Culture

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Conversation with Raoul Vaneigem Hans Ulrich Obrist Hans Ulrich Obrist: I just visited Edouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau, who have written an appeal to Barack Obama. What would your appeal and/or advice be to Obama? Raoul Vaneigem: I refuse to cultivate any relationship whatsoever with people of power. I agree with the Zapatistas from Chiapas who want nothing to do with either the state or its masters, the multinational mafias. I call for civil disobedience so that local communities can form, coordinate, and begin self-producing natural power, a more natural form of farming, and public services that are finally liberated from the scams of government by the Left or the Right. On the other hand, I welcome the appeal by Chamoiseau, Glissant, and their friends for the creation of an existence in which the poetry of a life rediscovered will put an end to the deadly stranglehold of the commodity.
Kuda, Novi Sad & Autonomedia, New York Announce "ID: Ideology of Design" Book and Exhibition ID: IDEOLOGY OF DESIGN by New Media Center_kuda.org 23 October – 23 November, 2009 Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina Dunavska St. 37, Novi Sad Opening of the exhibition: Friday, 23 October in 19h In what way are design practices perceived and understood today and in what way can one follow their crucial development during the last decades of the 20th century and their connections with artistic practices and critical discourses? Planning for mass production, graphic design, industrial design, design of environment, advertising, interior design, fashion design etc. are but some of the determinants of this complex discipline of culture.
"Art in Russia Under Attack: Artists, Curators on Trial" Konstantin Akinsha With trials, harassment, and other forms of intimidation, Russian authorities are striking out against curators and artists—who are, in turn, organizing projects that are increasingly provocative and political. During the Brezhnev years, when “unofficial” artists were under constant surveillance by “art critics wearing civilian clothes,” as the secret police were euphemistically called, Soviet intellectuals had a favorite joke: Bolshevik leader Lenin and Commissar of Enlightenment Lunacharsky pay a visit to an art exhibition in Moscow. Lenin looks at a painting by Malevich and asks, “What is this? Squares? Triangles? What does it mean? I can’t understand this art.” Lunacharsky replies, “To be honest, Vladimir Ilyich, I can’t understand it either.” That was the last Soviet government that didn’t understand art, goes the ironic punch line. Ironic because every Soviet government understood art very well: they understood that it had to be tightly controlled.
"The Yes Men Fix The World" Movie Premiere Dear friends, After a very busy week - including a fake New York Post with real news (for a change), the launch of a nationwide civil disobedience program, some prime-time news, and even a night in jail - we are very happy to be opening our new film in New York City next week (October 7). But we need your help spreading the word. Our film's all about TAKING ACTION. We're even accompanying the film's rollout with a very pesky program that's all about saying: we all know what's wrong, now let's DO something about it. But it all starts in New York. If it does well here, theaters throughout the US will want it too. If it doesn't, they won't.
Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" Will Find a Ready Audience Mark Weisbrot When I first met Michael Moore more than 20 years ago he was showing a half-finished documentary to a few dozen people in a classroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was funny and poignant and had a powerful message. He had taken a second mortgage on his house - equipment for filmmaking was a lot more expensive back then - and raised some money from like-minded locals for a long-shot venture. We all loved what he showed us but thought he would be lucky if a few thousand people got to see it.
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Conceptual Framework of Direnal-Istanbul Resistance Days: What Keeps Us Not-Alive? An open letter to the curators, artists, participants of the 11th International Istanbul Biennial and to all artists and art-lovers We have to stop pretending that the popularity of politically engaged art within the museums, and markets over the last few years has anything to do with really changing the world. We have to stop pretending that taking risks in the space of art, pushing boundaries of form, and disobeying the conventions of culture, making art about politics makes any difference. We have to stop pretending that art is a free space, autonomous from webs of capital and power. It’s time for the artist to become invisible. To dissolve back into life.
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Robert Jasper Grootveld: Artist and activist who helped found the Dutch Provos in the 1960s David Winner The Independent No single person can be said to have created the worldwide cultural phenomenon we call "the Sixties". But the Dutch anti-smoking "magician" and voodoo showman Robert Jasper Grootveld has a better claim than most. In the early Sixties, his surreal, dadaist "happenings" in Amsterdam electrified the city's bored youth and led to the creation of the playful Provo movement (short for "provocation"). With the charismatic, flamboyantly transvestite Grootveld as a spokesman, Provo was a catalyst for cultural revolution. The group provided free bicycles, subverted a royal wedding and humiliated the stiff-necked Dutch establishment and Amsterdam police force so effectively that both groups – and the country - underwent a near-total personality change. Provo lasted only from 1965 to 1967 but the spirit of what Grootveld dubbed "International Magic Centre Amsterdam" broke old Holland, inspired hippies in San Francisco and musicians and artists in London and paved the way, among other things, for the summer of love, Dutch total football and the green movement.
Infrapolitics & the Nomadic Educational Machine Stevphen Shukaitis “Stay just as far from me as me from you. Make sure that you are sure of everything I do. ’Cause I’m not, not, not, not, not, not, not, not Your academy” —Mission of Burma, “Academy Fight Song” Anarchism has an ambivalent relationship to the academy.(1) This is, when one takes a second to reflect, not so surprising. How can one maintain any sense of ethical commitment to non-hierarchal, non-exploitative relationships in a space that operates against many of these political ideals? And how to do so without creating a space or knowledge that can be turned against these political goals themselves? As Marc Bousquet and Tiziana Terranova remind us,(2) the institutional setting of the university is not a location outside the workings of the economy (i.e., it is not a bubble nor an ivory tower), but is very much a part of it, existing within the social factory and producing multifarious forms of value creation and the socialization of labor (the development of ‘human capital’ and the ability to brandish forth credentials to obtain employment, practices of knowledge, information, and organization that are used throughout the entire social field).(3) This is the case, broadly speaking, both for the classical university, which played an important role in the process of state building and the creation of national culture, and for the neoliberal university, which is more geared to the development of new forms innovation and creativity. That is to say, of course, innovation and creativity understood primarily as those forms that can be translated into new intellectual property rights, patents, and commodifiable forms of knowledge and skills. Thus, there is no ‘golden age’ of the university that one can refer to or attempt to go back to; it is not a ‘university in ruins’ that can be rebuilt to return to its former glory precisely because it is a space that has always played a role in creating and maintaining questionable forms of power.(4) Anarchism, except for perhaps a few strains of individualist orientations, cannot find a home in such a space without betraying itself. But the realization that anarchism can never really be of the university does not preclude finding ways to be in the university and to utilize its space, resources, skills, and knowledges as part of articulating and elaborating a larger political project. As Noam Chomsky argues, “It would be criminal to overlook the serious flaws and inadequacies in our institutions, or to fail to utilize the substantial degree of freedom that most of us enjoy, within the framework of these flawed institutions, to modify or even replace them by a better social order.”(5) While the extent of this ‘substantial degree of freedom’ might very be debatable within the current political climate of the university and more generally, the point nevertheless remains: that one can find ways to use the institutional space without being of the institution, without taking on the institution’s goals as one’s own. It is this dynamic of being within but not of an institutional space, to not institute itself as the hegemonic or representative form, that characterizes the workings of the nomadic educational machine.(6) It is an exodus that does not need to leave in order to find a line of flight.
From Barthes to Foucault and beyond – Cycling in the Age of Empire. Martin Hardie 'Whilst the onomania lasted, bickerings and divisions endured.' Barthes is right in that he tells us that there is an onomastics of the Tour. But in the time since Barthes, in a manner the semiotician may not have envisaged, that onomastics has descended from the heights of myth and epic having the status of Greek gods. They have descended from being these lofty signs of the valor of the ordeal, of beings signs of old European ways and ethnicity – Brankart le Franc, Bobet le Francien, Robic le Celte, Ruiz l’Ibere, Darrigade le Gascon; to being patronymics of the biopolitical, of homo sacer and the spectacle that sustains Empire. Although Barthes' idea of an onomastics of the Tour still holds fast, sadly, in the time in which we live, Barthes' classic piece on the Tour de France as Epic no longer depicts the essence of events such as la Grande Boucle. Cycling, entangled in the process of its own globalisation, is a game in flux. It is no longer the pure myth or epic as Roland Barthes wrote. Mont Ventoux remains a moonscape, bare, barren, rising out of the lavender plains of Provence and on this landscape those playing this game are no longer heroes of epic proportions but bare life, homo sacer. The precarity of existence better depicts the state of the peloton today: Free as the birds to soar to the greatest heights – Pantani, Rasmussen, Dajka, Valverde, Vinnicombe, Vinokourov … the list is endless; but unlike those Greek gods of the time of Barthes in this age they are free to be shot down at a whim.
Second-wave Situationism? Gavin Grindon, Fifth Estate Last year saw, at least here in London, a plethora of commemorative events to mark the 40 year anniversary of the events of 1968, with pundits and talking heads emerging from everywhere to offer their accounts and experiences of that year, in which a multitude of movements remade and reclaimed the terrain of everyday life in a variety of ways from the jaws of capitalism. These accounts often mentioned the Situationist International, and the many groups whose ideas – if not directly related – were often very close to them. The list of these groups who attempted to fuse art and everyday life in a rejection of capitalism and the creation of autonomous spaces will be familiar to most readers. In New York, the Yippies and Black Mask, in California the Diggers, in Chicago the Rebel Worker Group, in the UK King Mob, in Amsterdam the Provos...
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