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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathDeserts of the Political

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overwhelmed by a sense of disgust.»[33] Here, a kind of Bataille and Sartre-inspired «existentialism» accuses politics of making unreasonable demands, of causing traumatic violence, of exhausting and transforming every well-meant act (which is, to say the least, a problem concerning the concept of good intentions). At the same time, however, Smithson pursues precisely the principle underlying the entropic processes of dissolution and decay. His critique of political engagement opposes the subjugation of aesthetic activity to a foreign discipline. Simultaneously, his position does not simply move beyond sense and rationality to jouissance. Rather, his thoughts lead to dialectics of contingency and consolidation.[34] Subjectivity and the ability to act are put to the test, taken to their limits, but never rejected.

Disintegrated world

Using his theoretical and artistic instruments, Robert Smithson creates desertlike conditions, where the frailty of any goal-oriented political deed is evident. Smithson s politics are the politics of the desert, if we believe that the «desert» exists in a discursive,


material space, in something like a «collection of locations or positions which coexist independently of the temporal order &«[35] Gilles Deleuze describes those «any-space-whatevers, deconnected or emptied spaces,» those «undifferentiated urban tissue, its vast unused places, docks, warehouses, heaps of girders and scrap iron,«[36] which appear in modern post-war films, especially in Antonioni's, as the visualization of a new kind of environment, as «arbitrary spaces, superseded or emptied,» where the «modern affects of fear, detachment, but also freshness, extreme speed and interminable waiting were developing.»[37] Smithson refigured this arbitrary space, reduced the extistential aspects, but also used its entropic potential to create. And he did this at a point in history when the prefix «de» began to dominate: «de,» as in English/French desert/désert, as in «decentralization,» «dedi f ferent iat ion,» «depersonal izat ion,» «dehumanizat ion,» «dematerialization,» «deconstruction.» The desert dissolves, separates, alienates. The term «disintegration» especially became more relevant to the relation between desert and perception. In «A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Art,» a 1968 essay,

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