“The Exit Zero Project (www.exitzeroproject.org) is a transmedia exploration of the traumatic effects of the loss of the steel industry in Southeast Chicago, the impact that deindustrialization has had on expanding class inequalities in the United States more broadly, and how Americans talk – and fail to talk – about social class. The project includes an award-winning book, Exit Zero: Family and Class in Post-Industrial Chicago authored by Christine Walley, as well as a documentary film, entitled Exit Zero: An Industrial Family Story (2016) made in conjunction with director and filmmaker Chris Boebel. The book and film use first person narration to trace the stories of multiple generations of writer/producer Walley’s family in this once-thriving steel mill community. From the turn-of-the-century experience of immigrants who worked in Chicago’s mammoth industries to the labor struggles of the 1930s to the seemingly unfathomable closure of the steel mills in the 1980s and 90s, these family stories convey a history that serves as a microcosm of the broader national experience of deindustrialization and its economic and environmental aftermath.”
Reading Existence and Existents by Emmanuel Levinas, I stumbled across this neat little bit about art in the chapter on “Existence without a World.” This is a 1947 text, written right after the war, and before, it seems, the turn by the philosopher to more systematic conceptualizations of alterity and ethics, and before what might be construed as a flat and programmatic iconoclasm (i.e. the stereotypical blather about “idolatry”). The chapter starts out with the statement, “In our relationship with the world we are able to withdraw from the world” (p.45). Paintings, statues, books, cinema are all objects of “our world, but through them the things represented are extracted from our world.” Colors detach from things. The particular is allowed to exist apart (pp.46,-8 emphasis in the original).
The particular has a unique status in modern art (at the time of writing, he calls it “contemporary”). “From a space without…
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