Friday, 3 October 2014

socialist object

It is worth mentioning that in their interpretation of the Constructivist veshch (thing) most scholars limit their analysis to the NEP period, the time when capitalist objects were reintroduced within the socialist context. In other words, they are talking about an object in its transition (and its division) – a dichotomised object still hesitant to quit its horizontal axis but already exploring the vertical one. Parallel to the NEP’s aim to re-introduce capitalist commodity to a country swept by communalism, there was yet another process that had been developing on a much larger scale. I am referring to the production of socialist commodities -- things that can be characterized as both psychedelic and didactic. These “quasi-objects” had nothing to do with the items of everyday use -- kitchenware, furniture, clothing, etc. Such items were habitually dismal; they lacked any sense of pleasure, any hope for prestige or comfort. The ways in which the communal psyche connected itself to communal objecthood were completely de-fetishized. The communal Eros was redirected to the sphere of public (read socialist) objecthood which -- for the most part -- consisted of indexical sign-objects from the inventory of photographic, sculptural, or architectural agitprop.ii These also included “cine-forms” through which one could “perceive a tempestuous and incessant flow of people as an interrupted moving form of never stopping content.”iii Even if they looked tangible, they were still images and traces of something else. Thus, socialist commodity had a repeatedly postponed presence -- an object in its pure potentiality. However elusive, especially as seen through the lens of individual (i.e., noncommunal) optics, socialist commodity (“obshchestvennaia veshch” in Aleksei Gan’s terminology) has never failed to be perceived as an object. By this I mean the tendency to objectify the indexical and anticipatory nature of socialist commodity by turning the representation of its presence into the presence of representation. As was mentioned earlier, many socialist objects functioned as instruments of synchronicity (they were “in charge” of channeling the waves of communal desire in the “proper” direction). The fact that socialist commodity had a postponed presence was in harmony with the deferral of individual subjectivity.iv With this double deferral, the capitalist subject/object dichotomy was subjected to the same fate.

No comments:

Post a Comment