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Berlin, boheme, bohai Print
Written by Johannes Paul Raether   
Tuesday, 09 December 2008 17:42

In my presentation I will try to give a general, although subjective, overview on to how produce art politically, instead of producing Political  Art, in Berlin.

 

I will try to give an example how the situation for artists of my generation, after the fall of the wall, the massive subcultural activities in the nineties, the political activities of the squats and the anti-globalization movement have created a highly potential, but  also contested ground, for political artistic production in the city today.

 

At the same time I will try to describe how bourgeoisie culture, as well as the newly installed capital city, the international art community and the international investment capital impose their projections on the city and how it affects artistic production.

 In this situation the question for many artists is if and how they could possibly profit from the massive attention, the hype (bohai), their context of production attracts instead of how to 

defend, sustain and enlarge the very small pockets of relative  autonomy the city in its historic formation has given them so far.

 

These somewhat general, and necessarily very subjective analysis is to be made not only to describe the situation to an international audience, but to lay ground to a discussion of how to organize within this context, how to work in collectives, how to produce an exchange and most importantly, how to overcome the lack of solidarity this society instills in our modes of working.

 

To not get carried away by looking at the practices of others, I would like to exemplify possible ways of intervening in society by means of art in my own practice. Performative ways of proposing  alternatives to the repressive forces of capitalism, nation and its hegemonic culture.

 

This practice has until recently mainly taken place in the University of art, which is certainly a very specific site of production, but nonetheless an important ground of contestation: For it is closely connected with the art market as well as with the public institution. At the same time it is here, where young artists get trained and ideologized for an existence as functioning, affirmative cultural entrepreneurs.

 Now, while working within contexts one might call bohemian or subcultural, the  question of how to organize community without sizing needs and  desires down to the lowest common denominator is one of my strong  interests and will be my proposal to work on together in the framework of an "Art Strike".  

 

JOHANNES PAUL RAETHER is an artist and author, activist and performer, exploited worker at a million-dollar gallery, club addict and dancer, Marx fan and completely unsystematic consumer of critical theory. His professional, precarious hobbies range from being an oracle priest to a wanna-be fashion designer. He comes in the colours  black, red, purple or white and as an extra feature you can hoose male or female appearance. One thing he does not do is love Germany.