Reality Overload

Geert Lovink, Georgiana Cojocaru

15/03/2019 19:00

Mântuleasa 4, Bucharest, Romania

“You can’t just expect love you have to earn it, snarling back at the indolent precarious day by night workers pretending not to be tired or in grief but for the £3.70 you are promised and in fact you can’t be in love not at the moment, anything you amount to must have a strategy, like getting out of being forever beholden to loss.” VERITY SPOTT

We are receiving warnings from all corners: renounce to be part of the zombie art world. Soon practicing art is going to be a complicated, if not impossible task. What happens when the arts dissolves into corporate image production as the Insta aesthetic soup seems to suggest? Is ‘real art’ as retro gesture going to be a backlash, a bend back effort to appropriate the rhetoric of previous rebels, knowing it will look good later on your project proposal? If this is indeed a genuine effort are we not aware that all this uncooperative pose pales against the fact that rent comes every month?

To all this we say: refusal is our prime, necessary step. It is not only a demonstrative rhetoric or sanctimonious scorn. There is a life out there that unfolds in ways more feral and complex than the artist, curator, the gallery and museum walls or art biennials gardens are able to address. We acknowledge the fact that refusing to be part of the art world, due to being hurt and swindled by it, is not going to work out well if we muffle ourselves with irony to keep warm and use the tortured hypotheticals of theory to lick our wounds.

We are bored with alienation but we refuse to decorate the frontispiece of our headquarters (Mântuleasa 4, neighbours with the SWAT Team office) with a gonfalon sham of being extra, being subvessive, part of an ‘uncompromising’ alternative ending up shovel-ready to remove the heavy snow of unclean money. Outside the pantomimes of visiting exhibitions or of having a “space and using it for art”, we are finding our feet as a collective and working together at getting better at working together.

Luckily we do have many allies and examples of collaborative practices, from Wu Ming to Invisible Committee that all try to sabotage the destiny of the historical avantgardes. One such example would be the Dutch collective ADILKNO (Foundation for the Advancement of Illegal Knowledge 1983-99) that activated in the Netherlands and around the world. By providential luck, we are happy and honoured to inaugurate our first ODD event as a collective with a talk by (former) ADILKNO member and media theorist Geert Lovink who will share with us his insights into the transformative power of collectives, the perks and perils of collaborative work and leaving ourselves the possibility of an exit. Working inside the metaphor of a “third mind” that emerges during true collaborative work during his Adilkno years and denouncing the co-option of anarchist, radical notions such as open-source, free cooperation and the hive mind by coporate design, Geert will walk us through the history of Adilkno, the principles of notworking and to what happens to collectives when their labour and interactions pass through various media channels.

Photos by Petre Fall.


Geert Lovink

After more than two decades of squatting and tactical media work in the cultural sector, in 2004 Geert Lovink founded the Institute of Network Cultures at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. His centre organizes conferences, publications and research networks such as Video Vortex (online video), Unlike Us (alternatives in social media) and MoneyLab (internet-based revenue models in the arts). Recent projects deal with digital publishing and the future of art criticism. He is the founder of the internet criticism mailing list nettime (1995). In spring 2019 his latest book Sad by Design will be published.

Georgiana Cojocaru

Georgiana Cojocaru is an art writer, curator and editor from Bucharest. She completed “The Contemporary” M.A programme at the University of Kent because, at that age, she thought of herself vacant enough so as to chase after such theory heavy and impossibly vague a concept. Luckily for her, she rediscovered a former passion in writing and her interest in storytelling, theory fiction, fan fiction, and poetics.