Natasha Lushetich


One of the first principles of capitalism is, undeniably, instrumentalisation; the subjection of one thing to another with the speculative aim of producing some future ‘value’, regardless of how dubious – or even noxious this ‘value’ may be. In the knowledge economy, which produces value from accelerated innovation (also interpretable as the overproduction of the minimally different) value is extracted in two chief ways: via the misplaced rhetoric of excellence, and via netocratic quantification. Both of these processes are further aggravated by the additive nature of the digital media (Han); the irrationality of rationality (Ritzer); and attention deficit. Despite the fact that knowledge in general, and artistic knowledge in particular, is heterogeneous as well as, essentially, undecidable, in this essay I argue for a specific brand of knowledge: idiosyncratic, and, if need be, incomprehensible. Not as a weak ‘I would rather not’ strategy of resistance – to borrow from Herman Melville’s over-exploited, half-dead anti-hero Bartleby – but as an antidote to reductionism, information deluge, and their increasing neurological consequences, such as Information Fatigue Syndrome.