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The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization$
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Jasper Bernes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796415

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796415.001.0001

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Art, Work, and Endlessness in the 2000s

Art, Work, and Endlessness in the 2000s

(p.149) 5 Art, Work, and Endlessness in the 2000s
The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization

Jasper Bernes

Stanford University Press

This chapter skips forward several decades, to the 2000s, and looks at the legacy of the transformations discussed in the preceding chapters. Bernes examines the debates that followed the emergence of “Flarf” and “conceptual poetry,” both movements that foregrounded their relationship to contemporary office work. He focuses in particular on the relationship between Flarf poetry, with its rebellious use of work time, work machinery, and work jargon, and the increase in interworker aggression, which he attributes to the inability of workers to find outlets for resistance. Bernes links this horizontalized aggression with the phenomenon of the “Internet troll,” who responds to the emasculation that male workers feel as a consequence of the restructuring of labor. By the 2000s, firms had so thoroughly neutralized the aesthetic critique of labor mobilized by preceding generations of artists that it persisted only in various forms of minor rebellion and acting out.

Keywords:   Flarf, conceptual poetry, Internet trolls, David Foster Wallace, Sean Bonney, white-collar work, the end of labor, the end of art, management theory

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