Natasha Lushetich

Joe Jones, Cage Music, 1965

John Cage’s 4’33’’ thematises that which has been made imperceptible by normative cultural prescriptions, both in terms of the foreground-background relationship and in terms of the segregation between the auditory, optical, olfactory and/or kinaesthetic perception. Likewise, the Fluxus exchange systems – Fluxshops and Mail Order Centers which – thematise the socio-cultural and bio-political interpenetration present in any form of economic exchange. To be more precise, they de-transparentise that which the hegemony of positional economy – the culmination of abstraction created by pure economic reason – has relegated to the ‘irrelevant background’: the intrinsic value of the object’s or event’s suchness; the social and intertemporal relations involved in their production, habits and affects; and, finally, the sedimentary effect that inter-subject-objective poiesis has on the production of social life. 

In arguing for a paradoxical model of Flux economics, this paper sheds light on the coexistence, or co-functioning, of two mutually exclusive economic logics: the logic of abundance, generosity and unaccountable expenditure which is based on the notion of (universal) transformation (Bataille); and, the logic of scarcity and the optimal use of available resources, based on the teleological notion of development and progress (Ricardo, Marx, Rotering). By exploring the paradoxical interplay between excessive expenditure and functionalism, between ‘putting into play’ and ‘putting into value’, this paper further reflects on whether performance – as a tool of enactment, judgment, appraisal and dissemination – can give rise to a transvaluation of values.

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