|Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.|
These attitudes are still familiar to us today, in a time where the basic method of every montage has long since received the name of a popular function of any word processing program: copy and paste. The fundamental issues of aesthetic practice, which I have just sketched with the aid of the montage issue, have remained loyal to the twentieth century. Only that at the latest since Brecht, position number one—the critically enlightening marking of one's own process that has become a standard of civil culture—has also found its way into the culinary arts. The anti-humanistic improvement of the arts, the second position, no longer emerges manifesto-like as part of the avant-garde, but as the common overpowering aesthetic principle of the culture industry. At the time of the emerging montage discourse it was not foreseeable that such an industry would develop. However, even in the advanced civil culture there is a ritual interest in the narcissistic mortification of the artist subject, for instance when in the 1950s Enzensberger talks about the poet having to become an engineer, and the conservative avant-gardists Benn
and Jünger want to make the idea of the artist's coldness with respect to his material—stemming from the conservative ethics of the 1930s—tempting to the post-war culture as "progressive."
The third position, too, which for the sake of simplicity is attributed to Benjamin, proves to be fairly constant and turns up again and again, in particular within the context of the revival of the avant-garde after World War II, for instance in Situationism (Guy Debord), the COBRA movement (Asger Jorn), or with Robert Rauschenberg, indeed even through the so-called De-Collage (see Wolf Vostell) in the unintentionally funny, literal interpretation by Benjamin, and disappears at best in Pop Art. Or it is lifted by another strategy in the process. If one wants to, in the 1960s one can understand the end of the montage in that essential elements of the third, the Benjaminian idea of the montage, disintegrates into two parts: On the one hand, Pop Art and later developments such as photorealism stand for the presentation of technologically reinforced realistic or indexicalist material from reality in the art context (no illusion intended)—without, however, mounting this to