[-empyre-] The city as a skin -- Sparta and the helots / retrofitting

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Tue Mar 20 02:15:51 EST 2012

dear all

> How are we to re-organize as artists, communities, to perform a more effective project that can enable institutional modifications? ...
> -Can conflict itself become a tool to enable a more critical debate
> beyond our clichés and the clichés of the other, as well as the
> retooling of artistic practices?> (Brian Holmes taking up Teddy Cruz

Excellent questions. 

"We need to be the developers of our own housing" , Teddy Cruz suggests - and thanks for this very poignant post you sent  (your referenced Jean Genet? thinking of "The Balcony" or "Prisoner of Love"? and the image that Ricardo had evoked:
"This then as a reclaiming of the space and skinning its concentrated power-formation by some other that is impossible and yet force that is more than - in the crossing of two 
invisible ruins under the visible trees.")

"We need to be the producers of new political processes and economic models (the site of intervention is the very politics and economics that have perpetuated a selfish urbanization in our time), 
-We need to be the enablers of new models of political representation and participation (the site of intervention is education itself and the very notion of community: who represents who during this period of transformation):
(Teddy Cruz)

to add a small note, the comments  in my last post also echo the insightful critique sent by Brian Holmes:

> -What I mean is that while we debate the ‘differences’ between ‘resistance’ and ‘resilience,’ capitalism has stolen those terms from ‘us’ already, a long, long time ago. -And I say ‘stolen’ because those and many other terms in the last two decades initially emerged from the ‘left,’ in our attempt to ‘resist’ binary thought: ‘fluidity,’ ‘multiplicity,’ ‘hybridity,’ ‘self-organization,’ ‘anti-centralization, and beyond.>>  (is this part of Ricardo's concept of "reclamation" or did his post on reclaiming, March 06, imply that such reclamations of space – and of concepts – are in fact futile since impossible?)

If we are threatened - and I definitely feel threatened, not so much in career opportunities ('cause I have no career) but on some more basic  level of human potentials - then maybe it's necessary to figure out why  so many terms can be "stolen from us." (Brian)

yes, they all can be stolen, and by implication, restolen, but I am not sure what affect or power or conceptual effect they then still have, and that would bring me back wanting to understand the "tattooing" festival in Montevideo a bit better, as it was evoked by Sabela, or what Cuban artist Tania Bruguera could have possibly meant by suggesting it is time now "to restore Duchamp’s urinal back to the bathroom."?

Brian's conclusion is very poignant, and think very true, when he says that "The problem is: we no longer have a unifying philosophy to express what we are for and what we are against. Crucially, we cannot properly define where the powers of government should be limited and how the techniques of redistribution should be modified and perfected."

This was the point that Zizek also tried to make when he argued that the OCCUPY movement can only "occupy" public space for a transient time, not knowing what it is occupying for.

Johannes Birringer

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