14 February 2009
Homer's 'systematic soldiering'
“In his critique of the everyday, Lefebvre sought not simply "entertainment" or "relaxation" but the articulation of different forms of knowledge, knowledge that could aid in the potential and/or intermittent process of "dis-alienation." It is not in leisure as such where a critique of capitalism is to be found. Rather, a critique may emerge in those moments when the relations between elements of the everyday are made evident or challenged. Duchamp's presentation and arrangement of the readymades exhibit a desire to foil the functionality of these objects, whose usefulness resides in their ability to aid domestic and maintenance labor. Yet in foiling work, the readymades do not offer leisure as work's simple antithesis (nor do they offer art as pure leisure). Instead, their placement in the home/studio tangles the categories of both work and leisure. This presentation of nonwork and leisure has a social and historical context larger than Duchamp's studio, for Duchamp's refusal of work (both maintenance and traditional means of artistic labor) happened alongside one of the most profound shifts in twentieth-century conceptions of work: Taylorism.”
- Helen Molesworth, Work Avoidance: The Everyday Life of Marcel Duchamp's Readymades