Adorno on tension

Finally got my computer back from the computer-healers after ten days. Fixed. No loss of data. That’s a relief. I’m celebrating with a quote from Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory. What else?

Here he goes:

The loss of tension, an insignificance of the relation of parts to the whole, is the strongest objection to be made against much contemporary art. Yet the abstract demand for tension would itself be mediocre and artificial: The concept of tension applies to what is always under tension, namely form and its other, which is represented in the work by the particularities. (p.69)

This is a really chunky (and shamelessly grandiose) quote, full of implications, which I’ll develop later. But for now, I just want to point to the resonance it has with my earlier post about tension as an emergent property rather than something to be composed ‘in the abstract’ (i.e. as a parameter to itself).