Arts of the Working Class #3 – RESTLESS TOGETHERNESS
Do we really care about All Saints Day, national anthems or the Queen’s Birthday? In times where our sense of monumentality has been replaced by Instagram feeds with millions of likes, where religion and history have turned again into matters of medieval polarization, just as the monarchy and its sweet gossips, holidays have a twilight function in our calendar. As irrelevant as their meanings are, we still let holidays pass by itself, and their effect render itself in our life in spite of it incommensurability. How does commemoration really function in the collective consciousness of people today?
This third issue of our newspaper is dedicated to this year’s overwhelming number of anniversaries and its abysms. With curiosity we notice their paradoxical relationship with the present. It’s been ten years since the financial crash, but monetary values are not more balanced and speculation bubbles are bigger than ever. It’s been 50 years since LSD came into popular use, opening the doors of perception, but perception seems to be even narrower today than it was back then. It’s been 80 years since Austria’s annexation to Germany, and yet ‚The Sound of Music‘ is still remembered as a classic, sweetened depiction of resistance towards fascism’s expansion in Europe, rather than the fall of aristocracy, what it really was. It’s been 100 years since the end of the First World War and yet the struggle between Conservatism and Socialism has never been so prevalent. It’s been 200 years since Marx was born, and his work still remains a historical ideal rather than a reality.
Decades of accumulated prosperity has turned Europe into a sadomasochistic inward looking fortress rather than an avuncular benefactor. It is as if Europe would never get hold of what ruins have to say to their future. No man is an island, no country by itself, and so on. But the formative elements of togetherness in the world are getting more and more complex. The places where we exchange our deepest thoughts are not primarily the physical ones, not anymore. Isolation, whether chosen or imposed, has replaced a healthy social life. All we do, the entire day, is watch ourselves in the profiles we've created to feel closer to others. That is our software-based community, continuously circling, always faster, in a typhoon of information.
Restless Togetherness: here, commemoration turns into an anathema for the artists and authors who have contributed to this issue. To celebrate the end of WWI would be to celebrate the failure of nations to preserve a peaceful exchange between one another. Thus WWI is the mother of all current global problems; of broken Modernist dreams, of migratory misunderstandings and the source of conservative hostility in European politics towards refugees from all over the world. Departing from the rises and falls of power structures, Laurie Rojas’ questions, in her column ‚The Death of the Left‘, what could be understood as Socialism today, while Angels Miralda Tena reflects on the speculative economy of contemporary art.
Further features present reactionary manifestations against occult dynamics that allow the radicalism of right-wing politics to overtake the public imagination. Kate Mackeson’s scrabbles on magazine covers and Wolfgang Otter’s essay about Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz’s new dynamic style, propose that we take a sharper look at populist dynamics. Niq Mhlongo recounts his vagabond trip all the way to a wedding in Tanzania. Christoph Sehl goes back to the beginning of the century to revisit Christoph Schlingensief’s political campaign, Chance 2000, back then a totally anarchic political campaign in Germany expressed through the means of performance art, and now a question mark about its artistic intention and social impact.
It is not sublimation that rules the collective consciousness of today but rather the most mundane necessities. These necessities are used as a political weapons, condensable into the form of hashtags, and are justification for the most banal forms of xenophobia. As the global public seems to solely feed itself from electronic devices, the life of the mind turns more volatile than ever. Julien Creuzet’s verbal and visual poetry is nurtured by the ephemeral life of feelings and thoughts that can be held in apps. It converts the users’ nausea and inebriation with and by algorithms into what seems to be a new state of reception. Something similar happens in Augustin Maurs’ collage of verses, which points out the truthful messages of silence and void that have vanished in the tumult of propaganda’s monumentality and the invisible traumas of people.
An inventory of society’s structural dysfunctions is marked by the ‚rehearsals‘ of Markus Riedler, which mock the popular ideal of the work-life balance, as well as by Club Fortuna's suggestion on how to achieve general pain control. Concerned with the collective consciousness of a the post-Nazi State in Austria, Eduard Freudmann writes an allegory for specific history politics, and Norbert Meyn explores the musical legacy of migrant musicians from Nazi-ruled Europe in Britain through the project 'Singing a Song in a Foreign Land’ at the Royal College of Music with the London-based Ensemble Émigre. As solid and slow as history can be, its physical presence in the world can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Filippe Lippe writes a commentary on the ashes of the Museo Nacional in Rio de Janeiro after the fire burned everything down earlier in September this year, destroying 200 years of Brazilian archive material.
All these reflections coincide with the ACF London’s Memorial Year program and the exhibition ‚Newstalgia‘, for which Alina Kolar gathered the works of artists Catrin Bolt, Charlie Billingham, Club Fortuna, Eduard Freudmann, Guy Oliver, Kate Mackeson, Lara Verena Bellenghi, Markus Riedler, Elisabeth Molin, Omri Livne, Pauł Sochacki and ZOLLAMT. The show, just like this issue, seeks to illuminate histories both remembered and forgotten by focusing on the rises and falls of power structures and the consequences thereof. Whilst the current status quo of Europe confronts us with recycled aesthetics and unfinished businesses of the past, our longing for something new glimpses into hidden individual memories.
About the artist
with contributions by Bavand Behpour, Catrin Bolt, Lara Verena Bellenghi, Charlie Billingham, Julien Creuzet, Hans-Christian Dany, Eduard Freudmann, Tanya Goel, Club Fortuna, Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Filippe Lippe, Omri Livne, Kate Mackeson, Augustin Maurs, Nicole Messenlehner, Norbert Meyn, Niq Mhlongo, Àngels Miralda Tena, Elisabeth Molin, Guy Oliver, Heiko Pfreundt, Wolfgang Otter, Markus Riedler, Laurie Rojas, Christoph Sehl, ZOLLAMT
„Arts of the Working Class“ ist eine Straßenzeitung für Armut, Reichtum und Kunst. Sie erscheint alle zwei Monate und enthält Beiträge von Künstlern und Denkern aus verschiedenen Feldern und in verschiedenen Sprachen. Sie richtet sich an die Arbeiterklasse, also an alle, und es geht um alles, das allen gehört. Jeder, der sie verkauft, verdient mit. Jeder Künstler, dessen Arbeit beworben wird, gestaltet mit.
„Arts of the Working Class“ wird vom Künstler Paul Sochacki und der Kuratorin Maria Ines Plaza Lazo entwickelt und erscheint bei Reflektor M. Die Straßenzeitung erscheint am 26. April 2018 im Rahmen von Paul Sochackis Ausstellung „Self-reflection“. Sie wird unter anderem in der Galerie Exile und auf der Straße vertrieben. Verkäufer erhalten Kontingente zum halben Preis.
"Arts of the Working Class" is a street journal for poverty, wealth and art. It is published every two months and contains contributions by artists and thinkers from different fields and in different languages. Its terms are based upon the working class, meaning everyone, and it reports everything that belongs to everyone. Everyone who sells this street journal earns money directly. Every artist whose work is advertised, designs with us its substance.
Developed by artist Paul Sochacki and curator Maria Ines Plaza Lazo, "Arts of the Working Class" is published by Reflektor M. The street journal will be published from April 26, 2018 on. It will be available at the gallery Exile, as part of Paul Sochacki's solo show "Self-reflection", as well as other places. Sellers receive quotas at half price.