Sunday, March 28, 2010

Society of Extras

again by Bourriaud:

"The society of the spectacle has been defined by Guy Deborg as the historical moment when merchandise achieved "the total occupation of social life," capital having reached "such a degree of accumulation" that it was turned into imagery. Today, we are in the further stage of the spectacular development: the individual has shifted from a passive and purely repetitive status to the minimum activity dictated to him by market forces. So, television consumption is shrinking in favor of video games; thus the spectacular hierarchy encourages "empty monads", i.e programmeless models and politicians; thus everyone sees themselves summoned to be famous for 15 minutes, using TV, game, street poll or news item as a go-between. This is the reign of the "Infamous Man", whom Michel Foucault defined as the anymous and "ordinary" individual suddenly put in the glare of the media spotlights. Here we are summoned to turn into extras of the spectacle, having been regarded as its consumers. This switch can be historically explained; since the surrender of the Soviet bloc, there are no obstacles on capitalism's path to empire. It has a total hold of the social arena, so it can permit itself to stir individuals to frolic about in the free and open spaces that it has staked out. So, after the consumer society, we can see the dawning of the society of extras where the individual develops as a part-time stand-in for freedom, signer and sealer of the public place.

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