Vortrag Talk доклад

Anthony Iles: Viktor Shklovsky’s Critique of a Political Economy of Art

Shklovsky begins his seminal text, "Art as Device", with critiques of diverse formulations of the ‘laws’ of economy governing creative effort and perception in poetic and prose language. These ‘laws’ are turned on their head to describe the process by which ‘the device of art makes perception long and ‘laborious’. For Shklovsky, art, in short, is not efficient. For Leon Trotsky, this aspect of Shklovsky’s thought is framed as a betrayal of materialism and Marxism, for he insists "man tries to maintain an economy of energy in every kind of creation, even in the artistic." Yet, recent Marxist accounts insist that both communism (Theorie Communiste, Endnotes) and art’s (Stewart Martin, John Roberts, Marina Vishmidt) contemporary viability are premised on the critique and destruction of economy rather than their realisation under improved management. Excusing Boris Eichenbaum’s scientific gloss, we might assert that if "[formalist] science lives not by settling on truth but by overcoming error", then errors must be made in order to be overcome. Art, proceeding interminably by digression, responds to economy negatively, in tension with every effort to coerce, regulate or contain it. Without shying from critiques of vitalism (Mikhail Bakhtin and Benjamin Noys), can Shklovsky’s dismissal of a political economy of art, contribute to the understanding of the current ‘aesthetic relations of production’ (Theodor W. Adorno)? And can this understanding be brought into meaningful alignment with forms of critical, anti-productivist and anti-instrumental thought today?