The instrumentalisations of art, and ecologies of efficiency and excess
Jennifer Clarke (Robert Gordon University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will consider efficiency and excess in relation to questions of value in art and ecology, and the idea that economic and ethical values are incommensurable under capitalism (Lambek). I will explore this in relation to the instrumentalisation of art and new materialisms.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will consider efficiency and excess in relation to questions of value in art and ecology. These are ethical discussions that raise an important distinction in regard to kinds of value, namely, that economic and ethical values are incommensurable under capitalism (Lambek). I will explore the instrumentalisation of art, which appears to rely on the liberal economic sense of value founded on measurability. Measurement, as a basis for scientific validity and utilitarian calculus, requires everything to be commensurable. Many approaches to social values in environmental management are often informed by instrumental, positivistic value systems. I will argue that art does not have a single hierarchy of value, and approaches to art from within art and from without are often based on different value systems. Commonly, considerations of value require separate notions of nature and culture (West 2005). I will consider the instrumentalisation of art, and the ecologies of efficiency and excess, by examining how and to what extent past premises of ecology that relied on dichotomies as nature/culture and idealism/materialism have been challenged by the new 'ecologies' and new materialisms, giving specific examples of these.
Efficiency and excess