Art Institutes, collectives and self-organised spaces decompose a dead audience
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Art Institutes, collectives and self-organised spaces decompose a dead audience
*berg· letter to a Gombrowicz
Movies are funded by the institutes. The artists are funded by the institutes. The institutes manipulate everything.It could then be considered legitimate to replace the word art with the word institart. This is why the majority of all of these movies, all of theses books, all of these plays that are produced is boring-boring-boring. Institart is boring. Berg! Whatever is being produced in this context is getting limited by by technocratic relations. Evangelical barbarisms! Berg! But how else could it be? I mean, should it be, did it owe us to be otherwise? Berg! What product is produced is not relevant. As long as it is produced and available for consumption. The eudaemonic ideal and berg!
Let’s say that a random art institute closed down, let’s say Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, the cost would be thousands of people without a job. Artists, administrative officers, curators, critics without shows to critique, architects, gardeners, light engineers, stage managers, usherettes, security, telephone operators, clams and oysters everybody in the street.While at the same time what is the price to pay for a boring piece? Berg! If it also has people clapping for it, long live boredom. So the rule goes somewhat like this: everybody for the institute and the institute for the money. As long as there is money, nobody is going to doubt the quality of the product. Berg and everything in its place. Smiling and tidy.
What could be the antipode of institart? Smaller spaces, self-proclaimed as independent – self-managed.Where is their independence? Berg! In theory they take on the responsibility of housing the fallen watermelon of the underground that cannot find its place in the garden of institart. But is this what is happening in reality? Berg!In its overwhelming majority it is not. Neither here you will meet any particular selflessness. For their sustainability, their magnification, their narcissism, their anything you can imagine, they rush to connect their function with dominant ideas and dominant concerns of the alternative intelligentsia.About things someone can care about. For the artwork, berg! If what is trending is queerness, feminism, solidarity, immigration, then the self-managed space hurries to become ambassador of this or the other. Whatever is presented is becoming more or less ass-ified in a narrow ideological frame. If ideas are getting more empowered, berg! The movement is getting more empowered, the feeling of “belonging” in the community is getting more empowered, berg! The space is getting more empowered. This is what counts. But because of this practice most of the independent – self-managed spaces have a tension towards reaching ridiculousness very fast. Whatever idea it is that they’re representing, it gasps in front of the equivalent idea that the institutes are representing, what the universal money is representing.
It is not only fat, alright! Selfless, romantics, whatever you want to call them, exist. With so much death how can romanticisation not exist after all? Berg! This are rare initiatives though. That is initiatives that are only interested for the artworks without piling them here and there. But even these initiatives, moonrakers, how could they find breeding ground! Berg! They quickly end up in solitude and introversion and then they are driven towards cynicism and misery.
It might be the case that the notion of the spectator remains complicated, and the sensitivities and relations that a viewer develops with an artwork are still ,even today, more or less unspecified. I cannot claim the same about the notion of the audience. This is the reason why the institutes can replicate boring artistic models uninterruptedly. This is why the independent spaces plot about the direction they prefer, towards which they are presenting artworks. Berg! Because nobody cares. The audience is dead. Berg! A quote says · it is easier to get a dead body where you want it than one that is alive.
The fact that nobody cares cannot be called a disaster though! It’s not like art carries a massive curse! It’s more or less the same indifference we encounter everywhere. In art indifference gives us a bit of transparency that reveals the motives of people that engage with it. Is it a career need? Is it economic reasons? Is it socializing reasons for easy sex? Is it a need for expression? Is it about scientific research? Everything is on the table and everything can be found. A sure thing is that the ones that interest us, the ones that have a primitive need for expression will find the way. Whether the work 10 hour shifts in the post office, whether they have all the time to themselves like an endless abyss, the artistic imprint will find the way. If everything is shit, if the audience doesn’t care, if art belongs to the institutes, all of these are things expression doesn’t give a shit about! If somebody wants to express themselves they will! It is wrong to believe that an artist needs infinite time and infinite money to express themselves. It is good to have what you have and you might need a lot of time to write the Iliad, but you don’t really have to. To create, in its naive side means to combine what you have. And time is not an exception!
Whether you achieve livelihood through art is a thorn that is always discussed. “Art doesn’t get you money”, you will often hear. Berg! It is good to understand that the commercial value of a piece isn’t determined from the piece itself. Since people don’t buy movies, CDs, they don’t support plays in free spaces with the same immediateness they buy their tobacco or their potatoes, how could art be economically viable? It is clear that art is not for the masses. It has gone far from that side. And it looks like anything other than necessary.
In order for any work of art to be sold it needs a ton of parvenu upstart “sellers” and intermediary companies that are completely ignorant concerning the idiosyncrasy of the piece. Berg! Even if an artist manages to get to the point where they are paid well for their work, while a bunch of random and clueless others are getting rich at his expense. Berg! And we are talking about a great deal of money! One only needs to see this inconsistency and immediately the professionally established artists turns into a moron with a stupid smile. Berg!
So here we come again. Careless audience and berg!Without an audience how can art be viable? If you like, whoever is making something, whoever is involved in something, you could try an example that I try very often myself. You could walk up to some random person, let’s say you nearest corner shop worker, a boy that is playing football in the schoolyard, or just a passer-by and ask him: “Would you prefer me giving you all of my movies or 10 falafel/souvlakia?”. Almost everyone, if not everyone, would choose the souvlakia. Personally, this is how I ended up, many times, paying for souvlakia, so that I had to subtract them from my diet. I only remember one time, a neighbour, that I used to stare at and she used to stare at me too, answering “the movies”, but I understood from the way she pronounced the word “movies” that she probably meant something else. Berg!
Of course if your courage doesn’t allow something like that, just enter any art space and think what makes it different from a dentistry conference? In a dentistry conference you would only see dentists, maybe a pharmaceutical company, or a company that produces dental equipment. The same happens with an art space. Show critics, other artists and curators. People that are commercially connected with the particular space, friends and family of the participants, people that want to associate their lifestyle with the lifestyle of the art space, no matter whether this is an institute or self-run. Some others might be doing historic research that is relevant to its aesthetic idiom. Berg and bells! An unbelievable marry-go-round of ulterior motives! Only few will visit the artwork spontaneously without any obvious reason, and if they exist they are the exception. The curiosity for exploring, the belief of entertainment, the expectation of -let’s call it- magical experience have been permanently abolished from the qualities of the artwork.
Are all of these things signifying the death of art? Berg! Definitely not. Son of a whore is what they used to call Genet. Nijinsky was locked up in an asylum. Pizarnik departed with a cocktail of magic beans. In the random house exist hundreds of crazy hidden photograms. Letters that will take your breath away inside a random. trunk. Basically, somebody that is about to do what he wants to do he will do it even if we send him to another planet. Either way this is where he is coming from! Berg! This is how the cloth is! And let the institutes, the collectives, the career seekers and the space owners bother about the laggards and about the frame on the wall.
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