Purple Television

[July 21 2014] : fashion

Francesco Masci / La mode est nihiliste

Francesco Masci / La mode est nihiliste by Alessandro Tinelli

Francesco Masci, in Perugia, Italy on March 11th, 1967, studied philosophy in his hometown and at the Düsseldorf Universitat. He moved to Paris in September 1993, where he started to collaborate with various cultural institutions. In 2001, he decided to cease all collaboration with the cultural industry and focus exclusively on his theoretical work. He has developed a new interpretation of modernity as cultural modernity where morality, aesthetics and technology work together against the political as ordering forces. He published his first book Superstitions in 2005, followed by Entertainment ! Apologie de la domination (2011) and L’ordre regne a Berlin (2013, German translation by Matthes & Seitz, March 2014 and Italian translation to be published by Asterio Editore) all by Editions Allia in Paris. Since 2002, he has been invited to give lectures and to participate at numerous conferences in cultural institutions all over the world (the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Columbia University in New York, the MuCEM in Marseille or the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Quito, among others).

“Fashion is nihilist. No, don’t get me wrong; I have no intention to join the chorus of critical mourners. When I say “nihilism” I am not talking about a supposed lack of values in fashion stemming from its producers cynicism and it’s consumer’s vanity. The nihilism of fashion – its relation to nothingness – is an ontological necessity.

Fashion only works through a temporally defined principle of negation. It is a perfect management tool for the production of contingent events, a production which has become exaggerated and more and more anarchical during the course of modernity. Fashion doesn’t resist this flow. On the contrary, it accelerates it by establishing an inflationist regime of contingency.

Each new product contains its own negation. In fashion, disappointment brings forth expectation and expectation already has disappointment within it. The constant changes that fashion produces, is a side effect from this work of creation and conservation of nothingness (which does not mean a creation from nothing) that makes fashion the twin sister of modern culture. A negative and somewhat repetitive temporality secures the free circulation of sets of standardized experiences.

With fashion the consumer blends into the collective producer of a generalized equivalence of everything to everything. Nothingness lies at the heart of modernity and it is nothing more than an autonomous yet ordinary, collective yet exclusive product. The two creatures of modern society who seemed irreconcilable – the individual and the mass – celebrate their marriage in the popular splendor of fashion.” – Francesco Masci

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