Artists Remake the World
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The Series : « Art and Enrichment »

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The Author : Olivier Quintyn


Olivier Quintyn was born in 1978 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure (Fontenay/Saint-Cloud). Holder of an Aggregation higher degree in French language and literature, he taught Aesthetics and Art History at the University of Rennes II and now teaches Literature at the Lycée Jacques Monod in Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine). Since 1997, he has been disseminating reports and “poetic documents” on international geopolitics in the framework of his Project [S.V.P.]: publications in reviews, collective books, performances, posters, and the distribution of flyers in public areas. In his editorial unit Questions Théoriques, he animates the philosophical collection known as “Saggio casino”. He has also written three theoretical works: Dispositifs/Dislocations. Essai sur le collage (Al Dante, 2007), Valences de l’avant-garde. Essai sur l’avant-garde, l’art contemporain et l’institution (Questions Théoriques, 2015), and Implémentations/Implantations : pragmatisme et théorie critique. Essais sur l’art et la philosophie de l’art (Questions Théoriques, 2017).

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Essay by Olivier Quintyn
21 June 2019

Art, Enrichment and Sumptuary Value 3/3

Essay by Olivier Quintyn

One of capitalism’s major characteristics consists in the limitless, overall dynamics of accumulation and enrichment: the only aim of these dynamics is their own perpetuation, by shifting the quest for profit towards new pools of wealth once the chances of making a profit from a given economic site or established merchandise format have been exhausted. This characteristic is infinite (since the movement of capital’s accumulation is endless) and mobile (since one of its main operating principles is the shifting and constant renewal of the sources of profit), and represents both the strength and weakness of capitalism. Strength, because this integral form of capitalism proceeds by progressively enrolling what used to be subtracted from trade and merchandizing, by the commercial sphere’s progressive colonisation of the entire realm of existence; weakness, because the self-referential dynamics of enrichment pursued for itself have to find normative and political support from society in order to be acceptable, even though they never stop producing inequality and social suffering for the many. Enrichment can hardly constitute an autonomous moral grandeur liable to trigger the approval of the overwhelming majority of people who are not capital-rich, and yet whose work is indispensable for the valorisation of this same capital.

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