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<nettime> open letter to the istanbul biennial
begum ozden firat on Wed, 9 Sep 2009 18:13:22 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> open letter to the istanbul biennial


Conceptual Framework of Direnal-Istanbul Resistance Days: What Keeps  
Us Not-Alive?

An open letter to the curators, artists, participants of the 11th  
International Istanbul Biennial and to all artists and art-lovers

We have to stop pretending that the popularity of politically engaged  
art within the museums,  and markets over the last few years has  
anything to do with really changing the world. We have to stop  
pretending that taking risks in the space of art, pushing boundaries  
of form, and disobeying the conventions of culture, making art about  
politics makes any difference. We have to stop pretending that art is  
a free space, autonomous from webs of capital and power.


It???s time for the artist to become invisible. To dissolve back into  
life.[1]


We have read the conceptual framework of the 11th International  
Istanbul Biennial with great interest and a grin on our faces. We  
have long understood that the Istanbul Biennial aims at being one of  
the most politically engaged transnational art events.  And what a  
coincidence! This year the Biennial is quoting comrade Brecht,  
dropping notions such as neolibreal hegemony, and riding high against  
global capitalism. We kindly appreciate the stance but we recognize  
that art should have never existed as a separate category from life.  
Therefore we are writing you to stop collaborating with arm dealers  
such as the Ko?? Holding which white wash themselves in warm waters of  
the global art scene and invite you to the life, the life of resistance.

The curators wonder whether Brecht???s question ???What Keeps Mankind  
Alive??? is equally urgent today for us living under the neoliberal  
hegemony.  We add the question: ???What Keeps Mankind Not-Alive????.  
We acknowledge the urgency in these times when we do not get free  
healthcare and education, our right to our cities our squares and  
streets are taken by corporations, our land, our seeds and water are  
stolen, we are driven into precarity and a life without security,  
when we are killed crossing their borders and left alone to live an  
uncertain future with their potential crises. But we fight. And we  
resist in the streets not in corporate spaces reserved for tolerated  
institutional critique so as to help them clear their conscience. We  
fought when they wanted to kick us out of our neighborhoods, from our  
houses in Sulukule, G??lensu and Ayazma, we also fought against those  
who would smear the land with cyanide to search for gold in Bergama  
and the Kaz Mountains, those who aggrieved hazelnut producers in  
Giresun and cotton producers in Cukurova, those who blackened the  
lives of jeans sandblasting workers with the silicosis disease,  
making them work for 12 hours a day in unhealthy conditions in  
workshops, those who turned the docks into a death camp at Tuzla by  
not providing the workers safe working conditions, those who endanger  
the lives of the people in the region in Sinop and Akkuyu by wishing  
to construct nuclear power plants, and those who caused workers in  
Desa and Yorsan to be fired for registering with trade unions. And  
our fight and hope keep us alive.

The curators also point out that the one of the crucial questions of  
this Biennial is ???how to 'set pleasure free,' how to regain  
revolutionary role of enjoyment???. We set pleasure free in the  
streets, in our streets. We were in Prague, Hong Kong, Athens,  
Seattle, Heilegendamm, Genoa, Chiapas and Oaxaca, Washington, Gaza  
and Istanbul???. Revolutionary role of enjoyment is out there and we  
cherish it everywhere because we need to survive and we know that we  
are changing the world with our words, with our acts, with our  
laughter. And our life itself is the source of all sorts of pleasure.

And we are in ??stanbul and preparing ourselves to welcome 13.000  
delegates of the IMF and the World Bank as we do wherever they go. We  
declared that we are not hospitable. We will take it to the streets  
in the carnival of resistance (1-8 October) and shut their meetings  
down down.

Join the resistance and the insurgence of imagination! Evacuate  
corporate spaces, liberate your works. Let???s prepare works and  
visuals (poster, sticker, stencil etc.) for the streets of the  
resistance days.  Let???s produce together, not within the white cube,  
but in the streets and squares during the resistance week! Creativity  
belongs to each and every of us and can???t be sponsored.

Long live global insurrection!


Resistanbul Commissariat of Culture

http://resistanbul.wordpress.com/
http://direnistanbul.wordpress.com/

Resistanbul-Resistance Days Coordination Against IMF and World Bank  
will work in September for the preparation and mobilization of  
Resistance Days activities and actions.  The exact date of the  
Visuals Workshop can be followed from the website. For your  
participation, suggestions, and more revolutionary information:  
direnal {AT} gmail.com

[1] John Jordan, ???Deserting the Culture Bunker???, Journal of  
Aesthetics and Protest, no 3 www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/ 
new3/jordan.html
 

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