Connectivists manifesto: Art against alienation

futurist manifestoTalked with Marina yesterday about art manifesto’s, and the Futurist Manifesto in particular, so decided too look that up. See Futurist Manifesto and the Wiki entry on art manifesto’s.

Not having a particularly good day, I decided to make a pastiche manifesto, using the Futurist Manifesto as a template. This helped me to get into a better mood, but also it became interesting, which is why I will post it here. As you will see, it became the ‘connectivists manifesto‘.  Key part for me is from bullet item no. 6: Art must be a cohesive assault on the forces of alienation.

We have been up all day, my friends and I, beneath TL lamps whose aluminium casings are as dull as our souls, because like them we were crushed by the expectations of a new millennium, of dreams fuelled by technology and the birth of the global economy. And trampling underfoot our disappointments on threadbare linoleum, we have been discussing right up to the limits of our knowledge and burdened our computers with demented writing.

Our hearts were filled with immense expectations when standing alone at the dawn of this  new millennium, like the vanguards of a new movement, facing the multitudes engaged in non-stop bartering and in gratifying their every whim and impulse. Multitudes, served by managers in the boardrooms of power, unperturbed by the black spirits which rage in the memorials of past and future wars started for economic gain and cultural dominance. While we stand as outcasts, beating our wings against the walls of modern society.

`Come, my friends!’ I said. `Let us go! At last consumerism and the cult of the latest must-have gadget will be left behind. We must break down the gates of society to test the bolts and the padlocks! Let us go! Here is the very first sunrise on earth! Nothing equals the splendour of its red sword which strikes for the first time in our new millennium’s darkness.’

A great sweep of realism brought us sharply back to ourselves and drove us through the streets, steep and deep, like dried up torrents. Here and there unhappy goods in shop windows taught us to despise what our eyes saw.

And yet we had no ideal  Form stretching her form up to the clouds, nor yet a cruel Future to whom to offer our corpses! No reason to die unless it is the desire to be rid of the too great weight of our expectations!

MANIFESTO OF CONNECTIVISM

  1. The essential elements of our art will be courage, connectedness, love of the earth and the ability to travel through time.
  2. Art has up to now magnified immobility, conformability and slumber. We want to ridicule art consumerism, to display the double morals of the market economy at work in the art world.
  3. We declare that the splendour of the world has been dulled by an age filled with blind consumerism and ruthless exploitation of natural resources. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents… a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, are more to blame for this than the Victory of Samothrace.
  4. We want to sing of the man and woman of action, the ideal of a life lived with a rhythm that is linked to an earth that is itself hurling along its orbit.
  5. The artist must spend himself with energy, purpose and warmth to increase the bond between man and the primordial elements, between man and himself.
  6. Beauty exists only in connectedness. There is no masterpiece that has not a convivial character. Art must be a cohesive assault on the forces of alienation.
  7. We are standing on the interface of two millennia. What is the use of looking to the past or to the future at the moment when we must open the mysterious gates of the here and now?
  8. Time and Space gave birth to Hyperspace. We are already living in it; we have created alienation and disconnectedness as a main characteristic of global culture.
  9. We want to embrace the here and now – the only cure for the world – and leave behind the beautiful but dangerous ideas of an ideal Future for which this last age mankind has killed and contempted itself.
  10. We want to link museums, libraries, galleries and art spaces of many kinds to transform them, connect them to form one giant virtual space where all of mankind can roam at will.
  11. We will sing of the multi-coloured and polyphonic surf of the modern workplace: the 24-hour vibration of the arsenals and the workshops connected by electronic means: the websites dangling off the internet by the thread of their on-line discussions; great-bellied mainframes, puffing in their air-conditioned rooms like the new lords of creation, and the gliding flight of pictures and words along the fibreglass wires whose lengths spans oceans and continents.
  12. It is from our multi-cultured and multi-layered backgrounds that we are issuing this manifesto of groundedness and optimism, by which we today are founding Connectivism.

This world has been devoted to the marketplace for too long. We want to get rid of the innumerable places of commerce that cover the planet with graveyards of useless commodities and purposeless products. Get rid of an artworld that commodifies our inspirations and the sources and outcomes of our dreams.

Shopping malls! Truly identical in their sinister juxtaposition of shoppers that do not know each other but fall over each other in search of the best, the ultimate purchase. Public spaces where you walk side by side for ever with beings you hate or do not know. Ferocity of the artists who murder each other in the name of progress and lust after fame with outdated technologies of line and colour.

To take our energies, our fragile courage and our anxiety to the marketplace every day, that we cannot admit! What can we find in the old economy except the painful recipes of the artist trying to break barriers that no longer have any meaning, but that obstruct the full expression of her dream? Indeed daily immersion in the market economy (that wasteland of futile effort, over-production and unrealistic demands) is as harmful for artists as is success at a too-early age.

For the unthinking consumers it may be all right. It is, perhaps, some sort of balm for their wounds, the healing properties of buying and selling, at a moment when the future is denied them. But we will have none of it, we, the young, strong and living Connectivists!

Let the consumerists perish! Here they are! Heap up the fire to burn their mass-produced acquisitions to ashes! Divert the canals to flood the floors of their shopping malls! Let the unawakened artworks of former times perish! Take the picks and hammers! Undermine the foundations of a society based on consumerism and commodification!

Look at us! We are not out of breath; our hearts are not in the least tired. For we are nourished by zeal, love and energy! Does this surprise you? It is because you do not even remember being alive! Standing on the world’s summit, we launch once more our challenge to the stars!

Your objections? All right! I know them! Of course! We know just what our beautiful false intelligence affirms: `We are only the sum and the prolongation of our ancestors,’ it says. Spend and consume, consume and spend: in the acquisition of goods lies our salvation! Perhaps! All right! But we will not listen! Take care not to repeat those infamous words! Instead, lift up your head!

Standing on the world’s summit we launch once again our insolent challenge to the stars!”

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