1. How important is it to appeal to the Communist roots of globalization today?

How to cope with the Communist and Soviet legacies is one of the key questions of today. The provincialization of the Russian context is connected to the following: while it is possible to speak to the world through the language of Marxism-Leninism, it is impossible to communicate with the world in rhetoric that promises “the return to the civilized family of nations” or extols “the former greatness of Russia”. Indeed, globalization-processes in the contemporary sense did actually arise during the expansion of capitalism during the 19th century, and the Communist worker’s movement really was a part of these processes. By the same token, Marxian theory was really the most adequate theory for describing these processes; it also represented the most authoritative theory for emancipation. It was Soviet Russia’s participation in the Communist project that made her one of the preceding century’s key subjects of history, located in the epicenter of the world’s social processes. Our “thinking class” has not yet been able to suggest a new understanding of the Soviet experience, adequate to the present: one can see this as an intellectual defeat. We either reproduce the birth of the rhetoric of exposure or dethroning from the Cold War, or undertake the aesthetic styling of several external attributes or ideologemes of “Soviet culture” or “Communism”. If we fail to gain a stereoscopic view – both analytical or critical and animate or alive – we will not be able to build our contemporary identity, finding our voice in the contemporary dialogue of globalization.


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?

So the cult of “big events” is born from the democratic efforts of modern art? I beg to differ. Exclusiveness is actually how the democratic masses understand art! It would be a simplification only to draw connections to artistic phenomena such as Fluxus or the Situationist International, even if they problematize the artistic statement as a means of searching for new, more democratic forms for the circulation of art through society. There are artists – even Picasso and Warhol – who, in the process of solving completely different questions, came to embody creativity in society’s eye, transforming mass-cultural ideas on the visual per se. This too is a civic task, which is connected to democracy just as much as anything else is. During the last years, art and the art system have become immeasurably more democratic. A system of non-profit organizations has been established; intellectual debates have become the natural norm within artistic institutions; the impartial judgment of experts and expert-structures has effectively usurped the authority of the galleries etc.


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?

I feel that that the network-type of alternative movement has already exhausted itself, following what was a romantic period of initiation. Today, we are facing a different situation: on invitation from the mayor of Florence, the anti-globalists brought more than a million of protestors to the streets; “Attac” has been invited to join a revived socialist party etc. Instead of networks, we need real national and transnational organizations, culture instead of subculture. While this certainly brings the danger of bureaucratization and the imposition of hierarchy etc., it is the only way for actually reforming society and effectively counteracting the cultural industry’s muting of sub-cultural initiatives. The future party structure will face the task of renewing the institutions of representative democracy and its system of cultural and educational institutions. This task cannot be achieved on the fairground of a carnival.


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?

The opposition “global vs. local” is a dichotomy of the 1990s. Today we are facing a form of re-sovereignization, a return to the nation state, to confession. Once again, people are turning to the institutions of the nation-state or the institutionalized churches for protection from globalism’s unifying tendency. This is why the dichotomy between the global and the local disappears and is replace by the dichotomy between the national and the international (!)

See the Russian version of the site for the author’s complete answer.