Oliver Ressler on Tue, 16 May 2000 12:04:09 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Project Information "Sustainable Propaganda"


a project by Oliver Ressler
in cooperation with Kunstverein Nuernberg
opening in the Katharines‘ ruin: 20.5.2000, 20:00

"The Expo is a project which as a whole, is a pioneer in naivete.
Technology and the future are presented in an unbelievably naive context
in which all of the problems are ignored. A truly childlike belief in
technology and the market’s healing powers is produced which the
sustainability debate has obviously not had the confidence to enter.
This is because it is a direct corporate park.”
[Christoph Spehr in the video "Sustainable Propaganda”, 44 min.]

"Sustainability is an intensification of capitalism and above all a
legitimization of domination, that more technology is underway,
primarily Hi-Tech. After all, not everyone has access to it, only
particular companies and industrial nations who then merely demand their
continued claim to leadership of this world.”
[Jörg Bergstedt in the Video "Sustainable Propaganda”, 44 min.]

The project "Sustainable Propaganda” (Nachhaltige Propaganda) confronts
"sustainable development”, the main theme of the world fair in Hannover
(June 1 to October 31, 2000). Under the motto "Human – Nature –
Technology” the Expo 2000 propagates that threatening environmental,
developmental and population problems can be solved by technology.
Although science and technology are indeed named as "causes” of the
ecological crisis, at the same time they are considered part of the
Since the 1992 Rio Summit at the latest, the ecological question has
been articulated almost exclusively in terms of the world wide debate on
sustainable development. The discourse flows from questions of
modernization, down-sizing, efficiency, population control and future
technologies. Utopian ideas are replaced by the technocratic management
of nature. The sustainability debate is marked by an exclusion of the
dimension of domination; the ecological relations are separated from
relations of domination (i.e. between "North” and "South”).

In a gigantic self-display of capitalist power, the future viability of
the system should be proven at the Expo 2000. For the first time in the
world fair’s history, the central exhibition area in Hannover is not the
exclusive presentation platform. So-called "world-wide projects” in
various cities and countries should also show solutions to ecological
and economic problems. The Expo offers itself as a symbolic battlefield
to make other social developments and designs visible. 

In the project "Sustainable Propaganda”, the ideologies displayed in the
Expo theme parks will be analyzed and alternative models of thought and
action presented. The models for a sustainable future are thus exposed
as domination strategies. In this aspect the project ties in with my
project "100 Years of the Greenhouse Effect” which I carried out in 1996
in Salzburg’s Kunstverein. 

The project "Sustainable Propaganda” consists of diverse elements: 
Computer produced visual material of the Disney-like settings in the
theme parks forms the starting point for a series of digital prints. The
Expo’s future designs are overlapped by a number of commentaries based
on a leftist analysis of hegemonic concepts of sustainability. The
commentaries are designed as dialogue boxes in the print series which
inform the computer user about problems. In the project "Sustainable
Propaganda” these "error messages” point out the flawed programming of
the content of the Expo 2000 and the inherent systematic errors of the
concept of sustainability. 

In the video "Sustainable Propaganda” the drafts for an ecologically
sustainable reformed global capitalism are criticized in additional
facets. Jörg Bergstedt (author of the book "Agenda, Expo, Sponsoring”,
1998), Sonya Schneider, Kai Kaschinski from the magazine Alaska and
mamba – working group for feminist Expo critique, present their points
of criticism in the conversations recorded for the video. In the second
part of the video, writer Christoph Spehr explains an alternative
concept for development which was discussed in the ‘90s in connection
with BUKO under the motto, "Winding down the North!” and places it in
contrast to the future scenarios of the Expo planners. 

"Nachhaltige Propaganda” is not an Expo project! 

After the presentation at the Katharinenruine the video/project will be
shown at the Kunstverein Nuernberg, Füll 12, 90403 Nuernberg, Germany
till June 11, 2000 (T: +49/911/24 15 62).

The project will be shown in an extended version from July 28 to August
13, 2000 in Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.


Oliver Ressler, Steingasse 37/9, 1030 Vienna, Austria, 
T/F: +43/1/913 09 17, E: oliver.ressler@chello.at

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