[iDC] (no subject) - ethics

Sal Randolph salrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Jan 21 22:54:14 UTC 2008

Hi Robert,

That's a really intriguing quote from Ethics of Luxury, but I'm not  
quite sure how to interpret it - can you offer a little more context  
for those of us who don't have a copy of the book on hand just yet?

> Randolph postulates community as a common illusion
> produced by the exercise of imagination in ways that involve trust  
> and a
> shared ethics:

I'd be particularly interested to know with what sort of tone or  
valence she (and you) are using the word "illusion" here, and in what  
way this illusion is thought to influence actions and realities.

Personally I love Winnicott, especially for his notions of   
transitional objects and transitional space - what I take from his  
ideas is specifically that the "transitional" occupies a middle zone  
between imagination and reality, a way for the two modes to meet and  
transform one another.

(For anyone here who isn't yet a Winnicott fan, the classic  
"transitional object" is something like a child's blankie - a real  
thing infused with the imaginary presence of another, for instance  
the child's mother.  The blankie works for the child -- it feels  
comforting, it can be thrown away and retrieved, played with, and  
ignored -- precisely because both its real and imaginary properties  
operate together).

This implies that transitional spaces (for instance, art or play) are  
pathways by which imagination (illusion?) can have an influence on,  
can matter, in the real world (and vice versa).  Or to put it  
differently, it's one way of thinking about how imagination can be  

- Sal

On Jan 18, 2008, at 11:30 PM, R Labossiere wrote:

> I've just had the great pleasure of working on a book that tackles the
> difficult question of ethics and creative production and would like  
> to quote
> a part of it (below) that I believe is particularly relevant to  
> this thread.
> The book, as I proofed it so many times, struck me as so pertinent  
> not just
> to the visual arts but particularly to our new media milieu. Jeanne
> Randolph, the author, is an artist and psychiatrist. Informed by  
> object
> relations theory, Winnicott in particular, she conceptualizes the  
> positions
> of creators and artists in terms of ethics, while tackling the ornery
> reality that our positions are fundamentally 'tainted,' by the  
> reality of
> superabundance -  luxury. Randolph postulates community as a common  
> illusion
> produced by the exercise of imagination in ways that involve trust  
> and a
> shared ethics:
> Randolph:
> "I continue the make-believe of a group of basically imaginative  
> people, a
> group formed on the basis of shared illusion of the experience of  
> ethical
> imagining (or, if this is really a new idea, a group formed on the  
> basis of
> the hypothesis that there is such a practice of ethical imagining).
> It would be our joy, whenever given the impetus primum non nocere  
> [from the
> hypocratic oath: before all else, do no harm], it would not be  
> contradictory
> to suppose that in our enclave of luxury:
> We would converse gladly;
> We would delight in curiosity;
> Certainly we would abhor objectification of any person anywhere;   
> this would
> include abhorrence of reacting to another person as a mere function  
> of our
> own agenda;
> Each of us would maintain equanimity about holding individual or group
> power;
> We would never enforce judgments on the possible, to remove  
> obstacles to
> playfulness;
> If we witnessed someone(s) who rarely had the opportunity to  
> participate in
> situations like ours, our saddened response would include  
> reconsideration of
> the relevance of their situation to our enclave of luxury;
> After many conversations we might even come to believe that the  
> illusory
> experience we had conjured -- ethical imagining -- keeps us  
> together even
> while we are dispersed ... working in separate enclaves of luxury."
> - excerpted from Ethics of Luxury: materialism and imagination by  
> Jeanne
> Randolph  https://nt2.nshosts.com/yyzartistsoutletorg/books.asp? 
> language=en
> Robert Labossiere
> http://www.readingart.ca
> http://www.robertlabossiere.com

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

Sal Randolph
salrandolph [at[ gmail [dot] com

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