Postmarxism + Marketing 2.0 + Math. Logic = ArtWar(e)

Nov 27, 2010
Workshop ArtWar(e)
Centre Pompidou, Paris

Nov 26 - Dec 4, 2010
Rencontres Internationales
Centre Pompidou, Paris


A «Hype Cycle» is a graph showing the life cycle of a technology or of a concept, from its emergence to its obsolescence.

Le concept

ArtWar(e) is a project by Christophe Bruno & Samuel Tronçon. It aims at building a platform for « artistic risk management » and « computer assisted curating ». It revisits art history, performative and relational artistic attitudes and as curating practices, by using contemporary methods recycled from 2.0 marketing, logistic flows of superstores, post-marxist analysis, as well as new breakthroughs in mathematical logic.

In the past ten years, new methods have appeared in marketing theory. They deal with the analysis and prediction of trends concerning emergence and obsolescence of technological innovations, their life cycles and their abitility to disseminate.

Ou project is inspired by such methods that we try to adapt in an artistic context. One of these approaches, the «Hype cycles» [1] is particularly interesting to recontextualize in the artistic domain because it allows to separate the speculative immaterial and hyper-competitive phase of the «Hype» (going from utopia to dystopia) from the phase of economic implementation of the concept. In this last phase, artistic concepts, which often hijack the corporate world, are hijacked in return by the very same corporate world, or they enter the art market and continue their life cycle according to well-established patterns, from their implementation to their planned obsolescence.

Surprisingly, these marketing theories and logistic modelisations are somehow linked to post-marxist analysis [2,3], to large-scale cycles of capitalism (Kondratiev cycles) and to the contemporary theory of networks [4]. If we overcame our natural myopia, we would see the usual oppositions bewteen dualities (such as utopia/dystopia, progressism/conservatism, materialism/idealism, modernity/postmodernity, existentialism/essentialism, dandysm/collectivism, fordism/toyotism etc.) as mere seasonal peaks, or as cycles of climate warming and ice ages, expansions et recessions oscillating around a «liberal» equilibium.

These cycles did not always have the same regularity and we don't know if they will have such a regular rythm. One of the possibilities [2] is that because of globalisation and the end of natural ressources or cheap workforce, the cyclic regime is shifting towards a chaotic and unpredictible phase. But another possibility is that the saturation of our universe might be compensated by an expansion towards new dematerialized spaces : the solution to the extinction of capitalism as we know it would lie in the new phase of colonisation of intimacy that began with the use of so called new technologies [5,6].

For more information see also [7],[8] and [9].

References :

[1] Mastering the hype cycle, Jackie Fenn & Marc Raskino, Gartner, Inc, Harvard University Press, 2008
[2] Mondialisation ou ère de transition ? Une vision à long terme de la trajectoire du système-monde, Immanuel Wallerstein, in "Une nouvelle phase du capitalisme ?", Editions Syllepse, 2001
[3] La dynamique du capitalisme, Fernand Braudel, Les Editions Arthaud, Paris, 1985
[4] Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Albert-László Barabási, Science, and Everyday Life, Penguin, 2002.
[5] Le Google Adwords Happening, Christophe Bruno, 2002.
[6] Le Dadamètre, Christophe Bruno, 2007.
[7] For an inspiring approach in the field of literature, cf Graphes, cartes, arbres, Franco Moretti, Les Prairies Ordinaires, 2008
[8] Some very interesting complementary thoughts related to hype cycles:
[9] Rethinking curating. Art after New Media, Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook, MIT Press, 2010.