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– Autumn/Winter 2001

The Housewife in Public

Martin Prinzhorn

Tags: Frances Stark

Normally, the treatment of literary or theoretical texts relies on some kind of configuration of a text's content and the formal patterns put together within an already established context. Although the organising principles may vary considerably, the technique always comes down to a set of connections that are held together by the text.

These connections can be explicitly causal, building up the narrative, or associative not following a linear logic so that the only way to make the connection is to follow the intentions of the author. Our world or culture happens to organise things in a way that means that explicitly causal arguments are evidence of scientific, critical or documentary writings, while intentional, associative and often-fragmented connections are understood as signs of artistic literature. Pursuing these stereotypical assumptions, one finds that criticism, science and documentation are linked to an external public while the literary artistic text is associated - at least since the 19th century - with an internalised, private subjectivity. To write an 'objective', 'distant' and therefore 'cold' poetic text is still perceived as a somewhat transgressive act, just as criteria like 'taste' or similar seemingly subjective terms provoke confusion when used in scientific analysis. While today, in the field of writing, those borders are still amazingly intact; in the visual field there has been a much stronger amalgamation, at least on the artistic side. Conceptual and installation art have steadily eroded the division between 'subjective' art and 'objective' science and in many current forms of Kontextkunst it seems to have disappeared entirely. Another indication of developments in the visual arts is the role of critics and curators, who, for many conservatives, is simply not distinguished enough