Ever and ever again left politics tried to love resisting art. And resisting art tried to love left politics. Ever and ever again emancipatory politics didn’t understand subversive art. And subversive art didn’t understand emancipatory politics. Politics were tall, rawboned, earnest and planned the revolution. Art was small, swift, liked to laugh and danced the revolution.
Both wanted the same and still they never found to each other. For some days of wild dances, a handful of impassionate discussions and a few moments of resistance one could see them together on the stage of another world. Temporary loves, short passions and high ambitions. A few enthusiastic people, many observers and even more sceptics. And time and again the separation after a short splendid performance together.
Fun guerrilla, Pink&Silver, adbusting, Rebel Clown Army, invisible theatre. Artistic expression of political analyses. Rotzfreche Asphaltkultur (Cocky tarmac culture), agitprop, graffiti, radio ballet. Art becoming politics. The boundaries are blurred, the possibilities unlimited. But besides the performances far too often and for most of the time art is the shadow child of politics considering themselves as emancipatory and undogmatic. As a toothless and minor attachment to one’s own political everyday life created for the private enjoyment or as an ornament for political events without its own possibilities of articulation, art is bearing its existence in the darkness of the night. At the time when lights are off.
2007 lights will be on again. Such is the hope of big parts of the German left. Tied to the mobilisation against the gathering of the Big Eight in summery Heiligendamm, there are thousands of expectations, hopes, wishes, dreams. Hopes for a new networking of different left spectra and with it a new ability to act – also beyond the summit. Wishes for new forms of action and a different kind of together. Dreams of a joint resistance, of a walking hand in hand of a glamorous range of all who say no, to all forms of oppression and social marginalisation. The ideas are manifold and the actions numerous. And needless to say that the art shouldn’t be missing.
But art is not like art. Art can be resisting, political, conserving the system, functional and a lot more. The kind of art that is interesting for us is not the art of the White elites, of the academics and yuppies, is not the art of the pop and culture industry. This art will continue to accompany the prevailing politics with concerts and wrist bands, and will divest itself of any subversive character. The kind of art that we mean is the art of the unexpected scene, the art of the moment, the art of resistance. It is the art as an act and an expression of resistance against ever more controlled, regularised and normalised societies. This kind of art is the one that offers in our opinion a new, not yet well enough developed potential of resistance. It is the one that can get across messages fast and directly. It is the one that can break habits of view and confuse patterns of action. It is the one that can link unfamiliar levels of thought and bring a human being in conflict with him_herself. It is the one that is able to open up spaces beyond the speakable through its imprecision and that is, therefore, able to reach very diverse people and groups.
Certainly, we are aware that resisting art is also not leading to salvation, that this art, too, is producing exclusion, through its history of origins, its environment, its forms of expression. We are aware that art, even though happening on the street, is not accessible for each and everyone, cannot be produced by each and everyone, that it also needs previous knowledge and junctions. But our pleading is not directed to art as THE new resisting political practice, but to the act of taking artistic works seriously as an equal form of political expression besides the classical forms of politics like the panel discussion, the demonstration or the barricade.
Our previous activities and the experiences we’ve made with the links between art and politics within the left drove us to write this call and to start this project. Our political field of activity is the Federal Coordination on Internationalism (Bundeskoordination Internationalismus – BUKO) which will celebrate in 2007 its 30th birthday simultaneously to the summit protests. 30 years of internationalist politics in the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) are the background of this network that developed to an important forum of discussion for the emancipatory left, especially with its annual congresses in the last five years. Being the main focus within left politics, the mobilisation against the G8 is also a major issue within the BUKO. We ourselves feel to be part of the G8-resistance as well as of BUKO and within it we aim to contribute to the mobilisation for the protests and at the same time to intervene into previous political practice by producing a book-CD (a music CD plus a booklet of around 80 pages of text) concerning the intersections between art and politics.
We regard the medium of a book-CD as one of many possible forms how theorists, artists and activists could work together on the issue of political art/artistic politics. In the process we consider it very important to refer to our own political and/or artistic practice, to focus on prospects of acting – that is, how can art and politics be jointly thought, so that they open up new prospects of acting – and to dismantle barriers through the use of understandable, that is non-academic, and multilingual texts. We would like to have not only a view on European terrain, but to go beyond our own nose and open up an internationalist perspective on the issue of art and politics within the mobilisation against the G8. We will try to assure this on the one hand through the choice of musicians and authors – people from non-mainstream regions in the production of music and theory, ethnisized Germans and White Germans – and on the other hand through a multilingual booklet with the respective translations on the homepage.
The texts as well should reflect the links between art and politics, as artists and theorists should provide contributions concerning the issue of G8. Therefore, we will develop a questionnaire which will be accorded to all involved in the project and which should make an equal treatment possible, avoiding the often usual division into artistic design as entertaining side effect and rather stodgy theory as the next step to revolution or the dichotomies of here and there, of North and South. Just as well as the texts should be written under the star of crossing boundaries the pieces of music should equally be dedicated to crossing boundaries.
Possible subjects of the project could be a critical review, e.g. in terms of gender and migration, of the previous history of joint performances of art and politics in Germany. How practicable are, for example, artistic forms of action like Pink&Silver for migrants? Another focus could be an analysis of the present handling of art as form of political expression within the left. From the internationalist perspective one could try to examine the relations between art and politics in other countries than Germany. This could offer new impulses through the different approaches. Because after all the aim of our project is to develop new prospects of action. Our experiences of the past years have shown, that a lot of old forms of action within the left are already out-dated and damp the mood to resist. That doesn’t mean to throw over board everything that happened until now, we rather would like to combine old experiences with new ideas. Considering the changing circumstances and the associated changing requirements for the left, we would like to try to look for new and appropriate reactions to and forms of resistance against existing circumstances. In the means of art we discover – in spite of the many previous attempts of linking the two which ever again appear like shooting stars in the dark sky of a different whole – a previously not much used, nearly endless pool of possibilities.
Whoever is in the mood to join us in building milky ways out of shooting stars, as an organiser, an author, an artist or a discussant, is invited to contact us through email crosslinks[AT]frap-pb.de or the phone number of the BUKO office +49-40-39 35 00.