|[ EDITORIAL ]|
In order to trace the issues of ‘control’ and offer a setting for collecting, considering and distributing opinions, we try to imitate mechanisms that control an operating apparatus. Even structuring the magazine around a specific topic, which could be a metonym for the ‘perceptive process of what control is’, constitutes a challenge. But it also means that we as editors should be aware of all that is available and accessible, while making sure it instigates new projects and investigations, with specific interest in the political, tactical and philosophical aspects of ‘control mechanisms’ and their operational logic.
Accordingly, in each future issue, we intend to focus on particular constructions and consequences of these aspects, by defining a sub-topic and commissioning statements, analytical studies, interviews and artistic projects. We initiate KONTROL with ‘the pornography of fabricating fear’ as a sub-topic. We attempted to introduce opinions and perspectives ranging from controversial to conclusively defined views on the theme, but we insisted that departures from and muddles on the subject of fear are also present.
We assume that the process of ‘fabricating fear’ is an effective compulsion to control people’s lives, beliefs, and dreams. Such a process needs a systematically designed and financially equipped marketing strategy. One can likewise detect quite a lot of similarities between this process and the operational logic of the global domain of pornography. Therefore, along with the implications and needs of its widespread and powerful field, ‘pornography’ is practically the disturbing metaphor of this issue. The collection in it includes material that further delineates the magazine as an active instrument for producing critical ideas and discussions.
Thus, Maia Damianovic defines pornography as a “sexually explicit depiction created with the primary, immediate, aim and reasonable hope of bringing about significant sexual arousal in the consumer.” By including concepts of power and violence, she suggests that the definition of fear is varied, ranging from feelings of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger, to feelings of restlessness and apprehension
This question is further developed in Sebastian Cichocki’s interview with Christoph Draeger. Draeger employs various forms of personal experiences, with the use of public exhibits of violence and fear as the means of fascination and entertainment in the mainstream culture. The aspect of anticipation and uncertainty following ‘9/11’ is evident in the statements provided by Jeanne van Heejswick and Glenn Ligon. They both reflect on the meaning of commitment and willingness by focusing on the ‘forms of engagement’ with oneself and the world.
On the other hand, Geert Lovink’s contribution focuses the discussion on the possibility of seeing control as a cultural environment one can navigate through, rather than merely condemning it as a tool in the hands of authorities. In the article, Lovink responds to Danah Boyd’s study “Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace” with poignant and relevant criticism, questioning the cultural competence of our societies to jump over the walls built between disciplines and generations.
Meanwhile, Marina Grizinic questions the neo-liberal democracy in the political context of Europe as a possibility, and re-evaluates practices like feminism, underground, and radicalized theory, in order to “substitute the discourse of identity with an analysis of ideology and culture regarding bio-politics, capital, class struggle, as well as new institutional, theoretical, and economical forms of (in)direct expropriation, enslavement and colonization.” Traces of further analysis on the neo-liberal political context can be found in the discussion between Igor Stromajer and Ana Vujanovic, in which they raise the question on the possibility of re-politicizing anything through art practices today. Within the same context, Inke Arns profiles irrational - an international artist/activist group and movement founded in the post-Thatcher Britain of 1996 - and their critical and idiosyncratic forms of performative ideology with reference to the rhetorical statements of their public actions. With its marketing solidarity using slogans as “Temps of the World Unite – Turning Shit into Gold”, public proposals for the free usage of public transport, universal access to student ID cards, overcoming fences and walls by crossing borders without going through the official channels, it is invariably a matter of experiencing space differently and liberating the suppressing notion of fear and social paralysis.
The tension between the cognitive search and reactionary survival strategies under the shifts of imperialism, which is re-mapping and rearranging the world system, is the focus of Tul Akbal Sualp’s analysis. The unemployed underclass, either quietly or hesitantly, survive the inconvenience at the deserted corners of the city, and once again become pushed out and secluded in the projects, allowing the city to maintain its myth of “beauty, civilization and equality”. The protagonist is not an anti-hero anymore, but a non-hero who looks for sharable public space where various control mechanisms collide. Similarly, Zaneta Vangeli constructs her film “The Judge” as a contemporary allegory depicting evil and deviance in society. The film models a society where social apathy, deadening silence of human inertia and conformism exist partly due to the irrational, mystical absence of expressing one’s own will.
Suzana Milevska revises the responsibility of society while considering the impact and applicability of the relational theory and its relevance in the context of the artistic practice influenced by the postcolonial critique. Furthermore, she accentuates the problem of participatory art seen in the political and social-activist context, when considered as a call for revolution.
In line with the attempt to survey society, Ceren Oykut’s drawings on contingent and diverse urban cultures illustrate the multi-layered mundane incidents as obstacles that control our way of living and experiencing the city. Through those layers it is possible to witness how Istanbul, as a giant organism, hacks itself, suggesting an endless loop of events. Correspondingly, Taeyoon Choi’s collaborative performances hack Seoul by decoding the control mechanisms with ludic interventions. These interventions also question the design parameters of the public space incorporated within our behavioral codes.
After taking all these perspectives into consideration, the spectrum of our research area seems infinite. The open question for us now is whether, in the long run, this accumulative attempt would be able to stimulate any reaction wave or feedback.
Basak Senova and Yane Calovski