Culture

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The Fiction of the Creative Industries
Florian Cramer

[This text was written for the emergency issue of the journal "Open"
by the Dutch Foundation for Art and the Public Space (Stichting Kunst
en Openbare Ruimte / SKOR) SKOR/Open is one of the arts organizations
to lose their funding in the Netherlands. The complete
(Dutch-language) emergency issue of Open can be downloaded from:
http://www.skor.nl/nl/site/item/open-noodnummer-over-de-nieuwe-politiek-van-cultuur.]

The German artist Gerhard Merz said in 1991 that "creativity is for
hairdressers".[^1] Professional artists and designers never had a high
opinion of the word "creative" and the people bearing it on their
business cards, from creative directors to creative consultants and
creativity trainers. An exception perhaps was Merz' colleague at the
Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Art, Joseph Beuys. Anticipating much of
today's community art, he embraced the notion of creativity in its
broadest sense and sanctioned any type of socially constructive work
as art. And Merz, while making a sound point against romanticized
artistic subjectivity and the overall stupidity of the word
"creative", was a highbrow art snob dismissing the lower crafts.

Aldo Tambellini: Black Zero
1 October through 1 November, 2011
Chelsea Art Museum

Performance of Tambellini’s Black Zero featuring Christoph Draeger, Ben Morea, and Keweighbaye Kotee 20 October, 6 pm.

The Boris Lurie Art Foundation is pleased to announce a major retrospective exhibition of paintings, sculpture, lumagrams, videograms, film, video, and television work (1960-1990) by the American avant-garde artist, Aldo Tambellini

New Old Stories from the Other Situationists
Alan W. Moore

review of Expect Anything Fear Nothing: The Situationist Movement in Scandinavia and Elsewhere
edited by Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen and Jakob Jakobsen
with contributions by Peter Laugesen, Carl Nørrested, Fabian Tompsett, Gordon Fazakerley, Jacqueline de Jong, Hardy Strid, Karen Kurczynski, Stewart Home and the editors
Nebula (Copenhagen) and Autonomedia (Brooklyn), 2011

This book is a badly needed English language introduction to the stories of northern Situationism. While this political and aesthetic avant garde movement of the 1960s is most famous for the work of Guy de Bord (especially Society of the Spectacle, 1967), it had many other adherents and accomplishments, as the Expect anthology makes clear. Most notably for me is the description of a 1963 exhibition produced in Copenhagen in solidarity with a British direct action anti-nuclear group, “The Destruction of RSG-6.” But the northern Situationists also published an important artists' magazine, The Situationist Times, organized a commune in Sweden called Drakabygget, produced many short films and participatory art installations, painted slogans on drab public fences, and for years launched provocations against the smug consensus cultures of post-war Europe.

Since the 1970s I've had a sidelong relationship to the Situationists. They were really out there, politically, when I bought my copy of Debord's "Society of the Spectacle" published by the Detroit anarchist Black and Red house. Now there is a handsome MIT edition at many times the price of that pamphlet as the Situationist movement has emerged from the fog of the underground into the dry bright light of academic industry. In the 1990s, I used the resources of my artists' video distribution project to make pirate copies of De Bord's film for Bill Brown as he intervened in the commodification of the drunken sage's oeuvre.

Happy Birthday, America
James Howard Kunstler

Do you, too, sense the dread abiding in our annual celebration of
national wonderfulness? Outside today's barbeque bubble the dark shapes
of wild events loom, exciting primal fears of unresolved woe and
travail. Yesterday, I saw a man on a back street of a small town with
spider webs tattooed on his elbows and a screaming skull on the back of
his neck. America, meet your new normal: a citizenry of exterminating
angels. Our political exertions mean nothing to them. They think Ronald
Reagan was the offspring of John Wayne and Minnie Mouse and the House of
representatives is a reality TV show about home improvement. Once they
are on the loose, even Rush Limbaugh and other like-minded jingo creeps
of the airwaves will despair.

All Power to the Free Universities of the Future
Statement in Relation to the Outlawing of the Copenhagen Free University

The Copenhagen Free University was an attempt to reinvigorate the emancipatory aspect of research and learning, in the midst of an ongoing economisation of all knowledge production in society. Seeing how education and research were being subsumed into an industry structured by a corporate way of thinking, we intended to bring the idea of the university back to life. By life, we mean the messy life people live within the contradictions of capitalism. We wanted to reconnect knowledge production, learning and skill sharing to the everyday within a self-organised institutional framework of a free university. Our intention was multi-layered and was of course partly utopian, but also practical and experimental. We turned our flat in Copenhagen into a university by the very simple act of declaring 'this is a university'. By this transformative speech act the domestic setting of our flat became a university. It didn't take any alterations to the architecture other than the small things needed in terms of having people in your home staying over, presenting thoughts, researching archival material, screening films, presenting documents and works of art. Our home became a public institution dedicated to the production process of communal knowledge and fluctuating desires.

"Art As The Imagination of the After-Future"
Franco Berardi

Utopia was the dominant feature of xxth century avant-garde, although flows of dystopia have been interweaved in the imagination of cinema, poetry and narration. Only today, at the beginning of the 21st century, does dystopia take centre stage and conquer the whole field of the artistic imagination, thus drawing the narrative horizon of the century with no future. In the expression of contemporary poetry, in cinema, video-art and novels, the marks of an epidemic of psychopathology proliferate. In its highest expressions, in my view, Art of the years zero zero has been phenomenology of mental suffering, of disorder provoked by connective mutation of the Psychosphere.

"Facebook, or, The Impossibility of Friendship"
Franco Berardi (Bifo)

Financial capitalism and precarious work, loneliness and suffering, atrophy of empathy and sensibility: these are the themes that we may extrapolate from "The Social Network," the excellent movie by David Fincher.

The story that the movie is about is the creation and early diffusion of the social network Facebook: an enterprirse in the age of financial semiocapitalism. But the focus shifts on the psychological side of the evolution of the Internet, in the framework of the info-acceleration and stimulus-intensification that broadband has made possible. Love, friendship, affection — the whole sphere of emotionality is invested by the intensification of the rhythm of the infosphere surrounding the first generation which learned more words from a machine than from the mother.

Although the narration of the beginnings of Facebook, and the following legal conflicts and trials corresponds to the real story, biographical details (for instance the end of a love relation in the first scene of the movie) are not necessarily true, but they are useful for a full understanding of the affective side of social life of the cognitarian labor force.

"Art and Liberty: Surrealism in Egypt"
Don LaCoss

Egyptian surrealism broke above ground in late 1937 in Cairo, midwifed through the efforts of Georges Henein, Ramsīs Yūnān, Kāmil al-Tilmisāni, and the brothers Fu’ad and Anwar Kāmil. Throughout the Second World War, the group attracted the involvement of native Egyptians and European expatriates; they propagated a program for the revolutionary defense of the imagination, free expression, and social freedom. Their approach was consistent with ever other surrealist group in the world: a challenging blend of libertarian anti-capitalism, Freudian theories of the unconscious, and wild, poetic subversions of the sort found in the pages of Rimbaud and Lautréamont. In addition to targeting the moribund cultural values of academicism and conservative pharaonicism that dominated Egyptian intellectual and artistic production at the time, the surrealists also critically attacked fascism, the British military occupation, Egyptian monarchists and the liberal bourgeoisie, Muslim nationalism, the brutal persistence of landowner feudalism, and the institutionalized exploitation of women and industrial workers. The Egyptian surrealists were active for the best part of the decade before being dismantled by Egyptian police and British military occupation authorities in the first days of the Cold War.

Tactics Against Debt Jeffrey J. Williams, EduFactory What does student debt feel like? By now, many of the facts and figures of college student loan debt in the U.S. are familiar. As of 2008 it averages about $25,000 for graduating seniors. Though it was barely noticed for a long time—we should be clear that it is not something new that arose as a result of “financial crisis,” but is the result of policy since around 1980—it has come to the forefront in the past couple of years. The U.S. was inventive in instituting the student loan system of privatized funding, which is packaged as “financial aid” but devolves to a student and his or her parents (in the form of PLUS and other loans). Of late, many European countries have started emulating the American model. Beyond the numbers, what does student debt do to people? I’ve written about the way in which student debt, in its prevalence and amounts, constitutes a pedagogy, unlike the humanistic lesson that the university traditionally proclaims, of privatization and the market. (See “Debt Education,” which appeared in Dissent in 2006 and was abridged in the Edu-factory collection Toward a Global Autonomous University.) For now, though, I want to call attention to a project that recounts people’s experiences with student debt: StudentLoanJustice.Org. It was organized by Alan Collinge, who himself underwent a Kafkaesque experience with college student loan debt and has published The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History—and How We Can Fight Back (2009). StudentLoanJustice.Org is oriented around the rubric of consumer rights rather than a concerted political stance, but the strength of the project is that it provides a forum for people to tell their particular stories of student debt. Since 2007 it has gathered hundreds of stories, building a kind of ethnography of debtors.
The Knowledge Movement Franco 'Bifo' Berardi Since the beginning of the modern age autonomy has been a defining feature of scientific progress and of the institution of university. It is not only a formal juridical aspect, but an epistemological prerequisite that prevents knowledge from beginning a purely instrumental technique. Late capitalism, in the phase of re-assertion of the already failed neoliberal philosophy, also the Autonomy of University, and therefore of the process of knowledge production, has been sacrificed to the absolute domination of profit, growth and competition. Only lately this operational and functionalist reduction of knowledge has been imposed in Europe, as an effect of the Bologna Charter (1999), and it is implying a standardization of the heuristic procedures, of the evaluation criteria, and what matters most, of the very goals of knowledge. The economic principle has been adopted as the purpose, the methodology and the evaluation criterion of knowledge. The idea that knowledge has an established purpose (whatever it may be) is wrong in itself, because the process of knowledge is constantly questioning not only its methodology but also its purpose.
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