Monday, November 5, 2012

Statement to Tbilisi Triennial
Hito Steyerl
Studio Miessen
1st Tbilisi Triennial took place on the 19th of October, where one of the invited artist was Hito Steyerl. 45hours before the start of the opening she withdrew her project due to the disagreement of the previously agreed and set conditions. Thus we are publishing here two statements about the 1st Tbilisi Triennial, by Hito Steyerl and Studio Miessen (architects of the installation “Adorno`s Grey”).
Hito Steyerl
Statement to Tbilisi Triennial
  We withdrew our installation as 48h before the opening building of it had not even started. There was no building material, no equipment, paint or anything else on site, nor was the room cleared. As this installation was planned as a quite extensive sculpture the opportunity to build it in an appropriate way was already gone. Nowhere in the world could it have been built in 48h. Faced with the prospect of rushed execution with unpredictable outcome I and the representative of the group I had invited to show their work within the installation decided to withdraw it. The reason given for this situation was perfectly understandable: namely political and economic complications due to the situation post-election. I completely understand this reason. I just think that it should be addressed as such and not translate into rushed installation and potentially compromised artworks. Art is not a tool to reconcile such situations or to pretend that they do not exist. It is not a band aid to cover such situations. And it would be more than inappropriate using an artwork dealing with the case of Theodor W. Adorno to smooth over any such situation. Especially not Adorno, who was removed from his teaching position for political reasons, as seems to have happened in Georgia lately in many cases including the art academy. So I hope that the lack of this artwork will serve to highlight the issue of such complications instead of smoothing it over and raise  - once more – the question of the function of art biennials in such situations. In my lecture I was going to speak about how stupid it is to think of students as people who need to be educated. Instead, in times of crisis, students by means of protests have taken the lead over and over again and educated not only themselves but whole societies. Student protests all over the world have been the best universities of the 20th century, replacing and calling into question stale, dysfunctional and ideological systems of education over and over again. This legacy was to be addressed inside our installation, actualised by the example of a group of Georgian students in Berlin, who walked 333km around the local Georgian embassy to protest one recent case of suspicious and non investigated death blamed by family members of the victim on Georgian patrol police. But art education especially has also currently become entangled in an overall trend of education turning into debt slavery. The privatisation of education, and it´s increasing quantification have led to the necessity for students to buy into educational programmes that work essentially like ponzi schemes. Students mortgage their future to acquire flimsy degrees, that promise jobs and income, or just access to influential networks. Of course  those degrees are by now already highly inflationary and devalued, so that the main result of this type of education will be debt. Art education is deeply entangled into this economy in which learning is financialised and futures of people repackaged as sub-prime junk bonds. This is very often what an MFA or PhD in practice programme means: a sub-prime junk bond on an uncertain future and substantial debt. The financialisation of education radicalises inequality. Art education is deeply tied into this system. In this situation, sometimes student protests are the only form of decent and free education. And over the course of the last century we have seen over and over again, how valuable in the long run this education has been.
Studio Miessen
Studio Miessen would like to express their full support of Hito Steyerl’s response to the decision-making and policy of the 1st Tbilisi Triennial. Together with Hito Steyerl, we have developed and designed the display and exhibition architecture for “Adorno’s Grey”, which had been drawn up and communicated to the Triennial months in advance. We cannot understand the silence and how it is possible to not communicate such severe problems in advance. We are very sad to learn that contributors of the show have been used in order to gain international recognition and press rather than for the Triennial to deal productively and respectful with the actual content of the work. In case we would have been faced with the actual problems and stealth decision-making, we would have been interested in exploring the potential for an amended design, one which takes into consideration the changing nature of the political and economic framework post-election. However, in order for this discussion to take place, communication would have been crucial.
us Miessen and team, Berlin, October 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interview with Marina Grzinic Recorded by Eva Kerremans at HISK 2005







Marina Grzinic(Slovenia) is doctor of philosophy and works as researcher at the Institute of Philosophy
at the ZRC SAZU in Ljubljana. She is a freelance media theorist and curator, and has been involved in video art since 1982. In collaboration with Aina Smid she has produced more than 30 video art projects, a short film, numerous video and media installations, Internet websites and an interactive CD-ROM (ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany). Grzinic has published hundreds of articles and 5 books; her last book is Fiction Reconstructed: Eastern Europe, Post-Socialism and the Retro-Avant-Garde (Vienna: Edition Selene in collaboration with Springerin, Vienna, 2000).


NOT, WHAT IS ART BUT, WHEN IS ART?

Eva Kerremans: “In former days, a painter made his own paint; as the painter, you were the master and there were guilds, etc. You knew perfectly well what you were doing. Later on, industrial paint was invented and was therefore accessible for more and more people. During romanticism, an elevated style came up. This period gave birth to the “shock of the new” and avant¬garde movements. The question about the contents of the concept “art” also rises, finally resulting in ready-made objects. The concept or idea becomes more important than the craft itself. But this ready-made style also indicates the necessity museum’s context. The curator develops into the final critic: he will make a selection from all of this available ready¬made art. The syntaxes and themes of the exhibition practically is a new work of art. His selection criteria are based on intuition and taste. The public however considers this selection as general, common. The artist has become dependent on the museum’s `critical curator machine’. How can an artist nowadays save his authenticity? Can the artist’s authenticity survive at all?”

Marina Grzinic: “The relation `artist - institution’ is a crucial theme. First, you have the topic `tautology’. That means what was the question about ready made. The question of ready- made was not only, that every thing can be proclaimed as art, but also, that the gallery system, the system of art, the institution of art, actually is the last point of verification. Next question could thus be: how is the institution related to art, and vice versa? The gallery was from that moment on the context, which was actually the content of the work of art. And it is the question of ready-made that this is a tautological process. Not, what is art but, when is art? The question `when is art’ is becoming more important. It is not only the context that is relevant, because `what is art’ equals the question `when is art’. It’s a moment of decision. And some art works can also be seen as an event, like in terms of Alain Badiou, something that rearticulates the space. But it is not only about authenticity. But it’s about this context that is actually influencing the reading. Who decides the tautological machine? And this is a matter of naturalization. It means, that everything or some things were generated; they all had these divisions, this contextualization, but at a certain moment we think about them that they always have been like this. And this is how the institution functions, it’s always a certain naturalization of the process, it’s hiding as soon as the question between context and content changes.”

EK “Are the books that they produce as important for the gallery? Because, without a manual, without a legacy, the whole thing doesn’t function.”

MG “There are different systems, because we talk about the so called first capitalistic western system of art. For, this is the system that actually is the most advanced and the only one that is in relation with the capitalistic system; that even generates art as a product, as a system of relations and a system of tools, rituals, the way we behave, the way we buy, the way we influence and in this system what the base is. What is always put apart, what has never been discussed, is the genealogy. What means genealogy? Genealogy is the system of the historical interpretations that actually makes continuity in the story about the background of art. And this is also in what establishes the art market; and the difference between the first and second world is about what I call genealogy, in the classical way. It’s about every type of art. If you think about conceptualism, what do you have? It’s a huge genealogy, a huge historical import; nothing is left out of the machine. And then you have this second world that is this former European Eastern world and maybe the third world is not even included on the map. It’s actually what I call the fast speed up genealogy; it is this Mc Donalds. Because they had to have something, but it’s not important, because the main root is the history in the first capitalistic world. And theory that, until now was seen as a kind of space, that is out of this institution. As a kind of island where legacy is given from which you can speak and you are safe, because it was all this academic institutialization, showing precisely that no one is innocent. Not that we can say: no image is innocent. However, we can say: no space is innocent. So we are all part of this machine. In this way, it’s not theory, but industry of theory, industry of criticism. And a very good example is, just to be even more actual is what’s going today at the present moment. Maybe you heard; there are a lot of projects that are dealing with what... They were going back into history to see who these artists in the sixties and seventies that left the art world, actually are. Who said I don’t want to be part of the story anymore. Because art that was threatened as a space of emancipation, as a space of utopia, showed very quickly that it’s actually a space of art market, manipulation, power, institutions, and so on. And what’s going on today, actually shows that you can’t quit the machine, because you have to think about when the machine will be picking you up. So some of these artists have been picked up and they are contextualized back in the field of art. So this tells me that this system is the most important content and context.”

EK “In the seventies, there is a change in how the museum was perceived by the artist. Before the seventies, you had avant garde movements. In the beginning, the museum was against this new movement but gradually, this new movement was eventually allowed into the museum’s history. The museum had a concept of a historical classification and believed in the continuity of progress and evolution. Suddenly, this became a threat for the art community in the seventies, because the art scene revolted against this historical classification and continuity of progress in art styles and culture. But in the nineties this threat is non-existent, because the museum gives itself a new meaning with all those new media-oriented work that involved the public as a fundamental element of the work. The museum becomes an artificial social construction, where everything is allowed. You can’t fight anymore against the museum like in the seventies, because the museum accepts everything now. In other terms, you get a distorted art world.
When you, for instance, go to the Guggenheim museum, you see a huge monumental architectural palace before entering the art buffet. In 19th century, visitors of the Louvre sat down on banks, smoked a cigar and took their time to look at a painting by Gericault. Nowadays, the museum visit is a speed-up mass event...”



MG “It has changed. The museums have changed into airports, the whole idea behind museums, especially, the new museums like the Japanese `Mori’ in Tokyo or the `Kunsthaus’ in Gratz: you are entering the museum by a staircase that leads you to a stage where you feel as if you were in one of these duty free shops; the whole setting, is as if you were waiting
for taking the next plane., The relation to the books, to the small objects that are coming from the exhibition is the same as what you are buying in a duty free shop. Changing the whole idea of the institution because it’s pressured very much by the money, and the whole idea is actually of diminishing every kind of critic, especially critical thinking. Most of the things you get, is branding; the system of branding. Art is not an exclusive field anymore, that maybe was a bourgeois so to call free entity, where you could think. But now it has become a part of the society in which can be invested. A very good point of this is that everything can be branded and everything has to be sold. And the excellent outcome of all these processes are these unbelievable presentations of private collections today. Because, considering the amount of private collections
that are emerging in the year 2005, `boom’ would be the right term here. You can make an analysis and you see that every second museum that was a public institution, that means that it was an institution that tried to make a kind of presentation of art for a public interest, exposing this critical discourse. What is happening today in 2005, inviting private collectors who invested money and showing them doing this for a private sake. Now they are the only ones that can buy this art with invested money, that actually can take care of the public concern and they are having the best exhibitions, because a museum as a public institution can’t afford it. This too is a paradox. And is showing what? Private property and ownership, at the base what is a fight of the capitalist system, just being logic that it is going from other all different sectors, that before it was hiding this. Because they were working with the question of private interest. But then you see that today, art, social activism, is only connected to private sponsorship and ownership. That is why the whole idea of art is topsy-turvy. That is becoming a private institution of private interest. And because of this very much restricting what is possible to be the so to call the major aim of art criticism. Today it is bordered.”

WE LOVE ART

EK “It is remarkable that all kinds of marketing strategies exist in order to get as many visitors as possible in your museum. Moreover, in SMAK, museum of contemporary art of Ghent, they organize a show for kids, where they can buy an art work for 35 Euro. The parents are not allowed to visit this show, except for during the last hour of the last day, where it is impossible to buy something. Doesn’t art suffer of this too much of love? Selling the works of art as like you have to love them, or you have a manual that helps you out.”

MG “My point is: eventually, it is all the same; but it is distributed and shown in different versions. For instance, all to make this simplify diagrams is also a way to on one part give a kind of a fake feeling that everybody can understand art. But it has to do again a lot with the genealogy. Because this is a meaning that is very specific, in other terms a line of art, it’s one way drawn and also the whole process of history is naturalized. In this history you can see no other worlds, you have no access. So on one way it’s a feeling that is an absolute proletarisation. But on the other part it’s actually reinforcing history and making a fake continuity. In this way it is also establishing the relations of power. This is one aspect. The other aspect is this managerial logic, that is inviting every sector of life, because this way of taking, simplifying, drawing a so to call map of art history that can be accessible to everybody, means also evacuating, getting rid off every critical potential, this is a cleaning, an ethnical cleaning almost. If you look at the names who stay, you can make a very precise analysis of which names stay. Who are these artists, who actually are selected to represent this continuity. And this is also a very good example of universities and academies today, because they are also transformed in bureaucratic institutions. Because what do you get today? You don’t get the idea that critical thinking is an issue at universities and academies, but you get the idea that you are actually just doing your work, you do your exams and finish the things. End of story. And everything is a sort of factory situation. Almost a production unit where the idea is not to produce thinking subjects, but actually effective administrators. Also in terms of art: people, who are doing the things; they are producing, building, they have their part and they will also be integrated into the whole system. Making art is not enough, it’s the whole system of institutions that is covering the whole personal process.”

EK “You combine three functions: curator, critic and artist. How does the art market deal with this? Do they like it?”

“You can do it, but combining these different levels is not accepted easily. Because especially the intervention of reflection that means if you are writing and you are making the work that means that you are constantly reflecting. My point of view is that practically, being a Gesamtkunstwerk is not the point here, thus, totalizing is not the point here, but it’s actually the only political position you can take in this world you’re living in. At least my work, everything is connected. So the way of making the work of art, writing and curating, are elements of the same story. And the story is trying to find the logic of how the art system is functioning. And because we are all part of the capitalistic system. For me the main point is in which way the system functions and how we have to include our selves into this story in order to be accepted. But also: what is the logic that is not so clear at prima vista? Because nothing is just transparent, it’s obviscated, we think that we are working, we think that we have to be productive, we have to be creative. But I’m always wondering myself what then the resistance is. What is behind this huge creativity, this productivity? What are the points where we actually contextualize, politicize our positions? And we are trying to understand how the machine functions. Why are certain exhibitions allowed and others not? Why are certain names always appearing? Why are we talking about the criticism of art? On the other hand, you have an exhibition. A very good example is the upcoming Dokumenta. There will have been fifty years of Dokumenta and all we were talking about during the last decade was: multi cultural, new works, new opportunities, the world is changing. And when you open the catalogue of this pre Dokumenta, there is no one, no single name coming from the second world. There are only names of the art market. And this is the passport, the identity card of this Dokumenta. This is the huge exhibition that is regulating the next four, five years how we perceive. So all these stories of the African world, the Asian world, when you open, there is the magic. This magic shows that these people are not included. It’s always the same magic of names, very clearly so that you can just follow the genealogy and the investments that were done by the so called system of art, the institution of art, including the art market in the sector of contemporary art. I hope you will not be censured. Censorship.”

EK “I already have problems... The last studio visit was actually a cold shower. A curator came into my studio and took a brief look at my script `the sublime is now’, but without looking at the foot notes or structure of the text. Then he watched only one work in progress and gave me a one¬hour-monologue in which he tried to convince me to make a choice. That I was unable to combine being a critic with being an artist. In his report about me, he wrote, that there were a lot of works in Eva’s studio that she wouldn’t comment on. That was a lie, I was looking forward to finally show him the real work, but I even didn’t get the opportunity to show him anything, because directly he started attacking my position and continued this narcissistic monologue. I don’t actually know what I am labeled doing. I know what I am researching. But I can’t say I am a scientist, an artist or a writer.”

MG “You know, just to come back to point. When you say `I am an artist, I am a scientist and I am a critic’. It is also a political decision. It was very good for me, once I asked Tri Minha “Are you a feminist?” and she told me this is always a political decision. Not every space is the space that you can proclaim. But some spaces you have to take the stands and tell I am a feminist. Or you can say `I am a writer and a terrorist’. Because this is precise political positioning of yourself. So I think it’s always the question of really of the context and knowing for what purpose you are saying these things.”

THE CAPITALIST MACHINE IS A CANNIBAL

EK “Coming back to the artist..., maybe there are two art scenes: the first capitalistic art scene that fits in the genealogy, they created for them selves. Then maybe there is also an underground art scene, which doesn’t participate, but anticipates on the first one...”

MG “I think underground art doesn’t exist anymore. There is no... Especially in the first capitalistic world that produced all these underground movements, nothing is left out anymore. So there is, so to speak, no space to build. Some political associations still exist, crucial but they are however disappearing. The anti-globalist movement, that was of crucial importance. It lived a short life, but I think it was one of the mayor actions, trying to delineate and to split up what is called the unbearable circularity of `everything is possible, everything is okay, everything can be exchanged’. But definitely in the art market, and also in the art institutions of first capitalistic world, which is regulating, today it is very difficult, almost impossible to establish an underground, because of new technology and because of an unbelievable progression of technology. That things have speeded up that much, because the underground and the space where you can retreat or were you can withdraw, is also connected with time. You need a time. Or it was in the past like this. It was possible to persist in a certain kind of marginal situation, discussing and developing a parallel. Today, because the capitalist machine is a cannibal, and there is in a way, no space left. Because the first rule of capitalism is new spaces, so this is the first rule, and everything can be a space, it’s not necessarily a physical one. The things have so speed up that there is no time anymore to develop a more intensive and more consistent space of resistance. No more resistance space from which you can actually rethink and also shape the structures and institutions. So in this way I think this question of avant garde is a historical definition.”

EK “But how can you as an artist manage to protect yourself from becoming a slave to this art market?”

MG “I have only one answer. For me, it’s crucial for instance, the way how is terrorized; What is going on in South America. You have a class fight, a fight of space and there is an interesting rethinking of this position. And it is called contamination. Thus, retreating is not the point here. That you actually don’t insist anymore on an autonomous position, but that you actually emerge yourself to contaminate. Your so called high level position of intellection, retreat of the dirtiness of mass media, this awful situation that is going on, you actually don’t put your self out, but even more you go into this. And you actually politicize maximally the position of an artist and also the whole field of art. And I think this is for me one of the possibilities to make very critical and very precise, no less politics. But even more politics, even more to point the fingers to what the link is between politics and art. Absorbing the political discourse into art. Pointing at what actually is current, important, crucial, real, infected in the society. So now this what I call also position, and I made the example of artists who are just out of it all, art that is just contemplating the world, living and working in some kind of exclusive space, because you don’t want to have any kind of contagious relation to the world. This emptiness that is just brought as a last paradigm. This nothingness that becomes a last resort.
Just think about two films, `Lost in Translation’ and `Broken Flowers’. And if you think about these two fantastic films, they’re showing a process that is even a step farther. It’s not anymore this Adorno situation, that we had in the past, where we were depressed about our selves, about everything around us because we were cannibalized by mass media, we were just consumers. No, now this emptiness, nothing to say, nothing to relate to the world, that you can see in Lost in translation with Bill Murray `You know what?’.And in Broken Flowers it is actually spiritualized. And this is even one step farther. This void is becoming the ultimate, so to call, first capitalistic form, a snobbish attitude where you can just be there and where you can just withdraw your self in your emptiness, which is nothing to say, nothing to do, you can just look at the world and you can tell this is the last big spiritualization. This is why I think contamination is in contrast to this emptiness is crucial , just to be part of this, and not to withdraw your self, not to be some kind of Buddha. But contaminated by the world, by immigrants, by poetry, by the horrors. Yesterday in Amsterdam fifteen illegal people in a prison died because no one of the guards opened the door on time. But they had the time to open the door. So this contamination is very crucial. I want to politicize my philosophy, my theory. Not to be some kind of an academic situation where I am functioning like a spiritual entity. Because speaking slowly, related to the world… When the world is falling apart.
I want to draw a line, not between me and the world, but between this fake spiritualization of nothingness and actually the nothingness of spiritualization. Because you see it’s nothing, it’s a void and I want to be contaminated and to contaminate.”

EK “To come back on the artist. Is he than in this first capitalistic world a manager? In pre-Socratic period the artist was kind of priest, who wanted to change the world on political and ethical levels. After Socrates mimesis became the goal of the artist. He tries to achieve the Beauty . With Modern Art, the artist doesn’t seek the Beauty anymore as head goal, but he wants to touch the viewer on a higher metaphysical level. The Sublime is born and the artist is praised as a genius. Nowadays even the winning horse of a tierce is a genius. We can’t call the artist anymore a genius. But should we consider him again as a kind of priest like in pre-Socratic period. Because the image that the artist produce is from such a conceptual, political, social and ethnical value, the artist is someone who want to shock or dare to take an object out of the cultural conventional frames… Can we maybe see this as a crucial element of being an artist, being very aware of the society we’re living in… You can’t differ the artist anymore on skull, so lays the difference than in his consciousness? By example why does an artist his picture differs from a Japanese tourist shooting a photo of his wife in front of the Brussels Atomium.”

MG “What differs is the work. But not every work. What differs for me is just the concept, it’s the line that is drawing. A line that can actually sustain any kind of difference. Because most of the cases, I think that it’s not enough knowing what is going on out. You must also rearticulate this position in the artwork, so the work in itself is actually the difference. But in which way to make the work it’s also a question. Are you making the work because you want to make a brand? That will be ready for selling? A very well packed, that instead to make a chair, you make a photograph that has all this emblems that you can actually go to Ikea and buy instead of there. You can also buy an artwork in Ikea by the way. Piet Mondriaan was sold there as a kind of decoration. So I think the crucial point it’s not only this consciousness, but the materialization of certain position in the work. So what matters is only the work, that means the concept, that can sustain this difference, that can draw a line where you see this difference. Where you don’t just see an exchanged value, where the work is not just a simple decoration. I call this when the art is not just a mad machine, just producing, producing, … But in one way, producing what, just to sell, and to have a nice life. You can be very critical, because you have the bank account. And when you have the bank account, you can be very generous. You can be very understandable, you can think and talk with everybody. And feel a real and honest sorrow for somebody who has not in threat. But this is because you have the leisure and the possibility to be so generous because I call this the truth of your self or them selves is in the bank account. If I speak very profound, people can understand me, because the truth is not in here, it’s somewhere else, it’s not the generosity. Also words are just losing power. You can say everything, I think it’s important to see from which point the person is speaking. The artist is speaking from the point of the artwork and if this artwork is words, than you have to read words. If it’s a textually, you have to see what kind of texts. Because today it’s the idea that you can tell every sentence, and that everything can be immediately an artwork. I always say tell me from which text you took your sentences, tell me which film you took as a reference, which image is the referential image for organizing or articulating this space. And this is actually the point of reference, this is the point of difference. So just to break this circularity. Everybody is sincere and honest in just repeating the words and having the reflection, but this is not enough.”

WE ARE ARTISTS, NOT SUPERMARKETS

EK “But how can you go farther than that?”

MG “Farther it’s the question of how you contextualize your work. We are artists. We are not politicians, we are not nurses, we are not… This is crucial, it’s the point from which we are talking and you can’t be all inclusive. Because we are not supermarket where you get a bonus and than you go and buy everything. So you always define yourself in the point from where you are speaking. It’s a point of annunciation, and I think the subject of an annunciation is actually the art work. It’s the work. And I think this is the only point. How to establish is actually what kind of work we will do. What will be our artwork? If I can show my art work, because you asked me what are you doing? I can precisely explain you when you see my work what are the elements that I took. And this is one point, the other point is how the work relates to a much larger context. But in this context you can control the interpretations.”

EK “So, when the work is finished you give it out of hands, and than the work is for you the most important issue. So becoming famous or celebrated is not something you seek to achieve. You’re not busy with the issue that your name has to last forever, that you have to leave traces in history.”

MG “Unfortunately I think the system always select those… If you will be famous and how you will be included also depends again on the work. Because it’s some kind of mirroring. The system functions in the system of mirroring. They always fund them selves. This is the point, the things are very simple, actually. They seem very complex, but it’s not. Because what you see, what is presented in the gallery, which names circulate, what works have visibility, what are the borders? It’s showing precisely that it depends of your work. If you are doing as the so to call established, like you said the codex of the manual, is telling this things and those things means something, you will be maybe sooner or later, but it’s no hundred percent guarantee, be taken. Because it will be some kind of a state of mind. It will be reflected in all these needs, these tools, this vocabulary, the grammar. This grammatical language it’s practically like the grammar of anti globalisation, the grammar of multitude, so there exist also the grammar of fine art. The field that we are both part and there you know what are the tools, the sentences,…”

EK “And also which new brand word they have invented in which the art works have to fit for their coming exhibition… But than I wonder, like Andres Serrano he told to me a social life is not important, I want to leave a legacy, traces. It was a call for me to become an artist. And very important for him is also to be celebrated. That’s also an aspect of the artist that he wants to be famous?”

MG “Because in art being famous means being rich in one way, especially in this first capitalistic world.”

EK “No, he said, even when I wasn’t selling that well, for me the most important is the show and the traces that I will leave in history. So after he dies, life will go on, but there will still be trace of him. Not in his children, but with his work of art.”

MG “But for him being a black person, and this is a fact, coming from such a context, for long any person of colour was resisted. Especially being part, selling products, I mean they were part of certain histories, but not of the main history. I can understand . Because this actually also means that you cut yourself out of the ghetto. This is true. From this you get actually, traces for me it’s also one moment that you can really be going out of this ghetto situation and that you can claim to a certain history. But this is not something that happened through the work, by the way, it happened by the art machine. At a certain moment it was a discovery of this other worlds. Because the capitalistic machine couldn’t function anymore based on one of the rules and this was the racial rule. Racial differentiation still exist but it had to be loosen. Because they need new bodies, they need new investments, and they need new so to call blood in the physical and spiritual way, to be included. Because the first rule of capitalistic machine is territory. And territory is everything, it’s internet, it’s absolutely the new parallel, that was the boom of the eighties and now it’s almost suffocated. Because open, but on the other hand they want the police to regulate it and so on. Than it was body, and now it was no world left anymore to be discovered geographically. So how the things function? It’s coming from Marxism, just read the laws of political economy. It’s the interior cannibalization. And it’s also alliances, because it’s obvious. If you see what’s going on in Iraq and in other Moslem countries , who are those who are possible to make the alliances with white people.
So I think it’s really much more factors, and I can understand you. But also I think that his sociality is precisely this inclusion in history.”

EK “What is your personal motor for creating images? Why are you an artist? What drives you? Like Andres Serrano had some kind of existential fear of death?”

MG “I have no troubles with this. I always say, people who are coming from the second world they are already dead. We’re already symbolically dead. You don’t find us in big books. Our art is not presented. This is the fact. So I’m having absolutely no trouble with this. I have actually another point of view. For me why I started making art is from which the space from which I was speaking, I’m coming from ex- Yugoslavia, this second world, socialism, than post-socialism. Art was really something that was absolutely a space, the only place where you could really articulate politically your position. And for me this was crucial, where you could rise the most important social questions. Because everything was so everyday politics, and this was the only space. This was really, like in these Avant-Garde movements a place where you were free in your critical thinking. You could radically open questions that were not allowed anywhere else. For me it was always the question of political articulation. I wanted to know why I am living in the world I am living and what can I do, and if I can change something. Not just making things, but also if it’s possible to open a position from which the things can be possible to be changed.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

letter to my professor


"TO EACH HIS OWN"
The words over the main gate of the concentration camp at Buchenwald.



Nikusha Chkhaidze
letter to my professor

Dear Professor,
It has been quite a while since our last meeting, and it may be some time before we meet again. and in the meantime I’ve been thinking about what we discussed. I’ve come across some quite specific and interesting facts and tendencies about the subject of prison or being in prison. Since we met that evening at the art school. I’ve been thinking of what your friend from Balkans said to you; it was something like, if you insult the president of your country, nothing will happen. if I insult the president of my country, again nothing will happen – the only difference is that I’ll be put in prison for it.
This was quite a smart way of putting it. I can imagine how difficult it must be, and how for many people it must be a tragedy to be under that kind of physical pressure, which can destroy you psychologically. But then again, what is the more general problem here? I think it lies rather in the fact that “nothing happens”.
Let’s say that you said something bad about your president, and nothing happened. And let’s say your friend said something bad about his president, and nothing happened but he was sent to prison for it. Your president, as the representative of his country, votes for the bombing of your friend’s country, including the prison he’s in. Again you say something, and again nothing happens. If my president had the chance to support the decision to bomb, there is no doubt he definitely would do it. I’m pretty sure I would definitely say something, and it is definite that nothing would happen. So as we can see, in each case we’re saying something and “nothing happens”. But something does happen: someone is left worse off than they were before. So who then is really in prison?
At the NGBK recently there was an exhibition about prison. My girlfriend was one of the organizers, and was also showing a work of her own, a kiosk displaying items made in prison. I helped her with the show and got to know something about the subject. I heard one of the prison directors say: “if we don’t keep them busy, then they will keep us busy”. Isn’t allowing us to say something (although we know nothing will happen) a way of keeping us busy so we don’t keep them busy? Why do we say anything if nothing happens? Why we are making art if nothing happens? The image that comes to my mind is of an impotent prisoner masturbating with a condom.
Before I end, I would like to say a word or two about the concentration camp at Buchenwald. From an early age, I heard my father mention its name quite often. During the Soviet period my father was lucky enough to come to Germany and see some of the country. When he talked about Buchenwald, I could feel and see that it was something special, something unforgettable. I finally visited it myself, and found I was seeing the same things my father had described – with one exception. Something had changed at Buchenwald since the nineteen seventies; it was now officially acknowledged that after the war the Soviet regime had kept Buchenwald running in its former capacity as a concentration camp, so in the forest that at the back I was able to find 7000 more graves than my father had. It is interesting to wonder how many more our children will discover.
It’s a pity that Buchenwald today presents what happened there as if it belonged entirely to the past, offering audio guides which talk about what happened as if were all over for good. It shows the tragedy, but not the disillusionment that went with it, and doesn’t make the point that, after all that happened, we haven’t learnt much.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Communist Alternative



Georgian communists union

New Communism Alternative


Manifesto

I
Preamble

Humanity’s path on earth is a trajectory of its struggle for freedom, freedom not only from oppression and exploitation, but freedom as a basic condition for creative self-realization, a search for truth, for the enjoyment of life and eternity.

And looking back over the history of the struggle and those who fought it, we believe that a world of such freedom is possible. At the same time, if we look at the current condition of man, it will be evident that this possibility can be realised only through enormous efforts and the radical transformation of society.

The goal of transforming both the self and the social world is the primary and possibly the only important challenge to humanity ever, and one that determines all other aims.

Guided by this supreme aim, realizing that its approach is possible only by the direct practical efforts of each of us, resolving concrete current problems and realizing the existing potential and chances as an attempt to answer to the challenges relating to the local or global, current or visible perspectives, we have founded the Communist Alternative.


II
Capitalism today – the next crisis or the beginning of an end?

Today, the euphoria caused by the collapse of Soviet Union has finally subsided, a euphoria based on the belief that the “new world order” imposed by the West was providential, and that the so-called ‘Washington consensus’ and the free market economy were the only possible alternatives.

The current economic crisis is only a symptom pointing to a more important, dramatic event - the archaism, inadequacy and injustice of the existing political order. Today, we consider the attempt to maintain this order by any means to be a great danger and evil, at a time when the falseness of the belief in its invincibility and non-alternativeness are becoming evident to more and more people. All other social, political, economic, ecological and cultural problems are related to this falseness. The order that represents the primary enemy of man is called Capitalism.


III
Is the order we live in eternal? - or – Order we live in – is it eternal?

For all the progress they represent over the societies of the past, none of the social orders existing today have managed to create the conditions for meeting the interests of all people, all the desires and aspirations of humans as developing beings. All and have ended up reverting into a form of bondage for the majority. The evolution of social formations is a history of struggle for liberation from the old order and for the creation of a new, higher, all-embracing and just coexistence. No one denies that today’s order is progressive compared to the feudal one, in the same way that the latter was more progressive than slaveholding societies. But it is precisely the appropriateness of these processes makes it not only possible but necessary to liberate oneself from the ‘law’ available today, and form its resolution in higher order of logic.


IV
Bourgeoisie and proletariat

We define Capitalism as a contemporary symbolic order in which the control over property, means of production and resources and distribution are made in the interests of capitalists, who have grown rich by exploiting the labor of others, and which has divided the world into two fundamentally antagonistic classes which drive historical development - bourgeoisie and proletariat. Along with the capitalists themselves, the bourgeoisie comprises those hired, grafted or manipulated by them, including people in the government, the intelligentsia and the service sector elite whose commercial interests cause them to support the existence, maintenance and continuation of this order. And the proletariat is the class of workers that possess the potential to become revolutionary agents. This includes the great majority of the world’s population in both developed and developing countries who do not have direct control over the means of production, and who are forced to search for means of surviving within this order and – generally by exchanging their own labor and hope for future for the kind of ‘goods’ – often only bread and anaesthetics – offered by capitalism.


V
Global capitalism – challenge for all

The basic ‘value’ of this order, the logic of capital, determines the character of all political, social, cultural, and interpersonal relations in today’s reality. This means that all the persons representative of any stratum of society work more or less for the interests of one or the other of the two groups – directly or indirectly, voluntarily or forcefully, consciously or unconsciously. That part of the population which does not realize the need to take responsibility over its own life, as well as the fluctuating part which has not decided whether to stand on the side of change or on that of the bourgeoisie, which takes the position of the passive observer, or which considers itself apolitical, ignores the simple truth that any position that does not oppose capitalism, including denying having any position, has political weight and value and serves the interests of the system.

The final polarization of the world into two opposing classes also means that such ‘problems’ as ‘the issue of possibility of communism in one county’, in other words, whether there is a level of development in this or that country which should lead the social revolution or not, has become completely irrelevant. Today we live in one house, in which the capitalist order rules; we are in the final stage of its development and, despite the fact that its domination has continued for so long, it will inevitably be changed by the new order.

But, again, this order will not be brought about without determination, hard work and struggle. Capitalism will not abandon its positions without a fight. Just as no social project implemented so far has been carried out without the effort of large numbers of human beings, so communist transformation will not be carried out without the conscious struggle of people. Any process which has been left to take its course heads inevitably towards degeneration, decay, and destruction. These days it is very easy to imagine such an alternative: either we ourselves determine our lives, our present and our future, or – out of inactivity, fear, ignorance, laziness or whatever – we shall inherit a dystopian reality, in which, given existing circumstances, the worst of all outcomes – injustice, hunger, poverty, diseases, ecological catastrophes, wars and so on – will come to pass.

VI
Anti-capitalism and its goals

More and more people are realizing the need to struggle to change the existing order. The growing anti-capitalist movement is varicolored and formless. Perhaps from a tactical point of view this is a merit, not a defect. But, although its basic motto –‘another world is possible!’ – fills everybody with enthusiasm, its effort is mainly based on the negation, the criticism of the existing order, and of anger caused by the evils of capitalism. There is no agreed opinion about a positive alternative, not even a very general one; no final order, which we could see from our present position. What we offer these forces, with whom solidarity and cooperation would be necessary, as well as with other communist movements in what we might call the final order, is the broadest perspective possible today, in which the conditions of resolving the current problems, be it political, economic, ecological, gender and so on, should be realized as communism.

Thus, our political goal is a movement from capitalism to communism, participation in the preparation and implementation of global communist revolution!

Precisely this perspective should define our attitude towards both local and global problems, as well as the ways and means of carrying out these positions.

But what is communism?

VII
Communism

It is clear that the greater the distance a perspective takes on its subject, the more general its description of it will be. The formation of a communist society is the constant process of a multitude of different opinions, of comparing ideas and compromises, of criticism and invention. There is no precise and detailed plan of implementing communism, and any project that declares itself as the only, universal and true doctrine deserves to be treated with scepticism. However, there are general features that should undoubtedly characterize communism as an order, and which should ensure just, peaceful and deserved coexistence.

Firstly, it is obviously a mode of production and form of ownership. Today, under capitalism, private ownership is declared the eternal cornerstone of the existing order, despite the fact that as an institution it is a product of history created at a definite stage of our evolution. Capitalism is in fact just the most recent form that the historical development of human societies has taken, and just as it came into existence, so it will one day pass out of existence. Capitalism has not responded convincingly to the oldest question – that of why all property, means of production and resources should be under the control of a single class of private owners, when they are product of the labor of many hundreds or thousands, and why the capitalist who appropriates the lion’s share of the wealth created by the exploitation of others’ labor should own more material goods, while the actual creators of these goods receive only enough to keep them dying from hunger, just so they can go on creating more wealth for the capitalist. And many people are deprived even of this, because capitalist production requires fewer workers than there actually are, consigning many to the ‘excess’ part of the workforce.

We ask: is it possible to establish an order in which property, the means of production and resources are managed not by capitalists, but by the whole of society, expressing its interests through democratic procedures, and ensuring that:

- The entrepreneur, who has a mind for creative organization, receives enough of the social product to carry out his work and realise himself through it.

- People who are ready to join in this work receive enough to be able to live a worthwhile and valuable life;

- Those who do not wish to work this way receive enough to be able to live normal lives and not die of hunger or poverty caused by disease.

In addition, to ensure that all have the time and opportunity to care for the full-fledged realization of their own interests and creative potential.

Based on the analyses of the resources available today, a great number of scientific studies conducted on this issue and the projects created on their basis, we consider that the answer to the question to be yes, it is possible.


VIII
Utopia, or the project of the coming reality

If we try to imagine the kind of global order that could exist based on such principles, other features of communist society become clear. Today the resources already exist to enable a just distribution of the world’s social product, one which would ensure that no one dies of hunger and disease – phenomena which are already forgotten in the richest parts of the world. As humanity, we are a single society and it is the responsibility of each of us to make our contribution towards creating a reality in which everyone will be unconditionally provided with the barest necessities, with a basic income. In today’s world, the ideology of ‘human rights’, based on the sacredness of private ownership, serves mostly to protect the rights of the capitalist class. If by the notion human we mean precisely all persons, then we must admit that, firstly, it is necessary to provide humans standing on the lowest rung of the social ladder with the right not only to freedom from oppression, but to the basic requirements and conditions for economic and social development. And this implies a fundamentally different logic from today’s economic and political one.

There are well-known proposals* for carrying out the goals of the first stage, for example, the so called Tobin tax, which would enable the mobilization of sufficient funds to resolve many global problems by imposing a minimum tax on financial speculation. The problem of carrying out this project is not its impossibility, but the capitalists’ refusal to render even the smallest part of the wealth they have accumulated by exploiting others, and the inability of governments to carry out a policy oriented towards people’s well-being, bought and bribed as they have been by multinational corporations. Today capitalists grow rich not only from their intellect and labor, but mostly by exploiting others: a capitalist, for example, can move his factory to China, where he pays ten cents for producing a product that in America would have cost one dollar. Substitution of the wealth distribution principle in exchange for the capitalist’s personal interests should be directed towards the formation of a new order in the world labor market. Immediate and unconditional writing-off of the debts of the ‘third world’, the establishment of the ‘Tobin tax’, the provision of people with a basic minimum and democratic procedures of wealth distribution will cause the gradual equalization of labor value across the whole planet. And this, along with the other factors, will make it possible to remove artificial restrictions on peoples’ migration, finally abolishing borders between countries. One result of this will be that the need for a military-industrial complex will cease to exist, and such systems will eventually be liquidated. Not only the funds released in this way, but also an economy based on public interests – not a ‘free’ market economy, which means only the capitalist’s unlimited freedom, but a regulated economy guided by public interests – involving the renationalization of the communal sector, the establishment of state control over capital flows, and other measures, will enable us to resolve a lot of problems of vital importance, including ecological ones, so that our future generations will be able to live in an environment where self-realization is not only universally possible, but pleasant as well.


IX
System and man

By declaring the capitalist order to be man’s main enemy, by realizing that the world is divided into two parts: exploiters and exploited, we do not classify people as good and bad. The influence of external conditions and environment forms the character of every human in such a way that negative and positive aspects, be it only potentially, are always present in it. And the basic values of the existing order, the system of values, and the objects of human aspirations determine which of them will be realized. It is obvious that in the society of commodity fetishism, in which money stands on top of system of values, people are formed differently than in a society where orientation towards truth, love and sympathy are most important for them.

Our struggle is directed against a system, and not against men. Declaring that capitalism is evil, we do not mean that any particular capitalist is undoubtedly bad. But we emphasize that capitalism as an order appeals to and is based on the most negative traits in individual – lies, fear, greed, egoism, hatred – while communism appeals to the most positive features in man – aspiration for truth, bravery, justice, moderation, solidarity and love. Today, the assets of the worlds’ wealthiest 200 capitalists are equal to the assets of 45% of the world’s poorest population, approximately 2,700,000,000 persons. According to the UN statistics, one person, usually a child, dies from drinking contaminated water every 15 seconds in the ‘third world’. We believe that we should struggle to change an order in which a small group of people can buy gold-plated automobiles out of boredom, addressing their ‘existential problems’ by adding to its already huge collection of automobiles, can build houses that imitate the Japanese imperial palace, or travel to the Moon; while for the same cost a number of countries could resolve problems of hunger, AIDS or drug abuse.


X
Lessons of failure – what does the past experience teach us to?

A great number of people, especially in the countries of the former Soviet Union, would agree with the original idea of communism, if we described what it meant while merely changing its name. And the tragic and painful Soviet experience frightens and scares them. For that reason, many have suggested keeping the content of the communist programme, while changing its name. We consider this unjustifiable for several reasons: if the name is to be changed, then it’s better to call the Soviet reality by its real name - it was not an attempt at communism, but the project of usurping power by propagating the ideology of communism, not a voluntary cooperation among nations, but a dictatorship exercised over annexed countries. The essence of Stalinism is not the democratic transformation of society, but bureaucratic totalitarianism managed by commercial interests. The notion of communism and its content were not invented by the Soviet authorities. The governments of many countries have applied and continue to apply democratic rhetoric to mask their real dirty intentions, but no one has suggested this is a reason for changing the word democracy. Religious wars and fundamentalism have taken more lives than all other catastrophes taken together, but no one has proposed, for example, changing the name of the Roman Catholic Church because of the Inquisition, or to give a different name to Islam because of Al-Qaeda. And it is painful experience – not only the communist one, but others such as fascism and neoconservatism – that offers greater potential in so far as it will not allow us to weaken our attention and relate superficially to the project of change, especially to those standing behind them. It is a well-known fact that any important social transformation is preceded by unsuccessful attempts to realise it: no one refuses to learn to walk because he or she fell over on all their previous attempts. On the contrary, it is exactly these failures that cultivate and develop the accuracy and prudence that are needed to walk properly.

We declare that we dissociate ourselves from the specifically Soviet practice of ‘communism’ and all the movements or even ideological constructions with changed face, and which have maintained themselves under their own inertia from the Soviet Union up to now.


XI
Opportunity for all

We call on all political, social and non-governmental forces to participate in a discussion of communism as a project. In our opinion, it is very difficult for political parties to give a rational basis to their programmes without aiming at some kind of determinate final order. For instance, how does a monarchist imagine the world of the future? With monarchies ‘restored’ everywhere, or with certain democratic nations cooperating to maintain their archaic, useless and expensive royal ‘authorities’, which have no power in reality and fulfill the ‘honorary’ function of ‘crown of the deceased’!? How do the first, the second or others (which?) substantiate both the possibility and necessity? What type of order is the conservative or traditionalist oriented towards? Can the preservation of any tradition be an end in itself? Are all traditions good? In some mountain regions the tradition of the blood feud has been maintained up until the present day. Do we need it? If even only in this case the answer is no, then it will be evident that it is necessary to have a future guideline for the critical approach to traditions. It is wrong to understand the word tradition as a purely positive term: if we do not know what kind of house our future house will be, we will not know what things we’ll need to take from the old house, what things we should throw away as excess rubbish, and what new things to purchase.

We are ready to cooperate with all real (and not merely self-declared) democratic forces; and, finally, with all forces if our vision of the final order and the character of political practice do not exclude each other.


XII
Political practice - principles and methods

By political practice we mean not only ‘political’ activity in the narrow professional meaning of the word, but any activity that has the aim or potential of directly or indirectly influencing the political processes.

We declare the basic principles of political practice to be the following:

Truth

In every concrete situation, our aspiration will be not power, benefit or reputation, but the principle of searching, establishing and implementing the truth – the only true position. It seems natural for us when the search and service for truth is declared the primary aim of the art. But the majority of people think that they have nothing to do with politics. It is clear that this kind of false consciousness is established by exactly the people – the rulers of the existing order – who have the most to lose if the people knew the truth. We declare that politics is the same high form of human activity as science or art, and that in every concrete political situation the search for truth, devotion and dedication to concrete problems, even if they contradict our personal views and everyday interests, are the basic guidelines of politics.

Nonviolence

Communist revolution is inevitable, but it is our goal and responsibility to take into account the tragic experience of the past and master the contemporary methods of struggle. We are aware that those who unjustly got rich merely by being greedier and more merciless than others will not voluntarily give up anything for the benefit of society. And, while not denying the right of exploited people to revolt, we consider that the experience of struggle, particularly in the twentieth century, not only demonstrates the greater effectiveness of nonviolent methods – disobedience, noncooperation, strike, boycott and so on – but also their effectiveness with regards to developing popular political consciousness.

Solidarity

We do not require that the democratic forces we fight alongside hold the same political and ideological positions as we do. On the contrary, we consider that, given the strength and brutality of capitalism, any well-defined, centralized force will quickly become vulnerable to it. We are aware that the goals of the proletariat and the conditions of its struggle are different in different parts of the world, and think that by acting locally we can move towards resolving many global problems. But we also see that there are problems that are common to all or most of us. On these issues we think it necessary to cooperate and carry out joint projects with all political forces whose vision does not exclude ours. However, the logic of resolving them justly will inevitably lead towards the need for global social revolution, that is, to the eventual formation of mass movements based on popular participation and solidarity.

Education

To turn communist revolution into reality, a sufficient number of educated individuals is needed. Thus, education and its dissemination are the most important goal of political practice. We do not mean the bourgeois meaning of education where, using schools and universities, mass media and other means of propaganda to impose rules and fill brains with information, capitalism indoctrinates people in order to create the wide assortment of slaves with theoretical, technical and other forms of ‘knowledge’ and equip them with false conscience based on false values for finally ensuring the continuation of the existing order. We mean such education that helps to hold the true point of vision and develops the features necessary for activity.

Strength

Capitalism, which is based on the most brutal, material, biological interests, on the ‘philosophy of the stomach’, shows unimaginable cruelty when its own interests are endangered. It uses all methods of struggle, including so-called prohibited methods, ranging from ignoring and discrediting groups and individuals to physically destroying them. Therefore it is obvious that in the struggle to win people to our point of view, we should not expect quick and easy successes. In order to pursue our policy over time, our necessary weapon is patience and strength.

Courage

Capitalism has repeatedly demonstrated its cruelty in Genoa or Baghdad, Cuba or Nigeria. We consider that, given this cruelty, we should act not on the basis of fear, but despite this fear. No important project or discovery has been carried out without human courage and risk-taking. Even to begin with, imagining the communist perspective itself needs courage, as such a vision confronts us with the necessity for the hardest kind of critical revision: that of one’s own world-view, of the system of values based on the logic of capital and rules of relations and possibility, with that of radical renovation of conscience. Only he who not only sees the injustice and imprudence of the existing order, but refuses to accept the fate initially prepared for him and who is ready, given even the great probability of failure, to take steps towards his own merited being, will be able to help realize the project of transforming each and all of us.


XIII
The nearest goals

At this stage, the primary goals of our movement are to conduct an internal discussion of the issues of organization, effective means of action and, simultaneously, to get to know wider circles of people, especially the proletariat, with communism as our idea and understanding of the project. Establishing contact with the world’s other democratic and communist movements and the publication of a separate text is part of our programme in the near future, where we will set out our view of, and proposals for resolving, the problems existing today in Georgia.

We do aim to be a pluralist movement for its own sake, as we believe that we should look for strength in justice and not in numbers. At the same time, though, we are open to any type of cooperation with those who are ready to share our view.




_____________________________
* The manifesto format does not enable to extensively touch these programs and their separate items, such key terms as ‘Tobin tax’, ‘basic income’, ‘regulated economy’ and others. In the near future, we will separately publish the texts of these programs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shit (manifesto)


Gia Edzgveradze

It is not a weakling's adoration of life
but boundless hate for it
that gives us the power to awake


I have no need to create new enigmas. All I need is an open and honest
word about my real situation: normally, it is construed as murder/
suicide, but in reality it is self-determination.


Shit (manifesto)

If anyone, alone with his fate, wants to look truth defiantly in the
eye and thus be overwhelmed by the horror of the absurd, if he is
prepared to cast off the last remnants of his hopes and dreams like
rags, then the only thing he needs is the ultimate affront.

The concept of the ultimate affront – attack the well-being
of our consciousness. The time has come for the
manifestation of shit.

From now on, I am sticking to it (shit). This is my sacrifice. Shit
is my goal, my means, my comprehension.

Only shit is profoundly and deeply insulting. Shit is the only thing
that can knock you down from within and extinguish that last spark of
ambition, which is the Cerberus of immortality. Stay with shit alone,
let it penetrate into the most intimate cracks and crevices of your
soul. You have to merge with the full depth of its fall; it has
humiliated itself boundlessly and has become the eternal sign of the
very lowest – it is Christianity, the very symbol of Christianity …
our reality, life itself, has formulated this concept of ultimate
humiliation as a sign. At the other extreme there is perfect omniscience.
Extremes meet. Shit liberates immediately and wounds for ever, heals
us of the omnipotence of decency, cowardice and comfort; shit can
uproot and destroy your self-adulation. Shit is the last chance; there
never was and never will be a better one. After that, nothing else is
insulting.

Once you have rejected value,
you notice that shit is invaluable

That which has no value is invaluable

You are one, and therein lies your freedom. Inflict this final wound
upon yourself. Not accepting shit means dismembering yourself and
creating a battlefield within you.

There is no lower step. You have reached the limit. Smear yourself with
shit and contemplate yourself in it, every day, every instant. Once
you have become one with it, you will abdicate, fade, sense what it
means not to climb, not to force yourself through anywhere, but
simply float and bob on the surface of the water, or lie around on
the ground, bleached and dried …

This is the moment at which you gain entrance to the powerful world of
ideas, where there is no room for people; but then you will no longer
be a human being.

Shit alone can stop this hasty progression. Its status has power over
everything. Shit has been with you since childhood, disturbing,
insulting and appealing.

This utter contempt, this total rejection, this breaking of all the ties
with the outside world held the charm of freedom for you. You envied
shit its total lack of responsibility, the insolent nakedness it
flaunts so shamelessly. Nothing and no one, neither skin nor
conscience, covers it. Oh, how that ecstatic exhibitionism attracted
you, how strongly you related to it, and how you wished to be
identified with it in order to achieve renewal!

But you tried to hide that feeling and furtively deny it; you were
ashamed of it because that was what you had been taught. You betrayed
it (shit), because you knew that shit was more important and more
worthy than you. You are an indeterminate something but shit is the
limit, the extreme. Yet, if you become one with shit … and therein
lies your freedom … your liberation from »humanity and something
»amongst« . . . it’s all over; there is no more definition of »amongst«
left, you are out of the game. Just like shit.

Shit awaits you as the shelter of the final refuge awaits the
wanderer. In it, your heart can recuperate after a long period without unequivocalness. Shit is your guide: through the dried-out streambed of the unceasing river of abysmal hope towards
consummation. Shit is the expression of negation; it says no to the seduction of fortune and the wiles of chance. It glows with the
refined aura that surrounds hermits; it surpasses them all in
humiliation and renunciation, and has found peace beyond the endless
wall of human contempt that separated and liberated it from human
sympathy and sorrow.

I praise thee, shit, that knows no neighbourly love, self-content and
self-fulfilled.

There is shit at every corner, our own or some dog's – the living
presence of confrontation and the silent witness to our incapacity so
far removed from our omnivorous consumption, shit remains unmoved and
imperturbable in the face of our weakness. Join it in its triumph, the
independence of total dependence. Your soul has dreamt the dream of
respite. Here is the border; this contempt will bear you the healthy
fruit of »uselessness… Muscles convulse, reason squirms,
nerves flutter … and suddenly you let yourself fall somewhere, like
shit, and lie there, somewhere below the sun or the moon, On the grass
or the road, or perhaps you are already swimming back to freedom,
towards the world, into the light and the sound of blossoms.

Humiliated and reborn.
But more of that later; first the kiss.

This is the most difficult step, truly the hardest step of all. Not
out of desire, but out of knowledge; the kiss as initiation. Yes. Now
liberation begins. Do it right now. Take it out of the cold, wet
whiteness and lead it to your lips, then touch it, feel the last
vestiges of life's fading warmth rapidly disappearing towards
contempt, giving way to solitude. This is a threshold, like death,
nothing more. Take courage …

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

THE SIGN FROM THE TINY BOX


The sign from the tiny box
GIORGI GAGOSHIDZE(gago)

About a month ago in the hall of the school (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague) was placed the white wooden box and top of it was the small iron money-box, printed euro moneys on it. The poster of the African poor, hungry, dirty children was fixed on the reground of it. Of course all of those things served to charity and they were gathering a donation for those poor people.
It is raising a mount of questions: what is this? Does that kind of donation really help them to solve the problem? Or it is just to covering the problem? And what function does it have in the school, a place, from which they really can not get a lot of money.
First of all, schools are places of young people, a new generation who just started to get to know society, where they are able to live, to comprehend the political, economical, cultural phenomenon around them and find out their function in it. So that is why they are potentially very dangerous for the existing order, because they may start asking unacceptable and problematic questions. That is why the existing order tries to do everything to do not let the problems appear, because afterworld it is more difficult to solve them. For this reason they have hidden instruments of repression and are using them to bury these specs of revolt very gently behind a harmless shield.
At this stage I am going to write about the sign which comes out of the tine cash-box and which I have already mentioned above. According the fact that the school is not the right place for gathering an amount of money to help poor people around the world is quite obvious and also that behind that ”charity” there must be something hidden.
In this case if someone starts thinking about a poor people, and starts to find out the reasons why they are suffering so hard, latter they can get closer to the reason, that some people just need this kind of situation for their own profit and to use these poor people as cheap workers. It is a paradox that these exact rich people and states who with one hand are using the poverty and other hand establishing and supporting a charity organization, to solve these problems.
So what is behind this small money-box and what kind of duty does it have in the school?
At the beginning, when people see the poor people they have an emotional experience of pity toward them and afterward that filling grows on to start to investigate the reason for it, which is already a late condition and it could make a problem for the power. That is why this tiny box is invented as a barrier which has to act before they start approaching that problem with rational means and prevent thinking about it (society is only ”aloud” to worry about them).
The goal of this box is to make people stay on the emotional stage, which gives more possibility to the order to rule them and concentrate on the result (how horrible is it) and following that avoid the reason. Afterward the money-box could be simply received as a suggestion, solution to solving this huge problem.
According to the emotional level, accepting the possibility offered by the order - donating even 5-EUR gives people the filling that they have helped them and do one’s bit to solve the huge problem, which means that they automatically consciously or unconsciously are buying the concept of the power. This deal leaves less chance that people will go against the product for what they have paid cash and this makes them part of the power and they starting to see this problem through the order.
Afterward we will see in a TV that X charity organization has brought some corn to poor countries and we will be very happy and content because of it. Which means that this tiny box has perfectly done its function.