Lexicon for the Provisional Future(s)

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Precarious Intervention

August 30th, 2007

Intervention is the strategy that Prelom kolektiv is trying to employ in the efforts to de-culturalize political issues out of their culturalized form. The context in which we operate is precisely neo-liberal culturalization, and specifically a peripheral one. How is it then possible to produce a critical stance within this context where all cultural activities are always-already appropriated by it? Moreover, how is it possible to develop emancipatory strategies in the field of art and cultural production? Well, there is no simple answer to this. What we can do and what we are trying to do is to articulate those points of resistance with – always “precarious” and “undecidable” – interventions within the existing constellation. (more…)

There is a stark difference how future is perceived nowadays and some 30 years ago. From the outset of 19th Century the idea of modernity was characterized by a firm belief in the unstoppable technologic progress that was considered the main vehicle of betterment for all mankind. This view of a glorious future is evident from the development of science fiction to the founding of a new science – futurology. Now, with the advent of postmodern thought this idea of progress was challenged and, eventually, destroyed. But, this change is less of a shift that occurred solely within the realm of ‘epochal conscience’ and more a transformation within the economical circumstances. The so-called welfare system (no matter one of ‘western democracies’ or the ‘really existing socialism’) was based on the possibility of planning the economical growth, and it is precisely this horizon of planning that was destroyed with the prevalence of neo-liberalism. In terms of everyday life this becomes evident with the generalized precariousness. Therefore, the future is not anymore some techno-utopia that enables more and more free time for the people – since the labor processes are left to machines and robots – but a perpetual sameness of the effort to keep one’s head above the water. Future in neo-liberalism stands only for the next down payment, or the next work-day. The only mentioning of future is to be found in terms of natural catastrophes, the destruction of environment or the inevitability of an upcoming economic contraction. (more…)

(de)culturalization

August 30th, 2007

The culturalization of the economy or, conversely, the economization of culture points to an obvious neo-liberal effort to subdue “culture” to the mechanisms of the free-market economy in the sense of. The principles of free-market competitiveness and entrepreneurship are to be introduced to the once privileged sphere of artistic and intellectual production. This means not only simply bringing market relations into the “sphere of culture”, but is more about establishing the practices of entrepreneurship at the individual level – at the level of the subject. What is actually happening is that individuals educated or self-educated in the fields of art, theory and culture in general have a certain privileged access to so-called “cultural capital” – a set of symbols, images, notions, ideas, representations of historical events and persons, art-works, etc. The cultural worker today has to be a cultural entrepreneur at the same time: one who “creatively” – meaning profitably – uses the “cultural capital” which is at hand. In another words, the cultural producer is supposed to be a “funky businessman” in contemporary “karaoke capitalism”, transforming this raw material of “culture” into little more than temporary entertainment.

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