process with a certain aim that can be fulfilled or failed. Avantgarde is not avantgarde because a public majority is def and blind for it, but because it is advanced compared to a certain psychological state of a society and culture. Avantgarde is advanced and most archaic, symbolic, Aion, Kairos, cast out from the ordinary signs of historic time, driven by insight and access to deeper layers of the social unconscious. It does not mean the death of death as history but death as a process, which is the subversive act of life itself, the exceptional, singular material of ART.
Today avantgarde in motion picture could mean operating between digital video and analogue film material, building consciousness of what this means for existence and thinking. But avantgarde today has many other scopes. People talking about the death or "end" of this and that are the perfect slaves for a cultural marketplace, even if they get the tag "advanced" by certain public organs. The most decadent state might be reached again soon it seems by the cycle of rotten offical western culture, the state of fascism and mass delusion, the church state of pre-fascism is long reached marked by certain signs as for instance the speaking about "death" or "end" of avantgardistic powers in all fields of creation. Wanting the death of the exception in Godards words is the perfect state for any aristotelian social organism that desires to sustain its telos, to fulfill its function. But the death of such functional organisms is what the advanced creation sees, de-functus, disfunction for one side, act of life itself for the other.
After all, as avantgardist John Cage said: "Self alteration, not self expression..."
finally, old garde against avant-garde...
Kind of programmatic for our combination of analogue film materials (8/16mm) and digital techniques (H)DV.