Incessantly Primitive Accumulation. Discussing Capitalization

With Frank Engster, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Ciarán Finlayson, Anselm Franke and Kerstin Stakemeier

Thu, Oct 28, 2021
7–9 pm
Free of charge, with registration
In English
Nicholas Grafia, Times New Roman (As Page Turning As Eye Opening), 2020, Courtesy of Nicholas Grafia and Peres Projects, Berlin

This workshop will be based on a reading of the contributions to the Illiberal Arts catalogue by Frank Engster, Ana Teixeira Pinto and Ciarán Finlayson. Registered participants will receive these texts as PDFs in advance. The workshop will take up Marx’s notion of the so-called “primitive accumulation” that remains so central to understanding the incessant capitalization and recapitalization of all living forms. Together with the three authors, we want to ask: How can it be rethought against its very own modern grain? And what role have the notions of the aesthetic and the institutionalization of art played in these processes? Frank Engster discusses what he calls the “Secondary Original Accumulation” of capitalism’s post-industrial phase and how art in it figures as “the capitalist technology par excellence.” In Ana Pinto’s essay Dim to Dark, the notion of the sublime, championed not only by Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant, but revisited in Jean-Francois Lyotard’s work, becomes the focus of a reflection of the racialized core of the modern aesthetic, of its concurrent violation and identification of what and who is identified as “nature.” Ciarán Finlayson is among the authors who share their space in the catalogue and engage in a conversation about the theoretical undercurrents of Illiberal Arts and their consequences for mapping emancipatory, if not a revolutionary politics. Together with Larne Abse Gogarty, Danny Hayward, Em Hedditch and Marina Vishmidt, Finlayson ultimately asks about today’s significance of what was once called Modern Art. Rather than confronting this, they propose that we look more closely at the concept of the cultural industry.