• Recuperation of Culture: End of Artistic Rebellion
Event3: Recuperation of Culture: End of Artistic Rebellion

Recuperation of Culture: End of Artistic Rebellion 
6 December 2007, 11:00

Panelists: Els Hanappe, Agon Hamza, Berat Hasani, Linda Gusia, Nita Luci, Suzana Milevska

Moderator: Edi Muka

Event3 - Recuperation of Culture: End of Artistic Rebellion is part of “Politics and Contemporary Art” sponsored by: Swiss Cultural Programme Kosovo, Kosova Foundation for Open Society and DZG.

The Recuperation of Culture, the end of artistic Rebellion
Public Seminar

That art can take a political direction, with even revolutionary intentions, is nothing new. Such were the visions of most modernist groups. Art in itself, as a genre, poses a challenge to the general order and discourse. Its nature is very precarious. It has the potential to erupt into excess, a surplus energy that is unattainable, uncontained. This is problematic for the general organizational apparatus, for what does one do with that which cannot fit, with that which cannot be economized, and be integrated into the general mode of production (be this monetary, ideological or whatever)? This is perhaps the most political quality of artistic engagement – its precariousness, its "unforeseeability" in relation to the established order.

Today however, we can easily say that art has been recuperated. It has been obliged to take up a place in the general economic and ideological order. It has become an inevitable part of the system, of its ideology and its policies. Today even the most radical thoughts, and political positions are freely represented, and that even the most radical group must know how to manage oneself. Everyone knows cultural politics, even the rebel.

So what are the alternatives today? Or rather, as artists and thinkers what are the positions that we can take? How much can we move in this stifling environment of over-recuperation? There seem to be three dominant positions one can choose from. Two of these assign art a utilitarian position, one that is useful and fits in the general parameters of use and use value. One is capitalism whose engaging of art is largely for economical enterprises, and for the promotion of its multicultural doctrines. The second position is that of the radical left, which believes in the re-politicization of art, and the utilization of art for resistance and revolutionary ends. Both these positions are totalizing in nature. They attempt to channel artistic production, its very potentiality, into reduced and useful ends, economizing it, and giving it very precise locations and directions. The third way, which at first seems less recuperative, is one, which seems to dodge the two totalizing positions. These are doctrines of free relations and performativity, opting for an aestheticizing of associations whether they are ideas or networks between individuals, and attempting in this sense to reach some sort of sublimation. This position seems to open up a new space, one which is much more mental, metaphysical, and which employs quite actively modern technology. If one looks closely however, this third way is closely linked to the Capitalist doctrine. It in fact is indorsed by it, and is itself a tool for recuperation. It leaves little room for criticality, and critical engagement with real events and social conditions.

The seminar will discuss the three positions and doctrines mentioned above. It will attempt to lay open the mechanism at work behind these three positions, aiming at the same time to put Kosovo, and the rest of the East European contemporary art into context in relation to these three positions. Where does Kosovo art and Kosovo culture sit in relation to these three positions? Are we a kind of surplus, which is being channeled and economized through cultural policies? Is not the political itself being recuperated by the big discourse through its insertion of managerial politics and mentality?

Vesa Sahatçiu