Eikonomia: Notes on Economy and the Labor of Art

AuthorSotirios Bahtsetzis
Further Information


Much has been said about the dangerous impact of a superficial, lifestyle-based, money-oriented culture: it has often been invoked as the explanation for why people become passive, docile, and easy to manipulate irrespective of how disadvantageous their economic conditions are. Following the illustrative critique of two eminent proponents of this criticism, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, the culture of our times is endangered by the uncontrollable expansion of the culture industry into higher artistic production—manipulating the masses into passivity and cultivating false needs.1 “Art” that produces standardized cultural goods reflects a peculiar type of aestheticization of the everyday world: a dream-like immersion into mass-produced commodities. This immersion is equivalent to the adoption of behavioral stereotypes and tastes linked to a continuously advertised petit-bourgeois phantasmagoria, and also reflects the advanced commodification of social life…