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<nettime> The Netherlands should go back to school
Calin Dan on Thu, 30 Jun 2011 10:05:00 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The Netherlands should go back to school

It might be interesting to go beyond the status quo and think along
the lines of a more pro-active attitude. What could be done to
contribute to the reversal of the present situation of the visual
arts in the Netherlands? I take (visual arts + NL) as a case in point
because this is what I know best, and also because it is an extreme
case from which extra learning can be extracted, maybe.

Probably the change should start with a serious self-critical
discussion of the art world and its failures in the - let us limit
the scope - post-wall period. Without trying to argue in favor of
pretty-boy of Dutch politics, premier M. Rutte (who said that artists
were for a long time with their backs turned to the public, and with
their faces to the subsidies system), we have to acknowledge the
fact that a vast majority of the electorate (about 70% of the voters
surveyed) approved the anti-cultural measures passed yesterday by the
lower chamber.

It might be interesting to see that after about two decades of
"relational art" (I include here all types of projects that address
more or less upfront issues from politics, economy, finance,
migration, colonialism etc. etc.), the voters/viewers still do not
recognize themselves in the discourse of the artists. While all the
topics debated by such art are high on the philanthropic agendas of
your average do-good Netherlander.

It is maybe time to see if exhibitions formats do work in the favor of
artists and their ideas, in the case that artists are interested to
exert some influence socially and politically.

It might also be useful to look at the economics of the visual
arts (in terms of investment-revenue), and see if it works/not in
favor of development. While the private art markets (outside of the
Netherlands, I have to stress) circulate large amounts of money , next
to none of it comes back into art reflection/production. Maybe a loop
should be closed in that process, somewhere.

Coming as I am from the late-stalinist Romania I would be the last
to advocate the social immersion as an expiatory solution for visual
arts. But still, it might be a problem that self-criticism has not
been in favor within this profession, which reached in the last 20
years (that is how far back goes my personal international knowledge)
the curious performance of an overall gentrified mentality in an
environment that operates usually on rather low budgets.

So why not go back to school, and try to confront ourselves in the
first place, then our representational institutions and agents, and
see if new policies can be created which would give a stronger voice
to the visual community in relation with whatever other agencies?

Also, why not re-visit the utopias of the previous modernisms and call
to school various social categories that could learn from us and that
could bring us fresh knowledge? Something like evening schools for
mutual learning, that might work better than your usual politically
correct public commission which nobody sees and/or nobody cares about.
Platforms where the specific values that visual arts do not share
with other cultural manifestations can be highlighted and explained
to the working class (whatever that means, lately), to the small
entrepreneurs and liberal professionals, but also to those with top
incomes. It might sound naive, and I am ready to amend all written
above for someone who puts on the table some strategy that goes out of
the boxes that we already know.

While all that has been said on this list (and others as well) in the
last weeks about the paradigm shift towards a more brutal, cynical and
oppressive type of capitalism is true, maybe we should close a good
period of free creativity and lesser responsibility with a U-turn and
check if we can invent new moves for the future. It would be a pity to
just let things happen with a lamento, and live the stage to peroxide,
slightly jaded political primadonnas, and to their protégés who design
slick clothes and sing sentimental schlagers.

I think it was Mallarmé who said "Tight shoes force you to invent new
dance steps." Another modernist, that Mallarmé.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Florian Cramer" <flrncrmr {AT} gmail.com>
To: <nettime-l {AT} kein.org>
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: <nettime> Are we in 1935 Germany or 21st Century Netherlands?

On Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 5:20 AM, Heiko Recktenwald
<heikorecktenwald {AT} googlemail.com> wrote:

I am sorry, you are mixing two buzzwords, neoliberalism and fashism, that
say more or less nothing.

I would put it differently: It's a politics of conservative resentment
mixed with politbureau capitalism.

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