An Environment of Unnecessary Culture All articles DIVUS LIVE (blog)
An Environment of Unnecessary Culture

An Environment of Unnecessary Culture

18.02.2013 13:51

Palo Fabuš | critique | en cs de

Culture must find its defense not under the conditions of the state ideology, but under its own conditions, which are foreign to the state today.

All sorts of people get indignant about the idea of a future in which the ruling political regime has taken a clear stand by officially declaring that “culture is unnecessary.” Today, this statement floats through the Czech lands like a dull echo, outlining the impossible-to-ignore fact that the only thing separating us from this future is this official declaration – an honest naming of a point of view that de facto rules this country already. This awareness is enough to rouse opposition and to cause voices of dissatisfaction to cry out, but it is not enough for people to stop acting according to public declarations and to start acting according to what we know.

We know that today’s regime is interested in art only on the level of vague declarations. We know that faith in the necessity of austerity measures serves the government as a tool for keeping the entire environment in a state of voluntary underdevelopment. We also know (but somehow avoid giving this fact too much importance) that repeated protest against this state of affairs is essentially protest in name only and that it fails to articulate any real dispute.

What we can be sure of is that this dispute can no longer be formulated while simultaneously preserving the rules of the ruling symbolic environment – an environment in which words such as affluence, need, meaning or necessity are defined by the dictionary of political economics; an environment in which we can have a completely different understanding of what culture and the support of culture mean, but as long as we express ourselves in ways inherent to this environment, it is not us but this symbolic environment that determines the meaning of what we say.

And if inefficiency and waste are an absolute taboo for this environment of tightened belts and minds (even though it is their hypocritical veil), then we must agree with this and demand not just the mere existence of culture but must accept nothing less than its flowering. Culture must find its defense not under the conditions of the state ideology, but under its own conditions, which are foreign to the state today.

We must therefore unconditionally reject the concepts of “reasonable extent” and “within the realm of the possible.” We must stop serving culture up as investment, export, employment, or source of innovation and creativity; we must not treat it like the final piece of a puzzle that simply fits into the government’s economic policies. And if we don’t want it to be a cog in the machine, but to be truly the spirit that sets it all in motion, then we must see it as something that, by definition, is long-term. We must work according to the fact that the nature of the problem and the cause of bad solutions is a short-term perspective, and that there is not the least sense in trying to turn around a long-term retreat of meters and kilometers through short-term gains measured in centimeters.

 

 

It is important to admit that it has been a long time since the state has had the kind of monopoly on things as it used to, although it likes to pretend otherwise. Public affairs today are decided by a network of influences that extend far beyond the boundaries of the state’s apparatus and that slowly and invisibly have been shaping the values of the current environment. They are diverse influences: political, cultural, and primarily economic. The state is a mere bowed regent, too sanctimonious to free itself from the despondency that it spreads all around itself. Even vocal protest is no longer an audience for it or proof that we still believe in it. Without hesitating even for a moment, it will extinguish the flame of protest by admitting that it is justified. It will seek excuses, arguing that its hands are tied and that the reality dictated by the environment is the only one possible. Like in a rite of spring, it willingly plays its role in the annual ritual of public unrest, celebrating the start of a new cycle within the old order. Antagonisms remain superficial and the barricades mere props.

 

 

If we tell each other that society needs culture, that it is indispensable, then we will understand – we will know – that it is of enormous benefit to man to be able, at least for a moment, to step out of our everyday coordinates of pragmatic thinking, to escape the machinery of objectivity, efficiency, and plans, where the purpose of rest is merely to gather energy for more work. However, it is difficult to deny that culture is not a true need or necessity in the real sense of the word, and that not only can one live without it but many people do so without feeling impoverished. We can find many examples from history when civilizations did without culture – and its absence did not pose any threat. In all honesty, there is no reason to rule out the possibility that some civilizations managed to prosper precisely because of the absence of culture.

There is no necessary relationship between culture and survival. The most vital part of culture – art – belongs to the same category as experiment. We can do without them, but any deepening of our relationship to the world and our knowledge of it becomes unthinkable. A person who wants to grow beyond himself must reach beyond the boundaries of usefulness and benefit – he must risk. The opportunity for quality culture thus arises only where the satisfaction of needs no longer takes up all of our waking life. However, the environment in which we live continues to praise and encourage us when we use words like “need” and “purpose,” even though we do so far more often than is absolutely necessary. All along, however, there has been no reason to pay attention to the question of usefulness any more than (for example) the question of what the weather will be like next week. We possess more than enough of the preconditions necessary for the emergence of something as useless but meaningful and meaning-forming as culture. Besides, why would we even call it “cultural wealth” if culture wasn’t something extra – a claim to luxury?

 

 

The only honorable option is to demand much more. Not a culture that begs or merely exists – only a strong and proud culture can be a desirable influence on an environment that is losing its ability to ascribe meaning to things that have no clear purpose. Let us therefore insist that despite the fact that we don’t need culture, we want it!






18.02.2013 13:51

Comments

There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation
"In Cameroon, rumours abound of zombie-labourers toiling on invisible plantations in an obscure night-time economy."
My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution
An American poet was invited to the White House in order to read his controversial plagiarized poetry. All tricked out and ready to do it his way, he comes to the “scandalous” realization that nothing bothers anyone anymore, and instead of banging your head against the wall it is better to build you own walls or at least little fences.
No Future For Censorship No Future For Censorship
Author dreaming of a future without censorship we have never got rid of. It seems, that people don‘t care while it grows stronger again.
Le Dernier Cri and the black penis of Marseille Le Dernier Cri and the black penis of Marseille
We’re constantly hearing that someone would like to do some joint project, organize something together, some event, but… damn, how to put it... we really like what you’re doing but it might piss someone off back home. Sure, it’s true that every now and then someone gets kicked out of this institution or that institute for organizing something with Divus, but weren’t they actually terribly self…
ArtLeaks
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
albania
Red, Yellow and Blue in the Middle of Nowhere
Red, Yellow and Blue in the Middle of Nowhere
Jiří Ptáček
IIn the vestibule of a large hotel in Tirana where, in the end, we did not stay, I noticed a poster on a tourist board with the attractive slogan “Albania: The Last Secret.” It accosted us because we had no desire to see the sights of a country that had weathered the ravages of Enver Hoxha. We were here to find out what was happening at Tirana’s second biennale. The patron of the first biennale…
Read more...
symposium
Grave Diggers´ Laboratory
Grave Diggers´ Laboratory
Jiří Surůvka
Read more...
reportáž
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Alena Boika
Read more...
muscles
Adventures in Musculature
Adventures in Musculature
Jan Suk
“Instead of interpreting art, we must love art.” Susan SontagTwo years ago I saw a work by a Balkan artist, whose name I eventually forgot, a recording of his performance in a gallery where he lifted and pulled weights as a professional for a body-building session. The confrontation of him toning up his overly developed muscles in the space of the intellectually charged gallery made me think…
Read more...
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
Print on art paper from serie prepared for "Exhibition of enlarged prints from Moses Reisenauer’s pocket Ten Commandments"....
More info...
290 EUR
313 USD
American Issue
More info...
6,50 EUR
7 USD
Subscription with discounted postage.
More info...
66 EUR
71 USD
Back to Roots Issue
More info...
6,50 EUR
7 USD

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

DIVUS LONDON 
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

Open Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 6 pm

 

Office: +44 (0) 20 8692 5157
 

Ivan Mečl
ivan@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

 

Shop
shop@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

DIVUS PERLA
Former papermill area, Nádražní 101
252 46 Vrané nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888

Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 6pm. From 15.12. to 15.1. only on appointment.

 

DIVUS BERLIN
at ZWITSCHERMASCHINE
Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin, Germany

berlin@divus.cz, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open Wednesday to Saturday 2 - 7 pm

 

DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz
DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz
DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz
DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK
alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Divus 21.06.2016 18:30 Sounds Familiar by Zinovy Zinik in Horse Hospital