Goldsmith y el imperio retro-conceptual / Heriberto Yépez

Goldsmith and the Retro-Conceptual Empire

When someone reads Kenneth Goldsmith acritically I think: you need to inform yourself better.

Goldsmith is emblematic of the decade of war against “terrorism.” His work consists of accepting and retransmitting (as is) what power emits, finding it beautiful without having to read it. Using the ready-made as take-over.

He transcribes texts, makes books of pure copy-paste, runs ubu.com, his celebrity prospers. “Uncreative Writing” is already a part of the canon he desired.

His innovation is questionable. One example among others: three decades ago, Ulises Carrión did things that are championed by North Americans today.

They reiterate colonialist practices. By means of manifestos, anthologies and membership, they erase or take over other histories.

His politics attracts students, academics, writers and readers who are undecided between the consensual and the arty. Conceptualism is a cultural manifestation derived from expansionist North American politics. That’s why appropriation is its foundation.

His campaign for stardom and an enterprise of symbolic capital uses a retro-frivolous look as a system of self-defense.

Goldsmith in the White House or on the Colbert Report isn’t the problem, but rather his promotion of a “silly” conformity, complicit with capital and laugh tracks. By depoliticizing writing, he disempowers emerging critical communities. His defect is ethical.

His aesthetic achievements, measured on an international scale, are scant. It’s not conceptualism but a pastiche of other conceptualisms.

Vanessa Place or Goldsmith embody North American expansionism and they give it good taste, post-experimental refinement, radical-soft.

They demonstrate what’s happening with critical post-theory writing that chooses to embrace capitalism while boasting about the twist. A performance of hegemonic possession? No. That would threaten its institutional click.

By denying its apology for capitalist logic and leaving a supposed irony open, a referential machine or a could-be role play, retro-conceptualism collapses. They could have been a performative denunciation but they wanted spectacle and approval, they prefer cynicism to criticism.

Andy Warhol lost his edge. Wharholism today in literature can be successful in the United States or in very colonized countries, mouth to mouth resuscitation among white elites.

By increasing its adhesion to cool conservative values and poses, their text appeal grows in the Globalized South.

One should note the exquisite tone of Goldsmith’s voice: he creates a position familiar with hegemony. The complicity of conceptualism increases as it plays hide and seek with the implications of its program.

An opportunity was lost —if it ever existed— after Language Poetry: a recovery of leftism in North American poetry. It didn’t happen. Love-Obama-tomy arrived.

The Language poets themselves lost credibility by encouraging heirs with reactionary ideals.

North American experimentalism became a fine jewelry shop.

{ Heriberto Yépez, Archivo Hache, Suplemento Laberinto, Milenio (México D.F.), 8 August 2013 }

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