Why? (English)

The Concept

2012 is the Season for Treason is to critique the discourse of Berlin Biennale 7, provide a platform to discuss and point to the cultures persistently denied by and opposed to the establishment. BB7 main curator Artur Żmijewski is known for flirting with fascist querfront strategies for spectacular simulation and the co-curators Voina express a ridiculous personalist anarchism as a new version of careerism in the art world (for example, see statements on Voina website here). We will also attempt to express the existing struggles/cultural alternatives to establishment biennalization concepts in case of collaboration with AMO books (a critical human rights organization for the African critical Dispora and critical people in Germany, Berlin) DATACIDE/PRAXIS (countercultural zine/breakcore record label), PUSSY RIOT (a female collective whose members are facing court charges in Russia, whose agenda stands a little at odds with the hierarchical macho organization of Voina). A dialogue with participants and audience of BB7 will be established. We will realize an exhibition (graphics, text, video material, performance, etc.) and frame program (panel discussions / lectures / artist –talks) parallel to the days of the biennale in the project space OKK/Room29 in Berlin Wedding.

Sophistication and Instrumentalization VS Collective Radical Critique

An artistic and sociological research work on the discourse of BB7 shows a lot of (intentional or not) blind points of the biennale and its claims of a call to democratically participate in the political debate. Some of the particularities of Berlin Biennale have been described in the text “RECYCLE WHITE CULTURE” written by DAMTP and published in alytusbiennale.com. At the same time, deeper research into the ideology of the main curators of the coming event has been undertaken. How can we deal with the emergence of third position movements across Europe and other parts of the world, from national anarchists to autonomous nationalists to national Bolsheviks? Is the Berlin Biennale addressing this question or rather hiding it under the carpet? On the other hand, are the emerging connections of the political right and the art world exceptional in this exemplary case? Żmijewski works with more or less visible strategies to force discourses of the one side but also undermine real political art-activist intentions on the other, therefore instrumentalizing them: for example in case of Martin Zet’s work. The curator was accused by several sides in the media of using Querfront (or “Third Position”) strategies (NY Times article). The investigation by OKK also leads, through the Voina group (“co-curators” of BB7) directly to political players who openly use third position strategies and are involved with the national-bolshevism (similar brand of neo fascism popular in former USSR, related to the historical NSDAP). The kavecs group has investigated the rise of third position politics among the Greek youth during the ongoing crisis and will participate in the discussion about the ideological characteristics of such groups.

Vested Interests VS Global Melting Pot

Another critical point of the Berlin Biennale is that it is supported and financed by the foundations of multinational capitalist global players, and local governmental cultural institutions which have a vested interest in preserving the tradition of White Serious Culture. Together they attempt to neutralize global political actions while at the same time commodifying them as art and adding a nationalist touch. The nexus with the manipulation of the world wide protest movements like occupy, indignados and others can be an interesting perspective to analyse the BB7 concept, its methods and outcomes. The intentions of the main curator Artur Żmijewski have been described rather frankly by himself in a recent interview made exclusively for the coming biennale which is available here. Please read the last question and the answer to it, which is giving away quite a lot and allows us to interpret Artur’s thinking as racist.

Pranking and Incorporation

The BB7 apparatus has attempted to incorporate a fake Real Estate Advisory “Firma” POLARIS INTERNATIONAL Limited into the festival and had listed it as a partner (at least on the official website of BB7; POLARIS had been listed as a partner for a few days in November 2011). POLARIS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED was “founded on 11.11.11” and is a frank attempt to research the role of Art and Culture in Gentrification Process with a focus on Berlin. They might have accepted Polaris International as a cooperation partner, without questioning the racist and fiercely reactionary “vision” and gentrification policy of this corporation (for example, see “vision” of Polaris); BB7 took a few weeks to remove the listing of POLARIS from their website. This instance reminds us of the case of 2010 Berlin Biennale, at that time held in Kreuzberg area of Berlin, which met a clandestine exposure of the Biennale’s gentrification function by way of flyposting the neighbourhood with the portraits, names, contact details and “statements” of the main organizers/promoters of the last biennale (please see here – in German). The action has been incorporated in the main body of the exhibition in an altered state.

2 comments on “Why? (English)

  1. Aren’t these objections also part of “White Serious Culture”? The tradition of this kind of interrogation and critical-left thinking would also fall into this category . . .

    • Hi mod,

      Thanks for a replica. If you are in Berlin this coming Friday the 11th May, you are welcome to come round to Organ Kritischer Kunst (okk/raum29 at Prinzenallee 29, Berlin 13359), at 7p.m. to see the presentation of the metanational group of cultural producers who will present the outcomes of a collective project “Berlin Textures”, which is deconstructing the myths of white cultural superiority. “The Berlin Textures” examines the historical and actual connections between African continent and its diaspora in Berlin, with a focus on public space. They work with fashion, textile, movement and sound, and intervene specifically into the everyday of Berlin.

      2012ISTHESEAONFORTREASON is also distributing the copies of DATACIDE, which is a countercultural “underground” magazine dating back to 1997. Friday the 4th May saw a party hosted by OKK, which featured Breakcore / Hard Drum’n’Bass producers and DJs who have actively disturbing the killing silence of white racist serious culture. It is a banality to state that techno is an inseparable part of the BLACK ATLANTIC culture and was started by the ‘mixed’ community of the working class districts in such ‘post-industrial’ cities like Detroit.

      Since we’ve mentioned the Black Atlantic, it appears that you are in ignorance as regarding the issues in question. We quote Paul Gilroy:

      In particular, [the desire to pit Euro-American modernity against “bestial” slaves] is formed by the need to indict those forms of rationality which have been rendered implausible by their racially exclusive character and further to explore the history of their complicity with terror systematically and rationally practiced as a form of political and economic administration…. It is being suggested that the concentrated intensity of the slave experience is something that marks out blacks as the first truly modern people, handling the nineteenth century dilemmas and difficulties which would become the substance of everyday life in Europe a century later. (Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992., pp220-221)

      Dear mod, would you imply that the detailed and serious critique is explicitly a “white” ability? We would want to avoid labeling the author of the first comment on our weblog…

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