paesaggio di desiderio

7 neighbouring nations in Middle- and Eastern Europe from Italy to Poland in cultural exchange

10 December 2003, Academy of Fine Arts Brera, Milan
10 hrs 30 - 12 hrs 00

Paeasaggio di desiderio
Constructing territories on the edge of reality and fiction

Paesaggio di desiderio confronts mental landscapes with real landscapes, approaching identity, difference and cultural stereotypes on an emotional and personal level. Therewith creating "landscapes of desire", whose freedom consist in not being limited by national demarcation lines, and which are deeply rooted in the fields of emotion and personal perception of individual identity.

The role of art and culture is often quoted in the debate of building a "New Europe" which has reached a new dimension and complexity with ten CEE nations joining the EU in 2004. A debate that seems to politicize art and culture projects therewith creating a new level of confusion and contradiction as to the state-of-the-art in this context, blurring the lines between arts, culture, politics and economy. What does this mean for artists and cultural actors? Does it imply the necessity of delivering clear statements, "taking sides" and a proactive participation in political processes, otherwise risking to be misinterpreted or instrumentalized?

In a global context of change and mobilization, of renegotiation and reformulation of political borders, what new strategies are to be formulated in contemporary art practice and how do they correlate to notions such as innocence, guilt or social responsibility? The podium aims to introduce and present thought and practice models of new spatial organisation, acquisition and conversion of space (public space, social space, production of information, representation of reality) in the field of art and culture. It will furthermore discuss models of connectivity, alliances, synergies and networks.

list in progress
Stella Avallone, Head, Austrian Culture Forum, Milan
Michael Bielicky, Head of New Media Schoo, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague
Richard Fajnor, Head of Multimedia Department, Technical University, Brno
Caroline Fekete-Kaiser, KulturAXE, transnational communication & art action, Vienna
Beata Jablonska, National Gallery, Bratislava
Salvatore Nicola, Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan
László L. Révész, University of Arts and Crafts, Budapest
Francesca Alfano Miglietti, Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan

Some crumbs about Identity and the World
Marina Grzinic

After the fall of the Berlin wall that was seen from the Western point of view as a "liberation" of the East from totalitarian systems, this soon became also a process of a very fast erasing of our particular history, we found ourselves in a space without memory, identity. We had to take this as a kind of a zero position that we faced in 1990 also as a possible productive start. Instead to be in the situation just to change identity as pants, we could reflect in this strange zero point much more radically about our future, about having a future, any future. To put it simple: it is no place really where to disappear today. We cannot escape from the responsibility toward the world.

To maintain myself linked only to my particular identity is not enough. We are living in the time when it is not solely important to make a work of art, but it is important to question the conditions of our lives, the way how our form of lives are produced.

The point of repolitization is to see processes in a deeper connection, and not to be just stuck to naked life! I would like to be very precise, instead of thinking of me just as Slovenian, I propose to broaden this situation with thinking about me also as the citizen of the world. If I put the thing in such a way, that is in my view much more radical, as everybody is saying today "mind your own business and not interfere in our domestic things!" then we will be very soon forced to see that not everybody can be a citizen of the world. Only to few is reserved this privilege to be citizens of the world. We, all the others, are allowed to stuck our noses just in the so-called domestic affairs. Some other(s) cannot be even citizens in a proper city: homeless, ill people, refuges and immigrants.

Really with a subtle analysis of contemporaneous worlds, we see culture is no more against nature, so to speak, but must fight much more a sort of new barbarians of profit, neo-capitalism's xenophobia etc... We are in a situation of facing a very powerful censorship of the so-called capitalist "freedom" of communication. The same is with cyberspace, it opens the imagination, but also allows us to understand better some radical processes of absolute censorship in the real world. Anyway, it is only a third of the world population that is using Internet!

Cyberworld was born with the idea of total liberty of exchange of communication, but soon turned to be also a tool of economic interest and censorship. It is almost painful how much our lives are connected with prosthetic tools, technology and prosthesis linked to our eyes, ears; technology is substantial for the way we see and understand. It is possible to say that the world is entering our living room(s), just think of the war in Iraq, everyday a full TV program. And even more that we could do a very little against this war. Every war has its medium, I wrote this sentence in 1994, when I was rethinking the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina that took life to hundreds thousands of Muslims. What a tragedy, but I tried to see a paradox that when this war, in contrast to the one in Iraq today, was going on, the best and most actual informations were delivered, not through satellite connections and CNN cannibalization of every and each information, but through radio amateurs! They were reporting through the Internet in the TV prime time news. The images were old but the voice was the most updated information. No technology is outdated, and each technology, also something as a radio can get an importance in a search for a truth, if any is left for us. But nothing can be simply dismissed as not important; every institution, every technology and each "crumb" of critical thinking can be used as a production - productive - tool, depends always of the context, content and form of the project.

"The Internet is no longer a lawless, chaotic, disorganized no-man's-land"
A comment posted by Netochka Nezvanova on the Syndicate list

The idea of the Internet seemed to be in the past the idea of loosing territory, transposing borders, and being constantly in a fluid Over-De-Trans - territorialisation. Fluidity matches Internet? No, different art projects and activists groups are telling an opposite story. In the Internet, from the point of the activists or ludicrous hackers, all is about (re-)location and territorialisation. All is about activism from the real space in the virtual domain for the real people, and therefore connected with questions of censorship, naming, accessibility, and visibility.

The hijacking of sites that were not accessible to everybody, and were therefore copied and mirrored by activists and given to the citizens of the Internet for a free access, or, the Zapatista movement which became famous because of the Internet and its WWW activism, match exactly the idea of re-location.

The Internet who was marked by the ideology of being a pure communication tool, without restrictions, is therefore deeply marked with questions as: who can communicate, and what kind of information, data and etc., is today possible to freely distribute through the WWW.

It is not really a question of going to some distant geopolitical spaces, as Africa, or Eastern Europe, or to include Asia, but it is about the capitalization of ideas and concepts becoming territory itself. Theory is such territory, and the Internet and the WWW (World Wide Web) have the same position. They are huge new territories, expanded, and evolved on numerous servers, allowing to Capital an even faster triplication. Theory, art and culture are huge archives, and it is the same with our bodies. That everything is becoming, is transformed to be a territory for the expansion of Capital is something that is fundamental to capitalism. In this way the idea of territory itself changes - radically.

Territory is a much broader concept. Our intellectual concepts, our books, our works and last but not least all our archives are the new territories. Giving, contributing concepts and ideas for the server, in the name of the server is, therefore, a gesture of expanding and broadening the concept of territory itself.

The best example is NN - Netochka Nezvanova - the nameless lady as Nezvanova in Russian means without name, who is defining herself as NN SUPERIOR or NN TERROR CHIC. Them or "her" is active also within the Syndicate list where she or "them" is commenting on different postings. Years in the past I named her the disturbing entity of the reunification of the East and West. Instead of respecting the Western civilizational moderations of the list, the moderators were deleting all what could be disturbing for the Western feelings, NN or Netochka Nezvanova insisted of a raw un-moderating situation and harsh criticisms.

When Randall M. Packer - another dutiful MAN (NN characterization) posted on the Syndicate list such a sentence "As artists, WE can act in a time of great consequence", obviously referring to the war against Iraq in 2003, that were at the initial phase, Netochka Nezvanova posted a short comment, but precise as the smart bombs: You are an incompetent parasite!

This is why it is a warning on other lists: "If any individual posts anything "Netochka Nezvanova" writes regarding our discussions, s/he/ will be removed!"

Marina Grzinic is artist and philosopher from Ljubljana and Vienna

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