TOTW: Art and Anarchy

Every reasonably aware person of our time is aware of the obvious fact that art can no longer be justified as a superior activity, or even as a compensatory activity to which one might honorably devote oneself. The reason for this deterioration is clearly the emergence of productive forces that necessitate other production relations and a new practice of life. In the civil-war phase we are engaged in, and in close connection with the orientation we are discovering for certain superior activities to come, we believe that all known means of expression are going to converge in a general movement of propaganda that must encompass all the perpetually interacting aspects of social reality. “ - A User’s Guide to Détournement

In the stories handed down to me art (or more broadly culture) served a number of purposes within anarchy and politics more generally. Whether it was an excuse for people to gather for shows, speak truth to power, or, as in the Situationist example of Détournement, break the spell of Capital, art served not only as a vessel for beauty, but also as a means for cohesion and action. This function carried on through down the line, showing up in forms like punk as a subcultural glue, a way for people to bind together and act through aesthetics.

And then, as it’s told, something happened. I’m not sure if that something was the internet or some other as-of-yet-unnamed Leviathanic force which seemed to tear subculture asunder, but we are certainly living in the crater of that force. Yet, as always, people and anarchists continue to make pretty things for one another. Which leaves me wondering how anarchists conceptualize this production, this expression, not only now, but through time.

How has art touched or shaped your anarchy/anarchist journey? How do you see that experience, that art, looking at it from your current 2021 analysis? What does art mean for you now? What does art mean for Anarchy (if anything)? Are there any anarchist projects that are doing interesting things with aesthetics at the moment?

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I came to anarchy via art. Through Foucault, Baudrillard, D&G...

I have mixed feelings about art. My most positive view of art is as dialogue and research. The end result marks some sort of milestone in that process but is probably the least interesting part. Viewing art then becomes this archeological exercise where you dig into the work and try to extract some of that experience for your self, ideally this forms part of your own artistic practice. Viewing the work becomes a way of combining your own experiences and references with others to generate new understandings.

There is a sense that anything can be included in this process. The role of the gallery then is to create a space for this to happen. If you try to do this with everything you encounter, your brain will explode. The problem then is that the gallery becomes the thing that creates art.

I think the struggle for an anarchist art is the struggle to carve out time and space for thought and the people to do it with. It is a struggle to make art something people do collaboratively, either literally or by intertwining and supporting individual practices. A way or wrestling art out of the authority of the gallery.

I would separate art from craft, It's great if you've made something pretty, you probably worked really hard to gain that specific skill. But it doesn't mean the work is any more interesting.

I was an "artiste" once, in the context of "anarchy" you could say I was an "anartist". When art meant something, to express the inner rebellion against false ideas, because that is what "art" should be concerned with, honest expression, raw emotional outpouring againßt lies and fake hypocrisy.
Now I have transcended "art" by becoming a living creative stand-alone entity, a breathing thinking statue.

Isn't the Western art scene full of liars and hypocrite fakesters since at least the '80s?


Yes, because my immersion within the creative inner soul of the "Artiste" made me realise that this "thing" I have created must only ever be gifted or destroyed. Banksy is a rare exception to the Western tradition, though I believe that there are many voluntarily unknown true artists who pour out their perceptions and get some cash to just survive, which is different to the corrupted prestigious marketplace's methodologies.

, and academies must be destroyed as well. If that's your take, then yes, i agree with you 100%. Then: life becomes art but it won't be described that way unless you're a fool.

This anarcho-leftist rock star didn't manage to break the super-though wall of aesthetics. There's still an aesthetics in his art that can and is being recuperated, and reappropriated by the Soft Power. The day someone or some people succeed on such a wide scale with an anti-aesthetic or non-aesthetic approach to agit-prop, I'll call that "revolutionary". But isn't what people like the Dadaists and Lettrists have done already?

Reaching out to the mainstream in itself is a problem. When the liberal side of the mainstream media start despising our "art", with something that can hardly be recuperated or even understood, we will be bringing something radically new. But Banksy is all too comfy and legible for liberal left sensibilities.

Yes I'm actually aware of Banksy's apparent duplicity, but not knowing about his private doings, I cut him some slack. It may be that he has a non-binary grand plan, something that goes even deeper into the critique of popular aesthetic values and the culture industry which , akin to the shredding event, will send gasps echoing through the halls of the pompous elitist capitalists who manage the hordes.

In March 2021 he did a painting on the side of Reading Prison of Oscar Wilde called -Prisoner escaping Reading Prison.
And he donates alot of the money they sell for to good causes.

My time in prison taught me but one thing - the only "cause" I have is myself, and my collection of vintage erotica. I am art. I once had a lover paint the opening to the conquest of bread over my chest.

Well yes, art is totally a subjective expression and a projection of individuality, and nothing wrong with the art of sexuality being pursued as a rebellion against puritan morality. Your are truly an unconventiona "artiste"!

“Do do do do do do do do do.” - lyrics from ART STAR

Art, or whatever has been a large part of my anarchist journey, no matter how bad I am at it. Possibly even more (bad) than texts (although, the art of text), at least, at certain points, in the artistic timeline of events (a Künstlerroman). There is so much inspiration from before, like Kati Horna, B0RF, and James Joyce (some of the favorites).

It is asked: “Are there any anarchist projects that are doing interesting things with aesthetics at the moment?”

I’m out of the loop, but might recommend getting started with the artists from the Just Seeds project. The Beehive Collective is dead, at least they sold their casa in Maine and stuff. N.O. Bonzo seems to be making some lovely anarchist art projects. I think there are many anarchist artists, just under the dirt, not using the specific term, or anything related, for whatever number of reasons. Outside anarchy, I think my current favorites (of old, are still) Alexander Brener & Barbara Schurz, and Dogme 95 on TikTok.

Where did you get the concept of "how bad I am at it"? Forget about group art or originality who may be feeding you this standard aesthetic, these are modern clìchés. Its about context like what detournment shows, and Banksy, Dali, Duchamp and other unknowns.
Does a child judge their finger paainting dawbs?

anarcho-individualist for the disinherited teenagers of the globalist world. Art is overall an autonomous/creative force at best, and gentrification at worst, which is why gentrification and art are very strongly connected. However, this isn't a problem when artists aren't trying to make an easy buck. I've found through the course of my life that art with the $$$ goal in mind tends to make the whole experience dull, flat, and humanist-centric.

As an anarcho-artist, i want to destroy all concepts of intellectual property. On an individualist/stirnerian basis, this is very easy to do.

Since the classicization of culture and knowledge leads to systematic atrocities, the rebellion is undoubtedly a counter-cultural movement. That is why it is important to understand the process of repression, rather than treating counter-culture as some sort of 70s tradition. It is like saying that the Marxist-Leninist state launched the model theater, which performed the revolution as some kind of ideology, because it wanted to form a representative revolutionary power. But this culture is a repression of the population and a serious obstacle to creative passion.
On the one hand there is the cultural desert of the revolution, and on the other hand there is the cultural desert created by capitalism. The bad culture they created not only stifled the revolution itself, but also the passion for anger. Like Occupy Wall Street, it fundamentally lacks a deep-seated anger and a deeper cultural basis for rebellion.
There is a deeper reason. The reason for the lack of imagination that accompanies cultural deserts is that classical socialism is driven differently than imagination. Millennial politics was promoted by " cultured intellectuals " for the governance of the City of God.So it has nothing to do with imagination.
So counter-culture is still a worthwhile investment. If once great writers or movements have become classics, where are the new writers, movements and practices? People often ignore them.
Another thing to note is that this era of TV/PC gaming is extremely different from the past. Perhaps those immersed in the punk movement need a change of mind.

i don't think that it's "wrong"to do it or anything, but what's going on is people's creative energies are being directed into some programmer's miniturized world. I've become really bored with gaming over the years, "Hollow Knight"is a creative/exploratory gem but after around 90 hours it loses its novelty, at least for me.

Yes, commercial TV/PC games are sometimes terrible, they are just a tool to extract time. But as a medium it (and comics) still has value to exploit maybe, I think ...... what matters is the game itself.
But I also feel the same way, it seems that even with commercial games, people are gradually running out of time to play.

Before industrialisation the members of the species used to spend their spare time delousing, having sex to reproduce more of themselves, and play mindless games which exercised their cognitive speeds and acted as props for extra-social conversations of trivial or important topics.

and you know this to be true because... some history interpreters wrote it in some book???

Total freedom in life is anarchy. Art is an expression of life. Life, anarchy and art grow from the same tree.

Tree got split over the centuries, by statist and capitalist interests. Get fucking real. The sooner the better.

I'm fed up with starry-eyed people who consume mythologies without a single trace of crit. The Sun burns, it's not only nice and warm. Cynicism is the greatest art, above all. Doing juicy expletive noises in the back of a couple of lovers... setting school buses on fire... etc.

If your art does not disturb the Existent, then it's most likely just a tool for its reproduction.

I don't understand what you are trying to say, but thanks for the reply and the laugh. :)

"If your art does not disturb the Existent, then it's most likely just a tool for its reproduction."

glad you clarified precisely what the purpose of "art" is (or should be). for a moment i almost thought there was some sense of freedom in creating "art". your point sounds very much like the one emma refuted with her "if i can't dance..." quote. dogma rules!

There's no such thing as "freedom" on a highway, in a shopping mall, or at the dog park. Unless you subvert the order of these places. But that's fine, go have fun and make municipal bucks out of painting nice hippie things on noise walls by the highway or something.

both points (anarchy is hard to get to, anarchy is easy/possible to get to) are valid. why binary yourself/the issue/the conversation/our imaginations?
what is the point of talking past each other here?

what about art/the expression of our (oppressed) imaginations is anarchic? what is the point of "effectiveness" when mostly we have no idea what will be effective, or effective to what purposes?

these are real questions that don't have conclusive answers and can be talked about interestingly online, unlike, for example; art-good vs effectiveness-good.

"what is the point of "effectiveness" when mostly WE have no idea what will be effective"

Speak for yourself, liberal dog.

There's still nothing in your view of "art" that cannot be turned into a commodity in the service of the Existent, or that just feeds it. You refuse to address any deeper critique or at least rethinking of "art" and use cheap discursive straw men as "binaries" to shield yourself against it.

Being with or without is not binary thinking... tho legal/illegal is! Observe your own bibibinaries, brah!

Gone playing trumpet right next to your boss's office.

Calm down, vrodie. Read more Tiqquum. Find each other. Collect unemployment. Dig toilets.

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