Berlin Refugee Protest Camp Oranienplatz
30th October 2012
Enough is enough. It’s time for a revolution. No compromises.
It’s necessary to realize that refugees do not flee their native countries for
fun. They do it for extremely serious reasons, such a political persecution or
extremely adverse social conditions that are sometimes life-threatening. Hoping to live in peace and freedom, they face great dangers in order to flee their countries, leaving behind their entire existence, their friends and family.
In Berlin Oranienplatz, refugees have put a protest tent camp in solidarity
with the refugee protest tents in other cities. Every day and night we are
protesting against the inhuman conditions that asylum seekers in Germany are exposed to. We suspect that the reasons for this treatment are racist
attitudes, the continuation of colonial injustice and the exploitation of the
refugees’ native countries, as well as political propaganda.
In solidarity concretely we demand the following:
1. Stop Deportation. Deportation is an outdated practice dating from the
racist colonial era.
2. Abolish Residenzpflicht. The law prevents Refugees from moving freely,
making it illegal to leave the “Landkreis”, the region where we are registered.
3. Close all Refugee Lagers. It’s illegal to lock up refugees in camps where
they are treated like prisoners.
We are human beings and we do not want to have our human condition questioned.
We want to change the inhuman circumstances in which we are forced to live.
In that way refugees broke the isolation by leaving lagers and started living
Refugees broke the Residenzpflicht by marching 500 kilometers from Würzburg to Berlin arriving at Oranienplatz on 6th of october 2012.
We organized a big demo on 13th October to the Parliament which 6000 people supported.
On 15th October we occupied the Nigerian embassy protesting against his
collaboration with the german State and Frontex company for organizing
Some of our friends they went on a hunger strike at Brandenburger Tor on 24th of October 2012.
The struggle still continues from the Protest Camp we are encouraging and
inviting the Refugees to break the isolation and come to join the Protest.
We can’t go back to “our camps”. We really hope that our voices are heard and the Federal Republic of Germany will respond to our demands. If not, we must ask ourselves: How long will we have to suffer? When and where can we find peace and freedom?
Above: an X-ray of Chus Martinez’s chest. “Pornography’ is banned in the WordPress.com terms of service and so due to the savage restrictions on freedom of expression on this platform it is not possible to post the image that would best illustrate this blog.
Toplessness refers to the state in which the breasts, areolae, and nipples of a woman or post-pubescent girl are exposed, especially in a public venue or in a visual medium.
Social conventions about covering the female breasts have differed widely throughout history and across cultures. While exposed breasts were (and are) a norm in many indigenous societies, most cultures in the world today have informal and formal dress codes, legal statutes, or religious teachings that require females to cover their breasts in public from adolescence onward. Contemporary Western cultures permit displays of cleavage in appropriate social contexts, but exposing the areolae and nipples is usually regarded as immodest and is sometimes prosecuted as indecent exposure. The topfreedom movement challenges laws that forbid females to go topless in places where males are permitted to be bare-chested, arguing that such restrictions amount to gender discrimination.
Toplessness is less controversial in entertainment, fashion, and the arts than it is in society as a whole, especially when it is perceived to have artistic merit. From early prehistoric art to the present day, women have been depicted topless in visual media from painting and sculpture to film and photography. In contemporary mainstream cinema, Academy Award–winning actresses such as Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, and Nicole Kidman have appeared topless in their films. Cabaret and burlesque shows, as well as haute couture fashion shows and pictorials, frequently include toplessness.
In European societies as a result of the Renaissance many artists were strongly influenced by classical Greek styles and culture. As a result, images of nude and semi-nude subjects in many forms proliferated in art and sculpture. During the Victorian era, French Orientalist painters such as Jean-Léon Gérôme presented an idealized depiction of female toplessness in Muslim harem baths, while Eugène Delacroix, a French romantic artist, invoked images of liberty as a topless woman.
Societies tend to take a stricter line when women expose their breasts for the express purpose of sexual arousal. When toplessness is used as a form of adult entertainment in venues such as strip clubs, or as an aspect of softcore pornography, it is often viewed as indecent and subjected to more stringent government regulations or prohibitions.
Public toplessness may occasionally be considered acceptable, depending on location and context. Many jurisdictions legally protect women’s right to breastfeed in public or exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. In many parts of Europe and Australia, as well as at many resort destinations around the world, it has become culturally and often legally acceptable for women to sunbathe topless on beaches. Topless sunbathing may also be permitted in non-beach areas, such as some European parks and lakes, designated areas on some cruise ships, and swimming pools at some hotels.
Above: Chus Martinez goes ‘beyond nudity’!
[open address to the Gwangju World Biennial Forum No.1 to happen on 27-31 October 2012; Written by ABRACADABRA-C]
World biennial forum is just conference alongside with Gwangju Biennial – you are collecting representants of the largest biennials of the world and sponsor those, who are colonizable. While “Founded in memory of spirits of civil uprising of the 1980 repression of the Gwangju Democratization Movement” the biennial is unable to speak on the student strikes against imperial occupation in 1945 and also the more recent workers strike at Kumho Tire Co. plant in Gwangju who began a general strike on Aug. 16 2012
Minjung art is exactly the recuperation of the essential antiimperialist and anti-american movement : With the democratization of the 1990s, Minjung art started losing their concrete aim and became part of the mainstream – post modernism – the colonist biennial simply sold up any trace of disobedience. We must include our solidarity with murdered and tortured Minjung art psychic workers of 80-ies Gwangju uprising and disclaim recuperation of their memory by Gwanju biennialization-recuperation-colonialization processes.
Biennialization is the neoliberal ritualization of Eurocentric bourgeois propaganda.
Gwangju World Biennial forum is the exploitation of world wide psychic workers in the form of western colonization and imposition of the misuse of the working class by employment of western bourgeoisie models.
Your role (as biennial organizers) in societies is a colonialist one: to impose westernization on local societies and further exploit psychic workers; to alienate workers by imposing the roles of artists, writers, spectators, staff, security guards etc and to create cultural capital based on that alienation;
How can we undo the teleologies of Eurocentric modernity? Simply open up the biennial initiatives by giving way to the workers to lead it. The true de-eurocentrized biennials must obtain forms of self leading by [psychic] workers communes.
You are welcome to join DAta Miners & Travailleurs Psychique Wahdat as workers in Desa Kala Patra: space time and class dimensions which would lead towards the situation of global revolution.
Art biennials inspire and strengthen privileged and bourgeoisified “art community” outdrops and help to lay foundations for their further domination. Sustainable infrastructures could appear only when oppressive and exploitative structures will fade away. But we must start from the very basic understanding that art is nothing but a social glue for bourgeois society build up not to sustain, but parasitize.
Biennials never deal with alternatives and can never be sites for experimentation capable of resistance (as you note in your statements) – they are always the sites and bubbles of recuperation of the real life experiments so converting it into frozen forms of art and therefore forms of „serious culture“.
Instead we offer to turn Biennials into Art Strike Biennials as we did since 2009 and every two years, to cease any activity in the field of arts while inviting workers to come to be together and to foster establishing of workers‘ organizations locally and showing the wish and ability to listen to and work with them.
We want to share with you recent researches made on two major events of German art establishment – Berlin Biennale 7 and dOCUMENTA 13 – and the features of fascist rhetoric, rehabilitation of fascist regime collaborators, and racism in the very core of its organizational structures and mode of thinking.
We claim to demolish „serious“ and „white“ Eurocentrist culture by subverting its general purveyor – the Biennial.
We should push the revolutionary time frame both back into the revolutionary anti-imperialist democratic past and into the revolutionary anti-party communist future for a Minjung Art Strike Biennial at the end of the Age of Divinity!”
Alytus Biennial Reversion into Abolition of Culture And Distribution of its Aberrant Bacillus Right Abroad – Committee (ABRACADABRA-C)
infoRmation, intElligence, military operatiVes:
sOcial, poLitical and culTural workers:
PROPHETS SEERS & SAGES:
Join the union of
Data Miners & Travailleurs Psychique
73 people detained at Immigration Detentions Centres in Bialystok, Biala Podlaska, Przemysl and Leszowola decided on beginning a hunger strike together. It is not the first protest of detained refugees, but for the first time information about a strike reaches the public. In the past, strikers had been put in isolation and punished in various ways, while the public knew nothing about it.
Detainees’ demands include: right to information in a language they comprehend, right to contact the outside world, right to proper healthcare, education for underage detainees, respect for children’s rights, improvement in social conditions within detention centres, end to abuse and to excessive violence, end to criminalizing detainees.
Refugees decided to strike together, in all Polish Detention Centres, wishing that their voice will not be ignored nor quenched by the centres’ authorities.
In August 2008, 21 Georgians in Biala Podlaska protested against lenghty procedures. In 2010, 37 refugees from the Immigration Detention Centre in Przemysl took a hunger strike demanding improvement in conditions within the centres as well as access to healthcare. In December 2009, a group of 200 Chechens and Georgians took a train to Strasbourg, home of the European Commission and the European Parliament. They wanted to protest against UE refugee policy. Banners they hung in the train’s windows indicated that the refugees were running away from “harassment”, they demand “help” and recognition that “we are human beings”. However, they were stopped on a Polish-German border. Apart from these instances, individual strikes
happen ceaselessly in the Polish immigration detention centres. They are left unsaid and they are brutally quenched by the centres’ guards.
When detainees decided to protest in a form of a hunger strike across Polish Immigration Detention Centres, they passed their demands to be announced, as they follow:
Right to information, in a language we comprehend and in a clear form, on actions being taken and decisions being made, throughout our detenention in a centre, including information on a possibility of appealing to lift a person’s detention in the centre. It is our right according to Articles 89b and 89c of the Foreigners Protection Act.
In reality, verdicts and instructions are translated, but the verdict’s argumentation is not, which in practice makes it highly difficult to make an appeal, and bars us from using law in our defence. Often, even the time to look through the centre’s regulations is limited. In addition, it is rare to receive aid of a professional interpreter while being received into the detention centre, visiting a physician or seeing a psychologist.
Right to contact outside world, either with private or official issues, and to contact non-governmental and international organizations helping foreigners (under Article 89a of the Foreingers Protection Act). In addition, Immigration Detention Centres lack access to telephone directories and to the Internet, which obstructs us from writing requests.
Right to proper healthcare, specialized examination, psychologic care, and interpreter’s presence during examinations and formalities in healthcare facilities.
Right to education, which the Article 70 of the Polish Constitution and the Article 1 of the Education System Act grant to everyone. All persons under 18 are obliged to learn at school. All children on the Polish territory are obliged to receive formal education until they graduate from a junior high school, whatever their legal status might be, including illegal immigrants. In reality, the right to education on the premises of Immigration Detention Centres is an illusion. These facilities do not provide education neither for adults nor for children as required by the Education System Act.
Respect for children’s rights. Detention works specially bad on children, and the Immigration Detention Centres are organized under prison-like rules: adults and children alike are being treated like sentenced criminals. Detainees can enjoy but a poor substitute of freedom, in a form of temporarily limited leaves to an enclosed yard. Conditions in which foreigners stay within the detention centres, break the Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards children, as well as the rulings of Convention on the Rights of the Child as regards the right to development, the right to freedom, healthcare, rest and leasure. We demand to stop the practice of detaining children.
Improvement of social conditions in Immigrant Detention Centres. We require that our specific customs, beliefs and cultural identity be respected, and we demand conditions allowing us to avoid feeling downgraded and discriminated. We want recognition of our distinctness from the local community.
End to abuse. Every day abuses happen in almost every Immigration Detention Centre. Mental violence and blackmail against us is a usual procedure. There are cases of physical violence as well as of sexual harassment against women. Disproportional punishments are carried out whenever a rule is broken; it is easy to be sent to an isolated cell, even for a minor tort; other sanctions include having matresses taken away over a day, cell phone confiscation.
Even children are not spared from punishment. When children at one of the centres broke a toy, they were banned from using the playroom, the only friendly space for them, for a fortnight. The Immigrant Detention Centres’ staff exploit the fact, that no information about events taking place within are spread outside. Victims, silenced by anxiety from negative rulings and repressions, fear to speak loud about abuse they experienced.
End to criminalizing. According to the regulations, we are not detained as a punishment, but to have our location controlled. We did not commit a crime, nor do we pose a threat to the security of the state or its citizens.
All the enclosed facilities do not differ from prisons in anything: barred windows, barbed wires, tall walls or the prison regime, limited access to therapy or education, all directly break our basic rights and deepen the trauma most of us experienced in our homelands. Under the Article 88 of the Foreigners Protection Act, a foreigner, whose mental and physical state indicate that they experienced violence, should not be kept in detention. In reality, the state of our mental health is never fairly verified, and every Imigrant Detention Centre holds people (including children) with post-traumatic stressed disorder.”
Last Friday, the Speaker of Seym (the Polish lower-house Parliament), Ms Wanda Nowicka, MP from the Palikot’s Movement party, issued a letter of alarm to the Commander in Chief of the Polish Border Guard, General Dominik Tracz, on the question of the situation in the Immigration Detention Centres, where she wrote: „We are preparing a proposal to nominate a parliamentary team for examining the aforementioned accusations”. Next Wednesday, at noon, October 17th, 2012, Ms Nowicka is going to host a press conference on this issue.
Refugee Protest’s Support Group
+48 506 778 918
Over seventy people continues hunger strike in polish detention centers . Part of the detainees claim they lack competent legal support or interpreting services, which seriously obstructs the process of claiming their rights in court. Others point to the fact of children not having their rights respected in the centres, of lack of proper education and healthcare, and they demand improvement in social conditions. Detainees indicate the problem of being isolated from the outside world, which provokes abuse on the side of the Polish border guard officers: mental and physical violence, sexual harassment against women, punishing and harassing without respect to the regulations. However, the worriment predominantly indicated by all is the experience of being second-class persons, marginalized by immigration regulations, totally excluded, bereft of even those rights, which they are supposed to enjoy because of being human.
In accordance with the non-refoulement principle, found in Geneva Conventions as well as in Polish Immigration and Immigrant Protection Acts (June 13th 2003), there is also a “category” of persons requesting a refugee status, which means people who seek asylum in Europe. In short, this implies that EU member states are obliged to consider those people’s requests. Therefore, regulations were introduced to legally allow such cases to end with a refusal.
An example of such is Dublin II, an ordinance declaring that asylum requests should be filed in the member state, in which the foreigner crossed the limits of the Schengen Zone. If someone seeks asylum in a different country, they are usually refused and deported to the primary country of arrival. There they seek asylum again, but they have to await the decision in a detention centre, which takes up to a year. In Poland, around 1.6% of claims from asylum seekers are successful, while around 18% receive only so called subsidiary protection for a period of two years. In effect, thus constructed regulations ensure nothing but an illusion of a right to asylum, and in many cases embody an abuse of non-refoulement.
Due to the lack of clarity of regulations, in case of the majority of persons rejected back to Poland on the basis of the Dublin ordinances, the court almost automatically requests to detain them in one of the immigrant detention centres. Notably, detention is designed to serve an ultimate measure, used only in cases of most serious breach against law and order. Immigrants did not commit a crime, nor do they threat the security of the state or its citizens; therefore there is no premise for bereaving immigrants of their freedom, to which they have an undeniable right as human beings. In no aspect do detention centres differ from prisons (barred windows, barbed wires, tall walls, limited access to therapies or education) and in some cases they are organized under harsher conditions than prison regime. Innocent people are detained in the centres, made to play the role of criminals serving punishment.
Strategy of dividing migrants between the wanted and the unwanted, based on economic and political demands of member states, allow to categorize human beings according to the current political and economic situation in a given country. Yet, the “luck” of finding oneself among the “wanted” immigrants does not equal legalization of residence. Illegal immigrants receive wages lower than minimum. Employers do not pay their employees’ insurance, and the lack of chance to claim workers’ rights compensates them any risks they might experience because of illegal employment.
EU’s official policy points to fighting “illegal migration”. Decisions categorizing persons between statuses are taken on artificial criteria, precariously changed to serve the current needs of the market. Morally, this is a totally objectifying way of treating people, who took a desperate step of fleeing their homes, abandoning everything they cared for, and seek security someplace else, because of war, harassment, catastrophes or a tragic economic situation. In their situation, the possibility of legal arrival in Europe is almost none. Therefore, the number of legal immigrants remain scarce, while the rest receive the status of illegals.
The outrageous abuse against immigrants in Europe, both free and detained, is only a secondary problem. The real cause of their personal grieves is the systemic segregation and dehumanization, legally referred to as EU’s migration policy.
As communist sexual magick became known outside the proletarian milieu —a development that started with the publication of texts such as The Sexual Struggle of Youth by Wilhelm Reich in the 1930s, and that has escalated since the 1960s—it has become identified with thrill-seeking bohemians and its real social base and material realities are often overlooked. The roles of sexuality in proletarian insurrection and mature communism, while related, are actually quite different, reflecting substantial differences in the forms of social organisation from which they currently do and in the future will emerge.
Coitus reservatus (coitus, “sexual intercourse, union” + reservatus, “reserved, saved”), also known as sexual continence, is commonly thought of as a form of sexual intercourse in which the penetrative partner does not attempt to ejaculate within the receptive partner, but instead attempts to remain at the plateau phase of intercourse for as long as possible avoiding the seminal emission. Another term used for this kind of relationship is the word karezza. This is clearly an insurrectionary practice that aims to create in an alienated world a taste of the ever-growing ecstasy we will all experience once communism is achieved. It is unlikely this practice will be continued in a mature communist society.
In post-capitalist sexual magick the most important features of the practice will revolve around the experience of subtle energies within one’s sensual embodiment, and the accessing of these energies both to enhance pleasure and to challenge our egotism into its dissolution. Thus, a fully realised communist sexual magick will cultivate ecstatic consciousness as well as increased collective awareness of the erotic consciousness that pervades one’s human embodiment as well as everything that contextualizes this embodiment.
Communist sexual magick may be practiced solo, in partnership, or in the shamanic rituals of groups. It must be remembered that genuine communist sexual magick is merely one aspect of a comprehensive disalienated species being—and that the sexual and erotic aspects of communism cannot be authentically engaged in within an alienated capitalist world.
In sum, communist sex magick is just one dimension of a world-historical path that is devoted and dedicated to the challenge of becoming aware, in every moment of our lives, of the supreme flow of the vast mass of humanity—i.e. communism is the movement of vast majorities unfettered by a state.
In communist sex magick we learn to love polysexuality above all else, activating our true transsexual nature and experiencing full-body orgasms. The term communist sex magick in this context refers to so much more than the set of techniques for cultivating a more fulfilling sexual relationships.
According to Chus Martinez – the outstanding modern practitioner of communist sex magick – the greatest pleasures are achieved when coitus is combined with breathing techniques, bio-energy, yoga and massage in group sex situations.
Above Chus Martinez ready to engage in the free exchange of mutual pleasures at a recent meeting of the International Communist Coven.
Bienalisation of political arts: Organ Kritischer Kunst
organ of critical art
Text: Otto Karl Kamal
Zuckerbrot und Peitsche – Militär und Kultur, eine Erfolgsgeschichte aus Kassel
Carrot and Stick – Military and Culture, a history of success outcome of Kassel
If we talk about Kassel and documenta, we must also remember that the place itself is a really important location for the German arms industry: since several decades it has been re-established in this historical place. The tactical proximity between war and culture is in no way new situation of geopolitical strategies. By means of the example of Kassel, we realise how cultural politics (on both global and regional level) crystalize as a part of hegemonic power structures, sometimes more visual, sometimes more sublime, but constant nevertheless. The most important armament players in the Kassel region (business volume of several billions of Euros):
Rheinmetall Defense, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Eurocopter1
Pablo Hermann, Afghaniswahn, 2011, Tusche und Acryl auf Papier, 20x30cm,
The leitmotif of Christov-Bakargiev about the reflection of the past is going beyond. “Kassel is the city which was destroyed and rebuilt”, says the boss of documenta. “And in the middle of the wreckage (ruins) the documenta was initiated. This aspect brought me to follow one question/idea: when I look at the present situation, I have a problem to comprehend with the simultaneousness of collapse and recovery. For Afghanistan, both counts: the state of things after and during the war. And that is very curious. The war ended in 2004, everybody came back and the war seems to be over. At the same time, everyone said the war is still going on there. The difference between now and 1945/46 is that crisis and no-crisis can now exist side by side. […]” (http://www.3sat.de/page/?source=/kulturzeit/themen/160698/index.html)
What Christov-Bakargiev is instigating here is namely that the war was over already in 2004 – while all the facts speak about proportionately more casualties in the time after 2004 than in the duration of 3 years prior to the “end of the conflict”.
Here I am “only” referring to the military casualties. The number of civil victims must be multiplied by thousands (just in the sole year of 2010 there were over 10.000 civilian deaths) (2)! The Allied troops from 2001 till 2004 reported exactly 200 deaths, and between 2005 and 2012 (…), there were 2944 (3). Bearing such numbers in mind, it is either sarcastic or aggressively naïve to speak about this aforementioned “no-crisis”, or “end of the war”. And the person, who is digging the history of last centuries’ Afghanistan, will find no difficulty to nail down the colonial causalities and effects from these approaches that triggers bigger or smaller armed conflicts. Considering this, the “no-crisis” idea of Christov-Bakargiev is extremely problematic to digest (4).
“[...] if you show that in the after-war history of Kassel there are explicit connections to the actual examples of worldwide war destruction. In Kassel these themes, also without documenta, are present all the time, but without any wider public perception. Already the destruction of the city during the II world war was closely related to the presence of arms industry in there. The following history of success in rebuilding brought not only the much-discussed architecture of the 1950s to the inner city, but also a quick set-up of German arms industry hub Kassel anew: from Germany to Chile, from Kosovo to Afghanistan – Kassel arms production is in use. http://dorn.blogsport.de/2012/01/11/kassel-documenta-stadt-ruestungsstadt/
Jeramy Turner, “founding fathers”, 2007, oil on canvas , 2x2m
- „Zusammenbruch und Wiederaufbau“ / Collapse and Recovery
The only recognizable leitmotif of the present documenta under the curating and the conceptualizing by Christov-Bakargiev developed a big attraction to the public. This could be a cause of her careless approach to handle the traded conceptual guidelines for dOCUMENTA and to break with them (those which have the red guidelines for the show). The “no-concept concept” has a certain attraction to the public. Sometimes it appears clumsy or even naïve, like for example “colonial-manieristic” global expansion of serious white culture by the settlement of documenta in Kabul (…)
This supposedly serves to heal historical, social and cultural wounds to both oppressors and the oppressed. This naïve approach towards political complexes sometimes is scary or shows certain superficiality or directed exclusion of disagreeable truths. The recovery is preached (with the same words that were used 10 years before, when the terror of war began: democracy and freedom), but a “no-crisis” status (or, by deduction, “no status of war”) and its consequences are evoked without a radical analysis of causes and the backgrounds (e.g. economies).
The big art fair which had been installed by the western allies (and the new democracy-educated German allies) in the arms production city of Kassel could be used for the convalescence of the German public and consequently it was logical to show “degenerate Art” as rehabilitation. These socio-pedagogical pretensions are actual until today. Even if there has been a fight about the power of interpretation of medial symbols by the monopolization of art education, which for example is forced by documenta team that is nothing more than mere paternalism of the possibilities of artistic interpretation. This linear, mono-directionality of perception in arts, rather than being broken, is fortified. The thinking and interpretation patterns are pre-conceived and almost absolute. The observer’s perception is heteronomous; also the lecture of thematized conflicts and problems is pre-given: all go through the same procedure (Afghanistan). The Afghani artists were taught the learning process [to understand and put to practice: occidental, serious culture, art structure], and made to adopt the politics of European bourgeois art understanding and the methodic media-strategic application. But fundamental questioning of the power structures is blended out.
In this specific case, the social wounds caused by failed imperial war have to be cured by culture at present. And the best tactics for this are to bring “the patients” into the state of sedation, in order to leave the painful truth behind. The bad, inevitable (intrinsic, natural – therefore unavoidable) and unpopular war must be forgotten as soon as possible – that is the motto. This also could be a balm on the soul of the German military (Bundeswehr) a case of “military diplomacy”. And now, when we are intensely forgetting, we should forget within the same act which was the real interests that led to the occupation in the first place: the economic interests for the “safety” of the resources and free trade routes with the gas pipeline (5) in the foreground. In the whole documenta there is no such artistic position which makes this analytical work and looks behind the scenery of the actual geo-strategic warfare with angle-point Afghanistan. Marc Lombardi, featured in 2012 documenta, unfortunately never had a chance to do this.
Can we resent this ignorant attitude of Christov-Bakargiev? The fear of the truth has to be really big. Even to think loudly in this direction cost the highest mandate in the republic in 2010, because the president dared to name the issue very clearly. It remains hardly known, that Federal Republican presidial tragedy started also in Afghanistan.
Bundespräsident Köhler, 2010
Hair cracks of a liberal systems: bb7 – documenta (13)
- Nationalism in international Cultureshow
“[…] the pivot of the national-popular concept remains, through all the notes, the ideal relationship between intellectuals and nation-people, a relationship that has been lacking historically and still waits to be created. this relationship, is then developed in a positive sense by being linked to Jacobinism, hegemony, the organic bond between knowledge and feeling, the historical bloc, the recognition of the need to pass through a national stage, and the reflection on historical models (Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, the Greek tragedians, Abba, Gioberti). At the same time it is developed in a negative sense, as the diagnostic key to a lack or absence, in the many polemical notes against ‘i nipotini di padre Bresciani’, Catholic intellectuals, the fascist writers of the 1920s ruralist-nationalist movement called Strapaese, and in the acerbic observations on a popular taste which has remained stuck at the stage of French serial literature of a century before.”
.(Quote: “performing national identity – Anglo-Italian cultural transactions” (s.188) Edited by Manfred Pfister und Ralf Hertel, Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam 2008, ISBN: 978-90-420-2314-7)
This quote refers to the building of national identity in the 1920s fascist Italy, where the present documenta star Morandi was actively involved. Whether consciously or not Christov-Bakargiev’s historic misrepresentation is on a highest aesthetical level. Like practiced by Zmijewski in Berlin Biennale 7 (BB7), identity formation would ever be determined by national and ethnic parameters. Documenta is much more subtle, not the brute agitprop language combined with the rigorously failed attempt to apply over-identification (see more on Querfront strategies at the Berlin Biennale) (6). The aesthetic sensitivity of Christov-Bakargiev (we can hardly put it next to fearless masculinist Zmijewski) is relatively well balanced and she is avoiding the spectacular pop factory of Zmjiewski’s visualization tricks. She spied such fundamental differences – the reference to nationalism is well developed in various artistic positions of both art fairs. The focus on the national currents, like Christov-Bakargiev is doing in reference to her European Homeland Italy, mainly considering Arte Povera, and thereby declaration that Morandi is a spiritual father of the “movement” – this focus leaves us the aftertaste of nationalist regionalist cultural boost of Mussolini’s fascists (Morandi was a member of Novecento (7) & Strapaese (8), also associated with and professionally active in publicity organs of both “il selvaggio”(9), “il italiano”).
“[…] [Morandi - d. Red.] He participated in the right-wing, ruralist Strapaese movement of the late nineteen-twenties. His attitude toward Mussolini, whose regime gave him teaching jobs, was more positive than not, although he was briefly imprisoned in 1943 for associating with anti-Fascists. (If ever an artist merited political amnesty, on the ground of unworldliness, it would be Morandi.) Fame came to him after the war: he won first prize for an Italian painter at the 1948 Venice Biennale, and became so revered in Italy that filmmakers, notably Federico Fellini, in “La Dolce Vita,” used his work as a ready symbol of lofty sensibility. Morandi had a last adventurous phase of nearly abstract drawings and watercolors that condense into swift marks a lifetime of looking. […]” http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/artworld/2008/09/22/080922craw_artworld_schjeldahl
If Christov-Bakargiev is blending this out – and she can do this only consciously, because she is one of the most authoritative voices about the mentioned art current of Arte Povera and the precursors – then we are questioning how serious are the requirements of documenta (-tion) of art and its pedagogical approaches. The orientation of nationalism subconsciously takes a more important role that we are enforced upon us. National orientation as well as the ground structure (development aid-export-model-documenta), also there are in the artistic works, “helping” to build identities.
Going hand in hand with the eurocentristic thought of serious culture (we also could name it competitive culture) which is also available as the export-goods/ware we can see an image of historical references to colonialism and presently to western imperialism that in some artworks is criticized but in the whole concept they lose any potential substance, because the applied schemes of system of war and art are not very distant one from each other. The lecture could be as follows: the superior Europeans & Americans, helped out by an economic dependence, built a dictate in so called crisis regions. This is a paternalism of political (military) and also cultural field. The other ones collaborate with resources (from oil over to the human capital all the way to Coltan) and get the equivalent pseudo-democracy and the western notion of freedom and security. And what is still much more important, the national (ethnic) identity of invaded peoples would be guaranteed. The system of carrot and stick proves to be a trans-disciplinary success model of military and culture.
Till Ansgar Baumhauer, Kriegsteppich, 2010/11, 165×85 cm
Elitism in Art
These references to nationalist traditions and their artistic bruises, which were described in the chapter above, should be re-interpreted from the class perspective. On the other hand, to deal with nationalism on the level concerning the whole society (persisting in documenta) is the extension of the same traditional thinking structure on a professional level. Furthermore, the statements of the BB7 main curator Zmijewski openly claims that only a small privileged elite is in allowed to create arts and this capacity is “naturally” only possible through guided academic appropriation – and it should remain so. Christov-Bakargiev shares the opinion. Elitist thinking schemes are the base of such a point of view. This aesthetic elitism is a counterpart to real essence of artistic activism, and so a counter position to actual currents of political art. Nevertheless, the mentioned leaders of the art fairs claim to represent such currents. The pluralist idea of, for example, Free International University, worked on by Beuys and others in dOCUMENTA 7 (1982) is, during dOCUMENTA 13 and Berlin Biennale 7, not more than a singular drop on the hot stone of art history.
Curatorship and Naiveness
Another further similarity between the curators of aforementioned art fairs is the naivety while dealing with the complex socio-political contexts. As Zmijewski fails in the fields of National Socialism and Shoah with exception of stupid provocative attitudes in the work with these issues, he has nothing to say. Christov-Bakargiev’s abysmally naïve position towards hegemonic politics in Afghanistan which were cemented with bombs and deaths is rough and negligent, historic reprocessing of fascist art-hero Morandi. There is one last question: is the committees of German Federal Cultural Foundation (Bundeskulturstiftung), who choose the actors, are they not able to research the people they install?
Critical Points in the questioning of the curatorial concept:
- Heroization of controversial figures
Otto Kamal, “I didn´t see anything … except bottles”, digital graphic, 2012
Like mentioned above, apotheosis of some questionable persons as the cult of cultural heroes is initiated. The main figure for Christov-Bakargiev is Morandi, who has a brown past, impossible to remove.
[…]Morandi participated in the Novecento exhibitions of 1926 and 1929, but his work had greater affinity with the Strapaese movement, which was inspired by provincial cultural traditions. […] http://www.estorickcollection.com/permanent/Giorgio_Morandi.php
Such cementation of what we can denominate as an artistic myth exposes Bakargiev’s position as reactionary. Her explanation to prepare the way for critical and political art doesn’t really fit with the retro-renaissance positioning (the artists as a genius creator). Considering the fact that the new, so-called avant-garde movements in art are heading in the direction of communitarian production, Christov-Bakargiev appears conservative and deeply outmoded. Political art serves only as a sensationalist driving force of hegemonic culture, which is in the position to hybridize “the other” cultures. The critical alternatives to Christov-Bakargiev’s own culture are synchronized and fit into the sphere of influence of the hegemon. The Situationists were right in their analysis of art as the mild part of the carrot and stick organization of society.
Kader Attia’s Scars and Mask Cabinet (Kader Attia “The Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidential Cultures” 2012)
Firstly, I want to say that this critique is not an aesthetic analysis. Kader Attia’s work is to be considered as artistically and technically on the good level, therefore I even wonder myself how such a lecture could be done. The problem in this work is not the strange constellation of different contexts, rather the lecture as exotic comparison between two fundamentally different cases of human existence. On the one hand, we have plastic surgery of the victims of the WWI, and on the other hand the scarification (scar-tattoos) of African tribes. Both things are placed on the same level: first the mutilation caused by imperial war machinery, and second the cultural, aesthetically motivated (“natural” – because it is a part of ritual) corporal intervention without any deeper questioning of the ethically descendent of these acts. So, what we can call the “natural” scarification (in its own context, for its own sake) has none of the negative connotation, and is not comparable to the deformation caused by the most inhuman act – warfare. Therefore, the thing which is normal and aesthetically important for autochthonous peoples of Africa is for occidentals the horrible disfigurement. Vice versa, the mutilation of war participants means the same thing like natural creative deformation of the human body. Here we also see the parallel between the natural recurrings and corrosion of material (the ritual tribe scars are a prolongation of nature of the human identity), and the war of hegemonic power politics. Is the organic, natural corrosion comparable to the destruction forced by human valence? Here happens an aesthetic abolition of critics of destruction of imperial politics (WWI) by naturalization of war by equalizing human and natural catastrophes. The inevitable, “destiny determined” is museum-ized as a bad memory which could be revoked consciously. By the horrifying images of individuals they create simultaneous empathy with the victims of the First World War – the situation that brings the focus to “universal” human misery through war, but the reasons of such disastrous activity are in no way questioned and traded as yet another naturally occurring catastrophe and declared as regrettable but inevitable bad.
White War Wounds vs. Black Ritual Transformation
The fact is that there is a discourse of European position that makes evaluation, respectively a judgment of aesthetic manifestations of African tribes which is done through a bizarre comparison that has strong colonial features. By Eurocentric aesthetic the cultural healing is initiated. Kader Attia is speaking of hybridization of cultures, which helps “sub-developed” cultures but also the European Cultures. But it’s hard to believe, because for Europe, “hybridization” means the old privilege of interpretation. Considering European colonial history, it’s hard to believe that such hybridization is not valuable more than a new attempt to get the privilege of interpretation, in this case in the field of aesthetics, and this is a manifestation of an arrogant Eurocentric position. A hidden cultural racism in this artistic work and the equivalent theoretic discourse is not to negate.
The Afghanistan Orbital: Negation of war and imperialistic Appropriation of resources
In the series of imperialist thinking, which manifest itself on several levels, the idea of Christov-Bakargiev to heal the Afghan society by exported European serious culture fits the picture very well. What politics doesn’t get on with structural, economic and even military violence, culture will fix. The Afghan people should get driven out of “darkness” after 30 years of war by pre-given aesthetic practices and methods. The message is: we are the cultural messiahs from the west.
In the end we can see that such a big show of western culture only reflects the culture that created it. Culture is an aesthetic representation of that what ethics and values represent in society. Singular critical artists positions which make an continuous analysis of the capitalist system were neutralized and the political art is abused by political purposes they are officially led. The “recovery” of the land is part of the responsibility and justifies this post-military intervention of maintenance of own hegemonic economic and cultural interests. The art as the carrot, the weapons are the stick, both are being produced in Documentastadt Kassel.
1 http://www.ippnw.de/print/frieden/friedenspolitik.html ,http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinmetall , http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegmann_%26_Co. , http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krauss-Maffei_Wegmann , http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocopter_Group
3 Afghanistan; Stand: 17.08.2012; http://www. icasualties.org
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