The Extraordinary Congress of the Presidential Candidates in Cluj

A presidential candidate is primarily an interface between the economic interests of the important people and the needs of the common people. She has to have the ability to make the latter believe that their exploitation and the capturing of value from them is for their own good. In Cluj we will start the process of acquiring these basic skills, and we will learn how to deflate and annihilate important political and environmental problems like Save Roșia Montana, fracking shale gas extraction, GMO agriculture, etc. Come to our workshop for improving and professionalizing the presidential candidates. You never know when the time will come for you to candidate. Somewhere deep in your heart you know that you have what it gets to be a president. At the end of the workshop you have the chance to meet the electorate for the first time during the Extraordinary Congress of the Presidential Candidates.

Candidacy Training, 12 Nov, 18h30, Fabrica de Pensule;
The Candidates Convention, 13 Nov, 18h00, Casa Tranzit.
The Candidates announced till now: Veda Popovici, Mihai Lukacs, Ion Dumitrescu, Florin Flueras, the list is open.




Why artists?

Why artists? - Franco Berardi Bifo's article ends under the influence of Postspectacle Shelter opening that he so movingly officiated:

Invited by a group of artists and activists, in April 2012 I spent some days in Bucharest and delivered a speech at the Museum of Contemporary Art. When I entered the space where a small crowd of listeners were gathering I saw two words written on the wall: No hope.

According to a recent survey it seems that 58% of Rumanians declare they are nostalgic for Ceausescu. Can you imagine someone longing for Ceausescu? My hosts told me: we have been the victims of two opposing nightmares: the communist nightmare of the past and the capitalist nightmare we are suffering now. Hope is over, for us, but the same can be said for our fellow humans all over the planet. "Give up hope, therefore, is our contribution to the emergence of a new consciousness" told me Florin Flueras, a dancer and activist who practices dystopic irony. Hope and growth are traps and our life is taken in these traps.

Dystopic irony (dyst-irony) is the language of those who understand without cynicism that the modern promise has been trashed because of the identification of Modernity and the capitalist dogma. Dystopia is the current imagination of future and irony is the rhetorical distance from the hypocritical discourse of power based on fake concepts such as competition, austerity, recovery and growth.

"Give up hope" is a dyst-ironic provocation meaning: don't trust the promises of power, don't expect growth, capitalism is agonizing, if we don't change the expectations that capitalism has produced we'll fall into depression and fascism.


Link to article

Dark Charity/ Grey Donors at MUMOK Vienna

Performance by the Presidential Candidate and the Bureau of Melodramatic Research at MUMOK.

























The common charity is done to improve a bit the situation, materially or financially, it is a ‘white’ charity with the aim to clean, stabilize, enlighten, secure. Dark charity is a reversed charity which will unground, destabilize, unsecure, metamorphose. This is the charity in which the Presidential Candidate and the Bureau of Melodramatic Research are involved.

The Charity gala was organized for the Viennese people and all our sponsors in MUMOK Kino for the Changer D'Image program. Our contribution was curated by Raluca Voinea.

Charity hostesses making their appearance on uplifting jodler-tune







Charity Gala auf Deutsch für unsere Sponsoren



The Charity team singing We are the World (Karaoke)


























With the audience together





The start of the acts of giving





Florin Flueras offering darkness to Vienna






Alina Popa offering freedom to talk-alone
 Ion Dumitrescu offering Bulgarian time signature
Claude Karnoouh live from Bucharest for the Viennese people
Finally the charity team with the Viennese receivers and the gifts

End Pit

This was our press release for End Pit at Depo Istanbul written before the events took over in late May 2013. We don't know if and how it makes sense to do what we wanted to do after these charged chemical days but we can find out about that together:

I don't approve of vertical structures; I rather favor horizontal ones. Four stories should be above the ground, while the other four should be built underground - Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

If gold is the material associated with the sun, brightness, stability, enlightenment, highest value, peak of visibility and light of knowledge, what could be the anti-gold, the ungold of darkness, unknowing, holes, unvisual? What is the relation between abysmal pits and soaring pillars, between forms of life of the heights and forms of life of the depths? When you turn the ceiling into a pit and the pit into a ceiling verticality and horizontality lose their meaning, confusion occurs, you lose the ground of the known while the pits of unknowing are opening "under" you.

The ethical distribution of verticality and horizontality is a strict anthropocentric process - what happens if we de-link hierarchy from altitude and de-humanize verticality? In a time of flat ontologies and smooth planes of emergence, the prominences and high-deep striations hold something oddly radical. Today's imperative of horizontality is shared by the occupy movements, with their resistance rhetoric, as well as the neo-liberal think-tanks, caught in the neural drive of focus groups and brainstorming sessions. Horizontalism at this stage shows already signs of conformity setting in motion all too familiar normative dynamics. Mining proliferates in these well-meaning horizontalities as verticality has disguised itself in a plane. Affective mining and toxic digging employ the same procedures of the extractive economy.

The end pit is conceived as the terminus point of all leaks, the final lake of leaks, impermeable basins that supposedly wipe out the memory of extracted gold. But in the vicinity of waste pounds - apart from inevitable soil contaminations - nether spheres emerge that enforce new spaces of unpredictability. From there no certainty whatsoever can direct the sense and composition of further deposits.

Dark markets, grey border areas, pressure zones, insufficient light exposure and the consequent deformities are generating uncharted fields of destruction and potentiality. The end pit is a point from where the free fall becomes impossible, it is the start of a convoluted, tortuous movement of live and poisoning sediments through the veins of the earth. End Pit is not an end in itself but a sprawling regression, a contagious closure of voids.

Alina Popa, Irina Gheorghe, Ștefan Tiron, Claudiu Cobilanschi, Florin Flueraș, Ion Dumitrescu
(The Bureau of Melodramatic Research, ParadisGaraj, Presidential Candidate)


film still from Luis Bunuel's 1965 film Simon of the Desert




















DOWNLOAD END PIT PUBLICATION:DOWNLOAD PDF   DOWNLOAD EPUB




The performance took place on the 6th of June at 19:30 in DEPO Istanbul.






















Later in June 2013, during the anti-government and anti-capitalist protests in Istanbul a forum was held in the exhibition space to discuss the recent events and ways of social action. Thanks Ali Taptik for sending us the photo.

Photo: Ali Taptik

Presidential Candidacy in Sao Paulo

If in Europe the slogan of the Candidate is "Give up Hope" in Brazil it had to be "Paraiso Agora!"

The Romanian Presidential Candidacy Fundraiser @ Documenta 13

















"Hey, do you want some Romanian radical art? 
 No thanks, I'm ok."

On the 10th of September the Romanian Presidential Candidacy landed in Kassel with great expectations for a fundraiser at Documenta 13 and for a meeting with our accomplices, The Robin Hood Minor Asset Management, during the final SCEPSI installment hosted there by Franco Bifo Berardi.

As our affection for the first world has grown our addiction is getting even more serious. We need the money and the good spirit of the north but we have no more time for applying or negotiating with curators and programmers, our patience has run out and the elections are approaching. The periphery needs cash, now!

This time we came from the splendid fiords of Norway to the frictionless trams of Kassel. At Documenta 13 it seemed that nothing could go wrong, wellness was floating in the air. We encountered smooth and unstriated spaces through which contemporary art consumers were drifting without obstacles from Fridericianum to Neue Galerie, sliding effortlessly from Hauptbahnhof exhibitions to Karlsaue Park and beyond, so that one could say that the whole city, indoors and outdoors, was nicely lubricated in order for the contemporary art-goers to enjoy the big event.

Coming from a campaign event in Oslo, The Romanian Presidential Candidacy felt again the happiness of the west/north all around, this time in Kassel, manifesting through every pore of most of the curator's (and her sub-curators) selections, a glee visible also in the abundant crowd of joyful visitors marching through this well thought exhibition multiplex where diversity and accessibility were the main assets. A shopping center without the shopping, or even better, we named it, Kassel Stock Un-Exchange. A perfect mix of all the tendencies and art streams of today, for those who wanted to bid on object oriented art there were plenty of occasions, for immaterial fetishism dozens of books, lectures and Neue Galerie. During the three months one could have found also occupiers and politically engaged performances, theoretical insights and retro excavation. Just place your cognitive shares and may the best stock win!

But the most disturbing phenomenon discovered by us, as we attended the SCEPSI event, was that Documenta was also a place for politically correct new-ageists dreaming of communal values within a frame (Documenta 13 itself) that harvested 29 million for its budget. They pretended that all was constructed in the name of love and solidarity. A sort of schizophrenia that is typical for the contemporary art operators of today (one can check the Artleaks cases).

As soon as the Robin Hood crew, in its presentation, talked about money and imitating Wall Street Stock Exchange anger exploded in the room of Ständehaus, the mentioning of "touching money" triggered instant irritation, suddenly the civil war that Bifo was prophesizing for Europe in the opening of the evening, was right there, indoors, between ideologically correct artists endorsing back-to-the-nature rhetoric, curators, pure activists and the parasites of the Robin Hood and The Romanian Presidential Candidacy, or let's say between a Bane/Bruce Wayne hybrid and Catwoman, if we look at it through the perspective of the last Batman movie.

ATP, Walid Raad's performance, the missing link

In the first part of his performance "Scratching on things I could disavow", Walid Raad displayed a sort of map - a very wide and playful one - that was tracing different and specific connections between the art world, capital and the army. Everything on that chart, starting with APT (Artist Pension Trust) continuing with a world-class team of art professionals and leading to Israel intelligence army elite seemed intertwined. Twisted interplays appeared between young ferocious business entrepreneurs, well motivated curators and known or less known visual artists scared of a future without a safety net.

We witnessed how Walid Raad was very vividly describing the rules and conditions of ATP as well as showing us the competition in the creation of algorithms that are meant as compasses in this ever more complex and vast domain of contemporary art market.

When we stepped outside the venue we felt like walking on that map, but something was unsatisfactory. A missing link was somehow eluding our view. We also thought a lot of Robin's Hood own algorithm, that one that allegedly is nosing in the trade temple, desacralizing and detouring money, the type of procedure that disturbed the Documenta Feng-Shui at Scepsi event.

What kind of puzzle-piece was missing from Walid's Raad map? What if another board would be added to the Walid's original and insightful one, one left unfinished on which some other ramifications would be drawn, that would also tie the author himself to Documenta and its curators (some of them already APT members), a virtual add-on to the initial map that reveals its tentacles and continues to expand tridimensional in all directions only to come together in the end.

Although this intricate web was still difficult to unfurl, one thing was sure, we were nowhere on that cartography. Apparently there were no links to romanian artists, Bucharest or other romanian cities because this is another planet of capital. Arabian wealthy cities may be in the interest of APT, but not Europe's periphery. We watched with envy, we would have wanted to be in that map, we felt outcasted, no curators called any of us to join in. Romanian performance art is obscure to the global market apparently having nothing to sell, there is nothing we could've contributed with to the collection of the ATP. In order to be a member one has to give one work per year for a period of twenty years to the Artists Pension Trust. So in this give-up-hope situation we felt even more motivated for our fundraiser.

Fundraiser, dealing romanian performance art

The Romanian Presidential Candidacy was at first intimidated by the grandeur and dimensions of Documenta 13, but as soon as we woke up from the western awe we decided that is time to get some direct cash from anyone interested in buying romanian contemporary and avant-garde art. During our dealing procedures we met very often the precariat, artists on a budget, people that were unable to spend 5 euros on a cd with rare romanian radical performance art but most of them carrying the sixty-eight euro catalogue "Book of Books" in their back pack. Documenta was unwarned, as we were dealing art on the halls and corridors of the Fridericianum we met no resistance.
The volunteers and guards were not trained for this, the frame was a penetrable one. We were spotting potential clients everywhere, they seemed hungry for new experiences although in the same old format of a museum/gallery. We became traders of experience economy; we upgraded the customary practice inside a biennale-documenta-manifesta from passive spectatorship to toxic interactive black-market. We mostly approached them while they were standing at long cues outside or inside the Fridericianum.

The fundraiser took us also in front of curators-customers, we tried to sell our merchandise also to baby curators and mature art consumers, journalists, art pilgrims - and many reacted with great scare and suspicion. They made us feel like rough art pushers from the Wild East. But some of them greeted us with smiles while others gave in and emptied their pockets. They risked a crumpled euro investment in romanian performance art without knowing that they actually have invested in the future to come, the best 10 euros they ever spent. Some of the precarious artists we encountered during the proceedings even told us that they would copy our blackmarket strategy!

Cohabitant pests, parasites and pushers

"So nat'ralists observe, a flea
 Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
 And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
 And so proceed ad infinitum.”
 --Jonathan Swift

Parasitism allows for and enhances all the advantages and proclivities of ad infinitum progression. Characterized by mathematical non-trivial self-similarity, it permits a much finer mesh of nooks and crannies where numeric leftovers, energy crumbs and financial quanta escape, spill over and get stuck. This is why sifting, sliding automated algorithmic “internalizers” have been more and more adept at pearl diving through financial “dark pools”.
On the other hand Eastern block corruption, petty crime, parasitism and shadiness have been a mainstay anti-hero of the Western narrative of sanitation, transparency and punitive action. So now, in the era of algo trading, there is also high time for rescuing non-machine readable methods, basic tactics and skills associated with blunt hide&seek economy, art market pickpocketing and under-the-counter praxis.

Postspectacle has arrived in Norway


 
















The way we experience ourselves is through the collective perceptions constantly reinforced by the generalized spectacle. The affective component of perception is more and more missing, the environment is perceived as mere exteriority. The world is a screen and we are becoming screens on which the spectacle is projected on and on. Postspectacle is when the screen becomes visible and a bit of reflection occurs, when a certain degree of some sort of different reality might enter our bodies.
 Postspectacle started in 2008 from a simple question: what’s the point in adding another spectacle to the theatre in a world of generalized spectacle? Postspectacle stands for the platforms, practices, gestures and attitudes that appeared since and were generated by the crisis of spectacle and representation we outlined in those days of 2008.

Postspectacle has arrived in Norway

How can thought collect Debord’s inheritance today, in the age of the complete triumph of the spectacle? It is evident, after all, that the spectacle is language, the very communicability and linguistic being of humans. […] The extreme form of the expropriation of the Common is the spectacle, in other words, the politics in which we live. But this also means that what we encounter in the spectacle is our very linguistic nature inverted. For this reason (precisely because what is being expropriated is the possibility itself of a common good), the spectacle’s violence is so destructive; but, for the same reason, the spectacle still contains something like a positive possibility - and it is our task to use this possibility against it. (From Giorgio Agamben - Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. 1990)
 
Postspectacle has arrived in Norway. This is a truly socialist country, a more egalitarian society than any other. Despite a few problems, the common good is served and the general atmosphere seems much less charged than in the south, where frustration and financial desperation has taken over. For the past three years we have declared “abandon all spectacle now”, but here in Oslo we feel almost paralyzed, in this environment the spectacle and the good life have to be celebrated.
So give up hope and join the party!

Postspectacle at Drama House Oslo

4 September
19h00 - Postspectacle Trilogy part I with Florin Flueras and Ion Dumitrescu
21h00 - Postspectacle: an Introduction with Florin Flueras and Ion Dumitrescu

5 September
18h00 - Postspectacle Workshop with
Brynjar Åbel Bandlien and Valentina Desideri
20:30 - Biosorcery (premiere) with Florin Flueras and Alina Popa

6 September
19h00 - Neocatharsis with Florin Flueras and Ion Dumitrescu
20h00 - So what (premiere) by Valentina Desideri and Zoe Poluch

7 September
19h00 - Preview, Manuel Pelmus
20h00 - Debate: Postspectacle is not enough! with Ine Therese Berg, Valentina Desideri, Florin Flueras, Ion Dumitrescu, Manuel Pelmus and Brynjar Åbel Bandlien

8 September
18h00 - Romanian Presidential Candidacy with The Romanian Presidential Candidate
20h00 - Postspectacle Join the party 

The Crises of (Com)Passion and the Corrupt Audience

Alina Popa (co-initiator of The Bureau of Melodramatic Research)
an analysis of affect circulation and border movement in the Postspectacle Shelter(1) 

The Crises of (Com)passion

How does the relationship between compassion and injustice work? And how does it function in an institutionalized museum context? Does it work to produce a shift or is it a mere dioramization, a murky mirror of reality? Capital of compassion is being constantly accumulated through the charity-economy with artists, NGO's and foundations acting as agents of the soul, that soul which is put to work(2) in the new financialized economy. The whole image production representing far-off colonial subjects and as well as hidden backyard misery within the first world is in search of the becoming-spectator. Becoming-spectator to the pain of others generates the illusion of agency through the involvement in a circuit of feelings that actually sustains and reproduces social injustice and economic inequality. There is always this becoming-spectator implicit in the representation of injustice.

Compassion implies hope, hope for justice, it implies the transformation of a singular instance in a potentiality for its perpetual existence. But capitalism today relies on the relentless branding and marketing of even the most ‘inner’ aspects of subjective experience(3), so 'hope' is immediately commodified as a warranty that the system will go on, will have a future, so that the structural inequalities and generalized injustice cannot be challenged. Thus, we have to acknowledge that at work in the new economy of emotions that animates current financial numbers and profits is a compassion-without-hope. That is why in the Postspectacle Shelter - with its No-Hope-slogans and the performance of compassion brought simultaneously onto the artistic and political scene(4) - there was no illusion. The spectacle of compassion was made manifest, all that was performed was pure soothing effect (inviting the homeless, offering food, medical care, knowledge, affectivity and voice). In the neoliberal reality, in order to annihilate resistance to the exploitation both of humans and non humans (animals and environment), big companies and supra-democratic organizations (World Bank, FMI etc.) use whitewashing strategies such as engaging in fighting poverty (when at the same time they perpetuate it), in investing in research to clean the ecosystem (after they have destroyed it), in rehabilitating communities (before they dislocate or evict it) etc. In this 'reality' there is always the 'spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down'. In the Postspectacle Shelter there was only the 'sugar', the comforting, without the 'medicine' and nevertheless without hope. This is why, although there were no illusions, the situation seemed unreal. It was clear that no hope lies in the neoliberal 'spoonful of sugar', but is there any hope at all?

Slogan of the Presidential Candidate campaigning in the Postspectacle Shelter

Who is more prone to being identified as compassionate? The present economy manages compassion as it organizes moods and states of mind. In this emotional organization chart roles are assigned and registered, the psychic space is being constantly modeled and produced on the immaterial assembly line of the postfordist factory. The idea of care becomes a commodity to be sold for profit under the strict regulation of the economic logic. One example of the way this affective regulation works we find in the dominant rhetoric of the West as capitalism arrived in the Eastern Block, at the beginning of the transition period. The West self-proclaimed itself as compassionate and performed the agency of care in the East. So powerful was this ideology that it still pervades public opinion today. For example, there was a comment about the pampers packages brought into the Postspectacle Shelter for a young couple with a baby, which were subsequently identified to have been actually brought by the 'French' - in the foreign AID rhetoric, compassion and help have to come from the West, as from an alien force.
Reversely, in the spectacle of compassion, the subjects of injustice are caught in the trap of performing their suffering in front of an audience who must develop a psychic transformation to-not-feel-empathy in order to adapt to the emotional requirements of the neuropolitics at work. Like for the 'tributes' from Hunger Games(5), the spectacle seems the only escape, the only way out from the precarious life and all that you are left with to perform is your own enacted bare life.

How to exhaust this spectacle potential, how to achieve a zero degree of attention which could give way to affective attention as opposed to the current marketization of attentiveness? How can we place ourselves in a position of self-fragilization(6), which allows not only a power to affect, but a power to be affected?(7) Maybe this aesthetic vulnerability implied by the spectacle of suffering can be transformed into an ethical vulnerability - the reciprocal acknowledgement of a shared fragility and precariousness of our body-psyche both politically and ontologically.

Compassion and distance

There is a multiple layer of distance in compassion. The first layer is the one that enables compassion in the first place, it is the distance between the subject and object of compassion, which involves a sort of hierarchical relationship(8) between the object of compassion that has the suffering itself and the subject of compassion which has the thought of suffering. Compassion in itself involves an unequal relationship between the thought of emotion which then becomes an emotion in itself (feeling the pain of others) and the emotion lived (one’s own suffering, feeling pain).

The second layer of distance comes from the overwhelming enormity of the painful spectacle(9), which results in feeling powerless. The scenes of vulnerability produce a desire to withhold compassionate attachment, to be irritated by the scene of suffering. The spectacularization of poverty (in numerous commercials, TV docs, movies) produces a numbness of empathic feeling. It produces the possibility to disconnect, to run away from the scene of suffering, to refuse actual engagement with the reality of pain. Lack of empathy (impairment of compassion) and apatheia (impairment of pathos) are the states of mind produced by the late capitalism with its now primary function as an emotion-shaping belief system.

The third layer of distance has its origins in the Cartesian view on the mind-body relation, where one’s own body and emotionality is perceived as external, detached and hence controllable by the sovereign-mind and rationality. In this case, distance - which actually characterizes the whole post-Renaissance scientific, patriarchal paradigm - is projected upon one’s own body-mind. Through will, judgment and reason, the unruly, animalic body should be tamed and controlled, the same way that the state functioned as the centre of command to discipline the bodies of people under its rule. As Silvia Federici was writing: in other words, ... the human body and not the steam engine, and not even the clock, was the first machine developed by capitalism.(10) At the same time, as a historical moment, the Cartesian paradigm coincides with the advent of capitalism, the erosion of community and of every form of communality, based on proximity and compassion, as opposed to alienation and estrangement, which were triggered by the dominance of capital and money relations.

The unruly body-mind is now controlled by psychopharmacology and the medico-chemical apparatus, an extension of the Cartesian paradigm modelated by the present financial capitalism. So what the current economy produces is the automation of the body-psyche through its hegemonic machines that generate the plot we play in without sensing, the affects we capture without knowing.

Could we then think how the automatized body-mind - automatized both in the Foucauldian sense of discipline and control and in the posthumanist sense of the prostheticity(11) - could revolt against its own affective, bodily programming?

Bodies out of place. The power of homelessness

As we are more and more becoming precarious and home-less, there is a backlash of intense movements of home-finding(12), home-creating as all-too-familiar (and dangerous) ways of escaping the frail ground of economic insecurity and no-future-ism. The new old homes are the solid, enclosed (and oppressive) territories of nationalism, racism, homophobia, speciesism, all the community-forming practices based upon exclusion and impaired compassion - on identity politics be it related to nation, ethnicity, sex orientation, species, and so on. The alignment of family and home-ness with whiteness, heteronormativity and carnophallogocentrism(13) is powerful, and works to transform all these features into familial ties, into a form of racial kindred that recognises all non-white [I would add here the queer subjects] others as strangers, as 'bodies out of place'(14) Identity politics is based on an unidirectional empathy (excluding the bodies out of place), on a compassion-within-borders which is strictly regulated top-down by the neoliberal economic hegemony, by the state and by religion.

Likewise, the institutionalization of resistance and autonomy potential through the NGO system is part of another home-seeking mechanism, which acts through division and dissipation. It finds a cozy home for every social anomaly, disregarding the 'homelessness' of all these anomalies in accordance with the arbitrariness of power(15) and avoiding their common cause which is left unchallenged (this would in fact terminate NGOism, as it's precisely the neoliberal system that is funding it). We can speak of unidirectional empathy to characterize the affective restraints of the charity economy that treats the symptoms and not the sources. This system of rationalized, algorithmic philanthropy is another mechanism by which a generalized impaired compassion is being institutionalized on a grand scale.(16)

For art, home equals the art institution. There is an inflation of art with socio- political content today, which is in constant search for homes, and like the NGO system, it doesn't challenge the causes but only quarantined effects, disregarding the position from which it criticizes and who actually profits from the symbolic capital it amasses. As long as it remains inside the comfort zone of the home-institution, the subversive, disruptive potential of this alleged revolutionary art is easily tamed and its acts of representation cannot escape depolitization, its semiotic charge cannot turn into real action. Maybe political art today relies too much on a hope-rhetoric that disregards all the present refrains of collapse echoed by an art system deeply embedded in the capitalist profit-logic, by the fiasco-politics of Western representative democracy, the abysmal effects of the current expanded biopolitics or the coming ecological catastrophe.

The state of homelessness is usually associated with the refusal to work, it's a position outside the production time - which is not anymore factory or corporation time, but personal time, as productivity now equates the speed of reaction, the velocity of response-ability and the constant shaping of subjectivity. Homelessness is sheer precariousness (physical) combined with dark precarity (economical). It's the anticipation of the imminent generalized dystopia. A homeless on the street was saying: I have no place to sleep so at night I study, I do my research on the street. The depressed cannot wake up, the homeless cannot sleep. There is an inverted depression characterizing the homeless. They are hyper-active waste of the neoliberal flood of meaning and information overflow, they embody the dark restlessness and über-consciousness.

The newly developed system of 'Food Banks'(17) in Great Britain seems like a prophecy for the reality to come. The homeless are offered due-to-expiration supermarket products in return for sentiments of gratefulness towards the merciful new economy and the religious big-hearted-ness - aid and compassion usually come along together with religious indoctrination, as in the case of the Food Banks. The present charity system replaced the function of the former welfare state, as the emotional turn in politics took place along with the post-70's financialized economy. Compassion management has changed from being regulated by public policies which guaranteed the economically disenfranchised the right to social benefits to being part of corporation strategies and the affiliated NGO system. Social assistance moved from being a right to being an opportunity that depends on humbleness and speed, another link in the neoliberal chain of impaired compassion. The Trusts (although it's a name worthy of dystopian novels, these are foundations which administrate the Food Banks) manage compassion and food. The food they distribute through their centers (one example is the Hope Centre-another name worthy of the same dystopian script) is actually the debris of technologically processed stamps, which remain unsold at the end of the day. The circuit of compassion is completed by the specificity of the working conditions. The standardized care is performed by volunteers. Volunteerism is the legitimate form of compassion today - it is based on unidirectional empathy on one side (that promoted by the employer - foundations, trusts) and on lack of empathy on the other side (the volunteers perform unpaid labour). So no trust and no hope.

'Food Bank’ in the Postspectacle Shelter

The Postspectacle Shelter made visible the crises of compassion, recognizing that the only possible place to defend while affirming the common fragility of the bodies (in and out of place) is a No Hope shelter which takes over a public institution by overstating its past and present failed promises of compassion and care for the people: The House of the People which now houses the Romanian Parliament. The grand narrative produced the concept of a grand 'home' which was never belonging to the people as its name promised. At the same time, the current representative democracy failed to meet the necessities of the demos, the people itself stopped believing in it.
There was an interesting relation between food and affect in the Postspectacle Shelter. Food was the materialized desire, it was what actually becomes body - the emotions shape bodies as well. So on this level there is a resemblance with the two main acts of production, circulation, distribution: food and affect. Hierarchically, food has always been subaltern to the higher functions of the body-mind. How do we then re-think a flat organization of food and affect?
The homeless who usually come to openings for a snack and a drink (in Romanian Pișcotari) were always treated as inferior because they preferred food to emotional, cathartic states of mind allegedly stimulated by art. Could there be an emancipatory potential in the subjectivity of this spectator (embodied by the homeless) who doesn’t privilege catharsis over bodily needs?


'Food Bank’ in the Postspectacle Shelter

In a society ruled by economic laws, which produces value mostly immaterially, outnumbering by far the profits made by industry and agriculture, the politics of food is well entangled with a politics of emotions. How to incorporate the immateriality of food and at the same time how to feel the materiality of affect? Both are flows that shape subjectivity and create forms of life. Like in one example above, eating meat has to do with the love for the nation and the values promoted by the official politics (for example, heteronormativity). Moreover, thinking the environment in terms of domination and extraction since ancient times has created subjectivities that developed lack of feelings or apatheia to cope with the violence and exploitation necessary for food to be produced.

Homelessness becomes a kind of ominous, pre-apocalyptic state, both virtual and actual. In its actuality it defines bodies out of place, at the mercy of the neoliberal compassion apparatus. Nevertheless, in its virtuality 'homelessness' can become a state of continuous de-subjectivation, a zero degree of Being, from where new forms of life autonomous from the hegemony of the economic system could appear. The refusal of 'homes' is bound up to the refusal of work, to the acceptance of fragility, of precariousness, to the escape from normative subjectivities. How to overcome attachments to 'homes' that promise security and success and at the same time end up abiding sociopathic subjects, depressed and standardized bits of aliveness? 'Homelessness' at molecular level is the displacement of the habitual microstructures from the monolithic body-home and their autonomization. When the body de-organizes and de-connects from its familiar, habitual structure, when the body movements override the normative patterns prescribed by the late capitalist rule, then the body can become something else.

The Corrupt Audience and the Illusion of Spectatorship

The audience-performers/ performing audience : the guards (spp), the museum wards, the director, the employees, the artists, the homeless, the ngo, the philosophers of depression, surveillance cameras, the golden bulan, the black bulan etc.
What happens when the only audience is corrupt and does not respond to the same rules of valorization as the ones established by the history of an institution, like the museum? New forms of truth telling can arise if the spectator de-automatizes affectively and semiotically from the system of valorization that makes art art. This transgression of the codes could actually possible on other levels as well. Maybe bringing the homeless as audience is a necessary act of cynicism, it breaks the art bubble autarkeia, it annihilates the usual self-gratulatory ceremony (which happens in restricted circles, while self-praising the practice of addressing a wider public). This practice can be a contemporary parrhesiastic game to change perception of art/institutions/politics for performers and audience alike. The homeless seem to be paradigmatic for the function of the subversive spectator. They are the unbearable audience, the constant reminder that biopolitics is real, that's what is at stake is life governed by politics, that the spectacle is outside and we are merely training to take part in it.

Freeing the homeless from 'representativity', from being caught in the rogue algorithm of compassion operates a shift in the relationship between representation and injustice. There is no sure 'home' for the spectator and the performer. The audience is as fragile as the performing bodies. The assigned roles inside the spectacle are in themselves precarious, unstable, oscillatory. The partial-spectator becomes the partial-performer and vice versa. There is no pure audience. Like in the performance of compassion, mere spectatorship generates the illusion of agency, but there is first and foremost the illusion of spectatorship that shadows any oscillation between comforting agency and the much-feared passivity. The stakes are not about seeing a spectacle, but about sensing the movement, the uncertainty of every moment, the fragility of borders and of the possible outcomes.

One of the Presidential Candidates addressing the audience in the Postspectacle Shelter

What does it mean to be passive as a corrupt audience in a museum? Isn't this passivity a subversion of the codes imposed by such an institution? Why is passivity always associated with the incapacity of judgment? Why is this incapacity demonized? Isn't this incapacity preferable to the process of surrendering one’s skills to a machine, giving them up in the technosphere/infosphere, where then by algorithmic processes (which are beyond individual capacity of judgment and understanding anyway) value is formed and inequality perpetuated and enforced.

'Passive' and 'passion' have a common Latin root – passio, which means 'suffering'. Com-passion should be common passion, a shared passion, a suffering experienced together. To be passive is to be enacted upon, as a negation that is already felt as suffering. The fear of passivity is tied to the fear of emotionality, in which weakness is defined in terms of a tendency to be shaped by others.(18) The emotions cannot be incubated in the body, there is no well-sealed interiority. There is a permeability, fluidity of affectivity, no vacuum chamber to isolate affect inside the body. That is why the psychological apparatus is so deceptive. In compassion, co-passivity should be the shared capacity of being affected, of being able to co-suffer and should be shared by the partial-spectator (the subject of compassion) and the partial-performer (the object of compassion).


1. In the Postspectacle Shelter the homeless were offered food and medical assistance, and a voice in the Presidential Campaign. The House of People was given back to the People, all these between the heavy brackets of double walls, that of the Parliament and that of the contemporary art museum. http://postspectacle.blogspot.ro/2012/04/presidential-candidate-invites-you-to.html
2. Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Soul at Work From Alienation to Autonomy, Cambridge, Mass. and London: The MIT Press, 2009
3. Steven Shaviro, Post-Cinematic Affect: On Grace Jones, Boarding Gate and Southland Tales in Film-Philosophy Journal, Vol 14, No 1 (2010) http://www.film-philosophy.com/index.php/f-p/article/view/220
4. The Postspectacle Shelter was inside the House of the People (which presently hosts the Romanian Parliament), inside the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC).
5. Hunger Games is a 2012 SF film, directed by Gary Ross, after the book of Suzanne Collins. The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where 12 boys and 12 girls must participate in the Hunger Games–a televised annual event in which the "tributes" are required to fight to the death until there is one remaining victor. (Wikipedia)
6. term used by Bracha Ettinger, lecture, Future Art Base, Helsinki, 2012. Self-fragilization in Ettinger's sense implies the dispersal and loss of the self, becoming sub-subjective. It is thus a concept opposed to oversensitivity.
7. Akseli Virtanen, lecture, Future Art Base, Helsinki, 2012.
8. Lauren Berlant (Ed.), Compassion The Culture and Politics of an Emotion, New York and London: Routledge 2004
9. Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002
10. Silvia Federici, The Caliban and the Witch, New York: Autonomedia, 2004
11. Cary Wolfe, What is posthumanism?, Minneapolis London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Prostheticity in the sense of the embodiment and embeddedness of the human being in not just its biological but also its technological world, the prosthetic coevolution of the human animal with the technicity of tools and external archival mechanisms (such as language and culture).
12. One of the most repeated slogans of Mihail Neamțu (an important figure of the center-right party in Romania, assiduous promoter of the neoliberal doctrine) which he propagandistically used by in his hysterical speech against the ruling social-democrat party during the right wing's official demonstration at the beginning of July 2012 was "Welcome Home!". He was referring to the alive, dead and 'unborn' Romanians patriots who would not emigrate.
13. In the periods of mad cow disease outbreak, in countries such as Great Britain in the 80's and 90's and Canada in 2000's there was a powerful nationalist discourse tied to the consumption of beef. As Nicole Shukin notes, there were dramatic public displays of cooking, serving, and consuming Canadian beef, modeling a metabolic commitment to the health and “carnophallogocentrism” of the nation through patriotic displays of meat eating. Not only is the purity of a nation’s meat representative, on a deeply affective level, of its domestic economy; meat also enciphers ideological investments in the masculinist virility and racial purity of the national body. (Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times, Minneapolis London: University of Minnesota Press, 2009)
14. Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004
http://archive.org/details/TheCulturalPoliticsOfEmotion
15. Arbitrary power is a concept developed by Akseli Virtanen.
16. Gary Olson, Empathy and Neuropolitics: This is your brain on neoliberal culture. Any questions? http://home.moravian.edu/public/polsci/pdfs/EmpathyAnd%20Neuropolitics.pdf
17. Amelia Gentleman, Food banks: a life on handouts, 18 July 2012 http://pocket.co/sMuFS
18. Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004

Facing the Wall, Disaster, Collapse and the Impossibility-to-not-Love

with Akseli Virtanen and KAFKAMACHINE Team
workshop about:

Exhaustion of the possible. Three metamorphoses of the spirit. From biopower to arbitrary power. To function “in another way” (Benjamin). Economy as oikonomia. Topoi koinoi. An-arche. The secret bond between anarchy and government. Production of ethics. Production of memory. Giorgio Agamben and Paolo Virno’s on coming politics. Good and evil share the same root. Distance to environment. Mode of potentiality. Endless regression. Openness to the world. Experience of potentiality. Exhaustion of the realizable vs. exhaustion of the possible. Pathos of distance. Disaster, fragilization and desubjectivation. Impossibility-to-not-love. Copoiesis. Kafkamachine. Cooperation to come. Robin Hood Investment Fund of the Precariat. Minor Asset Management.

KAFKAMACHINE arouse in the midst of the marvels of financial economy and crises of Europe, when the precariousness of immaterial labour defines our every day, financial capitalism exercises its arbitrary power and forces us to continuously exploit ourselves and our friends while cynicism, opportunism, depression and detachment from others have become the only means of our survival. After the economic collapse, there seems to be nothing that holds Europe together anymore. Except our fear and apatheia. Just like in the Greek myth about the beginning of Europe, the Bull is raping Europa maiden again. Just look at Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Romania, Finland... And there is nothing we can do, nothing works. There is no solidarity, no shared place or time for a creation of community, of conscious collective subjectivity. There is no way out. The old political practices have totally lost their operationality.

KAFKAMACHINE is made out of loosers, sad figures, dark souls, cynical opportunists and depressed princesses. ”We are not tough or heroic, we are soft and feeble. We don’t march or demonstrate. We have difficulties in getting up from the bed. More, we are dependent on each other to see this. We are molle people, the future of cooperation.” There may be some self-sarcasm in this introduction, but only to express that there is no heroism in the exhaustion and disillusionment we are experiencing at the moment when seeking a way forward together is necessary but without any one being able to guide the way. The cognomen of the project is n-1, the one that disappeared. There is no other ground but the broken one.

We have difficulties in believing what is happening to us, because nothing seems to happen. We are tired of being ourselves because the self-evidencies of our lives don't work anymore. We know they don't, even if we still try to pretend that they do. We need reinvention of ourselves, but have no strength or appeal for it. That is why we all sound like déjà vu. The realm of possible at our disposal is exhausted. And when there is no access to possible, there is just the actual: there is no change. How do you build a way back to the possible? How do you invent a way out when there is no way out? KAFKAMACHINE is an organizational experiment on cooperations to come.
This is our story, the story of our lives, naked in front of the arbitrariness of the world, alone and lost, when the one has disappeared.

Akseli Virtanen is a member of Mollecular organization and the coordinator of Future Art Base in Helsinki (Aalto University School of Art). He is currently working on “Parasite –Investment Fund of the Precariat” and “Kafka machine” film project based on Félix Guattari’s project plan. He also teaches new political economy and philosophy of cooperation at the Aalto University School of Economics. His recents books include the Molecular Organization of Félix Guattari (2011), Economy and Social Theory Vol 1-3 (2011-2012), Introduction to Bracha Ettinger's Copoiesis (2009), The Place of Mutation. Vagus, Nomos, Multitudo (2007), A Critique of Biopolitical Economy. The End of Modern Economy and Birth of Arbitrary Power (2006), Dictionary of New Work. A Map to Precarious Life (2006). He edits "Polemos" and "Memory books of cooperation" book series.

Postspectacle Shelter in The House of the People




















25 - 29 April, in the House of the People

It looks like what we, The Presidential Candidate, have been anticipating in the last years, with our "no hope" messages and slogans, is already at work. This is not perceived as an eccentric, provocative vision anymore, it is the banal reality that everybody can feel. So what now? What’s happening when you give up hope and you are pushed into the corner?

There is a feeling of urgency, fundamental issues need to be immediately confronted and we will do exactly that. The House of the People (Ceauşescu's Palace) will be transformed temporarily into a real house of the people, where, for a few days, free education, free health services, free food, political therapy, a bit of everything that now is disappearing, will be provided.

Still, there is a sensation that it's too little and, maybe, already too late, so we don’t know if we can avoid adding a dystopian dimension to the whole situation. The events within the House of the People will be a good opportunity for thinking the present and feeling the (no) future in this first Postspectacle shelter.

Inside the Shelter:

Wednesday 25 Apr, 19.00
Does Europe Have Any Future? - workshop with Franco Bifo Berardi

Thursday 26 Apr, 19.00
- The Official Opening of the People's Shelter - speeches by The Presidential Candidate and his guests
- Paraparada - Aparat Security
- Samusocial - Elena Adam
- Reintegration - Vali Zaharescu aka The Romanian Bum, chief editor Gazeta Străzii

Friday 27 Apr
16.00 - 20.00 - Facing the Wall, Disaster, Collapse and the Impossibility-to-not-Love - workshop with Akseli Virtanen
20.30  - Meditation - Valentina Desideri
21.00 - Film Projections

Saturday 28 Apr
16.00 - 20.00 - Facing the Wall, Disaster, Collapse and the Impossibility-to-not-Love - workshop with Akseli Virtanen
20.00 - Bezna #3 Launching
20.30  
- Queer Apocalypse vs The Salvation Child - Mihai Lukacs
- Soulstorming - BMR (Alina Popa, Irina Gheorghe)
- We Are All Reptilians Now - Florin Flueras

Sunday 29 Apr
15.00 - Political Reading Group
17.00 
- 112 - Iuliana Stoianescu
- Survival Guide - Cosima Opârtan
- About Migrants- Simina Guga
18.30
- Peronism Will Be Revolutionary or It Will Not Be At All - Eva Peron
- Postspectacle Condition - Ion Dumitrescu
- Public Life - Private Life, Where Are the Limits - Caroline Keppi-Gurita
20.00 - FRR/kunstahallke.ro presents:  Water Strategy - Alexandru Gurita


Workshops details:

Does Europe have any future? - atelier cu Franco Bifo Berardi:
Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi is a contemporary writer, autonomist theorist and media activist. He founded the magazine A/traverso (1975-1981), and initiated Radio Alice, the first pirate radio station in Italy (1976-1978). His work analyzes the role of media and information technology in post-industrial capitalism, in particular drawing from schizoanalysis and aesthetics to investigate processes of subjectification within precarious labor. Human emotions and embodied communication becomes increasingly central to the production and consumption patterns that sustain capital flows in post-industrial society, and as such Berardi uses the concepts of "cognitariat" and "info labour" to analyze this psycho-social process. In his recent book, After the Future , he tries to prefigure what can come after our present end of the future.

Facing the Wall, Disaster, Collapse and the Impossibility-to-not-Love - workshop with Akseli Virtanen:
Exhaustion of the possible. Three metamorphoses of the spirit. From biopower to arbitrary power. To function “in another way” (Benjamin). Economy as oikonomia. Topoi koinoi. An-arche. The secret bond between anarchy and government. Production of ethics. Production of memory. Giorgio Agamben and Paolo Virno’s on coming politics. Good and evil share the same root. Distance to environment. Mode of potentiality. Endless regression. Openness to the world. Experience of potentiality. Exhaustion of the realizable vs. exhaustion of the possible. Pathos of distance. Disaster, fragilization and desubjectivation. Impossibility-to-not-love. Copoiesis. Kafkamachine. Cooperation to come. Robin Hood Investment Fund of the Precariat. Minor Asset Management.

In the Shelter every day:
- Simple yet Nourishing Food - Simina Guga, Ovidiu Anemțoaicei, Ștefan Tiron...
- Political Therapy - Valentina Desideri
- Medical Care - Iuliana Stoianescu


With the support of MNAC and Goethe-Institut Bucuresti

The World of Integrated Spectacle

The immovable walls and the iron curtains that divided the two worlds were wiped out in a few days. The Eastern governments allowed the Leninist party to fall so that the integrated spectacle could be completely realized in their countries. In the same way, the West had already renounced a while ago the balance of powers as well as real freedom of thought and communication in the name of the electoral machine of majority vote and of media control over public opinion - both of which had developed within the totalitarian modern states.

Timisoara, Romania, represents the extreme point of this process, and deserves to give its name to the new turn in world politics. Because there the secret police had conspired against itself in order to overthrow the old concentrated-spectacle regime while television showed, nakedly and without false modesty, the real political function of the media. Both television and secret police, therefore, succeeded in doing something that Nazism had not even dared toimagine: to bring Auschwitz and the Reichstag fire together in one monstrous event. For the first time in the history of humankind, corpses that had just been buried or lined up on the morgue’s tables were hastily exhumed and tortured in order to simulate, in front of the video cameras, the genocide that legitimized the new regime. What the entire world was watching live on television, thinking it was the real truth, was in reality the absolute nontruth; and, although the falsification appeared to be sometimes quite obvious, it was nevertheless legitimized as true by the media’s world system, so that it would be clear that the true was, by now, nothing more than a moment within the necessary movement of the false. In this way, truth and falsity became indistinguishable from each other and the spectacle legitimized itself solely through the spectacle.

Timisoara is, in this sense, the Auschwitz of the age of the spectacle: and in the same way in which it has been said that after Auschwitz it is impossible to write and think as before, after Timisoara it will be no longer possible to watch television in the same way.

How can thought collect Debord’s inheritance today, in the age of the complete triumph of the spectacle?
It is evident, after all, that the spectacle is language, the very communicativity and linguistic being of humans. This means that an integrated Marxian analysis should take into consideration the fact that capitalism (or whatever other name we might want to give to the process dominating world history today) not only aimed at the expropriation of productive activity, but also, and above all, at the alienation of language itself, of the linguistic and communicative nature of human beings, of that logos in which Heraclitus identifies the Common. The extreme form of the expropriation of the Common is the spectacle, in other words, the politics in which we live. But this also means that what we encounter in the spectacle is our very linguistic nature inverted. For this reason (precisely because what is being expropriated is the possibility itself of a common good), the spectacle’s violence is so destructive; but, for the same reason, the spectacle still contains something like a positive possibility - and it is our task to use this possibility against it.

(From Giorgio Agamben - Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle.)

The Inauguration of the People's Salvation Cathedral

 

















The Romanian Orthodox Church wants to build a huge People's Salvation Cathedral. Of course with money from the state budget (around 900 millions euro). Ironically it will be next to the House of the People, the huge building made during Ceausescu's regime. The construction is on, but near it a small, simple and cheap prefab-church has been already built for temporary use, as a way to mark the territory. The Presidential Candidate organized a public campaign announcing that the People's Salvation Cathedral has been already finished and 11.11.11 was the date set for its inauguration.

For the ceremony the Candidate dressed in priest and, after a very short religious procession, he inaugurated the prefab-church as the actual People's Salvation Cathedral. He also apologized in the name of the Orthodox Church for the exploitation and commercialization of gypsy slaves by the Romanian Orthodox Church that went until later 19th century (a taboo issue for the Church).
The priest announced that the orthodox churches will be open day and night and will serve as a shelter for the continuously growing number of homeless people, pushed away from their homes by the harsh Turbo-Capitalism. 

He announced also some possible reforms inside the Church, for example granting women the same rights as men to perform the mass and have access in the hierarchical structure at any level, not just to clean the church and sell candles. He also criticized the hierarchical structure of the Church and its hypocrisy - everything is in gold, a lot of properties and political power. The top members of Church travel in limousines surrounded by police, blocking the traffic for the rest of people. In all these facts, the Candidate-priest recognized the Antichrist - the opposite of the Jesus message encompassing simplicity, poverty, love...  

Nevertheless the general tone of his preaching was pervaded by a sense of thankfulness for the honor to inaugurate the People's Salvation Cathedral. The priest was happy to help the Romanian Orthodox Church make such an important step towards christianity: choosing to build a simple and spiritual church instead of the opulent home for the Antichrist. 

The official sermon was abruptly interrupted by an aggressive orthodox faction that pushed the priest down the stairs and recommended him to perform a self-decapitation immediately after he would take off the holy costume.

McImpuls Tanz or nothing to eXplore


What does it mean to do a festival of contemporary art in 2011? And what does it mean to do a festival of contemporary dance in the city of Bucharest in 2011? What does it mean to be involved in contemporary arts in general? Those questions seem of no concern for eXplore Dance Festival that at least for the past editions was trying to produce a minimal (even if banal) text that proposed a position in the world of spectacle.

This year we get directly names. The only concern of the festival seems to be to bring us “world-known artists” from the much larger and more successful Festival Impuls Tanz Vienna. We even have a “coaching” project, scholarships and an “8:tension” like category for “emerging artists” disguised as a competition named “Prix Jardin d’Europe” (which includes, of course, many participants in the 8:tension program).The self-colonizing at it’s purest! The local context with its issues and realities is of no interest at all. We must only feel very happy to see the same “world-known artists” that we saw this year in Vienna and Berlin. You know….”it’s good for the audience”…

The periphery does not produce discourse. It only integrates the already produced discourses and names by its bigger and stronger partner and reproduces it in its own territory with no critical distance whatsoever. The success model must be reproduced (in a minor key of course) regardless of any other imperatives of the moment in hope that we might be successful as well if we only follow closely the receipt of our bigger brothers. Nothing should interrupt this logic not even a proposed protest by fellow artists to address the disastrous situation in which the Ministry of Culture keeps the National Center of Dance Bucharest and the loss of the only space available for the dance community.

Solidarity with your local context must come only when you need financing for your own project! The march towards becoming a local branch of Impuls Tanz must continue without any disturbances in a conformist and provincial manner that will secure our modest place inside the global “network”. This (lack of) attitude stands in deep opposition from that of the local dance community that over the past ten years has been promoting a critical stance towards their own art form and towards the politics involved in it.

Together with the loss of the venue of CNDB, 2011 begins to look like the year when Romanian contemporary dance steps back into it’s ‘90s “pre-thinking” condition.2011 - not much left to eXplore!

The Romanian Presidential Candidate

AN ARTIST MORE - A TERRORIST LESS

In Romania during the so called "communist period" there was what they called "the resistance through culture". In the sense that some artists and intellectuals didn't compromise to praise the dictator, but at the same time they didn't take any risks, they went with the regime doing their art and now they pretend that they were dissidents. They are very badly judged now. They are called "collaborators". Paradoxically they are more badly judged than the obvious collaborators. People accuse them that it was their responsibility to criticize the regime and because they didn't do it, they legitimized the regime. It was their responsibility to set how the struggle should look like and what they provided was a kind of a fake resistance, succeeding in this way to steal potential from other kinds of resistance.(1)

Same now. There is the obvious collaboration, the clear example being the "creative industries" and the artists that are "sent" in problematic places, in slums, between immigrants or in "emergent" countries to prepare the terrain for "democracy" and capital - the stalkers of capital, like in the past the catholic priests were send in colonies to introduce the christianity and the economic thinking.

But more problematic is the fake resistance, the subtle collaboration. The so called "political art", the majority of "critical theory" that are carefully attentive not to pass some clear limits. It is problematic because they are setting the tone of how the resistance and critique in society should look like.

Analyzing how media works, Chomsky noticed a kind of interiorised self-censorship, an interiorised authority at the core of it. The tendency is to self-adjust to the "normal"/official perception, to the status quo. People automatically take the frame of the superior publications, which take the frame of officials, which take the frame of the financial sustainers. The self-censorship is not so much about what information is presented, it is more about the perspective about reality, about the implicit paradigm from which the reading of what's happening emerges.(2)

This kind of analysis can be easily extended to art and to entire cultural component. The artist, like the journalist, is in a chain of economic-political power relations. He's the subject of a pressure from above - curators, programers, which are the subject of a pressure from politicians or banks/corporations (via financial support). From this point of view the artist is a link between officials and the subjectivities it addresses, an important piece in a chain of power influences.

The majority of the population is sufficiently "covered" by the mass media and entertainment, apparently the contemporary art play a small role in the big picture. Maybe from the quantitative point of view, but from the point of view of how power operates, the target of high culture (contemporary art, academic theory, etc.) is tremendously important because it assimilates and addresses the marginal people that are more at unrest, emancipated, unsatisfied, activists, critical, etc. Foucault noticed that the power always focused to assimilate, to integrate or to criminalize/annihilate this dangerous, more marginal, independent subjects.(3)

Art (and Academia) seems to be some of the best solutions for assimilating, absorbing, discharging and disarming in its key points the resistance, dissent, revolt and frustration accumulated in society. It works like a substitution, it swallows real struggles, the real potentiality and transforms them into consumable spectacular cultural products like art. It is an appropriation of struggles. This accumulation of struggles creates the cultural (and artistic) bubble, a luxurious prison where the dangerous people, thoughts, concepts and intentions are domesticated.

ART BUBBLE
(Art is infinitely better than reality)

Ranciere is enthusiastic about the fact that aesthetics were set since the beginning to work on the egalitarian principles:

"The very idea of Art - of the aesthetic experience - as defining a specific sphere of experience was born in the late eighteenth century under the banner of equality: the equality of all subjects, the definition of a form of judgment freed from the hierarchies of knowledge and those of social life."(4)

I think we can spot here a fundamental problem - the fact that art was set since the beginning to answer to this important needs and aspirations in an alternative reality - to function as a substitute that enables an abstraction from the concrete ideologico-political constellation. Religion offered this kind of compensation-refuge further in time, in the next-other life, art seems more efficient and can give a compensation now, but not here - in alternative realities, escaping in spaces of creativity, representation.

Freud considers that "life as we find it is too hard for us; it entails too much pain, too many disappointments, impossible tasks. We cannot do without palliative remedies… There are perhaps three of these means: powerful diversions of interest, which lead us to care little about our misery; substitutive gratification, which lessen it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it. Something of this kind is indispensable."(5)

Art/aesthetic seems to be a good "remedy" that plays all this three palliative functions so needed to cope with the inequality, exploitation, domination and precarity of life. Art can be seen as a space in which you can play with "radical" changes in a safe and inoffensive environment - a provided, institutionalized place for critique and experiment in order to keep the status quo outside of it.

Ranciere and with him others artists and theorists, says that art is already political just because it exists and modifies the regime of sensible, producing emancipation, etc. Of course these theories are a big hype among artists because they justify and provide rationalizations for "my art is my activism" attitude. It is very convenient, you just stay in your art studio and work at the level of finesse and sensible, and you are in the same time revolutionary, subversive and so on. You are a radical artist without touching on the power relations. You keep the privileges and you do resistance at the same time.

THE MORBID SIDE OF CULTURE

Everybody is happy - the artist, the State, the Capital. The Power don't want the artists capacities, intelligence and knowledge to be used in real dissent activities or in real protests. So, since ever, the power is friendly with the artists. They always had a privileged place at the King/Capital court.

We can see the cultural component as the domain of biopolitics, where the power invest in the people's capacities for different reasons - to integrate and assimilate dissent, to softly control the critical discourse, the values and references in society or just to harvest the artists productivity after.

The cultural component can be included in what Chris Hedges calls the soft language of power -"the language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators"(6).

The brutal language of power, the war component, the morbid capitalism is the domain of necropolitics, where the power is a dis-investement in life, is more an administration of death, war and brutal exploitation. It is reserved to the periphery of capital in the violent expansion zone where things are turbulent and the power is classical, not subtle, not hidden behind benevolent appearances. The morbid component is for the second world a bit and for the third world a lot.

The morbid component for the periphery cannot exist without the consent of the center, without the cultural component.

And the cultural component, all the financial speculations, immaterial labor, etc. cannot exist without a base, without the classical power, violent exploitation, without the war component for the periphery. In a way all the immaterial labor and the cultural component are more a way to administrate and externalize the death politics in the periphery of the capital. The cognitarians are just the administrators of the very concrete and brutal production that happens in the periphery.

But the periphery is coming closer and closer to the first world. The cuts in fundings for arts, humanities probably means also that the cultural component is not so needed anymore - it is not necessary or it is not working anymore to keep up the appearances, the illusion. So there is a move of the morbid component towards the center. Probably it is better to hope that artists will always be rich...

THE FINAL CRISIS

The morbid and the cultural (spectacle) component put a huge pressure on the subject creating an universal capitalist subjectivity which constantly reinforces the capitalist reality. So it is a vicious circle - a constant unbreackable loop.

The capitalist expansion reached all the populations, all the resources and the limits of the earth. The economic-financial paradigm is omnipresent, addressing the totality of life - at the level of the organization of society through the power of the neoliberal dogma and at the level of subjectivity where probably the last fight, for the most intimate human "resources", capacities, sensibility, intimate desires, believes, is happening now. We can say that the ultimate battle is in the cultural domain which is almost entirely occupied by the economic logic.

Probably in this context if we want to produce a change, first of all we have to go out or against the institutionalized art bubble. White cube and black box provided a bit of oxygen in a stable society and a suffocating environment. They played a function then, they were important. But now is possible much more, the times are changing. We should help that art bubble to burst, the crisis to work. Maybe now, in the crisis there is an opportunity for us to go out from the assigned art bubbles and to use our time and skills to intervene on the biggest stages (mass media, politics).

Maybe is time for art to go where things happen. To interrupt the flow of spectacle, the institutional chain of passing the cultural agenda. Not to listen and even sabotage the administrative protocols in art - the artist has to become a cultural terrorist. "Terrorist" is a label that points towards any enemy, potential danger to the establishment. The terrorist and the little brothers, pirates and hackers are the only ones that are not assimilated and integrated in our society.(7)

And there is an another level were we also should go. If capitalism is modelating our cultural core, we should go at that level too - to radically work, experiment with subjectivity. Not just to play safe in the realm of representation with creativity but to experiment with essential human behaviours, values, perceptions, attitudes. If we really want something to change I think we have to go a bit beyond our comfort and alter the core of our identities. If we are Capitalism, the exploitation, the extinction of species, the climate changes, at least some parts of us have to transform radically or even die. In this sense, maybe we have to embrace a bit of cultural (artistic) apocalypse.

1. See Stefan Tiron, 10 years of beautifying misery in Bucharest http://caminultaucultural.blogspot.com/2011/05/premises-10-years-of-beautifying-misery.html
2. Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Pluto Press, London, 1999;
3. Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge, random house, US, 1981;
4. Jacques Ranciere, Art of the possible, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0268/is_7_45/ai_n24354911/pg_6/?tag=content;col1
5. Sigmund Freud, Civilization And Its Discontents, Buckinghamshire: Chrysoma Associated, 2000;
6. Chris Hedges, Recognizing the Language of Tyranny, http://jerichorendezvous.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/recognizing-the-language-of-tyranny/
7. See Dorato Action at Pavilion Unicredit as a cultural terrorism example: http://florinflueras.blogspot.com/2011/07/dorato-action.html

The Candidate appearance as a revolutionary Ortodox countryside priest

Ortodox priest apologizes in the name of the church for the Churche's markets with gypsy slaves in the 19 century. Later speaks against the Patriarchy and their antichristian symbols of power, hierarchy and wealth. And ends by speaking about the new hidden religion in which we are immersed.