To all authoritarian regimes insisting on a capitalist structure and austerity measures: vaffanculo!
some of my photographs from monday’s concentration in front of the parliament to fight Portugal’s austerity plans. as can be seen, this film has been to hell and back, which actually seems to suit the scene. what follows is an excerpt of a text distributed amongst protesters on 15O.
“If you’re photographing a demonstration, make sure not to take any images that might incriminate others. A photograph can fall into the hands of the police and help them chase someone. The police can easily have access to these photos by capturing people’s cameras.
In case you’re arrested, do not say anything other than your name and address. Do not talk about yourself or others. A good cop might come to tell a joke or a bad cop to make a threat; both want to get information. Ask for a lawyer, be quiet and still and stay away from their game. You are not alone: your fellow protesters and friends will be thinking about you or waiting outside the police station.”
In Greece, Police decided to ban all forms of gatherings and demonstrations happening tomorrow, October 9th, between 9am and 10pm in downtown Athens for the fat queen’s coming to town. It’s just as saying: I’m sorry, democracy is down for the moment, we’ll be back in a few hours… This is not going to go well with the Greeks. Beware, they bite!
Yesterday, September 26th, in the Streets of Greece during general strike day
update, live also here, via El Pais
This weekend a new law came into force that makes squatting – the occupation of empty buildings by otherwise homeless people – a criminal offence. Previously a lesser civil offence, the new law confronts squatters with the possibility of a £5,000 fine or six months in prison, with ministers declaring that this will shut the door once and for all on squatters while helping protect “hard-working home-owners”.
from The Guardian. continue reading here
photo taken from Le Chat Noir Emeutier
“Violent clashes between youths and riot police in the northern French city of Amiens have left 16 officers injured and several public buildings torched in some of the worst rioting in the area for years – reopening the fraught political debate about France’s troubled housing estates.
Rioting broke out on deprived estates in the north of the city at 9pm on Monday and raged until 4am. Around 100 youths set fire to cars, a nursery school and a youth centre as well as firing buckshot and projectiles at police officers, who saturated the streets with teargas as reinforcements arrived from neighbouring areas.
“The confrontations were very, very violent,” the mayor of Amiens, Gilles Dumailly, told French television network BFM, describing “a scene of devastation”.
There had been unrest among youths on housing estates in Amiens-Nord earlier this month and again on Sunday night, apparently sparked by tensions over spot checks by police on residents.
French media reported that violence broke out between local residents and the police following a check on a driver said to be driving dangerously, near to the spot where the family and friends of a 20-year-old who died in a motorbike crash on Thursday had gathered for a memorial ceremony.”
The Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores (SAT), or workers’ union of the Andalucía region, staged an uninvited supermarket sweep on Mercadona in Écija (Sevilla) and Carrefour in Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz).
All staff are on a minimum net wage of 1,200 euros a month for full-time hours, never work Sundays or bank holidays – except where at least four non-working days are strung together – and some have crèches for children of employees.
“We resent the fact that we were forced in this way to give to charity, when our own charitable operations close to home are already extremely active and well-developed,” said a representative of Mercadona.
Therefore, when contemporary art or contemporary art theory uses terms of contemporary liberal democracy, a meaningless democracy given that the only right surviving today in fact is the right to dominance (I have the right to assert dominance, power), then, in reality, (art) does nothing but preserving the same system that creates it, doubting only on-demand. Such a characteristic example is the recent exhibition organized by the Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, “Art and Nature” by which it actually legalizes – through a much-promoted event with the participation of many artists – the adoption of the General Framework for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, a text that flagrantly sacrifices natural environment on the altar of capitalist profiteering.(5)
We are not therefore interested in contesting the conditions under which contemporary art approaches the social field. And this is for we believe that art is clearly a part of society (the artist is primarily a social subject); art is based within the body of society, regardless how deeply rooted it is in social reality in any respective historical circumstance, or how much autonomous it becomes as an ideological construct of the bourgeois society. Art echoes society.
We believe that it is perhaps more important to re-state the initial question by keeping similar terms: How can a society in crisis – economic, social, political, value crisis – and turmoil hear the voice of an art, which is usually whispering behind the thick and high walls of the mainly institutionalized spaces (museums, institutes, galleries), inside hallways of television studios or newspapers, or in exhibition spaces where art events are organized with excessive government or private sector sponsorships?
The question is rather rhetorical since its phrasing embraces the answer identifying contemporary art practice (namely, the way art functions within the contemporary society, the institutions surrounding it, the system it is feeding on) with the conservatisation entailed by the practice of the dominant economic and political system (capitalism, neoliberalism) and definitely not with radical social and political demands. Contemporary art practice, many times even from the artist’s workshop to the large domestic and international art events, meets market mentality, and likewise the artistic work meets the value mentality (or surplus value / symbolic value) of the merchandise. Therefore, it meets the same mentality that imposes raw violence (upon the worker, the citizen, the citizen of an opponent state), the same mentality that imposes the relations of subordination, the exploitation and the individualization of our needs to such an extent that they are turned into infinite indifference towards the consciousness of our sociability and the collective demands and common claims.
excerpt from Let’s do politics, (1), by Reconstruction Community. continue reading here
miners struggle for working conditions in Asturias, Spain. It’s been going on for weeks… You can read a personal account of what’s happening here
“The total absence of limitation to the thirst for power which wants to hold everything under its thumb, even beyond all necessity, is only the expression of the absolute disappointment that the I feels when it realises that once in existence it is confined to share it with other beings and that the totality of existence is not its alone. A word from Nietzsche, ‘If there was a God, how could I endure not to be God’ [sic], constitutes the definitive formulation of this painful state. In the desire for power, man seeks to make up for the advance that the world has on him; since already he is not all, he must have all. He gets his revenge on the world by spreading his contingent self over the world, by incorporating it within himself and by representing it. For the one who is powerful is no longer only himself, such as he was in his miserable condition, but this one and that one, himself and the other, an ensemble. He is simultaneously here and there and there again. For he is, in domination, in representation, and in glory, to employ an expression from theology, omnipresent.
So he wants to be now and always. That is, he attempts to be immortalised in time, just as he worked to be glorified in space; he attempts to subsequently refute the contingency of the now to which he is abandoned. And he endeavours to set up his authentic being in the form of a permanent monument, in relation to the Memory and in the Renown of which his actual and incomplete form stands merely as the phenomenon to the Idea. His being is still only the unfaithful and temporal copy of this glorious monument. Here is the paradox: the more its glory increases, the less he ‘himself’ seems to have to do with his own monument. It has usurped his name and will reap the glory in his place even long after his death. Crushed and devastated, he is now envious of his own great name.”
excerpt from The Pathology of Freedom: An Essay on Non-Identification, by Günther (Stern) Anders, translated by Katharine Wolfe
A must see! Full video here
This is a trailer for our upcoming feature length documentary based in Chile and the Mapuche indigenous territory of Wallmapu. The concept for the film was born with the death of a former military dictator, Augusto Pinochet. His regime murdered thousands and tortured tens of thousands after the military coup on September 11, 1973.
The Chicago Conspiracy takes its name from the approximately 25 Chilean economists who attended the University of Chicago and other prestigious universities beginning in the 1960s to study under the neoliberal economists Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. After embracing Friedman’s neoliberal ideas, these economists returned to assist Pinochet’s military regime in imposing free market policies. They privatized nearly every aspect of society, and Chile soon became a classic example of free market capitalism under the barrel of a gun.
The Chicago Conspiracy is about today. We began this documentary with the death of a dictator, but we continue with the legacy of a dictatorship.
The Chicago Conspiracy is about the Day of the Youth Combatant. On this day, two young brothers and militants of the MIR, Rafael and Eduardo Vergara, were gunned down by police as they walked through the politically active community Villa Francia. March 29 is not only about the Vergara brothers—it is a day to remember all youth combatants who have died under the dictatorship and current democratic regime.
The Chicago Conspiracy is about the students who fight a dictatorship-era educational law put into place on the last day of military rule. Over 700,000 students went on strike in 2006 to protest the privatized educational system. Police brutally repressed student marches and occupations.
The Chicago Conspiracy is about the neighborhoods lining the outskirts of Santiago. They were originally land occupations, and later became centers of armed resistance against the military dictatorship. A number of them, such as la Victoria and Villa Francia, continue as areas of confrontational discontent to this day.
The Chicago Conspiracy is about the Mapuche conflict. The Mapuche people valiantly resisted Spanish occupation, and continue to resist the Chilean state and the multinational corporations who strip Mapuche territory for forestry plantations, mines, dams and farming plantations. The government has utilized the dictatorship-era anti-terrorism law to jail Mapuche community members in struggle. Two young weichafes (Mapuche warriors), Alex Lemún and Matías Catrileo, were recently killed by Chilean police—one in 2002, the other in 2008.
The Chicago Conspiracy is a response to a global conspiracy of neoliberalism, militarism and authoritarianism.
You come home in the evening, tired, you put on tv some stupid show like Cheers or Friends and you just sit and the tv even laughs for you. And, unfortunately, it works
That’s how those in power, the European establishment, want to see – not only Greek people but all of us – just staring at the screen and observe how the others are doing the dreaming, crying and laughing.
Protest in Montreal against the rise of tuition fees in Quebec and the new law 78.
Every evening at 8pm people meet in the street with their pots and pans and make all the noise they can.
The song (INTUITION #1 – Avec pas d’casque / avecpasdcasque.bandcamp.com/album/astronomietranslated) reads something like this:
You will say, you will say that it is instinct that guided you here, the intuition of a feeling that will never return
You will say, you will say all your senses were betting on the same side, for the same cause, moved by a strange force
And this will be your home base and this will be your home base
You will say, you will say that it is instinct that guided you here, a necessary imprudence from time to time
And this will be your home base and this will be your home base
“The river that everything drags is known as violent, but nobody calls violent the margins that arrest him.” Bertold Brecht
In a letter obtained by Reuters Friday, the Federation of Greek Police accused the officials of “…blackmail, covertly abolishing or eroding democracy and national sovereignty” and said one target of its warrants would be the IMF’s top official for Greece, Poul Thomsen.
The threat is largely symbolic since legal experts say a judge must first authorize such warrants, but it shows the depth of anger against foreign lenders who have demanded drastic wage and pension cuts in exchange for funds to keep Greece afloat.
“Since you are continuing this destructive policy, we warn you that you cannot make us fight against our brothers. We refuse to stand against our parents, our brothers, our children or any citizen who protests and demands a change of policy,” said the union, which represents more than two-thirds of Greek policemen.
“We warn you that as legal representatives of Greek policemen, we will issue arrest warrants for a series of legal violations … such as blackmail, covertly abolishing or eroding democracy and national sovereignty.”
Policemen have borne the brunt of the anger of massed protesters who frequently march to parliament and clash with police in riot gear. Chants of “Cops, pigs, murderers!” are regularly hurled at policemen or scribbled on walls.
A police union official said the threat to ‘refuse to stand against’ fellow Greeks was a symbolic expression of solidarity and did not mean police would halt their efforts to stop protests getting out of hand.
“Shot in coastal waters and regions from Iraq to Antarctica, An-My Lê’s latest series of photographs examine intersecting themes of scientific exploration, military power, environmental crises, fantasies of empire and the vast ungovernable oceans that connect nations and continents. In a continuing practice that explores photography’s ability to describe natural forces and geography as backdrops against which human ambitions are weighed and scrutinized, Lê turns toward the seascape as both a historical tradition in visual art and as the site of a wide range of contemporary issues and anxieties.
“Landscape is truth” muses a highly trained ex-soldier in Don Delillo’s “Running Dog” (1978). Lê’s various terrains are rife with physical obstacles and incontrovertible political realities. The photographs offer a complication of truths, both human and epic in scale: a soldier stands watch over oil platforms off the coast of Iraq scanning the North Arabian sea for potential threats. In Antarctica, the only continent never to have hosted a war, a group of recently deposited scientists look on as Oden, a Norwegian icebreaker makes a slow departure and in Australia an exhausted unit of U.S. Marines pauses to witness dusk in an emerald forest. While echoing traditions ranging from 19th century romantic painting to contemporary social landscape photography, Lê makes dynamic speculations on our capacity to occupy spaces as we attempt to control the potentially uncontrollable while pondering the infinite.
Produced between 2005 and 2008, the photographs in “Events Ashore” were made during visits to Australia, Japan, Antarctica, Kuwait, Iraq and California.”
source: Murray Guy gallery
More of Lê’s work here