The belief within the impossibility of a position of grasping the planet in its totality seems to be a logical consequence of materialist philosophy. The religious tradition, alongside idealistic philosophy, understood one’s soul or reason as nonmaterial and purely spiritual, allowing the planet in its totality to be seen from an external, transcendent position. But if a person’s is merely a cloth thing among other material things, then the meta-position seems impossible. Indeed, we are totally immersed within a up to date world—or better put, contemporary civilization—in which one often speaks about cultural differences. there’s just one institution that doesn’t totally belong to our times . it’s the museum.
I don’t speak of specific museums but rather of the conservation of historical objects and their display within the times . While these objects from the past—seen within the here and now—belong to the times , they even have no present use. There are in fact other objects—urban buildings for example—that have their origins within the past but, through their use by their inhabitants, they become integrated into the times . But objects placed during a museum aren’t used for any practical purposes: they continue to be witnesses of the past, a time external to our world. Thus, they’re meta-objects, occupying an area outside of our world, during a space that Michel Foucault defined as heterotopic space. And if one wants a definition of art, it’s the following: art consists of the objects that remain after the cultures which produced them have disappeared.
From its beginning, the artwork is handled during a way that permits it to survive culture. While one often speaks about the artwork as a commodity, it’s not a traditional commodity. the traditional commodity is formed to be consumed—in other words, to be destroyed (eaten as bread, used as a car). So, during a certain sense, art is an anti-commodity. it’s anesthetize the condition of conservation—prevented from being destroyed by time and by use. And this, actually, is that the essential characteristic of art: it survives its original culture, taking an extended journey through all the opposite , later cultures. It remains at an equivalent time foreign to those other cultures—an alien in their midst, carrying with it the knowledge of its past.