1. How important is it to appeal to the Communist roots of globalization today?
One shouldn’t forget that communism had an imperialistic approach. The vision was an united world – under the same banner. On the other hand, the globalization today also has a totalarian vision. The question is if communism can make us see the shortcomings of the capitalistic globalization in the same way as globalization can make us see the dogmatism of communism? I think one can use a marxist model to understand the possibilities and problems of today’s globalization. But to fully understand it one also need a post-colonial appeal, including the former Soviet empire itself.
In our globalized world labour and production has become more seperated from where the actual consumption is taken place, something that has created an intricate and complicated relation between national states and multinational companies. Communism’s vision to give the means of production to the workers is very problematic in such a global reality, since the production chain is divided into a complex situation of different economical, poltical, ideological, cultural, religious local parts. Communist revolution might be of importance in local situations, but it has to give up its practical politics in a global sense
2. Which chances do you see for the ongoing democratization of art? Is it possible to break out of the framework of market hierarchy and exclusive global representation?
We’ve seen a new kind of international networks of artists and art-professionals being created over the last decades. You don’t need to live in Paris or New York anymore to be part of the “international art world”. I think this process has opened up to, in my mind, a prositive glocal art scene today. There will still be market hiearchies and global corruptness, but what is happening is that more artists have much more possibilities to be visible than ever before.
What I am afraid of is the consumption speed of today’s artists. The globalization of the art world has created an atmosphere of discovering new talents, the more in the periphery the better. There is a tendency to show cultural-geograpichal realities than to deal with purely artistic questions. But in general I must say that through art I learn more about similarities and differences in the world than what I do from, for example, today’s massmedia.
3. How important is it today to stop the conveyors of big events, opting instead for internationalist work on location?
Big art events are sometimes like a circus coming to town, leaving few traces in the local community when it is next day leaving for a new town. But it can also be something that break the everyday routines and might open up the local eyes towards the world and stimulate a dialogue between the local and the global, that is – if the event has an intellectual and artistic edge and not only becomes an event for its own sake. Authentic integration in a local situation is something else. I don’t want to make a conflict between the two different approaches, I rather see them as a compliment to each other. The risk with “intergration” is always that the local is demonized. But as with big events it is a question about content rather than form.
4. In how far is the experience of new local communities that draw their linguistic legitimacy from global pop-culture? In how far do they influence the development of contemporary art?
It is meaningful to structure the world and the ways of doing so always seem to follow certain trends linked with the obession of defining what is now and here. I don’t see any problems if artists are interested in such processes. At least as long as thay create the trends themselves and not just become followers.
5. Is international style the only relevant possibility for addressing the local problematique? Is there any room left for creative misunderstandings, lost in translation, experiences that are both subjective and local? Which experiences have you made in highlighting the uniqueness of a local cultural context as something of general relevance?
In his little pamphlet “Oublier Foucault” [Forget Foucault] from 1977, Jean Baudrillard comments on the conflict between being inside or outside the society: “As medieval society found its own balance between God and the Devil, so our society is finding its own balance between consumption and defiance of it. It was also possible, however, to organise heretics and black magic sects around the Devil. In contrast, our magic is white. The heretic is no longer possible in the affluent society. We are faced with a prophylactic whiteness in a saturated society, a society with no myths other than itself.”
It is a fateful description of society that Baudrillard gives here. A claustrophobic description, in which every action becomes an action about itself, every thought becomes a thought about itself, every meaning becomes a meaning about itself, something that Andy Warhol for example also comments on in his diary in June 27th 1983: “But then, since the sixties, after years and years and more ‘people’ in the news, you still don’t know anything more about people. Maybe you know more, but you don’t know better. Like you live with someone and not have any idea, either. So what good does all this information do you?”
Well, according to the democratic principals of society, information should make us better citizens. But in today’s cyber-neurotic and satellite-stressed everyday life, there is an overload of information that make many of us feel detached and cynical towards the world. Rafael Argullol and Eugenio Tr?as develop this idea in their “El cansancio de Occidente” [The Exhausted West] from 1992: “Passivity is the hallmark of humans today. And it’s clear: if people are turned into spectators and robbed any possibility of influence, this gives rise to a passive being. But all this, of course, takes place under the guise of its opposite. All manner of pseudo-events go on amid a stream of constant activity; activity that reinforces the passive, an uninterrupted motion that fades into immobility. We speak of all the stress and hectiness in our society, but the final impression is of a pursuit of emptiness.”
The subject today has to map itself. We are learning to understand that we always are global – somewhere. The geography is broken and we have to start to navigate from our own experiences. The vehicle for such journey is not “Who I am”, but rather – “When am I?” The answer will always change depending on the journey. To be an artist or intellectual today is to fight not only for the freedom of expressing him/herself, but also for the context to do so. If the context is local or global doesn’t matter as long as you are aware of your own position.