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Documents of UtopiaThe Politics of Experimental Documentary$
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Paolo Magagnoli

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172714

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172714.001.0001

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Archives of Commodities

Archives of Commodities

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter Three Archives of Commodities
Source:
Documents of Utopia
Author(s):

Paolo Magagnoli

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231172714.003.0003

This chapter presents three photographic series by artists Zoe Leonard, Rachel Harrison, and Jean-Luc Moulène, all of which illustrate kitsch and low-budget goods and market stalls. Their projects share an interest with obsolete commodities which challenges traditional Marxist approaches to consumer culture. Marxist critical theory considers commodity as the point of a profound collective memory disturbance. Instead of simplifying commodity culture as a Marxist approach would demand, Moulène, Harrison, and Leonard nostalgically glorify it. These artists express a provocative dialectical approach to commodity culture that attempts to recover some positive utopian elements inherent in capitalism. Their projects suggest that capitalism can lead to social formations; yet, they seem to break the notion of utopia as the desire for difference, or to desire differently from what society approves.

Keywords:   Zoe Leonard, Rachel Harrison, Jean-Luc Moulène, Marxist critical theory, commodity culture, capitalism, social formations, utopia

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