[-empyre-] re/claiming and unsettling / continuing artistic practices

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Mar 8 01:34:03 EST 2012

dear all

thanks for all the postings herel
I was intrigued to read the conceptual (theoretical) notions offered, perhaps as a form of political thought or analysis, alongside the reports from the activist fronts and resiliences, and here
i especially found it helpful to hear of movements allowing us to imagine the urban contexts to be also, possibly, in strategic dependence politically on the non urban (the regions and hinterlands).
So, thinking less of 'swarm' logics and emergences, and more of grown/rooted resiliences and how they are/were "tactics of the past." 

kamen argues:
>This notion - of retreat, of losing the centre - is something I'm researching right now in terms of art practice>  

could you elaborate on that, and your proposition that citizens "produce public space",  perhaps also in response to Alan Sondheim;s justified skepticism, and his mentioning of the "resilient governing forces"?
I was also trying to think of Aristide Antonas speaking about the situation in Greece ("Athens," he suggests, is "emblematic for the future" - why?) , and wanting to hear more from Leandro about how he
values the rural based Sin Tierra movement in Brazil  (i remember them occupying a huge strip of space going down the hill towards the government sector in Brasilia, i remember the red earth or sand where they had camped).

So many different locations were mentioned, in these past days, the struggles seem always local, and how to you compare Fukushima and, say, the Organizing for Occupation (O4O) movement to protest foreclosures of houses auctioned off in Queen, New York?  [cf. Gary Younge, "The Itinerant Left has found its home in Occupy, 27 Feb 2012, Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/26/us-left-home-occupy-middle-america]. Does it however require, as Zizek maintains, to think in totalities? (and to assume neoliberal global capitalism to be one such totality unavoidably present and powerful?)

I am going to try tomorrow to report on a discussion we had in London last week when Slavoj Zizek came for a talk on "The Deadlock –   Crisis, Transition, Transformation: Revolutionary Thought Today", and his analysis of
the OCCUPY movements was not encouraging (suggesting that 2011 was the year of the revival of "radical" politics, in its emancipatory form [OWS, Arab Spring, mass protests in Europe] as well as in its reactionary form [Hungary, Scandinavian countries, etc.]., Zizek hinted that, however, the very massive visibility of these protests does bear witness to a frustrating deadlock -- what do the protesters effectively want? Do they contain a vision which reaches beyond moralistic rage?).  

I am unable to say anything yet, have conflicted feelings and am trying to understand what "networking" means now; I was in Yamaguchi, Japan, last week for a workshop; and my friends in Tokyo, who had been much worried about the fall out from Fukushima, tell me that "the status of Japanese society has been changing completely. It is said that Mt. Fuji will be active; and very interestingly, after the disaster last year, the leading companies move their head office to Osaka.  For example, Panasonic has moved their head office to Osaka and their procurement department has moved into Singapore !  Thus, even in performing arts, we hope to construct huge networks all over the world (not limited in internal Japan)."  I participated in such a networked project last week, but it was not activist or politicized, and thus unrelated to resilience, resistance,  recalcitrance. It had an artistic side and an educational outreach side (to communities & children), but there was not a single reference to politics in four days.

Johannes Birringer
dap lab

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