Performance Without End Product
Paolo Virno on Glenn Gould, Hannah Arendt, Fordism and the Frankfurt School in The Grammar of the Multitude:
Serialization, insignificance of individual tasks, the econometrics of feelings: these are the recurrent refrains. Evidently, this critical approach allowed, in the peculiar case of the culture industry, for the continuation of some elements which resist a complete assimilation to the Fordist organization of the labor process. In the culture industry, that is to say, it was therefore necessary to maintain a certain space that was informal, not programmed, one which was open to the unforeseen spark, to communicative and creative improvisation: not in order to favor human creativity, naturally, but in order to achieve satisfactory levels of corporate productivity. However, for the Frankfurt School, these aspects were nothing but un-influential remnants, remains of the past, waste. What counted was the general Fordization of the culture industry. Now, it seems to me, from our present perspective, that it is not difficult to recognize that these purported remnants (with a certain space granted to the informal, to the unexpected, to the “unplanned”) were, after all, loaded with future possibilities.