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Artists: Oscar Gaynor Henrik Heinonen Victor Ivanov Andrea Macario Matthew Peers Will Slater
16th and 22nd of March 2013
Chef: Will Peers
BLACK METAL CHICKEN
Publication: Henrik Heinonen Oscar Gaynor
Show curated by Henrik Heinonen
This PDF-file has been corrupted. The corpse of the undead or the living dead represent a human being without a subject, a man avoid of the self or the social identity. This human being turned into an object without an autonomous individual identity is one of the most significant questions today relating to political power, systems of information and how these define a man, a human being as a social entity. . Through the change into modernity the 20th century nations and governments sought to enhance their power over an individual by this very same idea of a human without a subject. Through totalitarian regulation and the definition of a person as a representation of an abstract ideal such as race, nation or a particular political ideology, the political power sought to limit and correct a person by turning him into an image, an object rather than an autonomous self-directing being. This was the main operative logic behind all of the great political experiments of the 20th century: Soviet communism, Fascism and National Socialism. However, these modern utopian projects notwithstanding, it has been and somewhat still is inherent to the way the liberal parliamentary democracy controls its subjects.
However, the power in the social regime of the modern societies sought to control a man through the manipulation of the subject itself; through limitation, punishment and correction of different ways of being a human. Subject is there, but the powers that be define it through lingual manipulation - political speech and action. [This is the essential thematic core of George Orwell’s 1984.]
become more and more like celebrity contests, where we vote for individual politicians according to the values we see them to represent, not according to the party program or pre-scheduled manifesto. Before the elections the parties do not give us information on what they see as problems in the society and how they will seek to solve them, but an advertising campaign which will push values and empty abstract ideals instead of concrete actions. This will then be scrapped quickly after the elections, when the party in power will continue more or less as their successors did. Today we can see ourselves drifting towards something completely different in terms of social organization and power. While we are more and more driven towards ever more liberal and at least some respects free society, at the same time the political power we have over our lives seems to drip from our hands. The post-political or post-democratic condition (as the phenomenon has become to be known as) shifts the political decision making away from the public democratic institutions, such as the British Parliament, and more and more into the hands of various lobby groups, consultants and corporations. The elections have We have transformed from the political power to the managerial power, i.e. are more and more to a society driven like a corporation rather than a state. Managerial power seeks to forever correct the system, whether it works or not, by implementing rules and regulations or changing the personnel in responsible, but never corrects the system itself and certainly never admits its own mistakes. It is not driven by a political manifesto or a larger moral or social view of the society, but simply by a will to make more capital – the guiding rule of any system under capitalism. The strength of democracy is its ability to correct itself when it results in
a system or a structure of power that is harmful to its citizens or to itself. Managerial rule does not ever correct itself – it just ceases to exist.
The way this system can keep itself going is, for the large part, technology. While we celebrate new inventions and how they seemingly make our life easier and give us ever faster and better accessibility to information – which sometimes is confused with the equal division of power – it also seems to affect our life and our identity in ways in which it is impossible to prepare oneself for. Cybernetic technological networks that have become a stable part of our life have at least seemingly decreased the control which our social regime has over us. Nevertheless, there seems to be something here we do not yet seem to fully understand.
While constantly hailed are the liberating possibilities and new frontiers of the technology , we don’t quite seem to realize how much our experience of the fragmented self, the loss of social cohesion and the unifying structure of society, is due to our daily interaction with cybernetic mechanisms that only few of us can truly claim to understand. Could it be, that while we interact with the cybernetic feedback loop that networks us to a global system of machines and other users, we loose some of the ability to choose and guide our decisions - the ability which the modern man has become accustomed while reading a book, looking at a painting or watching a film?
Take, for an example, Internet trolling and the various form of cyber bullying emerging (especially amongst the youth). Anonymity seems to make us loose part of our personal identity and experience of self. Perhaps this is the reason why criminals and performers wear a mask: to create a new empty stage upon which to perform their new identity, the one they might not be able to perform in their normal social milieu. But the mask is not just a random object to shield an individuals identity to perform acts that in normal social correspondence would be unthinkable. A mask is a series of claims provided by the society to the individual wishing to act against it, a social structure or reflection of such, a way to enter a liminal space, the place between – that of transformation. The obsession of the popular culture on the living dead or the undead – the vampires, zombies and such – can be seen as a reflection of this phenomenon. The living corpse, as defined in the modern horror genre starting from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), is the perfect Tabula Rasa, an empty set of statements that constitute a body without a subject, a mound of flesh that seemingly has all of the
attributes of a human being but without a self, will, or sense of identity. In other words, the perfect subject of power and social organization as shown by the experiments of the early 20th Century.
However, the loss of ones subject does not necessarily need to result in a large authoritarian state-controlled society. We can probably now safely decree dead the humanist subject as it was formed for the modern society by the scholars of the enlightment. There is no horizon of the sublime nature against which we can assert our defiant individuality, only a cybernetic brain that rules only according to the logic of its own, a mindless system which we are inherently a part of, but over which we have less and less control. This virtual ant brain has structured itself as the morning-after pill for postmodernity. Forget the great narrative of humanity. You are one of us now.
Zombies, by definition, are a mindless and thoughtless mass of flesh craving corpses, unstoppable except the sufficient “cure” of a bullet through their brains. However, is there not a possibility here, in this horrific condition of living without a subject or sense of self, for radical opening of the humanity for new possibilities? What if you just let go? Let go of every preconditioned fabrication of social performance that your parents, society, teachers and almost every person you have ever met has instigated upon you, the whole traditional idea of subjective, individual human being that makes his path in the nature, but separate of it?
What if you reject the whole idea of nature as well since, to be fair, we haven’t had any of that for centuries anyway? What if you just die as this semi-cybernetic construction modelled according to the past ideals and become something new? Something that structures itself according to the rule of friendship instead of power? Love, instead of the grudging animosity that has become the rule of living for our global metropolitan areas? A human being that can flow on these virtual circuit surfaces and unmask himself for the whole global community as a
Ultimately, the zombies always win.