|Geert Lovink on Mon, 20 Jul 1998 20:29:39 +0100|
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 19:21:32 +0200 From: shedhalle <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MoneyNationsProjectInfo moneynations@access constructing the borders- constructing East/West FEAT. www.MoneyNations.ch , MoneyNationsTV, The Correspondent Magazine Exhibition & Workshop Programs from 23rd Oct. to 15th Dec. 1998 at Shedhalle Zurich, Seestr. 395, CH- 8038 Zurich Phone :++41-1-481 5950, Fax.: ++41-1-481 5951, email: email@example.com Information about the structure of the project: MoneyNations@access wants to bring together an interested body of people to exchange and distribute information contradicting the ?ethnisizing?, the pejorative media activities, and the economic exploitation, of what was formerly referred to as the Eastern Block. The project wants to show the interconnections between economic, political and cultural forces, which are used in the attempt to legitimate the borders between East and West, by using various media as well as textual and visual means of narration and procedure. As ?correspondents?, people from different fields of culture production were approached in order to find new people who could, on the one hand, make interesting contributions to the project and, on the other hand, act as (foreign) correspondents for an information network themselves. The purpose of this counter-cultural network is neither the search for ?true? information, nor the accumulation of facts about neo-liberalism or racism, but it intends to pave the way for reflections on subjective experiences and forms of narration before a theoretical and political background. The various textual and visual productions are not meant to compete with one another, but should be understood as individual statements and stories. By doing so, an understanding of the concept of information is being promoted which opposes the main-stream practices in media and construction of theory. This information is not produced for passive consumers in a globalized media landscape, but subjective reports and stories will challenge the generally accepted ?objectivity of news reporting?. In this way, even though a difference in identity may be presumed, due to differing socialization in East and West, the project tries not to use identity and difference, and tries to avoid the production of a typology of difference, which again could be used by the EU to justify their border construction. The Correspondent The newspaper ?The Correspondent? will be a production, in which the various categories within a standard weekly paper will be used as metaphors. The various modes of narration on content as well as on presentational level will be placed under titles such as Politics, Foreign Affairs, Local News, Culture, Economy, Finance, Science, Society, Weather or Sport, which may have to be modified to suit the specific statements. The entries for the first part of the newspaper are being evaluated at the moment and they must be submitted to the Shedhalle by 31st August 1998. A complete issue of the newspaper will be produced during the project period and will be presented on the occasion of the end-of-exhibition party, where the completed video magazine of MoneyNationsTV and the website will also be presented. Submissions for the final production of the newspaper will have to be received at the Shedhalle by 31st October. The project correspondents will also act as final editors for the newspaper. During the first discussions of the project the following thematic topics were chosen to build the project framework : Constructing the borders ? constructing East/West 1) The Practices of Economic Exclusion: The introduction of the Euro; the exploitation of Central and South-Eastern European states as low-wage locations, now as well as during the Soviet times (example textile industry); Eastern European funds on the financial market (who is making money from the East?); inflation in informal economies such as the Suitcase Economy, their being made illegal, and their new evaluation by Eastern-European scientists; the normative Western model of work twinned with a nationally linked (white, male) working subject (see: Berlin/Bauarbeiter); the relationship between migration and prostitution (Women?s Information Center, Zurich, FIZ); fantasies about the availability of female bodies. 2) The Practices of Political Exclusion: EU and Swiss asylum policies (from the three circle to the two circle model); the Schengen agreement/ EU membership conditions; confusion of state policy with private economy (example Siemens); construction of the ?other?, and performative borders; border architecture, militarization. 3) Cultural Attributions: Stereotype impressions of poverty, incompentence and chaos, and other images repeatedly used to represent the East. (Media example of Albania); propaganda Cold War (posters, Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich); opposing images; discussions on cultural subjects of yesterday and today. 3a) Cultural Practice: The function of Eastern European art in the so-called international art scene; memory, soul and stories as stereotypes and marketable export products (what can be exploited by the West?). A first draft of the newspaper project will be sent to you by the end of this month. www.MoneyNations.ch The complete edition of the newspaper can be found on the internet together with excerpts from the current mailing list. A second part of the project, focussing on South/North, is being organized by Annette Schindler and Michelle Fague for the Swiss Institute New York (see mail from Swiss Institute). The website hosts both parts of the project, which can, besides the specific contexts, lead to new networks. In the long run, the design of the website will allow the creation of an information pool for international theoretical texts from various fields such as cultural and gender studies, critiques of economy, and discourses on urbanism. Additionally, a long-term solution is being sought to finance translations for this. MoneyNationsTV Apart from the newspaper project and the website, MoneyNations also ?runs? a (fictitious) television channel, Art People?s TV Station, in which programs from the various cities participating will be shown. However, MoneyNations is no transmitter, but an open video network. People from middle, central and South-Eastern European cities can submit existing videos about political and economic integration or exclusion practices, or they can, in the framework of MoneyNations, produce new ?programs?. The Shedhalle is able to contribute 100 Swiss Francs for each film/program made in the cities participating. It would be helpful to contact us first and give us the name of the coordinating person, to whom the money should be sent. The medium of the video will mainly be used for the transfer of communication and information. Completed productions will be sent to the Shedhalle, from where they will be forwarded to the correspondents. In this way it will be possible to record meetings and discussions, and ?news?, or even small feature or documentary films about the local situation of the authors in the current process of global transformation can be produced. MoneyNationsTV shall be accessible to as many people as possible and should be shown and used in various places. We will forward the first set of films, but this can obviously be done by the individual participants themselves. The Programs of MoneyNationsTV: We are currently completing the first program of the video magazine, which should be sent out next week. This includes a discussion between the Swiss Institute and Pro Helvetia with people working in the distribution and dissemination of art from Central Europe about the function of ?money? in the art market, as well as a comment from Zurich, and a summary of an interview with Iara Bubnova, Nedko Solakov and Luchezar Boyardiev in Sofia about the relationship between state money/nation/culture, and a critique of Western financing and exhibition practices. It could be said that this program will feature the question of the function of art in the global market, but not its answer. Further videos responding to these discussions would make this edition of ?Culture? more exciting, since there have only been round table discussions so far. A second program will concentrate on the topic of ?new markets?, and will be produced mid August, including a film about the ?Suitcase Economy?. This film will be based on an interview with Gülsün Karamustafa about the Eastern markets which came into existence since 1989, and on a visit to one of the biggest shopping malls in Istanbul. Further there will be, I hope, a film about the CD-ROM markets in Sofia by Alain Kessi and Iara Bubnova, and there will definitely be a short trash film entitled ?Hotel Helvetia? about international investment activities in Bucharest. We would have liked to include a video about the textile industry in Romania, which has been used as a low-wage location for the international fashion industry since the seventies. If anybody would like to contribute to this with videos or suggestions of topics please get in touch with us immediately. Later productions can usually be included in the individual programs, even if you missed the deadline. The topic of a third program will bear the title ?Economy and City?. Attention will be paid to social changes, territorial shifts and segregation in your own city. This can include your own relationship to your town; places can be described which you as a man or a woman like or dislike; or you could look at the privatization and commercialization of inner cities. The video group terra from Novi Sad has already made a film about this topic. In the framework of a project from Dresden, a group of artists has shot another film, a trash feature film, in 1995 about the urban reconstruction of their city. More productions would be welcome. The forth program will deal with the topic of ?border? construction. We already have a few videos about this such as ?Juristic Bodies? about the Polish-German border by the group Dogfilm, and a documentation of the campaign ?Kein Mensch ist illegal? (Nobody is illegal)> http://www.contrast.org/borders . We will produce a video ourselves about the demonstrations in Görlitz of July which took place in the framework of ?cross the border?. But again, we?ll have to find - or make - more productions. The last video-magazine of MoneyNationsTV, for the time being, will be about the complex topic of ?Resistance and Dissidence?. This will be a platform for the collection and exchange of documentaries about demonstrations and activities from various countries. Initiatives and projects can be presented, but it could also finally provide space to discuss the term ?dissidence? from an Eastern and Western stance. MoneyNations@access, the Exhibition Apart from the idea that we will change the Shedhalle into a publisher?s office in order to make playful use of this structure, the form of the exhibition has not been defined and nothing is decided yet. During the next month this will be discussed with the artists, once we know more about the nature of the various contributions. However, all projects will be featured in the newspaper and on the net (double pages). The videos of MoneyNationsTV will be shown in a special video room as supporting acts (one program will be shown per screening evening). In November, the videos will also be shown at the Swiss Institute in New York. Correspondents/Contacts (July 98): Bulgaria: Iara Bubnova, <firstname.lastname@example.org>Luchezar Boyardiev (Sofia)<email@example.com>, Alain Kessi (Sofia/Zürich)<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ex-Yugoslavia: <email@example.com>, Zoran Pantelic <apsolutn@EUnet.yu>, Lazlar Lalic <b92 firstname.lastname@example.org> Hungary: Tibor Varnagy (Budapest) varnagy <email@example.com>, Edit Andras (Budapest/NewYork)<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Susi Koltai (Budapest/Zürich), <email@example.com>, Poland: no definitive Correspondent yet...!? Rumania: Lia&Dan Perjovschi (Bucharest)/ <PERJO@R22.SFOS.RO>, Marion Baruch (Paris/Milano)/<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Russia: Oleg Kireev <email@example.com> Tschechia: smsu prague <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Turkey: Gülsün Karamustafa (Istanbul) / <email@example.com> Slovakia: Jana Cvikova (Bratislava) <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Slowenia: Blaz Habjan, <blaz.habjan@prist> Switzerland: Marion von Osten <email@example.com>, Nathalie Seitz <firstname.lastname@example.org> Anette Schindler/Michel Fague, The Swiss Institute <email@example.com> ----------------------------------------------------- Theoretical Background: The West and the Rest... In the past years, the concept of Euro-Centrism has repeatedly been accused to stand for the hegemony of Western cultural conception, since the euro-centrist concept always seems to reflect a "Western" view of Europe only. The "construction of Europe" as a "fortress" has started in 1989: A fortress that excludes the Central European cultures, and with media that blocks them out at the borders. This "fortress Europe" produces new cultural identities, which are on the one hand based on regionalism and on the other hand the very same is denied and replaced by a common European identity. Who is in and who is out is redefined. New boundaries and new identities are produced, which are strongly related to market orientated values and ideologies. The international economic "competition", as an effect of the so-called globalization, serves as the main argument for the European Union. The spatial matrix of contemporary capitalism is one that combines and articulates tendencies towards both globalization and localization. Even if capital significantly reduces the friction of geography, it cannot escape its dependence on spatial fixity. Space and place cannot be annihilated. "The new culture of enterprise enlists the enterprise of culture to manufacture differentiated urban or local identities. These are centered around the creation of an image, a fabricated and inauthentic identity, a false aura, usually achieved through ëthe recuperation of "historyî (real imagined, or simply recreated as pastiche) and of "community"(again, real, imagined, or simply packaged for sale by producers).î (Harvey,1987:274). In this context the Schengen Agreement fixed the boundaries of cultural identities into borders that are protected by military and laws. Meanwhile the "East" has become a low-wage location for international investors. New technologies of control have been developed on the borders: genetic fingerprints; high-tech equipment; new border architecture has been erected; and the fortress is now protected by a specially trained border police who decide on the new Western European identity as a part of their job. Those developments, i.e. social restructuring, spatial transformations and discontinuities of identities are to be seen in the context of the social and economic restructuring of the former socialist states through investment, commercialization and privatization as well as through transnational accumulation developments. The conception of identity in a "Western European" society is increasingly tied to the lifestyle attributes of a more flexible, creative and efficient service elite. These cultural discourses or distinctions of the "European identity crisis" include repressive political means against so-called "illegalized" people at the borders and within the "fortress Europe". These exclusions and stigmatizations of the "Others" are present in Middle and Western European cities too, where a low wage working class of "illegalized" people serves the service elite to polish up their status, whereas in the inner cities there is an increase in repressive and racist politics against different marginalized groups. Along its eastern and southern edges, Europe, as an economic and political entity, must now re-negotiate its territorial limits. Last year a lot of critical events and campaigns took place focussing on these developments (Kein Mensch ist illegal, Innenstadtaktionen) . "MoneyNations@ access" is trying to broaden these critical actions by relating them to the perception of the so-called EAST in institutional politics, and its consequences regarding the construction of the borders, new nationalism and low-wage production locations. The Crisis of the "Blind Spot" In the current reports of the West it is obvious that the propaganda machines of the "Cold War" go on, either through refusing to recognize the situation in Central Europe, or through its capitalization. The postulation of Capitalism in all its violence is legitimized through the reasoning of cultural difference: On the one side that of "the East", historically associated with racist representations, and on the other side that of power claims against the former socialist states. Nationalism and racism are constructed on this, and the West uses it to polish up its identity, or better, to create a status of an "acceptable" identity. The premisses of the perception of the "East" are confirmed by the misrepresentation of an intellectual and cultural tradition of Central Europe during Socialism; by the never-ending representation of poverty; by spectacular reports on the "new-rich" and the "Mafia"; by the former categories of business; by professionalism, advertising and competition; and above all, by the unquestioned Western European legislation of rights of asylum made for Central Europeans. The social change from Socialism to Capitalism was described by many "Eastern" friends of mine as an every-day conflict. In capitalism the way you have to behave, do business, produce art, or dress, seemed to create a barrier: In order to cope with this adjusting of your personality you either had to position yourself against it, or over-affirm it. The capitalist ways of behaving are received as colonization. They reflect power relations and Western categorization of values. Alternatives like "self- professionalizing" or models of non-profit orientated ways of life are rarely found. The representation of European history in relation to a socialist tradition, used only as a negative projection, creates, historically and socially, a blind spot, which produces an identity crisis in the former Eastern Bloc states and its citizens. The only cultural identity which is given to the former Soviet states is that of an "older (deeper) European tradition", the tradition of the "Abendland". This sentimental and nostalgic view refers to a tradition of "culture", which is the very heart of the difference between Europe and the so-called "non-cultural" Others (Africa , America, Asia and Islam). This collective memory of "what Europe once was", excludes the experiences of forty-five years of life in socialist states, as if it had never existed. For a Western-socialized person, it is hard to understand what effect this devaluation can have on a person's identity. It is an aim of the project to reflect on this historical "blind spot" and its political and social implications. moneynations@access Constructing the Border - Constructing East/West The project "moneynations@access" has a double focus. It is concerned with the complex and contradictory nature of contemporary cultural identities, and with the role of national-politics in relation to the "transnational flow of capital" and their affect on the reconfiguration of those identities. The part of the project initiated by the Shedhalle Zurich addresses these issues in the context of the current changes in a European identity, which has always been defined and is now newly defined in relation to the big "Others", i.e. America, the "East", Islam, Japan or the Orient. In the case of the first part of "moneynations@access", our greatest interest will placed in the question how the big Other, "the former Eastern Bloc", is redefined in relation to the constitution of a West European Union as a "fortress", and its contemporary economic politics. The production of a pan-European identity will not only be investigated before the background of contemporary national-politics, but also in its historical context of the Third Reich, the Cold War, and the effect which the so-called "collapse of Socialism and Communism" had, on the one hand for a leftist discourse, and on the other hand for the power structures of transnational accumulation of wealth. The question is to what extent is the Western "identity" composed in opposition to the former Eastern Bloc states and to what extent does this affect the so-called "fortress" and its restrictive migration politics? How are the West in the East, and the East in the West represented and valued? What kind of reports and information does the media convey? In what way does the market and the promotion of the "Euro", as the new common currency, morally exclude and marginalize people within Europe? And what are our perspectives as to a critical discourse, now, after Socialism is breaking down, converting into Neo-Liberalism? In the first discussions we suggested that it may be interesting to start the exchange between the former East and the former West from a perspective of identity politics. Working together with feminist activist groups and theoreticians from the "East", in this context, seems to be highly political. How did the social and economic situation for women and homosexuals change during the transition from the former socialist to a now almost capitalist situation? How is feminism, as analytic category, valued on each side? Is there a deconstructing (feminist) economic movement which questions the over-determination of an economic (materialistic) discourse in capitalism and socialism, that we can refer to? What position and what kinds of resistance politics might we share together against the transnational accumulation processes? Where are the differences? What is to say about low vage production locations (textile, hightech industries) in the East, meanwhile the Image of the products is produced in the West? What part plays the financial market (Georg Sorros) in the restructuring process of the East and its Metropolises? And where are resistance politics to be found in former east/west to build new subjectivities which go beyond a "whites only" and traditional "genderdifference" identity? The aim of "moneynations@access" is to create a "counter-institutional pool" of theorists, (media) activists and artists from Middle and Central European cities. However, this "counter-information network" will not consist of a group of a few individuals. The aim is to exchange a wide range of policies of resistance; to link new identities and economic theories with anti-border campaigns, anti-racist and feminist movements; to discuss, understand and criticize the protectionism of Western Europe with regard to migration and the transnational accumulation processes. The communication network starts out on two different levels. First a mailing list will be issued to investigate open email conversation via a WebZine, in which people from different disciplines can submit texts, projects and suggestions referring to the issues. The WebZine will be established by the end of June.The Second exchange medium is a VideoZine. The VideoZine will be used as a correspondent network initiated by a so-called editorial correspondent group. They contact artists, activists and theoreticians from Central Europe, who wish to address counter-institutional strategies within the framework of the project. The VideoZine starts right now. The first video has already been made by the Liga (a group of non-profit gallery spaces) from Budapest. The videos will be sent to Zurich, where we will copy them for the editorial group members. The project will develop progressively on an exchange basis throughout the next month and can be accessible and presented in different places and institutions and in all the cities of the participating artists and theoreticians (if wanted). The project should not stop because of the conference in Zurich or elsewhere, it can proceed as long as necessary. The submissions of the Web- or VideoZine correspondents can be of a documentary, narrative, fictional or theoretical character. Besides the presentation of political and economic background data and information, the contributions can be texts, internet projects, photo stories ,too. Videoprojects, for example, could be in the form of a guided tour through a city by video (Where does gentrification happen? Where does the transformation of the city start? etc.), or may be a report of activities, interviews, statements or fiction. All contributions have to be multiple and have to be send easily. The Videomagazine will function also as a communication base to inform others what is going on in your City or Country concerning to the topic. The aim of the project initiated by the Shedhalle is not only to represent the "East" in the "West", but also to encourage the further use of the WebZine and the VideoZine for "multiple" shows or screenings in the various cities and countries of the participants. It would be our wish that the project will be more than a "one off exemplary project", but an attempt to establish communication and discourse between critical working people on both sides of borders.Current representational forms should be criticized, and counter-representational points of view could be developped. The Shedhalle in Zurich established a project team (Agnes Bieber, Sascha Roesler, Natalie Seitz , Marion v. Osten). The Shedhalle team will be responsible for the coordination of the information, texts and videos a.s.o., and will establish the Web- and VideoZine in cooperation with the "editorial correspondent group", different (media) activist groups in South-Eastern and Central Europe as well as with the ProHelvetia offices in Bratislava, Krakau, Budapest and Prague. Extracts of the incoming internet texts will be published in a special edition of a Newspaper. This Newspaper will function as a small publication. The productions of the Video Magazine and alle the contributions correspondant network will be exhibited at the Shedhalle in October 1998 in the context of a conference of theoreticians, anti-racist groups, media activists and artists. The VideoZine, the Webproject and the Newspaper will also be presented in the Swiss Institute, New York, in November 1998, where the project will be proceeded.