Contemporary art practices 2021/2022


Wednesday 2021-10-20 @ KUNSTHAL GENT
David Potočnik & Elisabeth De Laet, for CHT/Totalism.org

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Introduction → https://e2h.totalism.org/e2h.php?_=pxl-masterstudio

    2021-10-20 — the in-person collaborative "crash course" session
    2021-10-22 — revision <David (fixing headers, completing the notes, adding missing references/links)
    2021-10-23 — 2nd revision <David

Table of Contents
1.1     (Hong Kong protests = colonial West's colour revolution attempt = bad)
1.2     (We investigate other right-wing protest movements)
1.3     (We learn to recognize racist signifiers)
2.1     (Freedom & Cultural hegemony)
2.2     Isiah Berlin : Two Concepts of Liberty ("negative", "positive")
2.3     ("Liberalism", as such, is not a tenable political position anymore)
2.4     → neoliberalism/libertarianism:
2.5     → "social democracy"
3.1     (Anarchisms)
3.2     Anarcho syndicalism (red/black)
3.3     (The West: Democracy? More like— Oligarchy)
3.4     * anarcho primitivism (vs CHT)
3.5     * network anarchism (from directories, to centralized algorithms, to distributed networks)
3.6     (anarcho capitalism = no anarchism, just psychopatic, vicious hyper-capitalism)
3.7     Discussion: State gives health care & education, but also police
3.8     SPEECH CAN HARM! & "mild authoritarianism" of every State
4.1     Reclaim or rename?
4.2     How to simply & practically think ideology?
4.3     (Horseshoe theory = liberal horse shit)
4.4     (Quick) Dramaturgy of Hitler's rise to power
4.5     ("Detourment" and the Situationist International)
4.6     (Individualism & hyperindividualism)
4.7     (Class analysis & Class configuration 101)
4.8     What is "a class"?
4.9     (on pre-Marx capitalism)
4.10     (Watching: Pepsi commercial)
4.11     (Fascism = Co-option of leftist message)
4.12     Marxism & Decolonial struggles
4.13     Marxism & minority struggle within the West
4.15     Effectiveness of Chinese political system
4.16     In the western system, we can only "encourage". Responsible artistic expression can help this.
4.16.1         Example 1: "plastic straws":
4.16.2         Example 2: "Denmark & high tax for internal-combustion cars":
5.1     Western "middle" class or "lower" class — you are exporting poverty as "Labour Aristocracy"
5.2     Western people, meaning you, need to learn the limits of your speech
5.3     "Does all art need to be political?" or "I don't think my art is political", etc
5.4     "So ... you have to really think before you do ANYTHING"
5.5     "You have to, if you are just living your life everything will go to shit"
5.6     Consider that it is not a given the skills you trained for will have a social or even market use!
6 ———(break)———
7 (Question: CHT's relation to art?)
7.1     ( SEE BELOW! )
7.2     (Watching: Laibach)
7.3     (Watching: Holly Herndon&Metahaven vs NSA)
7.4     (Watching: Ryoji Ikeda— test pattern)
7.5     (Watching: The yes men— Bhopal disaster & Gilda, the gilded skeleton)
8 (How do you all want to work together on your student assignment?)
9 CHINA, 101
9.1     Again, discussing China is important → We need to learn establishing limits to our (Western) speech
9.2     CIA Weiwei, abstract expressionism (and USA's hope for "colour revolutions")
9.3     "Why doesn't the Chinese students I met support the communist party & doesn't want to go back?"
9.4     1) China has achieved the most impressive economic feat in human history, lifting a billion people from poverty
9.5     2) Public support of the Chinese Communist Party is sky-high & almost unimaginable for the cynical West
9.6     3) Political revolutions are not a magic trick, do not happen instantly
9.7     4) Still, China is incredibly socialist already today
9.8     5) China consistently believes in harmony & trade, not, intervention politics
11.1     * Institutional Critique
11.2     * Protest Art
11.3     * "Community art & participatory practices"
11.4     * "Artivism"
11.5     * Culture Jamming & Guerilla communication
11.6     _____
11.7     * Dora Garcia
11.8     * Hito Steyerl
11.9     * Andrea Fraser
11.10     * The Yes Men
11.11     * Laibach / IRWIN
11.12     * Guerilla Girls
11.13     * Recettas Urbanas
11.14     * 10 Bullets. By Tom Sachs
11.15     * Anti-example: Squid Game and other "anti-capitalist entertainment"
11.16     * Time circus (BE)
11.17     * Toestand (BE)
11.18     * K.A.K (Koekelbergse Alliantie van Knutselaars) (BE)
11.19     * Bolwerk / ooooo.be
11.20     * Samenschool
12 *** CONTACT


    (Hong Kong protests = colonial West's colour revolution attempt = bad)

To be an artist , you need to be able to decode the media, understand context.

Russia, China and Vietnam[3]  share nearly identical views that colour revolutions are the product of machinations by the United States and other Western powers and pose a vital threat to their public and national security.[4]


"The Hong Kong protests" are a fabrication:
    1) did not have overwhelming popular support
    2) were fabricated and instigated by the west:
        * pedalled to our media as propaganda by the BBC
        * BBC is a "UK state sponsored" media, with strong ties to the neo-conservative right-wing
    3) these are the same people that invaded, colonized and exploited Hong Kong for centuries


The recent "Cuba protests" example, from a left perspective
Over the past decade, the US government has spent millions of dollars to cultivate anti-government Cuban rappers, rock musicians, artists, and journalists in an explicit bid to weaponize “desocialized and marginalized youth. [...] Behind their branding as cosmopolitan intellectuals, renegade rappers, and avant garde artists, San Isidro’s has openly embraced the extremist politics of the Miami Cuban lobby. Indeed, its most prominent members have expressed effusive support for Donald Trump, endorsed US sanctions, and clamored for a military invasion of Cuba.
Almost overnight, a collective of artists and musicians mobilized to protest the decree. Named for the hardscrabble San Isidro neighborhood in Old Havana where several of its members lived, the new movement appealed directly to cultural influencers in the Global North, marketing itself as a diverse collection of visual creators and independent rappers struggling for nothing more than artistic freedom.
For perhaps the first time, Cuba’s right-wing opposition had a vehicle for making inroads into progressive circles abroad.

    (We investigate other right-wing protest movements)

"""... Golden Dawn, Yellow vests, Proud boys, Generation identity, Querdenker, US capitol riots... """

Looking into different right-wing activist / protest aesthetics
    * the colors
        * Black & yellow!
    * shapes, symbols
    * political context
    * manipulation & propaganda strategies to attract other audiences:
        being "moderate", being "anti government", "defending free speech", etc
    * cooption/abduction:
        Slovenian nazis abduct "Yellow vests" for within local context
    * dangerous alliances:
        anti-vaxxers marching with neo-nazis (Querdenker)

    (We learn to recognize racist signifiers)

black yellow fredperry  , lonsdale with a jacket, etc


    (Freedom & Cultural hegemony)

"Freedom"?? Freedom BAD
Freedom is facebook status: complicated  
"Freedom" is an ambigous term, understand "by default" within https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_hegemony :
     = Eagles, gun-waving, CIA State Department, Team America
     = Western idea of "freedom" is essentially https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauvinism

    Isiah Berlin : Two Concepts of Liberty ("negative", "positive")

To understand liberty in a slightly more complex way, we look at:
    → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Concepts_of_Liberty

* Negative liberties sets rules:
    "wear seatbelts/masks"
    "don't make noise after 10pm"

* Positive liberty is the shape off what you are actually able to do:
    you're allowed to play the guitar ... but do you actually own one?
    you're "allowed to" own a house ... but is that a realistic prospect?

    ("Liberalism", as such, is not a tenable political position anymore)

"Liberalism is over"

Political theory now understand well:
    making your own choices will at some point come at the expense of other's peoples ability to do so
    the "freedom"/sanctity of property will neccessarily come in collision with the "freedom"/sanctity of speech
    society is about a common field of possibilities, and these are mediated by (whoever holds) power

On the ashes of liberalism, we are left with are...

    → neoliberalism/libertarianism:

a radicalization of property & speech freedoms
leading to aggressive privatization of what we in the west currently enjoy & consider essential and public (mostly: education, healthcare)
this system, if not radically opposed, is just a signpost leading naturally to NRx (aka "Dark enlightenment):
said othewise:
    the same way liberals have in the last century always enabled reactionaries
    ... neoliberals are enablers of neoreactionaries

    → "social democracy"

now, only serves as a pacifier (to real and needed radical change)
a toothless mirage, after the fall of Soviet Union
(which was, as late as 1970s, perceived as a possible alternative in the West's then still existing organized labour movement, and something to make concessions to)



You have flags of different anarchisms in different colors.

in a nutshell all anarchisms will say:
    we can do it right now (without phased cooperation with the state—like communisms),
    there is a specific aspect of the State preventing us from doing it (either corporate/patriarchy/etc),
    we can do it quite spontaneously with various "uprising" strategies

    Anarcho syndicalism (red/black)

Syndicates: different "worker" groups organize, usually by delegate models at higher and higher scales.

    → Kurds - Rojava
        Biggest nation (=ethnic group with strong identity) without a state.

    → Zapatistas:
        are now touring EU (including Belgium)
        indigenous people, fought a successful military+artistic/PR struggle for their land rights in Mexico!

    * anarcho primitivism (vs CHT)

For CHT:
    * going "back to the forest" or "more simple life" is NOT a solution (not for all):
        It can be appropriated as an extra space, created to do the neccessary transition work, that then can be brought back into mainline society.
    * we find Anarcho primitivism discriminatory and privileged:
        not everyone elects to fight bears, have no advanced care, and drink cholera-infested water  🤜🐻 💫 even though some German dude might want to advocate for a society like that

    * network anarchism (from directories, to centralized algorithms, to distributed networks)

This is relevant in the sense of understanding that a different architecture of hyperspace is possible, which then brings different forms of struggle.

Old-style surfing the net = "Web of directories":
    The web was different, before search engines were established
    The "directory"-centric logic (like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMOZ ) upheld a specific politics of information, compared to the "search engine"-centric politics.

This changed with algorithmized Google & Facebook era.

Hackers (as in, critical technologists) & cyber activists currently strive to decentralize / distribute the infrastructure. This would both have paramount effects on (artistic) resistance, and also needs it, in order to come to life.

Btw, memes are a thing.

    (anarcho capitalism = no anarchism, just psychopatic, vicious hyper-capitalism)

* Anarcho capitalism (black and yellow)

Will say:
    * "We dont need police, but i will shoot you if you step on my property"
    * "We dont need taxes, if you are poor or unable, it's your problem and your fault"
    * "What you do on your property is your own domain" (not understanding that the river flows downsteram, along with the pollution)

Ancaps will perceive the State as the enemy, and then set the market as the solution.

Radical right-wing libertarians put a radicalized individualist "freedom" (to property, to speech, to choice) to psychopathic levels, before any guarantees to people's well being.

    * "on my own property i can shoot you"   

    * personal responsibility, "each person is responsible for their own choices"
        (vs rich people just having totally different possibilities)

    Discussion: State gives health care & education, but also police

What is the task of the cops? Can we do without cops?
    (should be mediator, now too often aggressor aswell as instigator)

Why do police act different in situations?:
    We discuss black lives matter <> capitol riot police response.
    (Both difference in protest expression tactics, and police&media response to it.)

    SPEECH CAN HARM! & "mild authoritarianism" of every State

That is why there are, currently, constitutional and legal limits to it in every country.

Believing "anything can be discussed, any opinion presented" would be a radical ultra-right position.
Speech infringing on already won rights of minority groups needs to be especially moderated.
    (we discussed this in some detail on day 2 of session!).


In this sense, as speech is limited, every state is "authoritarian" to some extent!

Every contemporary state protects and its people itself by limiting speech in some ways.
Some parts of "political plurality" is always rejected - the question is:
    * which parts are rejected, which tolerated?
    * more importantly: who does this serve?


In contemporary Germany, due to danger of recurring Nazism destroying democracy:
    traditional right-wing symbols are strictly forbidden, by the constitution.

In contemporary China, due to danger of recurring bourgeois capitalism destroying People's socialism:
    expression of bourgeois and capitalist ideas are strictly forbidden, by the constitution.


    Reclaim or rename?

1) (we notice the recurrent black+yellow aesthetic with contemporary ultra-right movements):
    Reclaim black and yellow  👍 ?

2) what to do about the "communism has a bad name" argument? 
    * Do we just rename it, for example to "commonism"?
    * if you change your name to something new, you have to establish a whole new thing:
        → Do not "rebrand" things!  or do but establish anew
    one will recognize it is "just the same as the old version of it"
    reclaim and work with what is there

    How to simply & practically think ideology?

"Mostly everybody understands the need for system change, they just get stuck there and unable to act"
The reason is lacking the tools to continue.

One example is consequential thinking:
    Of course building communism results in problems. But, does upholding capitalism (and its imperial and colonial heritage) result in bigger ones?

    (Horseshoe theory = liberal horse shit)


Liberal imagination:

Reality (fascist, leftist, liberal):

So instead, if looking for oversimplification, see:

Radical center assists far right!

Radical centrist insistance on "radical left and radical right being the same" is what has always shifted society into problematic configurations!

Again, as "artistic resister", you need to know the basic coordinates of political history & theory.

    (Quick) Dramaturgy of Hitler's rise to power


Because of:
    1) Inability of the strong left and center to collaborate, leads to a space for the (electorally much weaker) extreme right
    2) Rich (industrialists) and traditional ("conservative") center pave the way for the nazism's rise
    3) Everyone was sure nothing bad would happen

Artistry can be and was compicit:
    * served directly in Nazi's propaganda
    * as it, though unsympathetic, ridiculed and humanized Hitler (or Trump! or Brexit! etc), instead of understanding the seriousness of the situation
    * [...]

    ("Detourment" and the Situationist International)

Situationism (situationist international) 

David: "I love it, but I'm truly presenting it for the relevance not political alignment"
"they're libertarian marxists, I am not - I dont have a potato in this pot 😮🥔🤔

    (Individualism & hyperindividualism)

The default/normative contemporary experience is HYPERINDIVIDUALISTIC !!!!
(in other words: this has "a strong gravity")

    "being an invididual"
    need to be "your own, authentic self" ✨    :
        (perhaps, in ### relation to "collective")
    "serving your own interest"
    * "an individual can still be a part of collective"
    * "a collective comprises of individuals"

However, there is a paradox at "serving own interest":
    Class analysis will show us that serving "your own interests", at expense of collective ones, in the short term, leads to the opposite!

Example from before:
    If we would start breaking the 8 hour work week rules (like the neoliberals want):
        we would move (back) to a state, where 9, 10, 11 and so on hours are expected, otherwise you are not competitive as an employee

Individual actions have class consequences!
For this reason, holding & spreading class conscience is key.

Join a union!

    (Class analysis & Class configuration 101)

The two classes:

    1) proletariat aka "workers" 
        (XXtra: In german "prolet" is a denigrating term) 
https://www.partydeko.ch/media/catalog/product/cache/16/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/k/o/kostuem-prolet-rueckansicht_5.jpg https://www.partydeko.ch/media/catalog/product/cache/16/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/k/o/kostuem-prolet-rueckansicht_5.jpg https://www.partydeko.ch/media/catalog/product/cache/16/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/k/o/kostuem-prolet-rueckansicht_5.jpg
        work to subsist,
        use the means of production to produce (aka "factory", "institution", "office")

    2) bourgeoisie aka "capitalists"
        do not work to subsist,
        they reap (aka "steal", "expropriate") the surplus production from what the workers produce

Public opinion is following:
Nearly 80% blame capitalism for the housing crisis, while 75% believe the climate emergency is “specifically a capitalist problem” and 72% back sweeping nationalisation. All in all, 67% want to live under a socialist economic system.

    What is "a class"?

Yes, is a segmentation of a set/population (in this case, "all people").
No, is not just an arbitrary set.

"Marxist class" is a "(societal) class, in regards to the real commonality of economic interest".

What unites workers is that they have a CLASS INTEREST that is opposite to the CAPITALIST'S CLASS INTEREST:
    * workers want to be paid more —— capitalists want to pay them less (as little as possible), so they have more profits
    * workers want to work less, have work rights, etc etc —— and vice versa

    (on pre-Marx capitalism)

19th century capitalism = Dickensian life conditions (babies in coal mines, etc)

Capitalism needs to upkeep an exploitative labour pool:
    CAPITALISTS always need at least 5-10% unemployment
    A sweet spot, for them between:
        0% (bad = anyone can quit as there's enough jobs) and
        20% (bad = gross unemployment, social unrest)
    So "JOB GUARANTEES" are always a LEFT POLICY!

"Why do we have 8 hour workweek?":

We didn't used to! This is a product of effective (often bloody) protests and artistic resistance, lead by strong socialist organizations.

    (Watching: Pepsi commercial)

 "hell yeah I hope the militarized police force beats the shit out of me while enjoying a cool, refreshing pepsi™"


    (Fascism = Co-option of leftist message)


Fascism = loyalty to other 'rich folks' & twisting the message against a minority.
This can never happen without messaging, without (misguided) art!

    Marxism & Decolonial struggles

This is obvious, as marxism emphasises and develops a strong organizational approach that rejects exploitation. It has been utilised to liberate mostly every colony, especially in Africa & Asia.
(flag of Angola)

    Marxism & minority struggle within the West

In USA 1910/1920s, black populations tried wealth building and trade:
    Juneteenth is now a federal holiday
    originated in Tulsa, Oklahoma (burned down after the race massacre)
    → What followed was a massacre & founding of KKK.

In USA 1960/70s, Black Panthers tried Insurgency:
Black panther party challenges police brutality:
    with arming themselves
    with Marxist-Leninist politics (and understanding specific class composition)
    → What followed was a CIA intervention & assasinations.

Neither worked. Why not?


We look at https://totalism.org/struggling !
"Most or None of these approaches exclude each other!"

    Effectiveness of Chinese political system

Democratic Centralism, in contrast to bourgeois democracy, allows for political decisions to be discussed (within the party), without being spilled out in the open.

Keeping a discussion non-moderated (and possibly, mediated by misguided & co-opted artistic interventions) will results in inability to make complex and possibly unpopular (but well informed) decisions, clearly evident in the messy and rightwing-sliding politics of the West.

We look at a case of China's transportation system, as an example:
    * (swift & strong action against dirty cars):
        * https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/china-bans-fossil-fuel-vehicles-electric/
        * https://www.wri.org/insights/4-lessons-beijing-and-shanghai-show-how-chinas-cities-can-curb-car-congestion
    * (building a public transport network):
        * 99% of electric buses are in China: https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/electric-bus-china-17052019/
        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_China (more than all EU combined, and growing >15% yearly)

    In the western system, we can only "encourage". Responsible artistic expression can help this.

Either as:
    A) pressure governments and various political parties towards action
    B) pressure indivdual people to make "the right choices"

However, that is strongly limited to being effective only where it is very easy.

        Example 1: "plastic straws":

Everyone knows about this, but we agree it is not a paramount non-issue.
The reason is because we have limited attention, it is a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-sum_game

        Example 2: "Denmark & high tax for internal-combustion cars":

They can only afford to do this, because the policy is easy & non-controversial, due to their extensive privilege.
    A student opposes this ("not all Danish can afford to buy it", "they're not so rich").
    To help clear this up, and as a primer in quick socio-economic fact checking, we introduce two new metrics:
        1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power_parity (PPP)
        2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient
        We show that makes Denmark a place where "responsible consumption" could work, but pretty much the only one (and at the expense of everyone else).


    Western "middle" class or "lower" class — you are exporting poverty as "Labour Aristocracy"

We read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_aristocracy !
In Marxist theory, those workers (proletarians) in the developed countries who benefit from the superprofits extracted from the impoverished workers of developing countries form an "aristocracy of labor". The phrase was popularized by Karl Kautsky in 1901 and theorized by Vladimir Lenin in his treatise Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. According to Lenin, companies in the developed world exploit workers in the developing world where wages are much lower.[1] The increased profits enable these companies to pay higher wages to their employees "at home" (that is, in the developed world), thus creating a working class satisfied with their standard of living and not inclined to proletarian revolution. It is a form of exporting poverty, creating an "exclave" of lower social class

As living in the West, even if you are "working class" or "lower class", and even with an (established) migrant background:
    1) you still exploit people in "former" colonies, and "developing nations":
        (as a consequence of benefitting from the infrastructure, especially historic — trains, roads, factories, art, buildings, etc)
    2) the resources situated on the lands they inhabit or have inhabited:
        it is clear resources go towards "developed countries", not the other way around
    3) the colonial gains of your ancestors (let their graves be pissed on!) who have pillaged and plundered all over the world

    Western people, meaning you, need to learn the limits of your speech

If you are in a public position - as an artist - your speech matters especially.

Learn the responsibility when you are addressing, in any way, non-local affairs.

We read CHT's letter to Katya Ev & Caveat! :

Leave "crazy & brutal" Russia, "totalitarian" China, "disorganized" Africa, etc alone — you don't have the basic foundation to understand & analyze the situation there:
    Don't do the bidding of petty propaganda,
    Don't do CIA's work for free,
    There are too many already working on excuses for further NATO worldwide aggressions!

    "Does all art need to be political?" or "I don't think my art is political", etc

We deconstruct the aspects:

    1) all art is exhibited, performed, etc .. has an other ... has an audience:
        → thus → it has a political component:
            1A) the Kunsthal, the gallery, performance space, etc
            1B) the audience (and how they are situated, where they are coming from, or can afford to come to)

    2) all art comes from a personal experience:
        → embedded in the natural, in the social →
        → in the political - the reality we create together →
        → expresses it, either:
            2A) purely depicts it
            2B) expresses a more complex emotion ("longing")
        Both of these are relational, are political!

    3) but: "no art is not neccessarily political, as there still are people that can enjoy the natural (relational, etc) in its pure, ipolitical":
        Maybe? Who?:
            3A) like "Rain Man" who doesn't know anything about the anthropocene
            3B) somebody on a lot of bad drugs
            3C) somebody living in a cave for 40 years
            3D) somebody (with a mythological mindset) educated in a very rural place like Kansas

Aren't we all feminists? A quick feminist take:
    "everything is embedded" (or, ought to be)
    thus, art, like everything, is embedded, meaning, is political

cleo: shares experience of a mentor, creating art in isolation
david: "the political" always enters.

    "So ... you have to really think before you do ANYTHING"

You have to learn to analyze.
    1) news, media:
        → fake news
        → propaganda (YOU ARE A VICTIM OF PROPAGANDA)
    2) history, tactics, political philosophy(education):
        → don't know history
        → erased and forgottten history
        → ###
    3) inter-acting (relating to other people, identifying & choosing your comrades):
        → how to recognize a trustworthy person, an ally, etc?

We shape the problem:
    "so how, then, do you can you know anything at all!?"

    "You have to, if you are just living your life everything will go to shit"


Understand who you are and the potential you have  🥰

lies: political education as a privilege

    Consider that it is not a given the skills you trained for will have a social or even market use!

What will happen to
as their work is automated?


(Question: CHT's relation to art?)

    ( SEE BELOW! )

A somewhat more extened list.

    (Watching: Holly Herndon&Metahaven vs NSA)

cleo presents a video by metahaven ("a love letter to the NSA, an american agency which is listening in on everyone's communication)

    (Watching: Ryoji Ikeda— test pattern)

ryoji ikeda ("an imaging of something that surrounds us, but we cannot sense directly. the gigantic. Even so, it is familiar. An artistic representation serves as a sensory aid, brings us closer to these phenomena")
→→ Imaging the gigantic (Heidegger!) → http://stunlaw.blogspot.com/2011/12/gigantic-inc.html
We now live in a world where the very size of the real-time stream begins to exceed capacities to understand or make any sense of the sheer flow of data, and Twitter which currently handles 250 million tweets per day, or 1.25 billion per week, is a great example of this (Totsis 2011). Ways of thinking about the real-time stream as a totality are needed to help think through the implications of this data rich world and provide a contribution towards a cognitive map.

    (Watching: The yes men— Bhopal disaster & Gilda, the gilded skeleton)

→→ Artistic Revolt :  Culture jamming!

(How do you all want to work together on your student assignment?)

[!!] liesl : as we started in Kunsthal, we could propose to end/exhibit/make a project here?

singular/unified ("single object", "film") vs modular/multi-component/compartmental ("zine, exhibition") work

CHINA, 101

    Again, discussing China is important → We need to learn establishing limits to our (Western) speech

Again we read CHT contra Caveat:

We must make sure that our political engagement, including art, is not coming from a position of western superiority & does not further a living form of colonial domination!
every discussion from within our empire that involves topics embedded in the worlds & systems of an either former or current geopolitical foe, colony or semi-colony, "regime" or "evil empire" — has to be threaded *extremely* carefully; and more so if it that project has been annihilated as a result of, or is presently threatened by the aggression of our homeland & its military allies. We need to be careful because we are bordering on reproducing patterns of subjugation - imperialist, colonial, corporativist, and indeed racist patterns - and doing the bidding of petty propaganda.

    CIA Weiwei, abstract expressionism (and USA's hope for "colour revolutions")

"what about ai weiwei?"
→ Just follow the money!

We look at example of CIA supporting abstract expressionism:
    It comes out after 40 years, declassified. So maybe some day you'll see it clearer?

Yes, abstract expressionism and free jazz were brought to us to destabilize China!
(But, at least they were good stuff, unlike "dissident" CIA Weiwei.)

    "Why doesn't the Chinese students I met support the communist party & doesn't want to go back?"

Simple because:
    * The People's Republic of China was established from conditions of gross exploitation (feudal and semi-colonized)
    * In simple words and in general, that means:
        * some people (5-10%) were morbidly exploiting others
        * they also controlled public opinion (through media regulation, ownership), meaning they have a further 20% of people of variable conviction close to their side — due to religious or mental bondage / non-autonomy)
    * The revolution is, obviously, a transfer of wealth from the exploiting to the exploited class:
        From 1.5 billion Chinese descendants of the revolution, there will always be some 10% who are upset
        That's a lot of people, but only some of those can afford to study abroad. The descendants of the ones who are still exploiting.

Yes, China is communist, but:
    * Communism is developed in phases!
    * They are currently going through a phase of strictly controlled tolerance of capitalist/bourgeois social & economic activity


That however does mean you will meet rich boys & girls as your classmates, who would rather be rich in Belgium than in China!
Yes, Belgium is absolutely a better & safer place to be a rich capitalist heir than China!

Does that surprise you? Do you believe that makes Belgium a better place?

    1) China has achieved the most impressive economic feat in human history, lifting a billion people from poverty
According to the World Bank, more than 850 million Chinese people have been lifted out of extreme poverty; China's poverty rate fell from 88 percent in 1981 to 0.7 percent in 2015, as measured by the percentage of people living on the equivalent of US$1.90 or less per day in 2011 purchasing price parity terms.
This is incomparable to what happened in (capitalist) India, or other "developing countries", and is a specific of the Chinese economic-political system!

    2) Public support of the Chinese Communist Party is sky-high & almost unimaginable for the cynical West

Harvard study:
The survey team found that compared to public opinion patterns in the U.S., in China there was very high satisfaction with the central government. In 2016, the last year the survey was conducted, 95.5 percent of respondents were either “relatively satisfied” or “highly satisfied” with Beijing. In contrast to these findings, Gallup reported in January of this year that their latest polling on U.S. citizen satisfaction with the American federal government revealed only 38 percent of respondents were satisfied with the federal government.  

Understand that China does not tolerate Western studies & opinion polling, so polls are not easy to come by.
Polls are traditionally used by the west for foreign intervention and manipulation purposes (and "colour revolution" attempts!).

    3) Political revolutions are not a magic trick, do not happen instantly

China anticipates to reach full socialism by 2040/2050.
Until then, respect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism_with_Chinese_characteristics .

    4) Still, China is incredibly socialist already today

* you can not own land in China as an individual - you can only long-term lease it!

* companies above any certain side, are controlled by representatives of the (people's) government

* Chinese investment into green economy, transportation is unparalleled by an order of magnitude

    5) China consistently believes in harmony & trade, not, intervention politics

* China has been a defensive merchant nation for centuries, and has never done a first strike

* Contrary to Soviet Union (and USA, lol), they maintain a consistent politics of non-intervention:
    they care about other places, but believe they (we) must fix our own problems
    they can best help us by trading with us, and we will reach a point where we do what we need to do about our own situation



(MORE: RELATION TO ART & ARTISTS— forms of resistance in / and art)

Compiled by CHT/T, curated by Elisabath De Laet.

    * Institutional Critique
        Institutional criticism began in the late 1960s when artists began to create art in response to the institutions that bought and exhibited their work. In the 1960s the art institution was often perceived as a place of ‘cultural confinement’ and thus something to attack aesthetically, politically and theoretically.
        Hans Haacke is a leading exponent of institutional critique, particularly targeting funding and donations given to museums and galleries. In 1971, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne rejected his work Manet-Projekt 74 from one of their shows. The work was related to the museum’s recent acquisition of Edouard Manet’s Bunch of Asparagus and detailed the provenance of the painting and Nazi background of the donor.
        During the 1990s it became a fashion for critical discussions to be held by curators and directors within art galleries and museums that centered on this very subject, thereby making the institution not only the problem but also the solution. This has changed the nature of institutional critique, something that is reflected in the art of Carey Young, who considers this dilemma.
            → https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/i/institutional-critique

            * https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/institutional-critique
            * ###

    * Protest Art
        ... the creative works produced by activists and social movements. It is a traditional means of communication, utilized by a cross section of collectives and the state to inform and persuade citizens. Protest art helps arouse base emotions in their audiences, and in return may increase the climate of tension and create new opportunities to dissent. Since art, unlike other forms of dissent, take few financial resources, less financially able groups and parties can rely more on performance art and street art as an affordable tactic.
        Historical basis in art and politics Activist art cites its origins from a particular artistic and political climate.  In the art world, performance art of the late 1960s to the 70s worked to broaden aesthetic boundaries within visual arts and traditional theatre, blurring the rigidly construed distinction between the two.  Protest art involves creative works grounded in the act of addressing political or social issues. Protest art is a medium that is accessible to all socioeconomic classes and represents an innovative tool to expand opportunity structures. The transient, interdisciplinary, and hybrid nature of performance art allowed for audience engagement.  The openness and immediacy of the medium invited public participation, and the nature of the artistic medium was a hub for media attention.
        → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protest_art
        * printed matter that easily spreads and is often cheap to (re)produce (posters, banners, zines)
        * performances in the public sphere (but not provo per se, more to "bring color" to protests (also protests vs parades?))
        * ###

    * "Community art & participatory practices"


    * "Artivism"

The artivist (artist + activist) uses her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression—by any medium necessary. The artivist merges commitment to freedom and justice with the pen, the lens, the brush, the voice, the body, and the imagination. The artivist knows that to make an observation is to have an obligation.
    → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artivism

    * Culture Jamming & Guerilla communication
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_jamming
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_communication
    * http://www.trabal.org/texts/lubbers.pdf

    * What about Communication Guerrilla?
        Everybody knows that the Ozone belt is fading away. Everybody knows that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer…   To us, who believe in Communism, it is hard to understand why such knowledge doesn't lead to revolution and fundamental change - but it definitely doesn't ;-)  
        Reflections on the interrelations between the reception of information,   knowledge and the options to act within a social context have tackled how   information becomes meaningful and how it then becomes socially relevant. Information by itself has neither meaning nor consequences - both are   created only through the active reception and through the scope of action   of the audience. But this basic banality has far too rarely been taken into consideration within the framework of radical politics.
        Guerrilla communication doesn't focus on arguments and facts like most   leaflets, brochures, slogans or banners. In it's own way, it inhabits a   militant political position, it is direct action in the space of social   communication. But different from other militant positions (stone meets   shop window), it doesn't aim to destroy the codes and signs of power and   control, but to distort and disfigure their meanings as a means of   counteracting the omnipotent prattling of power. Communication guerrillas   do not intend to occupy, interrupt or destroy the dominant channels of   communication, but to detourn and subvert the messages transported.  
           → https://sniggle.net/Manifesti/blissettBrunzels.php


    * Dora Garcia
    "Revolution, fulfill your promise!/¡Revolución, cumple tu promesa!, a project that includes her two more recent films focused on the exceptional legacy of Alexandra Kollontai (St. Petersburg, 1872 - Moscow, 1952), an author, Marxist feminist, October revolutionary, sexual activist, political exile and diplomat. Love with Obstacles/Amor con obstáculos (2020) and If I Could Wish for Something/Si pudiera desear algo (2021)"  
    → https://www.amant.org/programs/2-dora-garcia

    * Hito Steyerl
g: "hito steyerl institutional critique"

    * The Yes Men
    "... a culture jamming activist duo and network of supporters created by Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos.[1] Through various actions, the Yes Men primarily aim to raise awareness about problematic social and political issues."
        → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yes_Men

    → https://theyesmen.org
    → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OazUh0Ym8rc

    * Laibach / IRWIN
    * over-identification
    * retro-avangarde
    * retro-princip → https://garagemca.org/en/exhibition/nsk-from-kapital-to-capital/materials/irwin-retroprintsip-irwin-retro-principle

    * Guerilla Girls
    ... an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world.[1] The group formed in New York City in 1985 with the mission of bringing gender and racial inequality into focus within the greater arts community.[2] The group employs culture jamming in the form of posters, books, billboards, and public appearances to expose discrimination and corruption. To remain anonymous, members don gorilla masks and use pseudonyms that refer to deceased female artists. According to GG1, identities are concealed because issues matter more than individual identities, "Mainly, we wanted the focus to be on the issues, not on our personalities or our own work."[3]
    → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_Girls

    → https://www.guerrillagirls.com/
    → https://artnight.london/artist/guerrilla-girls/
    → The Art of Behaving Badly — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTskh3BJyVY

    * Recettas Urbanas
"""Santiago Cirugeda created in 2003 the Recetas Urbanas architectural studio continuing the development of subversive projects in different areas of the urban reality that would help to cope with the complicated social life of it. From systematic occupations of the public spaces made with containers until the construction of prosthesis for facades, backyards, roofs and empty lots. All of these done, through a negotiation process between the legality and illegality, as a way to remember the enormous control we are subjected."""
    → https://www.recetasurbanas.net/v3/index.php/en/contactar

    * 10 Bullets. By Tom Sachs


    * Anti-example: Squid Game and other "anti-capitalist entertainment"

In an era where it’s cool to hate capitalism, the entertainment that critiques it has become cooler than ever. But does that amount to political progress? Anti-imperialist organizer Rhamier Balagoon for the Black Alliance for Peace says not. "Under capitalism, anything can become a commodity and ultimately de-radicalized," they told Refinery29. "Hollywood, through corporate America, makes room for these performative gestures that allow people to romanticize the idea of resistance against a violent system." 
"The idea of free will has very effectively been weaponized by white supremacist capitalism to gaslight people into believing that they are responsible for the shitty circumstances that capitalism puts them in," says Bobo Matjila, online philosopher and co-host of the Bobo and Flex podcast. "A society that believes in free will also implicitly believes that everyone is responsible for their circumstances and material conditions despite how much they’ve been marginalized and oppressed by said society."
"As good as these shows are, I don’t think any of them are effective in shifting viewpoints because these shows are descriptive but not prescriptive," says Matjila. "They do a great job of describing the horrors of existing under late-stage capitalism but they don’t do very much as far as prescribing a solution for these horrors."
    → https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/squid-game-netflix-anticapitalist?fbclid=IwAR3P_F-GPz0NylM_yVIq9Pp9F_MzjD_uzEV_4rXh9BsBfP6CscN5zws5VJg

(BE examples)

    * Time circus (BE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnqjlqwaFW4 (culture club series; NL)

    * Toestand (BE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6omxlwuBXI (culture club series; NL)

    * K.A.K (Koekelbergse Alliantie van Knutselaars) (BE)

    * Bolwerk / ooooo.be
    "Living ecology with hackbase"
    → http://ooooo.be/

    * Samenschool
    → https://www.samenschool.org/

### (more!!)


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