Fear of things

My column in September’s ArtReview magazine. Read the entire issue for free at www.artreviewdigital.com

“Do you remember things? Actual things? And you could touch them, couldn’t you, remember? The physical world, I’m talking about — remember it, older people? Matter? The older people, they remember… actual matter. Remember? Things? And it was all real and it all existed, yeah? Not like now.”

I’m watching the brilliant British standup Stewart Lee on YouTube, in a show from his Comedy Vehicle series, in a skit in which he satirises the voguish discussions of how virtualised, digital culture is making material objects – like paper letters and vinyl records – redundant. (“For the younger people, a ‘record’ was like a giant, flat MP3, right?”) Around the same time, I’m reading an interview with much-feted international artist Tino Sehgal on the Guardian website. Sehgal doesn’t seem to like things very much:’Our culture is hung up on and overemphasises what can be derived from material objects,’ Sehgal muses. Read More