Beyond the Metaphysics of the West: issue 8

Arts of the Working Class

October 5–November 27, 2019
September 27, 2019

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​Launch in collaboration with The Nervemeter: October 5, 5–8pm
Street event during Frieze Art Fair Week
Arnold Circus, Boundary Gardens (Pavilion), London, E2 7JS, UK

Who Cares? Lunch with NY collaborators: October 15, 1–4pm
A meal and workshop on "the west," "care" and "violence"
Residency Unlimited, 360 Court Street #4 Brooklyn, NY 11231 subway F/G Carroll Street (President Street exit)

Open Office—Worlds of Homelessness: October 26, 3–5pm
In collaboration with The Winter Office, with the support of the Goethe Institute LA
18th Street Campus, 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Open Office—Beyond the Wall: November 6, 4–7pm 
Stage of Complaints in the frame of the Transeuropa Festival
Teatro Garibaldi, Via Teatro Garibaldi, 46-56, 90133 Palermo
 

“And, you know, there's no such thing as the West.” If you substitute "society" for "the West" as referenced in Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote (a prime example of heartless neoliberalism) from an interview in Woman’s Own in 1982; the colorful hedonism of punks, first cell phones, David Hasselhoff’s wig and the fall of the Berlin Wall may come to mind.

30 years of blurring lines between capitalism and socialism, democratic and authoritarian administrations, liberal and communist male demons, have all vanished into the void of cyberspace. The once televised illusion of unity is now invoicing all underpaid expats looking for freedom in Berlin. A high price paid for a manipulated history.

Societies today spend precious lifetimes running after empty promises of deep love as their members give and get only seconds of attention and have to subordinate themselves to imperial countries who insist on their dubious, independent existence.

We shouldn’t have to babysit the beast: climate crisis, inhumane living and working conditions, widening inequality. Governments must aggressively take action. The anxiety produced by the inability to affect global problems is a feeling of responsibility to think about the world beyond the west yet hindered by our entitlement to the lives we have grown accustomed to.

A global society of equals would not ignore their responsibility to care for their neighbours. The Amazon would not be burning. Greta Thunberg wouldn’t be criticised for her Asperger's syndrome. Migrating societies would be embraced within a national order, instead of being an eternal target of marginalization.

The special pages in this issue are dedicated to the southern parts of Austria. Eduard Freudmann puts the self-victimisation of the country on a banner, Jásmina Wójcik shares songs for Styrian Workers, and Elmgreen and Dragset let us have the Antifa cake and eat it, too. Denis Maksimov and Timo Tuominen dig into the meaning of this issue’s title, and Fred Dewey continues to examine classes and castes in his column, “Briefe aus der Freiheit.” 

Kolja Reichert takes us on a journey throught the global ecosystem of the art world; Lawrence Lek proposes Sinofuturism as a form of artificial intelligence; Mhpo Ndaba critiques the inadequacy of charity in tackling the legacies of apartheid and colonialism; Clara Pacquet reminds us of Alfred Métraux’s legacy; further forms of resistance are found in Mirela Baciak’s stream of consciousness; Ángels Miralda Tena critiques the white privilege of the Spanish government, Elisabeth Otto reports on Utopia Reale and Pelin Tan talks to Nicholas Bourriaud about the Istanbul Biennial. Jonas Staal maps the bureaucratic multiplicity of social and political movements on the ‘old’ continent, pinpointing current European parties, among conservatives, leftists, and their supporters. Staal’s map serves as a poster in our issue as well as a carpet of the Teatro Garibaldi for the Transeuropa Festival. The piece raises the question: What are the alternatives for a transnational vision of change, if the sediments of a common ground in Europe look as dark as the color of this map?

This issue is devoted to the abyss we still have to jump over, in order to change the hierarchical order that impedes cultural labor’s function to imagine what society is possible without the current self-destructive state of affairs. A society in which east and west only serve as coordinates for our own physical orientation. 

Contributors / Gesprächspartner*Innen: Saddiq Abubakar, Mohammad Al-Hassani, Mirela Baciak, Miriam Cahn, Kumbuka Collective, Jeanne Coppens, Chad Cordeiro, Anna Ehrenstein, Elmgreen & Dragset, Fred Dewey, Florian Endres, Eduard Freudmann, Hallie Frost, Michel Hakimi, Lien Heidenreich-Seleme, Maansi Jain, LA Poverty Department, Lisette Lagnado, Lawrence Lek, Dalia Maini, Denis Maksimov, Luiza Margan, Neo Muyanga, Nat Marcus, Mpho Ndaba, Elizabeth Otto, Clara Pacquet, Bhavisha Panchia, Kolja Reichert, Augustín Pérez Rubio, Mohammad Salemy, Fette Sans, Christoph Sehl, Pelin Tan, Ángels Miralda Tena, Timo Tuominen, The Winter Office, Jaśmina Wójcik, Andrei van Wyk, Kerstin Zilm

Edited by Alina Kolar, Maria Ínes Plaza Lazo, Pauł Sochacki in collaboration with Bhavisha Panchia & Avenir Institute