There’s nothing wrong in itself with the demand that art give up its modernist ‘autonomy’ and become medium of social critique, but what goes unmentioned is that the critical stance is blunted, banalized, and finally made impossible by this requirement. When art relinquishes its autonomous ability to artificially produce its own differences, it also loses the ability to subject society, as it is, to a radical critique. All that remains for art is to illustrate a critique that society has already levelled at or manufactured for itself. To demand that art be practised in the name of existing social differences is actually to demand the affirmation of the existing structure of society in the guise of social critique.
Schlingensief also describes his modus operandi as: ‘inviting a multitude of systems to gather in a dance and that dance becomes the picture’.
This undecidability with regards to its position is also what Slavoj Zizek pinpoints as the strength of the strategy of over-identification. As he writes about Laibach and their in-breeding of Stalinist and Nazi symbols: ‘By means of the elusive character of their desire, the indecidability as to “where they actually stand”, Laibach compels us to take up our position and decide upon our desire.’
This constant shifting between opposing positions – between over-statement,on the one hand, and mockery or critique, on the other – is an express attempt by Schlingensief to ‘produce the contradiction’, which is how he defines the task of artistic resistance. Or, as one commentator put it, Schlingensief creates situations that not only are not clear, but also cannot be made clear.
There are some people here who have been waiting in centres around Europe for years only to have their asylum request rejected. They stand to lose everything – they’d rather jump off the building than get caught.
Across the world, the operating procedures of contemporary financial capitalism render many aspects of everyday life beyond the necessities of social interaction and negotiation. As theorist and activist, Franco Berardi, repeatedly emphasizes, finance capital is not simply about exotic forms of exchange value but rather the elaboration of mathematical languages as the primary means of reading the world, of assessing what is important and of making decisions. Determinations of efficacy are taken out of the realm of messy human everyday deliberation and instead rendered as probabilistic calculations, algorithmic screenings of increasingly massive data sets, which situate human actors as an ensemble of interoperable profiles and coding systems. As such, precarity is not simply the increasing informalization of labor, but the stripping away of the capacities of people to desire and imagine ways of being with each other, of feeling empathy for each other. For Berardi then, the important feature of the urban commons is to revitalize ways for inhabitants to be able to imagine acting in concert. For, it is impossible to act collaboratively unless the potential participants can envision such collaboration, to imagine it, to sense its incipient outlines. A large part of this effort then is to live amidst things, people, situations, and materials that do not seem to go together, to use inhabitation itself as a device that keeps things in some kind of proximity. In maneuvers that anticipate the logics of financialization but are not of them, the discordant need not be integrated in some kind of overarching perspective, but rather be sufficiently related so as to pay attention to each other, to be available to different uses.
What’s at the core of a lot of disquiet within mainstream Australia is that unannounced boat people violate people’s sense of sovereignty - that is, they’re choosing us rather than we’re choosing them
Still, Australians might then chastise these genuine refugees for “queue jumping”; that is, not waiting their turn in camps vaguely imagined by Australians to be conveniently available elsewhere in the world.
A second Mohammed, who is 16 or 17, from Algeria, describes how he clung to the bottom of a lorry as it drove from the lorry park near Calais. “I hid between two wheels underneath,” he says. “You sit underneath the lorry, you stretch out and you hold on with two hands. You need to hold on like that for 20 minutes, once the engine starts, then you hold on only for as long as it takes to get the lorry on to the train or boat.” He describes another spot where it is possible to hide on most lorries: “A tiny platform above the wheel arch where the spare tyre is; you get backache – you can’t move once you are in position. They do sometimes check, but they can’t see you.” He is surprised at my ignorance about hiding places on trucks, says “all people know this”, and laughs.
The banal graphics of an inhumane policy (via Counter People Smuggling Communication)

The banal graphics of an inhumane policy (via Counter People Smuggling Communication)