context, a work of art which attempts to enlighten people advocates a “political falsehood”.Standardized forms of music experience a similar sacking by Adorno
. However, Beckett’s art proposes the idea that meaning is unfixed; it releases the possibility of change by showing that“natural[ness]”, in the social sphere, is determined subjectively. It reveals that what is constructedcan be reconstructed. This short treatise will highlight the deficiencies in Adorno’s aesthetic ideas, by emphasising the social opportunities in
which his stance fails to notice.Adorno praised art which denied the possibility of formal repetition.
is a work of art which can be viewed in this mode. Beckett’s goals, in drawing attention to the subjectivenature of knowledge acquisition, remain undetermined. The character’s stage directions imply thatthere is an apparent purpose in the plot. Assess Willie’s reactions to Winnie’s idle chit-chat whenshe says; “fully guaranteed [Willie stops fanning] … genuine pure … [pause, Willie resumesfanning]”. Something occurred at this instance. The words ‘fully guaranteed’ are familiar to him, but we can not identify why this is the case. Later in the play Winnie declares that his gestureshave “no particular significance”
. The elusive comprehensibility of such an example, according toAdorno, keeps us “in the dark”
. However, the play’s objective is divergent from Adorno’sdismissal of signification in art. Its subtext remains on the fence and leaves it to the spectator todecide what line it is following. Winnie empathises with the “strange feeling” the audience has inconceiving what they are “looking at”. She is experiencing the same “strange feeling”; namely, thearbitrary way she is designating and determining her surroundings. The aspirations of
undisclosed. Nevertheless, its possible choices remain visible, and this allows us to reviewand re-evaluate the socio/political implications they have.
T. Adorno, ‘On the Fetish Character in Music and the Regression of Listening’, in
The Culture Industry,
(Oxford:Routledge, 2001) p. 32.
, (London: Faber & Faber, 2006).
T. Adorno, ‘Commitment’, Ibid.