Arguing that art is a form of social praxis, this book examines the capitalist ethos of serial reproduction of objects as one that also produces individuals as serial types. Art as praxis makes possible the reconstruction of one's identity and material environment as irreproducible, unique, and original art texts. Art becomes the tool of a creative process that has both material and spiritual dimensions. In recreating the self and the world as aesthetically unique, original and irreproducible, art challenges the capitalist ethos of reproduction that leads to routine, dissatisfaction and alienation.
This theory is rooted in the anarchist intellectual tradition, especially Georges Sorel's conceptualisation of the relations between art, violence and social myth, in which workers are regarded as artisans, artists and activists. Balinisteanu illustrates this through analyses of the ways in which James Joyce and W. B. Yeats, along with key modernist writers and philosophers, facilitated the reconstruction of the social self and social-material reality in a process where political action also became an action of aesthetic creation.
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