Thursday, December 5, 2019

John Knight at Galerie Neu at The Intermission


John Knight I would refer to it as a form of discursive specificity, but certainly not the situational model of site specificity that has been proposed by Miwon Kwon and others that tend to legitimate a generation of nineties fashion production, the likes of Pardo, etc., which are essentially designer knick-knacks disguised as “installation art.”

Isabelle Graw So in what way is the way you legitimize your practice through a site different from that type of practice you just criticized, like Pardo’s?

JK Because I don’t think my project is constructed for or received in the same way. It’s not reified under the conditions of the already fixated institutional frame like those projects are. I try not to reproduce the actual model of production that I’m attempting to interrogate, as I think others do with impunity.

Benjamin Buchloh You were the first artist that I’ve known who for many, many years, without even understanding what you meant at the time, said that all artistic decisions are design decisions. Your interest in design as a language, as one language among many systems within an ideological apparatus, has become very clear by now. Your understanding of design history and of design traditions in their transformation from the 1920s to the 1950s is a very integral part of that. Why would you then not welcome an artist like Pardo who supposedly does exactly that in the most programmatic way? He’s the guy who brought this out to the foreground and made a megaproject out of it.

JK Well, I welcome the illustration of the problem I think it represents, but don’t cuddle up to projects so politically bankrupted. It is exactly the black hole of consumption that it wants to be and questions precisely nothing.

IG His work is not about posing or causing problems.

JK There are no problems, but I would take this back to the Bauhaus, and the inherent problems in designing for a better world, which carries itself over to Cranbrook and spreads about the globe as it enters into the marketplace, vis-à-vis Design for Better Living, Design Research, Design Within Reach, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, IKEA. Product design, interior design, and installation design are all deeply implicated in capitalist ideology. It’s the primary lexicon for substantiating neoliberalism. It’s the off-the-shelf language of hegemony.