slack,

art thats “neither for nor against arts sake,” low-inevitability art “made to suit a consumer”; etymologically pejorative, the concept drifted towards neutrality, perhaps due to its measurability and some predictive power. Slack or pops (“popularity sought”) adheres shamelessly to conventions of genre, tempo, characterization, relief; aims to be digestible, hence formulaic, hence forgettable; is often serial, repetitive, voluminous (“bulk art”); critically, is unloved by the author (and hard to cook by anyone), at times so thinklessly cheap as to fit the definition of spam. Not all slack art is talentless though; addicted to attention, even the giftedest minds — when old, tired, insecure — are tempted to go by inertia, fall back upon expected forms (esp. those they had themselves shaped in more productive years), live off the accumulated capital: slacken. ■    The post-economy world stands no chance of matching late modernitys legendary piles of slack (e.g. the wordcount-sorry, basically hired writing: writers would even go on strikes). Sparsening came as the great unlearning: suddenly echoless fell the habitual themes, techniques, torques; the “mainstream taste” (to which even the most esoteric art had been pandering) was gone: there was no mainstream audience anymore. Itself nearly slackless — as revolutions tend to be — the near-death experience of sparsening didnt magically end all slack but changed its genesis, composition, perception; the best art from the years of turmoil (“final crumble of the edifice of culture”!) reads childish, inapt, tongue-twisted — and, fortunately, it has only partially recovered since.

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