DIY Culture Industry: Signifying Practices, Social Networks and Other Instrumentalizations of Everyday Art

CSI vs. DIY

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Today’s art world replaces the framework of tradition, which emphasizes past and precedence, with a DIY emphasis on action and results in the present. But our photographically based culture does still emphasize the past, albeit as aftermath, an orientation that’s perhaps forensic or traumatized or melancholic but always gropingly retrospective. Just look at our TV programming, which is filled with crime and courtroom shows about mulling over left-behind evidence and attempting to reconstruct past traumatic events. From the vantage of tradition, the past is seen as pervading and structuring the present, making it knowable; whereas today the present is haunted by a past that is alien and unknown. (Along these lines, a good companion to watching CSI is Walter Benjamin’s “Some Motifs in Baudelaire” and “The Storyteller.”)

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