"He says that Duchamp is involved in exchange value, not use value. Let's say a readymade is a compensation. It doesn't offer any engagement. Once again, it's the alienated relic for our modern post-industrial society. So he's just using manufactured goods and mystifying them, or transforming them into gold, you might say. That's where the alchemy would come in... That strikes me as a kind of escapism, or it's a way of relieving the dissatisfaction one might feel with bourgeois society, all its crassness and all that sort of thing. It would seem that Duchamp was always involved with luxuriating in that."
- Robert Smithson.
I love Smithson's critique of Duchamp. It's very difficult to work with mass produced objects and not work under the sign of the readymade. Which makes me wonder how we can come to terms with the great trash pile of consumer society, without glorifying it or worse, trying to transcend it? This is an open question. Perhaps a clue might lie somewhere in the idea and practicalities of use.
Jessie Bullivant has kindly sent me an image which relates to an earlier post. This is a roll-less toilet roll: