A recent conversation between Fancypunk and Dr0fn0thing, the first generation of the Shituationist Institute (est. 2008), tossing around some thoughts on crisis, rave and history. (pdf version) (jpg version)
Fancypunk: I feel like Greece the last years turned into a weird, uncomfortable place. The new occasion of the “financial crisis” somehow interrupted the ordinary life incredibly fast. People during this situation changed, if not radically. We were entering into a seemingly new age of the capitalist society, we face a multidimensional crisis, that structurizes a new social structure.
Dr0fn0thing: Well the multiple crisis is a global phenomenon, here in Berlin we had a lot of political events about this fact, bringing together evaluations of the Indian Subcontinent and European Developments for example.
F: Before the recent “crisis” some essentially liberating things were going on here. Even though – I’m writing from todays perspective – all of these people and projects in fact were part of a continuity of the 90s. Artists like ION or others that I never mentioned the names to you definitely were giving a new perspective. I promise to find time in the near future to write more concerning the art-Athens , and the past dynamics here. The “new crisis” in Greece escalates the problem of a anti-education, transforming the mass consciousness into an absolutely appalling thing.
D: Europe seems like the Titanic, the course is non-historical and blind, yet someone pretends to steer, we are all dancing, some on the lower deck of Macedonia, and some on the upper deck or the liberal lounge of Berlin. In the middle of an ocean, we cannot see what is behind the iceberg, nor the horizont: revolution is the same fetish as progress, the ship will sink itself, or it will be sunken.
F: For us, evaluation should be the way of realizing and avoiding future mistakes in our understanding of the situation. In any case avoiding dogmatism, “ideology” and repetition, means criticizing as well as self-criticizing the steps and mistakes.
D: For example i am giving up on the category of alienation. i don’t want to create situations anymore, as a dream of immediate social contact instead of alienated daily life. this is also in the text about temporary hedonist comfort zones. that it is an exclusivist and elitist approach that only creates small spectacles of alternative culture.
I think the autonomy is not in the small community, but in other ways of communication (this means in the art). so this can happen at mass events, or in a painting, in a song or in a book, today in hyperspace we cannot only talk of situations of “real” life, because there is no real, in the sense of a seperate, life anyways. to clarify this point: it is a problem to always come up with metaphors and labels instead of proper tactics.
F: In comparison of our locations there are many things in common, Berlin is a very much connected part of the global society as Athens is indeed. The previous years loads of new projects appeared in the city concerning art and contemporary electronic music. Already years ago, a diversity of festivals, events, experimental art projects and new spaces such as Bios were opening a new “chapter” in Athens history. A huge diversity of artists , musicians and art theorists were occupying the city center by organizing many cool things, sometimes were also financed by the EU or the Greek corrupted government. That time we couldn’t hide our excitement, actually we immediately tried to find the connection of the “new” youth movement with the activist scene.
D: Your point of telling the history of rave and depolitisation is vital to our efforts, it is needed to tell a (hi)story of the past to point out where our hopes come from and where the tactics adapt. I can try to translate the text on the history of activism finally, so this would give two sides of the story.
F: Since the beginning of the 90s, rave scene seemed to have a large radical potential. In the beginning of the 90s many new people , definitely not connected in Greece-like the UK with the radical-activist scene were organizing many free parties near or around Athens. Just imagine the mountains near the city (Parnitha and Pedeli – the two mountains with which Athens is surrounded) had illegal raves every weekend. People established little temporary autonomous zones almost everywhere near Athens and Thessaloniki. Police repression and some arrests were enough to destroy partly the free parties movement in Athens. Many people were arrested in connection with drugs. That was also the start of the disaster. Nevertheless many club owners fast realized how much money they can make from the new rave business. New clubs and new drugs was the new “revolution”, high entrance fee and wasted youth combined with the new genre which was replacing jungle and breakbeat, “not profitable” music, with the new peace and love hippy style commodity known as psychedelic trance.
In the meantime, parallely with the rave scene and other cultural minorities, when dubstep was growing in the UK and the rest of Europe, Greek anarchists partly replaced punk – hip hop – rap and other traditional forms of insurrectionist culture with the new genre. They actually felt that dubstep is a good way to attract the “new” people after the December riots.
D: Todays Berlin seems also to be good in serving as example for this discussion: living conditions are mostly hidden, the parts of the city are basically gentries and ghettos, one part full of yuppies (in the original sense, young urban professionals) with kids and the other parts full of jobless chaos. Everyone is more free than in the rest of Germany on the one hand, but in a real marxist sense, double free: free of higher living standard, and free of hard work. So many smart and grown up people work in call centers and try to be artists the same time. Without thematizing this! And this is the big problem, the mass consciousness seems crappy. Here in berlin we have the real spectacle: not coming from the newspapers or anyone externally of our own lifes, but a collective production of images. these years this models even gets successfull for tourism. if it wasn’t for real, one would have to imagine it, it’s like a zoo run by the animals and every breed of animal thinks the others are a danger to the zoo. Instead of criticising the zoo itself.
Also one point that is interesting is the topic of the wasted youth image. It is part of the berlin spectacle. The older people have half-week jobs, but they only work inside this precarious alternative ways of labour where the tendency is to be superflous. Most dont seem to organise at all against this, only for parties…
F: In my opinion casually, that was the “education” for thousands of young people in Athens. The focus on drugs, getting wasted, hippy music commodity. Unfortunately many of our friends have experienced the electronic music like that. A good opportunity to get wasted, earning money out of it, being ignorant for social issues, selfish and so on. Others saw it as a good opportunity for a career and rather a lifestyle , definitely not as counterculture or whatever else.
D: For me shituationism is not these shitty things, but to realize that the spectacle of situationist comfort is shit. That we only do shit on a pile of shit to get out of the shit.
F: I rather want now to share an extend “manifesto” or however we wanna call it towards an update of our thoughts and results of our discussions the last years. I would like to leave behind the trash in any sense.
D: We should try to be able to still think en-face of a cuming insurrection or more civil war or more integration.
Progress for me is when social modes change towards a reconcilitation of global equality and diversity. because this only opens the space for what we cannot yet imagine: freedom.
And in shituationism: keep our irony and blasphemy to our own metaphors, and evaluate the tactic from time to time.