Pretending An Order

The problem is, perhaps, that we already have a new order.

In this time of financial crisis, the decline of the social state, growing intolerance and the uncreativeness of the creative, we (the critical minded) tend to demand a new order: Elitist art should turn into an art against elites, l'art pour l'art should find a distribution system apart from the high capitalist art market and financial capitalism should be abolished, to begin with.

In order to accomplish all these goals, we need a new order. A world of equal distribution, affordable rents, save environment, middle-class artists instead of stars and losers or, to put it in other words: a system which meets our basic needs.

But perhaps we already have a new order, and this is the problem.
We have a new order which functions quite well as a system (even though it does not work for the individuals involved), and it is not that old in the way it operates. A system where we work for free on the way to achieve this one distant, possibly unachievable goal: to live from what we have studied or learned, to live from our jobs.

We, the graduates form Art Academies or Humanity Departments all over Europe, are looking forward to entering an internship market instead of a job market, a system of self organizing instead of paid professions and a vicious circle of over qualification instead of promotion prospects. We are on the way of becoming a society of educated, unemployed homo ludens - we play and don't work.

Nevertheless, intellectuals on congresses and congregations on symposia and socialist sessions demand a new order. But how can we establish yet another new order, if we have just created one?

There is an expanded interest in space and time in the arts, also other large concepts such as the notion of democracy and financial capitalism seem to be popular topics at art conferences. Perhaps not only today but ever since. I am strangely intrigued by these subjects as well. Maybe because looking at the big, unsolvable picture distracts us from glancing at the close and equally complex questions. Maybe it is also comforting to know that any moment an unexpected meteorite could smash the earth into pieces; or a political revolt could disempower the political elite; or the ultimate outgrowth of the financial crisis will hit the absurdly rich and make them as needy as the educated unemployed.

For Finding a New Order we paid a few young artists and academics a ridiculously small fee and still we pay more than others would. All the contributions in this magazine are not "a chance" we give to other artists, it is rather a chance for us (the artist-organizers), that all these artists are willing to collaborate with us. Even though collaborating in something which has to do with the art world, means to collaborate in a system of winners and losers, of exploitation and desperation.

I have another suggestion. What if this publication is not a piece of art and does not belong to the world of art at all. Perhaps Finding a New Order belongs to another art world than the field we know of. One which is deprived of exploitation, of unpaid labour and institutional dependence. Where professional artists don't queue up in a line which measures three kilometres in order to exhibit uncompensated and uncredited.
If we are all aware of these vast inequalities and of the high competition we face, we will regrettably only stick to what we have and we - those who try to enter the field of arts - will sadly not help each other but only try to survive ourselves, as individuals.

So perhaps we have to deny what we face and pretend to be active in a field where we can demand what our qualification and interests would usually allow us to ask for. Like this we can help and support each other instead of competing. If we pretend and don't fear, we can possibly deny the rules of the new order to rule our lives and create yet another order, which meets our needs.

Doris Prlic
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