Writers in the expanded field, Lucia Pietroiusti, 2014
(You are here: Art after the internet, Omar Kholeif)
Over the past few years, I have developed an increasing difficulty in writing a tone that is not at once confessional and citational. (…) a performance of the self -postulated, in part, by the multiplicity of social media.. The fact, for instance, that I would not even get along (let alone identify) with my Airbnb self, reveals something about the interface between self and ‘self’, somewhere at the meeting point of symbolic depression and public broadcast. And, frankly, some expressions of self are so sincere they just end up sounding, well - drunk.
Readers of David Foster Wallace and proponents of late-twentieth-century post-ironic forms of sincerity identify in his writing an understanding of the confessional tone as necessarily existing with and within manipulation, with none of the two being clearly purified of the other not even to the person who speaks. One can not longer believe (see Brief Interviews with Hideous Men), or make others believe, that a tone of total disclosure holds any bearing to an authentic self: it is about whether you, listener, O trusty reader, will like me or not.
Advertising is, certainly, primarily responsible for this shift: it is no coincidence that the phrase ‘I don’t buy it’ interchanges seamlessly with ‘I don’t believe it’.
Literary theorist Adam Kelly: “Formal distinctions between self and others morph into conflict within the self, and a recursive and paranoid cycle of endless anticipation begins.”
The outstanding problem inherent in this, of course, persists: then what? How do we liberate ourselves from the sincerity altogether, extracting ourselves from the sincere-ironic-authentic trichotomy, only to return to a world without an audience? In this context, Giuseppe Penone’s 1970 work, Rovesciare i propri occhi, appears as necessary now as ever before.