٠ Botched Taxidermy – ‘artists’ using animals ٠

imageMiguel Suarez, Chicken-Killing Performance, Alberta, Canada, 2013. More about it here

How does the animal function as a kind of tool for allowing humans to think through their own identities? It seems that a lot of artists you’re writing about are trying to envision a very far-out point in the dispersal of fixed identities, to the point at which identities disappear.

There are several points that are raised there. In terms of moving beyond identities, I think you’re right in saying that there doesn’t appear to be a fixed point towards which one could move. Certainly the way in which, say, Deleuze and Guattari elaborate their concept of “becoming-animal” in A Thousand Plateaus as a creative, social process in which there is a chance of liberating oneself from being bound by identities, presents the notion of becoming as something that is not a matter of moving from one identity to another identity. The becoming is itself the point, and since in their view all becomings are, in a sense, becomings-animal, this gives the animal a privileged and markedly creative place in their philosophy.


marco-evaristtiMarco Evaristti, Blenders and Goldfish, 2000. More about it here

There is an overwhelming amount of overtly sentimental imagery out there which does a certain kind of work, and that’s fine. I’m not saying that one could shift to a culture in which one simply got rid of greeting cards that had sentimental animal imagery on them. I’m talking about a different kind of work, work that uses animal imagery in a much more self-conscious way. It’s a way which I guess is broadly related to the notion of the artist that Lyotard had: the artist as someone who has particular kinds of responsibilities in the postmodern world to work against complacency, to refuse what he calls the “solace of good forms,” to continue to try to problematize things.

albagreenEduardo Kac, GFP Bunny, 2000. More about it here

To what extent do you think animals are used as passive tools by artists while they work through issues of subjectivity and identity?

There are quite a lot of dimensions to this question. I ended up devising the term “botched taxidermy” as a rather clumsy catch-all phrase for a variety of contemporary art practice that engages with the animal at some level or other. In some cases it involves taxidermy itself, but in all cases the animal, dead or alive, is present in all its awkward, pressing thing-ness. I think what many of the artists I’ve been discussing are doing in their presentation of the animal as some kind of clumsy compound of human and animal elements is to reinforce the notion that the comfortable, utopian conception of nature in which humans had unmediated access to animals and lived in some kind of unproblematic harmony with them does not look like a practical way forward, either in terms of how one thinks philosophically about them, or in terms of how on a practical level one might work for the improvement of their living conditions.


tessarolo_paintTessarolo painting with Kunda

Toward the end of The Postmodern Animal I became interested in your discussion of pets. It was partly out of selfish reasons since I have two cats. You mention Deleuze and Guattari’s claim that “anyone who likes a dog or a cat is a fool.” But you also discuss other writers who have complicated that attitude and left space open for a more complex relationship between humans and their pets. In the end I wasn’t quite clear on your own position. I know you weren’t really posing it in those terms, but how do you feel about the presence of pets?

Well, we have cats, too. And although that has probably influenced my writing in ways I don’t quite recognize, I certainly tried throughout the book to avoid taking too partisan a position. What interests me very much, though, is the idea you come across in the work of an artist like Carolee Schneemann but also, maybe more surprisingly, in Derrida’s recent philosophical writings — the idea that they might learn things from their cats that are not easily learned anywhere else.

For both of them it’s a matter of taking the time to engage with the cat’s own point of view, and then of thinking about the impact of that point of view on their own work. There’s this great statement by Schneemann where she says of Kitch, one of her cats, something along the lines of “her steady focus enabled me to consider her regard as an aperture in motion.” It’s as though the animal allows the artist to learn something new, see something differently. And Derrida says that his cat provokes a kind of “critical uneasiness” in him, and he seems to imply that this uneasiness may be the only frame of mind in which any responsible human thinking about animals can really begin.

wim-delvoye-11428_792wim-delvoye-11428_1Wim DELVOYE, “Rex” 2006. Stuffed tattooed pig.

excerpt from Where the wild things are: An interview with Steve Baker, by Gregory Williams, in Cabinet, Issue 4, Fall 2001. Continue reading here

٠ I say whip it, whip it good ٠

R e s i s t a n t   v i s u a l   c u l t r e  is not about art or traditional activism. It is a method for building a real, living culture. As opposed to a vocation or sentimental pursuit, I think of this field as a way to productively communicate amongst those who are dedicated to social change. It is not about further investigating art history nor about tactics for getting into galleries. If this sounds naively vague that is on purpose. I don’t think we need to be specific and I believe that even a simple analysis of capital and control should be enough to bind a lot of disparate people together. These terms are methods for finding more effective ways to do this.

What follows are a series of terms that I have found many “rads” using. I introduce them in the hopes they lead to more productive discussions.
A. Visual Culture
B. Criticality (Ambiguity)
C. Resistance/Tactics/Strategies
D. Infrastructures of Resonance
E. Material Consequences
F. Legitimation”


I hope these terms might prove to be constructive. I notice that many of the words are developed in order to manage the tensions between an overtly dominant modernism and an all too relativist post-modernism. They also are attempts to position visual resistance within a framework conducive to the rise of the information economy. Using a more specific vocabulary allows us to avoid the boring pitfalls of“is it art?”or“is it political?”. By avoiding these traps to some degree, hopefully we can move towards developing a radical culture that can actually bust apart the dominance of capital and control.”

excerpt of Contributions to a Resistant Visual Culture Glossary, by Nato Thompson. Not posting the complete article for lack of time but will make it available if anyone asks for it.

┐ Francis McKee went to Istanbul └

At the moment (11th June 2013; 1pm) in Istanbul, the police is trying to clear out Taksim square with water canons and tear gas. Protesters are putting up a fight, setting up more and more barricades and lightning some points on fire. “30 lawyers protesting against handling of Gezi protests detained in front of courtroom in Istanbul” One of the lawyers tweeted (Ismail Demirci): “We’re kept under custody in a lawless way right now. Nothing written, no order, no written proceedings, not even water until our friends arrived.”

Police tried to enter the park but had to withdraw. It seems as if it’s going to be a day of strategic moves, back and forth. Erdoğan keeps telling protesters to leave the streets, or else…
Live streams from Tim Pool @ Vice (he has been live for 7 hours), RT and Reuters can keep you up to date.

Both because of the reality of the events as well as due to their symbolic significance at this moment in history, there is nothing more important today than what is happening in Turkey. It’s giving us insight into what comes next regarding urban movements and direct action. Francis McKee, writer, curator and photography passionate, director of the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow went to see for himself. Here are some of his photographs:

9014886124_fcd9bbbcd5_z9011404292_188cf4119a_z 8996239768_a73cf84141_z9009482945_ba93e0cce5_c9014793866_62ebb818d6_c9014901704_8a93184f4b_c8994961299_ffab656b39_call photographs © Francis McKee, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2013

Francis is updating his Flickr today so you can see more of his photographers later on

┐ The word is: COMPROMISE └

A Line Made by Walking 1967 by Richard Long born 1945© Richard Long, A Line made by Walking, 1967.


robinson_in_ruins_2010_012 still from the documentary Robinson in Ruins, by Patrick Keiller.


kit© Heath Bunting, Natural reality – SuperWeed Kit that kills all GM crops


beuys-web.980x0© Joseph Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, 1965


123394053419_beuys_dasschweigenvonmarcelduchampwirdberwertet1338932283448© Joseph Beuys, The Silence of Marchel Duchamp is Overrated, 1964


WeiWeiSoSorry3 (1)© Ai Weiwei, So Sorry


┐ Ahmet Ögüt, Mind the System └

I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”
-Malcolm X

stone9© Ahmet Ögüt, from the project Stones to throw, 2011

stone2© Ahmet Ögüt, from the project Stones to throw, 2011

mts-ahmetogut-strategischschema02© Ahmet Ögüt,Strategic Diagram for Non-hierarchical Participatory Radical Democracy, 2011. In: Mind the System, Find the Gap

More of Ahmet’s work here

┐ Johann Rousselot └

© Johann Rousselot, Degage espece de chien. Benghazi, Libye, Mars 2011

© Johann Rousselot, Massacre d’innocents – Liberte – Sois patient Khadafi, tu es en train de creuser ta tombe. Benghazi, Libye, Mars 2011.

© Johann Rousselot, Maintenant je suis un humain libre – La grace de dieu pour les martyrs du 17 fevrier. Benghazi, Libye, Mars 2011.

These photographs from Libya are part of a bigger project, called Colères. Note from the author:

“Portraits réalisés à Benghazi et vers la ligne de front à Brega. Tous les graffitis et slogans ont été trouvés sur les murs de la ville ou à l’intérieur du centre des médias sur la place de la Mahkama à Benghazi. Qui ont donné la direction principale de l’inspiration graphique de cette série.Montages et collages réalisés en post-production.”

NOTE: be advised this video compilation contains some images that are very graphic and may disturb some viewers.
Russelot’s edit is not gratuitously violent, his video also carries interviews and includes a particularly chilling slideshow of personal images found on the cell phone of one of Assad’s bully-boy militiamen.
It is hard to watch these brutal accounts coming out of Syria via personal cell phone and home video clips. Hard because these images are shockingly graphic and unforgiving. And difficult too, because this happened yesterday, it happened today and it will happen again tomorrow – unnoticed or unremarked on by the world at large.
Where fresh hopes of spring turned into a listless summer of dreaming, a darkenning realism is prevalent in autumn it would seem. Not all dictators are equal and not all aspirations for freedom are supported.

More of Johann’s work here

┐ A Prototype for the Futture – la ZAD – 17th November 2012 └

“We have entered La ZAD (Zone A Défendre) – Europe’s largest postcapitalist protest camp – a kind of rural occupy on the eastern edge of Brittany, half and hour’s drive from the city of Nantes.  Like a rebel constellation spread across 4000 acres of forest, farmland and marshes, it takes the form of old squatted farms and fields, DIY strawbale houses, upcycled sheds, theatres and bars cobbled from industrial pallets, hobbit like round houses, cute cabins built with the worlds waste, huts perched frighteningly high in trees and a multitude of other disobedient architectural fantasies. La ZAD has been a laboratory for ways of living despite capitalism since the 2009 French Climate Camp. At the camp activists and locals put together a call for people to come and live on the Zone to protect it.  Now you can find illegal goat herds and organic bakeries, bike workshops and bee hives, working farms and communal kitchens, a micro brewery, a mobile library, and even a pirate radio station: Radio Klaxon. Emitting from a secret location somewhere in the Zone, the station hijacks the airwaves of “Radio Vinci Autoroute” the traffic information channel run byVinci for its private network of French motorways. The world’s largest multinational construction firm, builders of nuclear power stations, African uranium mines, oil pipelines, motorways, car parks and the infrastructure of hyper capitalism everywhere, Vinci also happen to be the company commissioned by the French government to cover this landscape in concrete and open Nantes new airport (it already has one) by 2017.  Well that’s the plan. (…)

On the 16th of October 1200 riot police overran La ZAD. What had been a state free autonomous zone for 3 years was transformed within a few hours into a militarised sector. Road blocks sealed the area, Guard Mobiles (military mobile gendarme units) swarmed everywhere and bulldozers groaned across the fields. Despite resistance from the Zadists within two days the state had destroyed 9 of the 12 of the squatted spaces. On one of the days, 250 rounds of tear gas were fired into the market garden, seemingly to contaminate the vegetables that until that moment had fed over 100 Zadists every week. A principle of war is of course: cut off the supplies.(…)

Ayrault [the airport] has promoted the project as a “green” airport. It is planned to have living roofs covered in plants, the two runways have been designed to minimise taxiing to save on CO2 emissions and an organic community supported box scheme is meant to feed its employees. Next year Nantes will celebrate its latest award: European Green City 2013.  To call this double speak is generous. According to a recent report a hundred million people will die of climate driven deaths over the next eighteen years. 80 percent of the slaughtered will be in countries with lower emissions. The Climate Catastrophe is no just a threat to our ecosystems and the species we share the biosphere with, it’s a violent war on the poor. A war whose weapons are built out of steel and concrete, tarmac and plastic, a war with a ticking methane bomb hiding under the artic. Waged by the logic of growth and disguised as everyday life according to capitalism, climate change is the war that could end all wars and all life with it. Calling an airport green is as cynical as calling a concentration camp humane. Perhaps in the future  if we are lucky t have one, descendents will contemplate the ruins of airports as we do the sites of 18th century slave markets and wonder how a culture could have committed such barbarity so openly.(…)

Since the evictions began the art of building barricades has taken over everyday life here. Everywhere you go there are little teams busy hauling materials across fields to erect another barricade. The idea is to slow the advance of the authorities, who have named their operation “Cesar” (Caesar), perhaps a reference to Obelix and Asterix’s resistant gallic village. The police have taken the weekend off and so barricade building takes place unhindered. Now there are ones rising on the main roads as well as the green lanes. The multiplicity of different barricades reflects the different cultures at La Zad. Those living in tree houses in the Rohanne Forest have asked people not to cut living trees to make them, whilst in another part of the Zone a team of chainsaw wielding activists are tacking down oak trees and tangling steel rope in them. On one crossroads there are at least 20 barricades. There are huge hay rounds with cans of petrol beside them ready to set alight when the police attack, there is a steel wall of sitex – Anti squatting panels normally placed on doors and windows of empty houses –carefully welded together and one made from dozens of bamboo poles sticking out of the tarmace decorated with bicycle wheels.  In the middle of it all there is makeshift kitchen with its mobile pizza oven made from an oil drum.

An affinity group armed with cordless angle grinders and pick axes, have been working day and night to cut out giant trenches in the roads –  in some cases several metres wide and deeper than a standing adult.   Ishmel tells me that yesterday road agency workers came to mend one of the smaller trenches  (not surrounded by barricades). People talked to the workers, trying to persuade them to turn around and not do the dirty work of Vinci. Despite having their boss on the phone coercing them to keep going, they eventually turned around and left the hole in the road. One of the workers later said “ What troubled me most was that I’m from around here and (clearing the barricades to allow the police to circulate) feels a bit like I was helping demolish my neighbours house.”There have also been stories of local police officers that refused to join the operation.

excerpt of Laronce‘s article Rural Rebels and Useless Airports: La ZAD – Europe’s largest Postcapitalist land occupation. continue reading here

More bout La Zad in their site http://zad.nadir.org/ and in the blog of Notre Dame des Landes

┐ when a cause turns into thoughtless hypocrisy* └

© Tinkebell, Brutus with Idiot, photo printed as a poster, made in collaboration with Mirjam Muller, with special thanks to the idiots

© Tinkebell, Her name is Sarah, performance

(the animal is used as a commodity article: as part of an individuals carefully build image and ego, rather then being acknowledged as a being with own needs and characteristics.)

© Tinkebell, Saving a Broiler, installation

(Saving the broiler was part of an installation in which the animal of just a few weeks old got the most perfect habitat the artist could think of.)

© The Idiots, DON’T WORRY WE’LL STRAIGHTEN HIM OUT!,2009 – taxidermy skunk, ironing board, textile, wood, felt. An interview about their work here

© William Hundley, Chihuahua on Cheeseburgers

© Jouko Lehtola, from the series Dogs (left) + © design by The Just Us Collective (right)

*may it be clear that the title of this post refers not to these artists’ provocative work but to their haters. it’s very easy to stay with what’s in front of you, much more difficult to actually stop bitching, stop being an hypocrite and actually think about what you do, what you eat, what you wear. If I were to be wrong about this judgement, all their haters would be morally irreproachable, which would mean our world should be a better place, – with all these animal lovers and environmental activists – when in fact most of them just sit and send hate mail, they wouldn’t get up and go save a pet about to die. Tinkebell already did the test.

┐ What is Pussy Riot’s ‘Idea’? – Maria Chehonadskih └

knitting patterns via poppalina

article in the latest issue of Radical Philosophy. A must read!

pdf here:che_pussy_riot

The dark side of the Pussy Riot multitude is an extreme individualism, manifest in the gesture of the removed balaclavas, behind which a unique ‘Russianness’ appears: first, the face of the leader, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova; second, dissident moralism, spirituality and asceticism – the brand identity of Russian revolutionaries since the populist movement of the nineteenth century; and third, the visibility of the local art and intellectual scenes as such. Tolokonnikova wrote:

The people that I have had the chance to work with during my actionist years were quite unusual for Moscow. They were not interested in money or comfort… They preferred not to spend time and their consciousness, which was ready to include and transform everything around them, on the daily grind and the striving for creature comforts. When they wanted to eat, they would break a loaf of bread. Their hearts were not heavy from either overeating or drunkenness. Their minds were fully occupied with whatever they were currently working on. They worked a lot, with fervor and enthusiasm. Even their knowledge of the fact that they might have to pay for their activities with prison did not stop them.

We are all Pussy Riot in the sense that without masks we are of the touching, phantasmatic East – wild, risky and unknown. If I speak of an ‘Eastern exotic’ it is without any cynicism towards to the group. Thanks to Pussy Riot our local political and artistic scene has at last received some attention. We are now very busy: curators make exhibitions about Pussy Riot, activists give lectures about Pussy Riot, and intellectuals and art critics, like myself, write texts about Pussy Riot…

┐ “a terra é de quem a trabalha, os fascistas comem palha” └

yesterday, in Portugal.
some thoughts on what is changing amidst the sort of protests we create here (pt). Also, just for foreigners, a brief description of the events via BBC. I don’t feel like elaborating on what’s happened just now. I’ll come back once my film is processed to share some images. For now a glimpse through the eyes of another:

© D.R.

© Ângelo Lucas/Global Imagens

© Patrícia de Melo Moreira/AFP

┐ we’re all in deep shit IX └

We’re all in deep shit but at least in Portugal, TODAY, we know what to do!

“As Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal’s center-right prime minister, prepares to announce a new budget on Monday — filled with still more steep tax increases and public sector job cuts — he faces the kind of popular backlash that was, until recently, absent from the political and social landscape here.
Taking a page from the playbook of their Spanish neighbors, Portuguese protesters are planning to encircle the Parliament building here in the capital for the budget announcement.”

excerpt from the article Austerity Protests Are Rude Awakening in Portugal, by Raphael Minder, in NYTimes

┐ We Won’t Fly For Art └

The insights of American anarchist ecologist Murray Bookchin into environmental crisis hinge on a social conception of ecology that problematises the role of domination in culture. His ideas are becoming increasingly relevant to those working with digital technologies in the post-industrial information age, as big business daily develops new tools and techniques to exploit our sociality across high-speed networks (digital and physical). According to Bookchin, our fragile ecological state is bound up with a social pathology. Hierarchical systems and class relationships so thoroughly permeate contemporary human society that the idea of dominating each other and the environment (in order to extract natural resources or to minimise disruption to our daily schedules of work and leisure) seems perfectly natural, in spite of the catastrophic consequences for future life on earth (Bookchin, 1991).


This essay presents We Won’t Fly for Art, a media art project initiated by the artist Marc Garrett and I in April 2009, in which we used online social networks to activate the rhetoric of Gustav Metzger’s earlier 2007 protest work, Reduce Art Flights, in order to reduce art-world-generated carbon emissions (Furtherfield, 2009). In this reprise we pledged not to fly for art if others joined us and themselves propagated the pledge. We Won’t Fly for Art is described here in the context of the Furtherfield Media Art Ecologies programme (running since 2009) of review, debate, exhibitions, events, and infrastructural interventions that focus particularly on the networked context of artistic process and production.1 It pays attention to the dynamic interactions, connectedness and interplay between entities and environments: artist, viewer/participant, distributed materials and material and social contexts (Bascompte, 2007). This project links with others in the field and demonstrates both a particular approach to collaborative working and some shared theoretical and artistic processes.


Metzger suggests that:
the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra of environmentalism be transformed and integrated into a more radical spectrum of consideration of humanity’s destructive potential… [inviting] voluntary abandonment – a fundamental, personal, bodily rejection of technological instrumentalization and a vehement refusal to participate in the mobility increasingly endemic to the globalized art system. (Andrews, nd)

We Won’t Fly For Art, our networked remix of RAF, explored how the rhetoric of Metzger’s manifesto might take effect in the social and material domains using artists’ social networks to propagate its ideas. We hoped that, in turn, it would change behaviours, bringing about a reduction in flight-related carbon emissions. Garrett and I published our manifesto in Pledgebank, a website that allows users to set up pledges and then encourage other people to sign up to them. The manifesto functioned as a simple participatory algorithm, a pyramid pledge for exponential growth which, if successful, could change how the contemporary art world felt and operated for millions of art workers on the ground.

The pledge begins:
We will not take an aeroplane for the sake of art. For the next 6 months we will find other ways to visit and participate in exhibitions, fairs, conferences, meetings, residencies. We will not fly for inspiration, nor to appreciate, buy or sell art. But only if 6 others will do the same AND replicate this pledge.
This is a public art experiment in the de-escalation of carbon-fuelled, high altitude, high velocity, global art careering. For six months we choose to cover less physical distance, move more slowly between destinations, to look future-ward with more attention to the view from the ground, the network, and ways to connect with others around the world. (Catlow & Garrett, 2009)

excerpt of essay by Ruth Catlow, in Culture Machine

Full essay here and full manifesto here

┐ Zanele Muholi #2 └

© Zanele Muholi, Lesedi Modise, Mafikeng, North West, 2010, from the series Faces and Phases

“In the face of all the challenges our community encounters daily, I embarked on a journey of visual activism to ensure that there is black queer visibility. Faces and Phases is about our histories and the struggles that we face. Faces express the person, and Phases signify the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another. Faces is also about the face-to-face confrontation between myself as the photographer/activist and the many lesbians, women and transmen I have interacted with from different places. Photographs in this series traverse spaces from Gauteng, Cape Town, Mafikeng and Botswana to Sweden.”

“I always say to people that I’m an activist before I’m an artist. To me, you take a particular photo in order for other people to take action. So you become an agent for change in a way. I say that I am a visual activist because it’s important to me to go beyond just being a photographer. Because you know, that sounds so sexy and it’s a “profession.” I think to myself what’s the point of just taking a picture? What happens after that? I’m doing what I’m doing to make a statement and also to say to people: This is possible.”

more of the work here

┐ Calais: this border kills └

@ Julie Rebouillat,No Border Calais, manif, 27 June 2009

Refugees in Calais find shelter where they can, in spaces left abandoned or neglected by French citizens. Some sleep in the park or under the canal bridges. Most live in one of two kinds of dwellings: (a) squats in deserted buildings, of which there are many in the post-industrial landscape of the town; and (b) the ‘jungles’ or camps made up of tents and makeshift shelters on disused sites and wasteland, usually around the outskirts of the town.

These settlements are not just shelters, but homes. Here people sleep; eat; sit and drink coffee around the fire; play cards; read and study; listen to and play music; dance; wash their clothes; welcome newcomers and visitors; and share food, water, tobacco, conversation, and each others’ company. But this life is under constant threat. Police raid the squats and jungles every day and night. A particular settlement may be left alone for two or three days, but never for long. Or it may be targeted with repeated visits, and attacked multiple times in one night.

These raids raise a number of questions as to their legality. Under French law, the police normally require permission from the owner and/or occupants in order to enter a property, or, failing this, a warrant from the court. CMS activists have witnessed and documented quite literally hundreds of police raids in Calais. We believe that the vast majority of these may have been carried out without authority.

Besides arresting people, when police officers raid they frequently slash or flatten tents; smash windows; throw away or contaminate water; spray bedding with CS gas; and generally destroy or take peoples’ personal belongings. This is an everyday reality. During bigger raids, council workers accompany the police to demolish buildings; confiscate tents and belongings in trucks; and/or spray disinfectant and other chemicals, on possessions, including on bedding.

In particularly nasty incidents, activists have returned to Africa House following major raids to find that bedding had been damaged and urinated on, and that walls had been daubed with what appears to be Neo-Nazi graffiti. We have also witnessed damage to Muslim prayer spaces and the desecration of holy books, including a Tigrinyan Bible, and the Koran.

Along with beatings, arrests and identity checks in the street, these raids contribute to a constant state of fear for refugees in Calais. This in itself has obvious effects on peoples’ mental health and well-being. Yet raids further undermine bodily and mental health by making it impossible to create stable and hygienic living conditions. For example, since cooking utensils as well as food supplies are regularly stolen or destroyed, it becomes near impossible for migrants to feed themselves adequately.

Finally, to add to the pressure, police employ what can only be described as tactics of psychological warfare, such as repeated nightime visits with sirens, bright torches and loud music.

Full document compiled by Calais Migrant Solidarity of the No Borders network, documenting police violence from June 2009 to June 2011 can be found here

More of Julie’s work here

┐ Oliver Ressler └

© Oliver Ressler, from the series We have a situation here, 2011

© Oliver Ressler, from the series We have a situation here, 2011

“We have a situation here” is a standard line in disaster films when an actor faces a challenging situation. The three photographs show people lying on top of each other and recognizably dressed as managers, police and soldiers.
The piles of managers, police officers and soldiers give the impression that these central players in the exercise of power are no longer necessary. Their game is over.

Managers of large corporations have for decades used their influence in the global economy to benefit their companies at the expense of environmental, social and labor standards and, as a result, entire regions have sank into poverty. “Criminality is no longer something that takes place at the margin of legal economic activity, but it is the basic activity of the post-industrial economic system, within which the traditional bourgeoisie have lost their cultural and ethical moorings,” writes Italian philosopher Franco Berardi Bifo (1). At least since the 2008 crisis – and because of the way the elites have managed it – people in the center of capitalism have overwhelmingly lost confidence in the social system and its representatives. According to a Polis/Sinus survey for the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation, one in three German citizens doubts the effectiveness of representative democracy. (2)
Nevertheless the primary function of police remains maintaining public security and order; this means nothing else than to protect existing power relations, and destroy any effort for transformation. “If domination is always a process of armed robbery, the peculiarity of capitalism is that the person with the arms stands apart from the person doing the robbery, merely supervising that the robbery conforms with the law,” argues John Holloway. (3)
The military has the function of securing the global relations of power, which ranges from implementing the politics of exclusion up to securing the international supply of raw materials, often acting directly against the interests of the majority of the people living in resource-rich countries.

full text here

(1) Franco Berardi Bifo, Arbeit Wissen Prekarität, Kulturrisse 02/2005
(2) Florian Rötzer, Demokratie überzeugt nicht mehr, Telepolis, 30.06.2008,
(3) John Holloway, Die Welt verändern ohne die Macht zu übernehmen (Change the World Without Taking Power), Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2004, p. 46

┐ Alain Badiou └

Does the notion of activist art still have meaning?

A Lacanian Ink Event – Miguel Abreu Gallery – NYC, 10/13/2010 – video by Katherine Pickard

“Does the Notion of Activist Art Still Have Meaning? Is it still possible to propose a general definition of a militant vision of artistic creation? Alain Badiou proposes a work of art which is in relationship to local transformations and experiences, which is intellectually ambitious and which is formally avant-garde in the classical sense of the substitution of presentation for an ornamental vision of representation.”

excerpt of a text taken from here

This and more videos can be seen here