Luna Voss Studios
Critical Social Justice and art
The Critical Social Justice movement has now reached dominance in culture and politics. First it started affecting academia, and in art it is mainly expressed though neo-conceptualism.
From personal experience on my Art Foundation, this was the easy answer for people who couldn't draw and didn’t have any talent, but had carefully cultivated a strong sense of being wronged by the world and wanted to have the benefits of being an artist without having to do the work necessary to create something of value (I'm not saying there aren't talented neo-conceptualists).
Critical Social Justice is now the main political agenda and anyone who dares contest it is labelled as some sort of dangerous extremist. This is to hide the clear extremism and toxicity of Critical Social Justice derived from post-modern ideas and weaponized with conflict theory. Any objection or discussion would provide an antidote to the poison, so it cannot be allowed and is cause of great rage.
I wanted to analyse the emotion and psychology behind all of this by looking at work by someone whose art I overall like. Her apt social critique and deep understanding of trauma is what made her so successful and inspired hoards of talentless CSJ copycats, who talk like Joey from Friends in the episode he learned how to use a thesaurus.
Right from the beginning, as clearly visible in culture and academia, it was a way of crashing the party for people who lack talent, academic rigour and initiative. It is often used as an excuse to discredit and destroy more talented competition (and in fact this blog post is inspired by a talented photographer friend leaving Twitter due to attempts to destroy him by these people). Their art often doesn't even try to hide these intentions.
In my angsty, self-pity days I could actually relate to some of Jenny Holzer's inflammatory essays, most of it is Third Reich like level of nourished, conscious, revelled in, laboured, and often justified by disgusting doses of self-pity, immorality, not to use the word "evil".
The image below, for example, is something I sometimes felt, while misunderstood by my host culture and peers, torn by a miscarriage of justice, a personal tragedy in the family at a very young age. Wanting to make them suffer the same as my family and culture did, suffer the realities, desperation and cruel aggression of the poverty both material but also spiritual, emotional, social and cultural my country still struggles with today, but also the personal injustice I suffered.
While these emotions happen and acknowledging them can help you deal with it, and art about them is important, feeding this way of harbouring rejections and plain misunderstandings is what creates and drives organised hate groups such as incels for example.
So it is ironic the group that is busy calling everyone and everything a hate group, is in fact driven by the same psychology as most hate groups.
At the end of the day, nobody actually owes you their sympathy, time or understanding, it is down to you to make yourself understood – a beautiful, fulfilling and liberating process. Not only is it very tragic to deny oneself that, this is how change is achieved.
This particular essay along with most others really makes the deep psychological trauma which instead of being attempted at healing is being harboured and watered daily until it grows into fantasies of tyranny.
Sparked by real injustices, so well understood by Jenny Holzer, then offering tyrannical responses she accurately describes - ironic as tyranny is the cause to the pain described. But who says art has to be moral. Saying that, I saw it more as one does a gangster film, an entertaining release and insight, not so much a call to action. Tyranny breeds tyranny.
And I guess cultural and political tyranny is exactly what the Critical Social Justice movement is about. A self-inflicted deep unhappiness, the result of self-indulgent nourishing one’s self-pity, anger and laziness in order to later justify monstrous, unjust and unjustifiable, tyrannical acts be they on a personal or mass level. Instead of getting justice, become like the monster who did this to you. And if your wounds are barely unintentional scratches, just pick them until they get infected, because no one could ever possibly understand, and even if your grievances are completely illegitimate - jump on the bandwagon, tyranny is fun once it's justified.
Which is fine if it wasn't the praised and default moral stance to hold today.
Here you can see updates about what I've been up to.