20190410

Is Art a Currency? (2019) Hito Steyerl. Save a click: Its worse then a currency, it is a vessel for political ideologies that are aiming to suppress cultural movements that advocate egalitarianism.

[…] as an alternative currency, art seems to fulfill what ether and bitcoin have hitherto only promised. Rather than money issued by a nation and administrated by central banks, art is a networked, decentralized, widespread system of value.

Art is encryption as such, regardless of the existence of a message with a multitude of conflicting and often useless keys. Its reputational economy is randomly quantified, ranked by bullshit algorithms that convert artists and academics into ranked positions, but it also includes more traditionally clannish social hierarchies.

Intellectual perspectives, expanded canons, nontraditional histories will be axed—anything that requires an investment of time and effort instead of conspicuous money. Public support swapped for Instagram metrics. Art fully floated on some kind of Arsedaq. More fairs, longer yachts for more violent assholes, oil paintings of booty blondes, abstract stock-chart calligraphy. Yummy organic superfoods. Accelerationist designer breeding. Personalized one-on-one performances for tax evaders. Male masters, more male masters, and repeat. Art will take its place next to big-game hunting, armed paragliding, and adventure slumming.

20190409

Participated in the first Performing the Fringe -event or un-conference in Stockholm last weekend. The research project is organized by curators Inga Lace & Jussi Koitela and the process will continue till 2020. The project feels very similar to the Alkovi Gallery Russian-focus program and activities I’m participating in (which is convenient). We walked and talked for two days around the Hökarängen district. Our group was introduced to the area by researcher Moa Tunström and other activist/artists. We visited Kulturhuset Cyklopen, local allotment gardens which were introduced to us by Janna Holmstedt, an old (still active) graffitiwall which was introduced to us by Lina Eriksson and a horse stable where we met Svarten (horse). Activities were centered around Konsthall C, which managing director Erik Annerborn hosted us warmly. The group participating in Performing the Fringe consists of artists from the Baltic-Nordic region. I had the pleasure to meet Andrej Polukord (he also is the director of Galerie Uberall, we coined the term Easternational in a chat), Asbjørn Skou (we talked about kettlebells!), Flo Kasearu (who gave a great presentation of her house museum), Jon Benjamin Tallerås (we talked about carpentry. Tallerås shared his view that urban structures which are designed to guide our movements work because they have a “semiotic quality to them”. We could easily bypass a fence but it is intended to be read read as like a language. The fence speaks to us and says: “Don’t move from here.”) and Valentina Karga (whom I know from her work in Maunula). The group will head to Pori during the summer and my next engagement with the project will be in Vilnius.

Will Brexit break up the UK? (2019) An Other Europe Podcast. A very tight analysis of the ideological backgrounds of Brexit. Offers many useful concepts such as “structural emotion” which explains the process when politicians work to justify their feelings using rational arguments.

20190403

Necropolitics (2003) Achille Mbembe. We’ve cited this article in Trans-Horse texts, arguing that climate change should be approached as a weapon. When it is investigated as a weapon it seems to be used by those who deem themselves technologically advanced, against regions of the world deemed less developed. It is yielded collectively by masses of people who strive to express their personal freedom of choice. From this perspective “development” appears as an instrument for establishing regimes which favour hyper-individualism. This interpretation is strict but it makes the relations between polluters (the rich) and the other clear. Also, neutral concepts such as “carbon footprint” can be seen to be rooted on colonial thinking: “[…] colonial occupation entails first and foremost a division of space into compartments. It involves the setting of boundaries and internal frontiers epitomized by barracks and police stations; it is regulated by the language of pure force, immediate presence, and frequent and direct action; and it is premised on the principle of reciprocal exclusivity.”.

In the economy of biopower, the function of racism is to regulate the distribution of death and to make possible the murderous functions of the state. It is, he [Foucault] says, “the condition for the acceptability of putting to death.”

Foucault states clearly that the sovereign right to kill (droit de glaive) and the mechanisms of biopower are inscribed in the way all modern states function; indeed, they can be seen as constitutive elements of state power in modernity.

The writing of new spatial relations (territorialization) was, ultimately, tantamount to the production of boundaries and hierarchies, zones and enclaves; the subversion of existing property arrangements; the classification of people according to different categories; resource extraction; and, finally, the manufacturing of a large reservoir of cultural imaginaries. These imaginaries gave meaning to the enactment of differential rights to differing categories of people for different purposes within the same space; in brief, the exercise of sovereignty.

[…] colonial occupation entails first and foremost a division of space into compartments. It involves the setting of boundaries and internal frontiers epitomized by barracks and police stations; it is regulated by the language of pure force, immediate presence, and frequent and direct action; and it is premised on the principle of reciprocal exclusivity.

[…] body here becomes the very uniform of the martyr. But the body as such is not only an object to protect against danger and death. The body in itself has neither power nor value. The power and value of the body result from a process of abstraction based on the desire for eternity.

[…] under conditions of necropower, the lines between resistance and suicide, sacrifice and redemption, martyrdom and freedom are blurred.

The Necropolitics article is also useful for understanding what Mbembe is writing about in regards to afrofuturism. Achille Mbembe on Afrofuturism and the “Genealogies of the Object” (2016).

In rejecting humanism outright, Afrofuturism contends that humanism can only exist by relegating some other subject or entity (whether alive or not) to a merely mechanical status as object or accident.

If one wants to adequately grasp the contemporary condition–the Afrofuturists contend–one must do so from all the assemblages of human-objects and object-humans, for which, since the arrival of the modern era, the Black has been both prototype and prelude. For, once Blacks erupt onto the modern world scene, there is no longer a “human” who is not already enmeshed in the “non-human,” the “more than human,” the “beyond human,” or the “otherwise-than-human.”

[…] the Black embodies pure transformative potential through an almost infinite plasticity.

[…] the plantations of the New World would never have functioned without the large-scale utilization of these “creatures of the sun,” these African slaves. And even after the industrial revolution, these fossils, these human fossils, would continue to serve as coal for the production of energy, for the dynamic energy needed to transform the economy of the Earth System.

20190329

Bought a steel frame bike for 80€. Fixed it up and it’s definitely the best set of wheels I’ve owned so far. It’s most definitely originally stolen. In close inspection the wheels don’t match and the lock frame has been removed. Bough it of tori.fi, which was in the news a while back for bike stealing deals. I’m contemplating which is more ethical: Stealing a bike by myself or buying a bike I know is stolen. Paying 80€ makes me both a thief and an opportunist.

What is urban planning’s role in the maintenance of capitalism? (2019) Samuel Stein.

Planning itself is not inherently racist; in fact, it is central to racism’s negation. But racial capitalism asks planners to sort out who will go where, under what conditions and for whose benefit. Such actions are intrinsically coercive. Planners often describe the force underlying their work as “police power.”

Planners also secure consent by cloaking their power in rationality. While the capitalist state can be considered a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie,” it often operates as a republic with some democratic features. For the most part, planners cannot simply foist their plans onto the public, but must convince them that these plans are in fact the most rational option.

As planning theorist Bent Flyvbjerg maintains, however, “power defines reality” and “rationalization presented as rationality is a principal strategy in the exercise of power.”

20190326

Paska juttu: Viimeinen katsoja [A shitty affair: The last viewer] (1987) in Finnish. Eeli Aalto shares his witness account as the last audience member of a Jumalan teatteri [Gods Theater?] group performance in Oulu. Aalto refused to leave the room despite being whipped, stripped and harassed. All the other audience members were chased a way from the space by actors who threw feces, yogurt, explosives and blasted fumes from fire extinguishers. Aalto responded: “Please continue, I want to see the rest of the show”. The event reminds me of Non Grata performances. Pumped into an odd performance documentation of a piece by Pentti Otto Koskinen Ilmaisanti – Free of charge (1990).