valery grancher on Sat, 10 Apr 1999 17:34:50 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> war / aesthetism / ethics

Dear Nettimer,

I have to apologize my poor english and I hope that you will understand
my conceptual and intellectual background of this text
After more than two weeks of nato bombing and 8 years Milosevic ethnic
cleansing I would like to share my reflexion wandering in between three
concepts as war, aesthetism and ethics ....

Valery Grancher


                       WAR, AESTHETISM AND ETHICS

I'm really surprised to see how is passionated the debate about nato
intervention, serbia exaction in artistic community.
All of these debates are dealing more with emotional fact than
informations. They are more focusing to women and child tears and fears
than military fact. they are dealing more with victims than persecutors,
rapist and criminals....
this background seems to be normal in our mediatic time mananged
essentialy by television channel: Television channels and cameras are
going naturally to the place where we can find images:
- Concentration camp
- Borders
the place where we can look serbia humanitarian crimes, deportation and
ethnic cleansing and more like 'memoricid':
I'm calling 'memoricid' the fact that serb army is deleting all car
immatriculations, identity documents and archives about kossovar people
also by deleting a part of their gens by raping young women to make them
pregnant to have child with 50% of serb gen...they are killing kosovar
memory first to kill their body ...
Otherwise we can see another kind of images which are coming from serbia
television channel as the human chain on the budapest bridge to protect
their buildings and town against nato bombing. We can see young people
making rock party with target on their body under the bombs.
All this mediatic ambiance is made of victims images: The serbs victims
and the nato victims...
Nothing about miltary exaction during their operation. Nothing about the
serb army with their weapons who are agressing the innocent people,
nothing about the nato plane during their bombing. Finally some images
very clean which looks like video game about bombing, soft, clear and
clean and sometimes 'playful'...
We can see always the results of military actions and never the actions
in themselves
Here we are ....

What is the purpose of artist. On their own way they are trying to deal
with reality around them. they try to find failure and facts in our
How about the artist who are dealing with media. I guess that they are
more sensitive about this war mediatic background. It is constituting
their reality and fact they have to deal with ...
It is normal when we are seeing on our tv screen young kosovar women and
child lamentations about their pain, we want to kill Milosevic and his
serb army ....
It is normal when we are seeing on our TV screen, all Belgrade community
going to their bridge with their target, to think that this people are
innocent victims of nato imperialism ....
This two way of seeing is a very powerful subtil manipulation:
- the first one is justifying nato exaction, because I guess it is
normal to want to fight against barbarism
- the second one is hiding serb criminality because it is normal to
protect innocent people who are waiting and looking the sky under the
bombs also when this people are serbs and part of the ethny army who's
making ethnic cleansing...
In between this two reality, we have a new image of war:
We used to perceive war about the blood price. In our context we don't
see the blood price:
- We hear nothing about the nato military victims
- We hear nothing about the nato result on serb army: the serb blood
price of the war
This image of war is clean image whithout any military victims from our
side, whithout any blood price and cost on our side and blindness about
the other side (serb) blood price and cost. This the first immaterial
and high tech war. It is really different from romantics images of war
which are coming from Homere !!!!

What kind of position may have the artist in this context ?
As an artist myself, I'm always asking to myself what kind of position
we have to get regarding this war:
Making a kind of guernica art piece as Picasso did ?
Going to resistance ?
All of these positions are dealing with a kind of ethics. Ethics is not
meaning morality but a kind of the artist position also in his way of
life. His art is becoming his life. His life is becoming an art. In this
context which is caracterizing major contemporary artist since 60's,
they have to get no failure in betwwen their life and piece.
The piece is justifying his way of thinking and his conceptual
wandering. The lectures are not coming before these art pieces but at
the same time. The reason is the fact that there is confusion and
collusion between artist life, artist way of thinking, artist politic
position, artists art pieces and so on so on ....

Now we can understand better why the debate may be so passionated in our
community. If someone is making mistake regarding his point of view or
reflexion also his artwork would be a new kind of art bugs and error:
How can we accept in our time a fascist artist piece or a propaganda
agent art pieces ?
This is specially on this point that we can define the ethics of art
Wittsgentein was saying that theres is not aesthetism whithout any
ethics ...
This correlation is based on the fact that the most important thing in
art is more the artist own language than his production. This language
may be also politics because he has to deal with the reality which is
surrounding him which may be social, economic and also politics ....
this kind of process in art may exist in democracy which are
characterizing the western countries and not the eastern countries which
are coming from various totalitarism (from Tito to Stalin). This process
of art is also coming from the cold war opposition west against east.
Tito falled, Stalin is dead and Russia became a strange result ....
The other fact is that war is not compatible with our classical western
democracy concept based on human right.
We are in war, here we are !!!!
How artist may find their position when the basement of their art
process is destabilize by war dialectic ...
How can artist may construct a new kind of ethics regarding this new
reality ?

We can see in our debate various reaction:
- To choose a side and fight against the other one, making symetry in
between war dialectic and aesthetism. Making like this infowar as art.
This is the most romantic reaction ....
- To choose pacifism with all of its declinaison:
protesting against nato whithout saying anything about serb army
criminality, by being blind ness regarding a genocid... It is generally
jsutified by antiamericanism. the danger in this context is to play
milosevic propaganda game by denying a genocyd which may be a new kind
of negationism. To show a tree to hide a forest ...
- To choose pacifism by protesting against serb exaction whithout saying
anything about nato victims. The other danger in this case is to justify
through genocyd the bombing which are making more victims and evolving
faster the genocyd. In this case we are joining also american manicheism
by defining a cause, fighting a devil and usa becomes an angel. Angel
who's sending bombs...

What is the reality:
- Milosevic is making ethnic cleansing since 8 years from bosnia,
sarajevo, croatia and now kosovo ...
- Nato is bombing serbia to stop ethnic cleansing but this bombing made
milosevic to make faster his ethnic cleansing...
- Montenegro is receiving kosovar refugees and nato bombs:
a young democratic president is there who's critizing milosevic
attitude. Montenegro is on the point to fall in civil war since the nato
bombing and is on the point to be annexed by Milosevic ....
- ¨Macedonia is also on the point under number refugees pressure to fall
in partition of their territory: an albanian one and a proserb one which
may be annexed by Bulgaria or Greece....
Milosevic brought NATO to war dialetics . Since Nato bombing, on one
hand Serb ethnic cleansing is going faster, and the other hand the
conflict may go on european level may be world level (listen the last
Eltsine speech ..)

This horrible reality is a violent criticism of our western democracy
process Our intellectual basement is on the point to be destroyed. Our
art ethics is also on the point to have no justification in war context
because it is bringing major artist to integrist position regarding
their politics background ....
We can see that as an artist we are just spectator... we scare to act
because we are sceptic regarding all the propaganda, the nato one and
the serbian one. Through this scepticism we are doing nothing by scaring
to be manipulated. At the same time this awful reality is still going
.... One time more, we can see that all art ethics didn't stop war. Art
didn't stop war !!! Art didn't bring any peace !!!
We can also see that the intellectuals are recomanding ground
intervantion (Fienkelkraut), or air intervention until the crash of
Milosevic ....
That's why I'm thinking that the aesthetism ethics deal is more in a
postion regarding the propaganda and the common scepticims...
Artist has to construct a new kind of ethics outside the common basement

during this time, horror is still going on ...

Valery Grancher

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: