Contemporary artistic production aiming at status of being leftist and politically articulated mainly uses two identification models. The first model is based on a description of contemporary political and economic situation, while the second is based on a prescription of a future political activity. The first, descriptionary, consists of theories of cognitive capitalism, knowledge economy, immaterial labor, precarity etc. Artists and curators identify themselves with the description of an allegedly dominant type of work in contemporary capitalism. This identification is also expected to provide a privileged epistemological position for decoding ideological patterns of actual mode of production. The prescription in question are Badiou’s and Ranciere’s theories of subject. Imagining subjectivation without prior analysis of political and economic situation and the constitution of subjects in a form of ephemeral dissent or ahistorical fidelity to an event, free from the burden of concrete post-revolutionary political struggle, where one is bound to get one’s hands dirty, allow the artists a comfortable framework for reflection of their own social position.
To open up a horizon for articulation of questions of political progressivness of artistic endeavors it is neccesary to change the angle of intervention. Problems of immaterial labor or rancierian concept of emancipatory subject demand political historization, not productive identification. What makes artistic practice political is precisely the insistence on a classical Jameson’s maxim – always historicize!
Marko Kostanić (1984) is a dramaturgist and political activist from Zagreb.