Lockdown is a savage montage (Journal of Visual Culture & HaFI, 16)

This is the sixteenth instalment of a collaborative effort by the Journal of Visual Culture and the Harun Farocki Institut, initiated by the COVID-19 crisis. The call sent to JVC’s editorial board, and a wide selection of previous contributors and members of its extended communities, described the task as follows: „There is a lot of spontaneous, ad hoc opinion-making and premature commentary around, as to be expected. However, the ethics and politics of artistic and theoretical practice to be pursued in this situation should oblige us to stay cautious and to intervene with care in the discussion. As one of JVC’s editors, Brooke Belisle, explains: ‚We are not looking for sensationalism, but rather, moments of reflection that: make connections between what’s happening now and the larger intellectual contexts that our readership shares; offer small ways to be reflective and to draw on tools we have and things we know instead of just feeling numb and overwhelmed; help serve as intellectual community for one another while we are isolated; support the work of being thoughtful and trying to find/make meaning…which is always a collective endeavour, even if we are forced to be apart.'“ TH

 

 

 

 

Lockdown is a savage montage

By Dave Beech

9 May 2020

 

Lockdown is a savage montage

ISOLATION IS A CUT

Lockdown takes a pair of scissors to society

CORONA IS THE WORLD AS AN INTERNALLY HETEROGENEOUS IMAGE

Covid-19 is the hardest example of soft montage

WHATEVER COMFORTING IMAGE WE HAVE OF A UNIFIED SOCIETY AS A WHOLE IS FRAGMENTED BY QUARANTINE

Hugs, handshakes and kisses have been spliced with the scalpel of social distancing

A BLADE 2 METRES WIDE SLASHES THROUGH THE WORLD

Edit points separating the dying from their loved ones

KEY WORKERS ARE THE GLUE

Quarantine is a savage montage, surgical in its control but brutal as it scars, tears and rips through bonds of love

THE FRAGMENTS OF SOCIETY HAVE BEEN REARRANGED IN A NEW PATTERN

Families are cut up while households are stuck together

THE VIRUS TRACES THE OUTLINES OF SOCIAL CONTACT

The emergency measures are rules of composition

SOCIAL DISTANCING IS AN ARENA FOR THE JOINING TOGETHER OF HETEROGENEOUS MATERIAL

Knitted, sewn, patched and repaired, we reunite in new patterns

LOCKDOWN IS THE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE OF FRAGMENT AND WHOLE

 

 

Dave Beech, artist and writer, Ashburton and London
10.05.2020, 02 / Rosa Mercedes
Schnittstelle

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): „We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?“

07.09.2020, Tom

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  „For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.“

21.08.2020, Tom

Bernard Stiegler, quoted from The Neganthropocene (trans. Daniel Ross): „Does anyone really believe that it is possible to ‘solve’ the problems of climate change, habitat destruction and cultural destruction without addressing the consumerist basis of the present macro-economic system, or vice versa, or without addressing the way in which this system depletes the psychic energy required to find the collective will, belief, hope and reason to address this planetary challenge? Can this consumerism really survive the coming wave of automation that threatens to decimate its customer base and undermine the ‘consumer confidence’ that is fundamental to its perpetual growth requirements, themselves antithetical, once again, to the problems of biospherical preservation?“

14.08.2020, Tom
mehrweniger Kurznews