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Smart vs dumb?

Kenneth Goldsmith, poeta anti-creativo e fondatore dell’archivio dell’avant-garde UbuWeb (nonché  promotore dell’incredibile progetto crowdsourcing Printing out the Internet), è autore di un saggio on-line dal titolo Being Dumb.

Lo scritto gioca sulla contrapposizione fra “smart” e “dumb”. “Smart” è aggettivo obiettivamente stanco e abusato, ormai esteso a praticamente qualsiasi cosa: dai telefoni alle città; dalle reti elettriche alle scatole regalo. Se applicato alle persone, “Smart” è per Goldsmith sinonimo di una condotta competitiva, faticosa, estenuante e in ultima analisi meccanica:

Smart is a star student, flawlessly dotting i’s and crossing t’s […]. Smart is an over-achieving athlete, accomplishing things that mere mortals can only dream of. Complex and deep, exclusive and elite, smart brims with value. Having sweated for what it’s accomplished, smart pays a handsome dividend to those invested […]. But by playing a high stakes game, smart is always paranoid that it might lose hard-won ground […]. Success or failure, win or lose, smart trades in binaries. Smart is exhausting—and exhausted.

Ben diverso è per Goldsmith l’essere “dumb”, interpretato in maniera tutt’altro che negativa e anzi inteso come sinonimo di riconoscibili capacità creative

Dumb is an ill-prepared slacker, riding on hunches and intuition […]. Caring little for progress or narrative, dumb moves laterally, occasionally spiraling back in on itself […]. Dumb favors re—recontextualization, reframing, redoing, remixing, recycling—rather than having to go through the effort of creating something from scratch.

Giocando con le parole, Goldsmith costruisce alcune combinazioni (“dumb dumb”, “smart smart”, “smart dumb”) e le identifica con personaggi, aziende e istituzioni:

Dumb dumb is rednecks and racists, football hooligans, gum-snapping marketing girls, and thick-necked office boys. Dumb dumb is Microsoft, Disney, and Spielberg.

Smart smart is TED talks, think tanks, NPR news, Ivy League universities, The New Yorker, and expensive five-star restaurants. By trying so hard, smart smart really misses the point.

Smart dumb is The Fugs, punk rock, art schools, Gertrude Stein, Vito Acconci, Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, Seth Price, Tao Lin, Martin Margiela, Mike Kelley, and Sofia Coppola. Smart dumb plays at being dumb dumb but knows better.

L’essere “smart dumb” è  per Golsmith l’esito più sensato e utile del percorso fra “smartness” e “dumbness”. Ma attenzione, il percorso è lungo:

Dumb is not an inborn condition. You get to dumb after going through smart. Smart is stupid because it stops at smart. Smart is a phase. Dumb is post-smart. Smart is finite, well-trod, formulaic, known. The world runs on smart. It’s clearly not working.

[ illustrazione: Dumb Ways to Die ]

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