The commodity hides in stores, in warehouses – in inventory

What is a commodity? A concrete abstraction. An abstraction, certainly – but not an abstraction in spite of its status as a thing; an abstraction, on the contrary, on account of its status as a social ‘thing’, divorced, during its existence, from its materiality, from the use to which it is put, from productive activity, and from the needs that it satisfies. And concrete, just as certainly, by virtue of its practical power. The commodity is a social ‘being-there’, an ‘object’ irreducible to the philosophical concept of the Object. The commodity hides in stores, in warehouses- in inventory. Yet it has no mystery comparable to the mystery of nature. The enigma of the commodity is entirely social. It is the enigma of money and property, of specific needs and the demand-money-satisfaction cycle. The commodity asks for nothing better than to appear. And appear it does – visible/readable, in shop windows and on display racks. Self-exhibition is its forte. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p.340

Inventory_flyer-for_Vol2_No_3_1997.jpgInventory Journal flyer for Vol.2 No.3, 1997 (photo taken at Mayday Archives)


About anti

Anthony Iles is currently a doctoral candidate at the School of Art & Design, Middlesex University. A founder member of the Full Unemployment Cinema. A contributing editor with Mute / Metamute since 2005. He is the author, with Josephine Berry-Slater, of the book, No Room to Move: Art and the Regenerate City (Mute Books, London 2011), contributing editor to the recent publications, Anguish Language: writing and crisis (Archive Books, Berlin, 2015), and Look at Hazards, Look at Losses (Mute/Kuda, 2017) and a contributor to Brave New Work: A Reader on Harun Farocki’s Film A New Product. Recent essays have been published in Mute, Radical Philosophy, Rab-Rab: Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art and Logos.
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One Response to The commodity hides in stores, in warehouses – in inventory

  1. Comrade says:

    Good luck with your work.

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