Embarking on a new magazine about art in the world of overproduction may give rise to some ethical doubts. Why do we need yet another monthly magazine, even if it is not printed, saving forests, but a virtual one, displayed on screens thanks to the poisonous coal energy? Why do we need another platform feeding us with pieces of news we do not have time to digest?
Here is why— to make space for absolute anxiety, fear and doubts of female critics in the world that is finished; female DIY-critics, seamstress-critics who value simple and practical solutions more than technologically advanced haute couture theories. They do not pretend to know solutions to pains annoying us. They try to sew a thermal patchwork for the century that lost its shape out of the off-cuts from the idea-uniforms measured for the 20th century needs. Female critics of the RTV Magazine earn their money by providing various services. They collect the materials for texts, covers and thought constructions in the dumping grounds – the akropolis of our civilisation. They live in the epoch, in which the cultural recycling acquires deeply ethical dimensions, which boots the value of packaging, rubbish and destructions. The politics of identity and gallery minimalism are for them like high-heels from Balenciaga – pretentious and rich. Our female critics cannot afford them.
For them far more important is the art of survival, building houses resistant to drought and hurricanes, warm clothes for everyone and feminist materialism. They have their workshop in the building of the Arsenal Municipal Art Gallery, which originally was meant to become an electronics and service shop. We are reminded about it by a motif of a tv screen on a stone facade from Quadro street, right next to Meskalina club. There is also a story that instead of the Army Museum, which is right opposite the gallery, there was supposed to be a folk-art shop and a shop with textiles.
This historical positioning of a female critical researcher has the significance. Electronic goods service enables the process of disassembling and reassembling into a DIY mistress. This critical servicing coincides with an organisation of a scientific conference ‘Theorising the Geography of Central-East European Art’, which took place in Poznan between the 26th and 28th October 2018. It was dedicated to the memory of Prof. Piotr Piotrowski – an art historian, who introduced Central-East European perspective to Western canon. Today in this expanded field of art, there is a lack of space for rubbish. Feminised work in the postmodern garbage remains there and still is underestimated. Additionally, there seems to be a problem with putting forward the issues of white Europe in the centre of attention – even if it is Central-East Europe.
The task of female critics-seamstresses, DIY critics is not to project the same political cut-outs. By using them, we further establish the existence of the separated from ‘us’ hegemonic West in relation with which we tend to sew together the Eastern European identity, which is usually dressed in modest textiles.
To keep it standing, there is a need to relativise the responsibility of Central-Eastern Europe for the purposes of anti-immigrant EU politics, for example, in case of refugees or passing over in silence the acts of benefiting from short-term profits. The binary division between the poor East and the rich West is no longer valid, because the capital is accumulated both in London or New York, or any other paradise-tax-cities dotted around the world (i.e. Dubai, Hong-Kong, Singapur, or Laos). The political division runs between the North and South. This issue is tackled by Kacper Pobłocki in his book ‘Capitalism. The history of impermanent duration’ (2017). As Central Eastern Europeans, we could see our geographical position as peripheral some two decades ago. Today, the immigrants from Sudan, Eritrea, or Syria see us as part of ripping, but still hermetically inaccessible fortress called Europe. The above perspective was shown during a presentation delivered by a Slovenian philosopher and artist, Marina Grzinić. She diagnosed the state in which the post-socialist Europe found itself as a turbo realism incited by turbo fascism and necropolitics. Those threads of discourse should be further developed when we deal with the slippery textile called Europe.
Necropolitics is a term forged by Achille Mmembe, a Cameroonian philosopher and political theorist. It means ‘to manage death’ in contrast to the concepts of biopolitics by Michael Foucault’s the management of life.
This type of politics results with the fact that the death of war refugees in the Mediterranean Sea is rationalised at the cost of protecting ‘safety’ in Europe – in other words, the act of protecting white and paradoxically Christian character. Necropolitics in this view is a continuation of colonialism, which direction has been reversed and it is now based on the preservation of privileges and access to the remainder of resources by the white people in Europe (more about this topic in Art Channel).
In reality, which as never before, requires leaving some safe frameworks of performing knowledge and sterile white cubes, science and art are still perceived as experimental laboratories of form, which are governed by the rule of managing and ordering own symbolic capital.
In opposition to those managerial activities, DIY and servicing encourage us to participate in the events, which from the information overflow on the topic of crumbling shape of the world allow us to accumulate the practical knowledge.
Servicing means taking responsibility for co-creating a theoretical, artistic and critical platform. This is a repair dictated by the provision of care towards our near and far environment, where the burning problem is in sharing the living space and restricting the production. It is about working out how and with whom we want to sew a zip, what I mean here is building local coalitions and global agreements. In opposition to some post-modern views, which dramatically relativises the reality, we would like to propose the strategies related to grasping the reality. We believe that science and art not only turn towards the intuition, survival instinct and some non-human factors, but also above all to the sense of humour and irony.
The female tailors-DIY-critics will put together and demount the platform of RTV Magazine. Here, everything is needed. The expiry date is postponed. All dialectics on plastic and bio rubbish shall be punched into the wall of servicewomen’s workshop.
translation: Ela Wysakowska-Walters