Photo: © Work of Damien Grant «Recycling Committee», Courtesy of National Gallery, Harare, Photo of the author
For the last few months our thinking at Fondation WhiteSpaceBlackBox was focused on «HEALING», the topic of 2023. It’s obvious that healing is not only about body and soul, the wounds of war, the loss of trust but also about the planet and our univers. The deeper the Global North dives into these burning issues, the more of VOODOO techniques occur.
The «Angstlust» about the climate catastrophe ends in simple solutions for complex problems. Stinking engines running on despot oil are to be replaced by e-mobility. The ozone hole we plug with vegan fast food and the social inequality in the world is talked away by woken language. Phufff-zagga-boummm, gone is the evil. VOODOO everywhere. Does this really heal the planet?
We cultivate the outrage industry with loud but empty words that distract from the essential: Change starts with me. With my air travel. Is the art fair in Miami really different from the one in HongKong, Basel or Cape Town? Does the Biennale in Dakkar have more surprise potential than the exhibition opening in Oagadougou? Is it enough to post a solidarity statement for Iranian women on Instagram or do you still remember the name of the hyped Ukrainian artist at the Venice Biennale 2022? Is the architecture of the MONA Museum in Hobart really less boring than Chipperfield’s in Mexico City?
For too long, we lulled ourselves into false certitudes. The rhetoric of 1968 and its march through the institutions did not lead to more equality, but to more self-righteousness.
1973 – fifty years ago – the Club of Rome called for a second atmosphere if China were to develop the same mobility ambitions as the West. This scenario has long since arrived, only: we are still waiting for the second atmosphere.
In 1989 we thought that communism was overcome, and capitalism would be the better system. The consequences of this false euphoria are currently being fought out on the deadly battlefields of Ukraine.
Since 1993, the Internet has been spreading its digital doctrine of salvation. And every no-brainer can now fart his effusions into the echo chamber in real time. People glue themselves to art and lament over emotional sensitivities instead of exchanging arguments. Is that why the planet is coming to an end? Probably not, but whether humans as such will survive is another question. Already Frederic Vester predicted, that there are no worries about the planet, but human species will perish.
More than understandably, we escape from this complexity in feathery promises of salvation. It is unlikely that this permanent craze of VOODOO will get us anywhere. Simple solutions never work in complex systems. Personally, instead of letting myself being distracted by the next prediction of the doomsday, I prefer to rethink the obvious together with relevant artists and their works, while the artmarket-crowd is heading from one bubbly event to the next. Angstlust and self-pity are not human rights, but the soundtrack of decadence. Good for all of us now would be a perfect storm. Because: Only after storm the rainbow will appear.
I invite you to visit our new exhibition at the lake of Neuchatel. It’s about HEALING and – of course –also a little bit on VOODOO… Ultimately, it is about creating social relevance.