Jeff Derksen


The sun glints off the chrome

bodies of the gondolas

of late capitalism

as they labour up the mountain.


The mountain is named

after a commodity.Art has made this

a nonalienated view. Is that what

we asked it to do?


If "each day seems like a natural fact"

and "and what we think

changes how we act"

should art not reveal ideology

rather than naturalize it?


These old idealisms,

they burn me up

These old idealisms,

what do they cover up?


You had a lovely critique

and you looked great,

sexy really, the way your

world-market pants might shock the

bourgeoisie into consciousness.


But these days I'm yearning

not for a little outside to call my own,

although I like good design

as well and do feel that the proles

can share a moment...

after all it wasn't so long ago that I

touched a spark plug or had a cute

smudge of oil on my nose...but now

sure, I'm wanting a little

overdetermination with my



Not more of these natural facts

("life is"). But back

to this "ocularcentric" idea

of ideology, and art as a sort

of social goggles, the artist as

opthamologist. I'd like to see

the real relations

but you've got Nikes

on and I like you so I have to

try and understand.


And if that shirt's

from The Gap, then one arm

was sewn in Malaysia, the other

in Sri Lanka. Why then is it hard

to "see" ideology

when you're wearing it?

Is it "out there"? Or deeper

inside than even desire

could get wet over?


Then that clarity that might lead

to historical consciousness

is maybe muddied to the point where

you wouldn't even recognize your

buddies once you got there. "Hey you,

Louis!" (There are historical

determinants to being snide as well.)


"People have opinions /

where do they come from?"


My romantic belief is that historical

consciousness may come. My sad

cognitive mapping is that

overdetermined contradictions

don't lead to new social relations.

I want an Art more complicated

than The Gap.


resident, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada. October 31, 1998