wade tillett on Fri, 2 Aug 2002 04:30:07 +0200 (CEST)

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RE: <nettime> how to defeat activism

"It becomes clear that the antagonistic attitude of Lenin is only the
mirroring of its other side: dependency and a forced establishing of
independence by the very destruction of the life-basis. The intellectuals
and artists, however, saw themselves by definition as part and parcel of
bourgeous structures, despite the fact that they were located on its
fringes. They, contrary to political revolutionaries such as Lenin, were in
most cases ready to admit this and to deal with it aesthetically." (9)

"Solzhenitsyn describes at length the aversion that Lenin otherwise had to
anything joyful in life, especially to the festivities of Carnival. It
seems to be just this heaviness, this rigid exclusion of all that is
uncontrollable (...) that lies at the heart of both the bourgeouis and
Marxist-Leninist world-modeling and that, in the end, made for the failure
of the planned revolution as we know it."(10)

"What Lenin had recognized - that 'the revolutionary had to be able to
dream' in order to create a new reality - he had only been able to apply
with regard to assumed (...) meanings of the world, but not with regard to
the structure of dreams (...)"(12)

"...the crucial error made by all ideological discourse: the reductionist
orientation toward a specific goal..."(14)

"If, as in Marxist-Leninist ideology, social conditions are seen as the
only influence on being, its dialectic aim of course had to be to reverse
that world order.... This is a mirroring model of conflict that only
substitutes one element with another, leaving the linear, oppositional
structure untouched.... This ideological attitude (...) presupposes that
all human self-development is only suppressed by the upper classes. Since
the relation betweent the two - as an element in its own right - is left
out, however, they develop their own dynamics...."(15)

"Thus, in the end, the revolt of the art movement was able to pass the
political revolt, being less in- and less exclusive, more bold and stark
and, possibly, more indifferent, referentially indifferent. The Dada
artists condemned all ideology, all planned revolutions. For them only
chaos and chance would lead to new systems of inquiry untainted by the
discourses of an old order; this necessarily had to result in resistance
from that system which was geared toward the substitution of one system of
order by another." (15)

"It can be destruction and construction at the same time, since it is a
relational and not an oppositional concept. The 'countermyths' of the Dadas
therefore don't necessarily have to be a 'No' against rationality and the
belief in technological advancement. Dada's irrationality is not a
'counter' against rationality; it points more into the direction of a
simultaneity of rationality and irrationality within the same issues."

"... to explore a mode that would enable us to concretely live the
necessary contradictions inherent in our constructions, to mentally
visualize those gaps that necessarily develop in our attempts to make
sense, and to be able to become 'indifferent' enough toward our own
attempts at making sense to not only realize that they are bulwarks against
the insecurity of not knowing, but also to allow for a continuation of
emotional involvement as well as a foothold for those flights of fancy that
might carry us too far." (20)

-All quotes above from Brigitte Pichon's essay "Revisiting Spie(ge)lgasse:
Mirror(s) and Prism(s), Cultural and Political Stagings of Emigration and
Liminality" in Dada Zurich: A Clown's Game from Nothing, 1996.

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