We are watching the tsunami coming…
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perjovschi cascata web2UNTERGANGART
Up
dating the downfall


The present European financial crisis seems to reveal a number of economical and political systemic failures which have brought back the thought of the end from a state of latency. Politicians, economists, experts and academics are asked to formulate opinions, thesis, theories and premonitions about the possibility, for Europe and for the entire western neo-liberal system, to have come to an end.

In this frame, it is possible to recognize at least three different main attitudes in dealing with the end as object of the thought, three different declinations in understanding the crisis and reacting to it.

 

»Noch kein Ende abzusehen.«


The first attitude may be called negationist, and consists in avoiding to acknowledge the possibility of a systemic downfall. Like captains on a ship during a storm or a breakdown, politicians try to avoid panic on board and ask the passengers to “remain at their seats” or to “keep calm”, for the technocratic staff is most certainly going to solve the “technical problems”. This attitude, indeed, transforms the time of the crisis in a time of endless maintenance, of financial therapeutic obstinacy which sometimes, like in the recent cases of Greece or Italy, reaches new peaks of financial medicynism.


Dan Periowschi, Untitled, 2012, Poster


»Doch!«


A second attitude is well-interpreted by the media through the use of titles that describe the spectacle of the crisis as an imminent and unavoidable catastrophe. Europe is described as being at the mercy of quasi-natural forces: “Financial Tsunamis”, “market storms” and “bourse earthquakes” are only a few examples of how fragile and unstable the system is described, and how near the end might be. To the cries of “run for your lives!”, “everyone for himself!” or, more generally, “abandon the ship!” the downfall is no more described as an option, but as an unstoppable movement towards the end. The climate of suspension that negationists contribute to create, becomes a suspense climax in the spectacular adaptation of the crisis produced by the media.


The third attitude, on the contrary, experiences the crisis as a chance to rethink the entire system anew. The downfall is invoked as an eschatological turning point which marks the end of a disastrous order and the uprising of a new one based on a sustainable economical and political equilibrium. Pioneers of this attitude are those who, like look-outs on a drowning ship, enthusiastically scream ”Land!”, for they have seen the possibility to save themselves and all the crew from the cyclical fury of the stormy financial sea. Many different movements could be numbered among those who invoke the end instead of fearing it. They do not just wait for it to happen, but they demand it, they expect it to come for the sake of a better humanity. In this attitude, the eschatological perception of time also involves the uprising of a messianic figure (a community, a movement, an organization) capable to express the new values of the upcoming human being: Ecce Homo 2.0!


Although antithetic, these three attitudes share the fact that they react to the end as object of the thought. In the first case, the direction of the negationist sight, which evacuates the possibility of a systemic downfall, is dictated by the unsustainable image of the downfall process. In the second case, the end almost entirely saturates the vision of the media, which translate it into a daily catastrophic drama. As for the third attitude, the end seems to constitute the very conditio sine qua non that funds the very possibility for thinking a radically different system.

 

With UNTERGANGART: Updating the downfall, prominent end-time analysts, downfall-focused art-researchers, as well as common-or-garden downfallers are invited to conceive their work as sublimation and elaboration tools of a post-traumatic present, which is orphan of its own future: post-performances, post-speeches, post-installations and post-interventions as utterances of a post-discourse which talks us from the end:

- a passionate play for times of lent about the status of the downfall – or about the downfall as standstill-point of the occidental world and soul

- a world-ending European experimental station , in order to avoid the perhaps greatest danger – namely that in the end, or even after it, everything remains unchanged

- an indisciplinary total laboratory, where the best ways to experience and think the European downfall shall be tested and discovered.