11/14/2005

Why hasn't art changed the world yet?


Defastenism, a new current in art circles around Dublin referencing "Dada" (haha!) and other radical art groups. They are yet to make an impact, seems like just another quick one off the wrist for some bohemians with a facade of being radical and challenging - might aswell just join the swp now and be done with it.

The Defastenists see the current cultural apparatus as being obsolete. the museums, the commercial galleries, the academies, the cynical critics and the dull minded curators: These are the cultural paralysis of the end of the last century.

"about as radical as a tootbrush"

http://www.defastenism.4t.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defastenism
http://www.livejournal.com/users/defastenism/


http://www.primitivism.com/case-art.htm

- Zerzan, the madman, on art.

7 Comments:

Blogger Rod said...

Very unique blog you have! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a home based business opportunity site. You'll find all the information you need about starting your own home based business opportunity. There are also great businesses for stay at home moms. Please visit it.
Rod

7:16 PM  
Blogger Juliette said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Report on the Philosophy of Defastenism.

In today’s world of globalisation and standardisation we have a more mobile world view aided by new technology. With this networked space unifiying all points and populations on the globe, we have an

‘emancipation from a corpus of spatio-temporal constraints in favour of individual liberty, emanicipation from all local determining factors imposed by physical geography, vegetation and the accretions of urban and rural history.’ *

So what happens to the status of the individual artist in this current state of emancipation?
According to the Defastenists:

THE CURRENT GENERATION OF YOUNG ARTISTS HAS THE TERRIBLE LEGACY OF POSTMODERNISM AND PLURALISM HANGING OVER ITS HEAD. WHICH BOILS INSPIRATION AND IDEAS DOWN TO THEIR BARE ESSENTIALS, RESULTING IN BORING, AESTHETICALLY UNINTERESTING WORKS OF ART. A CHARACTERISTIC OF POSTMODERNISM, ONE THAT THE DEFASTENISTS INTEND TO REMEDY.#

And it is this statement from their website that in fact drew me to investigate Defastenism further.

Who and What is Defastenism?
The Defastenists are a group of mostly young artists from Dublin, led by Gary Farrelly- Kunstfuhrer, Sophie Iremonger-Minister for the Erotic/ Erotic affairs, Padraic Moore- Minister for Propaganda and Attire and Curator, Alex Reilly- Minister for Defence, Oisin Byrne- Guru and Minister for Spiritual Affairs, Liam Ryan- Minister for Morality and Donna Marie O’Donovan- Minister for Glamour and Curator.

The Manifesto.
Their movement, Defastenism is an unfastening of the individual from personal restraint and an unfastening of art practice from cultural, economic or national constraints. Their manifesto states: “To unfasten your ideological seat belt and let creativity fly.” The term itself is derived from the German word Losbindung which means ‘to unfasten.’

It is this freedom of unlimited individual expression that the Defastenists want to use to transform and enhance everyday life, essentially eliminating the line between art and life, to use imagination to reconstruct everyday reality. Their aim is to incite creativity, to display their fetishes, eccentricities, obsessions, desires and creative urges. To view the world differently ‘by your own personal aesthetic lens’ and not societies prescribed view.
They want to eradicate boredom and banality to overcome the ‘ubiquitous dullness of our generic society. To nurture and indulge the fragile creative spark which lies in the soul of every human being.’

It is a collective individualism that has artistic convictions in common. It is an expression of a less than perfect universe, away from the slick gallery and the latest trends in art magazines but towards the individual obsessions of each artist. Defastenists ‘declare the value of their beings totally.’ That is why they have established their own nation state: Defastena, complete with national anthem harking to the beauty and nature of their utopia.

How does their manifesto work?
Defastenism is a reaction to globalisation with its subsequent cheap air travel and the consequent erosion of difference. Defastenism acts against the status quo of the homogenous in capitalist society. It wants to move beyond the vacuum they see their generation has landed into, a generation hindered by commodification, disillusionment and apathy.
They acknowledge their work can never be wholly original, that ‘contemporary art can be little more than a tissue of quotation drawn from innumerable sources.’ And they are not trying to be avant garde in any way, knowing the futility of such an exercise today.

Through the principle of play, optimism, enthusiasm, regeneration, self expression, and self excavation
Defastenism explores, produces and displays their individuality, their art and their political movement. They choose to use many different outlets for their art and ideas, utilising exhibitions, events, performances, cabarets, monthly news sheets, pamphlets and web-sites. Declaring, communicating, expressing publicly their individual traits in a ‘ recreational, reclamation of the self’ in order to renew and improve their lives, to give value to their idiosyncrasies and to produce ‘a more harmonious and yet diverse society.’ “ Our perfect ‘game’ is to have fun but to realise the importance of play and the seriousness of this.”

Historical Links and Context.
Borrowing and revering Dada, Futurism and Constructivism; Defastenism is stimulated by these modernist movements and their energetic, vigorous and creative frenzy. You can compare their philosophy to the Situationalist International group who created a meta-art, multi-disciplinary and collaborative. The Situationists took the ‘situation’ as “a moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organisation of a unitary ambience and a game of events.” Making a playful passionate life-art, uniting art, architecture and behaviour. But the essential difference to Defastenism is the Situationists shunned individualist art.
Defastenism also has links to Cobra’s philosophy. In their spontaneous and direct expression, celebrating the creative urge in every human and in their child like play. They share an ideology for provocative communicative art for the people, searching for an authentic life force.

The Defastenists acknowledge that they are working in an extremely different context today than these modernist movements. Post september 11th, it is one of Neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, globalization and cheap air travel. Defastenism has come out of their disillusionment with contemporary society, which they see as not being so far re-moved from a fascist state. In contemporary Irish society they still feel the hold of a concealed dogma of Catholicism, homophobia and racism. It is from this dsytopia that they dream of their own utopia, planning a new city and a new ideal future. They have a youthful idealism that they know can’t last forever. They know they are working towards an illusion that in reality cannot exist but by at least working towards it and seeing where it fails, they are creating a better world for themselves. And they have no time for people who are just out to criticise their activity without doing anything constructive themselves, therefore they welcome any movement willing to challenge their own.

Defastenism and the Postmodern Paradigm.
The Defastenists refute the claim that post modernism refines our awareness of difference. Instead they believe ‘the unique qualities of the individual are being eroded and submerged beneath the stifling smog of generic materialism and over processed pop.’ And according to Bela Pinoru, the groups own cultural theorist, Defastenism comes out of a climate where “The sham culture of media democratisation means that everyone has become equal, but it is the infantile equality of the schoolyard where anything different is ruthlessly stamped out.” The fact that in Post Modernism what actually happens is as soon as these differences are posited and valued, they become subsumed into the meta-category of the undifferentiated, meaning that all singularities immediately become indistinguishable and interchangeable into a new, sophisticated economy of “sameness”. Reclaiming the other as it own. And it is this generic materialism that Defastenism objects to.

To glorify the individual and the cult of the artist is in fact going against much of the grain of contemporary art practice today. In a climate of pluralism even to make a declaration of ones own position is difficult enough. The fact that Defastenism exhibits an existentialism that opposes the universal ideal means that their work sits somewhere between Modernism and Postmodernism. And to quote Sartre on the social up-take of individual doings perhaps the Defastenists work like “a feather launched into a hurricane”, showing that there is collective power in individual acts.
So on one hand you could criticise the movement as being egocentric, of creating an ivory tower of personal expression, of their obsessions running the risk of becoming all consuming and preventing movement beyond the self. But what in fact overrides this is the collective nature of the group, which seems to save the individuals from becoming entirely self absorbed in their obsessions. So what emerges is a defiant call to create with a lot of energy and love of art and life.

Utopia and the Nation State.
With the creation of their nation state –Defastena, they make grandiose claims of a Utopia; for example ‘together we shall live in an exalted and prosperous state, content in a world of resplendent beauty and magnificence.’ Complete with golden hands beckoning to the future, here their rhetoric does fall down somewhat. With the Situationists, utopia was the paradigm that criticised society and was seen as a model space for a model society. Defastenism becomes like Constant’s project of New Babylon* who used provocation and propaganda along with Debord to prophesise a model society.

Utopia as a concept flourished in the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and in the technological/ecological revolution of 1960’s urbanism. Now utopia has vanished into technotopia, dystopia and mono-space and this demise can be related to the weakening of political thought and the decline of the nation state in advanced industrial societies. Now the market economy and its rationalisations have laid siege to and indeed conquered the site of a more reflexive sociology. Therefore Defastenism reverses this common trend away from utopic idealism.

But even if you remove the utopic idealism of Defastenism and take the actual work of the group you can see it still holds positive value. As most young artists working today find making art a constant struggle which can be a frustrating and lonely enterprise. They often lack any sort of acknowledgement for their work so by being part of a group, the Defastenist artist finds much needed support for their practice; encouraging creativity, fun, constructive collaboration, providing protection and cohesion of ideas. So in the face of such multifarious possibility to criticise youthful idealism as utopic seems pedantic and fruitless.

The group uses archaic propaganda in written manifestos borrowing heavily from Germanic and fascistic language, alluding to nationalism, empire building and monarchy. The propaganda they use is in some ways useful as it gives the group their cohesion. It sets out their agenda, acting as a manifesto in which others can choose whether to follow or not. But it also has its drawbacks. The appropriation of political language and ministerial appointments hints at a patriarchal structure that could be seen to re-enforce the status quo of nationalism and old forms of identity. Ultimately this choice of language may undermine their own seriousness. This is emphasised by the fact that they have set up their own nation state. Defastena comes complete with its own self-styled ministerial hierarchy, it’s own Royal Family and the D.Y.P: Defastenist Youth Party. You have to question the need for a Minister of Etiquette, Protocol and Attire, as this all seems very problematic if they want to be seen as non-elitist, as is stated in one of their press releases. But I would suggest it is more part of the parodic game they are playing, being determined to undermine these very fascistic structures they still see at work today.
In their creation of a nation state you could draw comparisons to the Slovenian art group NSK, but the Defastenists are yet to set such an overtly political agenda to their movement.

While they do get caught up in their own enthusiasm, often overstating what the groups achievements and aspirations are, at the heart of the movement lies a worthy idealism that I think should be embraced by artists today. It’s a hard line to balance, fun and frivolity on one hand and serious artistic and personal intentions on the other but it is this balance between a frenzied self importance and the needs of a political and technological art work that I think artists should be seeking today.
If Defastenism is able to promote the power of the individual as well as being able to embrace and celebrate a non-cynical diversity and collectivism, then perhaps it can act as a vehicle for positive change and creativity in an art world thoroughly in need of self- examination.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.

TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.


TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.


TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.



TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.


TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.


TO THE DULL MINDED, CYNICAL BLOGGER WHO HAS HERE IN INSULTED THE DEFASTENIST SPIRIT, IT'S MONUMENTAL ACHEVEMENTS AND CULTURALLY ORGASMIC PRACTICE, I, GARY FARRELLY, DER DEFASTENKUNSTFUHRER HAVE THIS TO SAY: WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FREE OURSELVES OF THE WITLESS, PESSIMISTIC AND DEFEATIST IDEAS UNDERPINNING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BLOGG. YOU SAY THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CHANGE THE WORLD/ MAKE AN IMPACT: MY DEAR SAD FELLOW OR POSSIBLY BINT, WE HAVE SURELY GONE FURTHER WITH OUR MOVEMENT IN ALTERING HISTORY THAN YOU HAVE GONE WITH THIS SIMPLE MINDED, NERD ORIENTED WANK BLOGG. IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STOP ANYTHING FROM HAPPENING. WELLDONE.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

/Users/students/Desktop/graph.jpg

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And do you think you'll change the world with your middle class rumblings and your petty and meaningless acts of civil defiance? I think someone is more likely to listen to an artist who has something constructive to say rather then some gutter punk who thinks that their political stance gives them the right to destroy ordinary people's property. I hardly think spraying or stencilling "capitalism is shit" or some other variant on that them is too succesful in changing the world. Your just another middle class kid unhappy with your lot...I hardly think you're better in any way than the defastenist.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous S.I said...

I have retired from the idiocy of Defastenism. Come to my show and see proof art still lives. 1st September 6pm, The Back Loft, Phoenix Studios, 7-11 Augustine Street.

www.iremonger.com

5:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home