In the Romanian magazine Revista ARTA, Cristina Bogdan offers a scathing rant about the complacency and hypocrisy of this year’s Transmediale festival in Berlin, which was held in early February. Bogdan writes that the festival embodied today’s art world at its worst: full of lazy, well-worn critiques of technology and capitalism, and totally blind to its own Eurocentrism. Here’s an excerpt:
I am writing to de-solidarize from this artworld, to denounce it as a self-absorbed and distructive, even though predictable, development in the Western body, one that is aggressive enough to spread into Western-oriented bodies such as all of us in the East and South. It’s not that people are dumb enough to still look at the West and want to be them, it’s also that such a deceitful artworld can quickly co-opt outsider initiatives and re-write them in this code of hypocrisy, making their initial freshness seem naïve, provincial and unmarketable (although this is precisely what they are, marketable). The artworld is a microcosm where economic and social trends are put into more clear forms that can be observed, manipulated, subverted, sometimes in a voodoo-like manner. It may not be the button that turns on/off the system, but it surely has a function of reconfiguring signs, which either are or can be confused with things and operations. Therefore a farce such as Transmediale is both a mirror and a trigger for phenomena in the world outside it, setting patterns, hierarchies and codes by which those whom it represents inflict their power onto those it is able to lure into believing they are some sort of other.
Image: Transmediale 2018. Via Revista ARTA.