Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watching TV online

The snow in New York is heavy and persistent. The zine “House Magic” #2 is in the hands of the designer. I called it for “winter,” but now maybe better call it “Spring 2010” since it will not be PDF’d until next month. I am hopeful, but uncertain where the project goes from here. As a traveling exhibition, it is much to bear, and my resources are thinning. Still, I have been digging, digging in the subject, and will start more to present my findings here.
I watched another part of “In Between the Movements,” the video project by Martin Krenn, which is online. This was the discussion between Gerald Raunig and Krenn at WUK in Vienna, 2008, in German subtitled in English. (From the WUK website: “The autonomous cultural center WUK (short for Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus) in Vienna,” one of the biggest in Europe, “is rooted in the ideas and demands of the ‘70s for spaces to enable contemporary cultural activities.”) It begins with the a primer on Félix Guattari’s idea of transversality, which arose out of his observations on the structure of power in his mental clinic. Specifically, the concept seeks to identify a flow of power outside of vertical hierarchies and horizontal forces. (Are those charismas? Let’s face it, I still don’t get it.) Then Gerald and Martin trot through the free school of WUK, talking about the way that school worked democratically between the interests of teachers, parents and students.
From the contradictions of this school, Raunig talks then of the “rule of forced self-administration” – in order to participate, one must attend the meetings where decisions are made. This is a key part of “instituent practice,” the arising of movement-based institutions. He notes the divide between two Vienna squats, the autonomous Ernst Kirchweger Haus and the institutionalized WUK. These two are antagonists: one is “good” since it accords with revolutionary principles, whereas the other is “bad” since it accords with neo-liberal civic transformations. (And, in other contexts, e.g., Zurich, one is “good” because it plays by the rules, and the other is “bad” because it’s illegal, and therefore subject to state repression.)
Raunig wants to dissolve this dichotomy, to reconcile the two positions, so that both are seen as movements, as part of the “machinization” of Deleuze and Guattari. Good luck. The radical anarchist “position,” that “a movement without institutionalization exists,” is not really at odds with the position that small scale “civil society institutions” could exist, and then create the “big Other of institutions.” Rebels will always need lawyers. And without direct action, we wouldn’t have any autonomous spaces to embrace or resist institutionalization.
In other news, I learned via Krax of the Ljubljana OSC Metelkova Mesto, which is thoroughly integrated into the youth tourist infrastructure of clubs and hostels. (City Mine(d) plans a conference there.) Rozbrat in Poznan, Poland is facing mid-March sale of the land their OSC stands on after 16 years renovating and enlivening “wasteland” in that gentrifying city. And I stumbled upon the first 2007 issue of a Canadian e-zine called “Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action,” which has articles on queer autonomous spaces, radical world building, Italy's Social Centers (by Steve Wright), Argentina’s worker-recovered enterprises movement, Zapatistismo in the U.S., and much more.

Martin Krenn, “In Between the Movements”


Rozbrat stays!

Affinities: Theory Culture and Action