Thursday, 28 November 2013

FOCUS > sull'intervista a Thomas Bernhard

il 30 ottobre branko ha postato sul mio profilo fb l'intervista a Thomas Bernhard. è iniziata una discussione che pensiamo sia interessante condividere.

caro branko,
l'intervista a bernhard che hai postato su fb mi trova d'accordo in quanto provocazione, come punto di partenza, ma per certi versi la trovo decisamente pericolosa.
bisogna considerare che l'austria non è e non è mai stata l'italia. in austria lo stato è molto presente e l'unico modo per fare arte è avere soldi dallo stato – cosa che da noi non accade. questa mentalità è entrata nel dna di chiunque voglia fare uno spettacolo, scrivere musica o altro - giovane o vecchio che sia. anche gli artisti indipendenti e della scena underground ricevono periodicamente sussidi. qui non è così.

The arts must support themselves. Not even great institutions ought to be subsidized. They ought to operate at the behest of a commercial principle: “Devour or starve.”

l'idea del principio commerciale dell'arte in sé mi troverebbe d'accordo se tutto fosse diverso. in questo momento storico vorrebbe dire cancellare tutto ciò che non è mainstream e solo i comici di zelig o i personaggi televisivi avrebbero spazio.

What we need is a commercial theater scene, then we’ll get, you know, small, self-supporting opera productions, and things will get back to being natural.

certo se tutto si riducesse a piccole produzioni, forse. ma non sarebbe un modo per dettare una legge che non permetterebbe la visionarietà del teatro?
non so.
forse è vero, la soluzione sarebbe azzerare e ripartire da capo.
mi sembra però che il ragionamento di bernhard vada un po’ in questa direzione: non si mette in discussione il rapporto tra arte e denaro, semplicemente si cerca un modo altro all'interno del sistema esistente. 
a me, in fondo, importa poco che qualcuno prenda i soldi dal ministero, che i miei coetanei danzatori percepiscano la pensione. ognuno fa le proprie scelte e la mia è stata quella di non chiedere sovvenzioni ministeriali, di non diventare un burocrate, di non entrare nella logica del sussidio, di vivere solo del "commercio" della mia "arte". e pago le conseguenze della mia scelta così come loro pagano le loro (anche se decisamente più comode). allora, perché non mi basta? qual è il problema? dovrei essere appagata, invece…  
il problema è che il mercato non è libero? che c'è una concorrenza sleale da parte di chi percepisce sovvenzioni statali? che i circuiti sono blindati?
tutte cose vere, ma che sappiamo da sempre.
allora perché adesso? perché la torta è troppo piccola e a noi non restano neanche le briciole?
mi sembra che questa intervista porti la discussione in una direzione che non è quella che stiamo tentando di seguire da mesi, cioè: è possibile un'uscita radicale? e quale?
iniziamo anche eliminando alcuni termini dal nostro vocabolario: produzione - mercato. riguardano il nostro fare?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

FOCUS> Interview with T. Bernhard by K. Fleischmann

Thomas Bernhard Interviewed by Krista Fleischmann

(Wien 1984)


FLEISCHMANN: You were trained as an actor.  Has this had any influence on the way you write?

BERNHARD: Probably.  Everything you learn has a huge influence on everything you do.  Of course I was also trained as a businessman; that’s also always played an important role.  I was also trained as a gardener and as a truck-driver, and in both cases I also learned a lot about human beings.  So you come the proverbial full circle and subsequently write a few relatively decent books.  I’m basically not a writer and have never thought of myself as one.

FLEISCHMANN: But rather as…?

BERNHARD: I have always been a real human being at bottom.  The sort of literary writing that [writers] envisage, compose, or whatever, has precious little to do with reality and is actually totally worthless.  You can plainly see that when you open any of their books.  They consist almost completely of worthless rubbish written by people who are sitting in some government-subsidized apartment, collecting a pension, and there their little domestic problems arise, and then they have filing-cabinets, and then they you know make their books, they sew them together like seamstresses.

FLEISCHMANN: How do you make your books?

BERNHARD: I have always been a free man; I have no pension and I write my books in a completely natural manner, in accordance with the way I live, which is guaranteed to be different from that of all these people.  Only a person who is actually independent can actually write well.  If you’re dependent on anybody or anything whatsoever, people will smell it in every sentence.  Your dependency will hobble every sentence you write.  And so there are whole sentences that are hobbled, whole pages that are hobbled, whole books that are hobbled, because people are simple dependents: [dependents on] a wife, a family, three children, ex-spouses, a government, a company, an insurance policy, the boss.  No matter what they write, it always reeks of dependency, and for that reason it’s [always] lousy, hobbled, hamstrung.

FLEISCHMANN: But of course many writers are living below the poverty level; shouldn’t you at least cut them a bit of…?

BERNHARD: […]That’s their own damn fault; I tell you I have always shifted for myself; I’ve never received a subsidy; nobody has ever gone out of their way on my account, from the beginning to the present.  I am against all subsidies, against all pensions, and artists should never receive a penny for free from anybody.  That would be the ideal scenario; then maybe something worthwhile would be produced.  All the doors that artists are trying to pass through should be shut and bolted.  Instead of being given even the smallest handout, they should be kicked out on to the street.  That is never going to happen [here], and that’s why our art is lousy and our literature is lousy.  [These artists] only have to worm their way into any old nook or cranny of some newspaper or governmental department; they start out as geniuses and wind up in Room 463 with its shelf-fuls of paperwork, because they’re cosseted from cradle to grave.  Well, it goes without saying that you can’t write a decent book once you’re in a place like that.

FLEISCHMANN: In other words, there should essentially be no support?

BERNHARD: None whatsoever, as far as the arts go!  The arts must support themselves.  Not even great institutions ought to be subsidized.  They ought to operate at the behest of a commercial principle: “Devour or starve.”  The reason our cultural life is so kaput is that it’s all being propped up.  Such a huge garbage dump can hardly be produced by anybody who’s not being supported from behind by a subsidy, and thereby ruined.

FLEISCHMANN: What about the official state theaters, the Burgtheater for example?

BERNHARD: At bottom they should all be simply gotten rid of.  What we need is a commercial theater scene, then we’ll get, you know, small, self-supporting opera productions, and things will get back to being natural.  You can sum the rule up in one sentence: If it’s subsidized or government-funded, get rid of it.  I would never give a young artist ten schillings, or even one schilling.  He’s got to get out there on his own, and either he will make it or he won’t.  That’s what I did, after all.  But Austria is a subsidizing state, and so of course everything is subsidized, every moron is glutted and bandaged with subsidies, and has his eyes and ears stuffed with government money, so that people cease to see, cease to hear, and finally cease to exist.

FLEISCHMANN: Isn’t it exactly the same in other countries?

BERNHARD: I don’t think so.  Here it’s immeasurably excessive.  And if it exists in other countries, then it’s only a tiny fraction of what it is here.  A writer who can depend only upon himself for support, who has to work, is also a writer who will actually accomplish something.  But if he knows in advance, “Well, I really don’t have to do anything, because my pension from the Ministry, or some other kind of allowance, is already on its way,” then the whole situation is simply hopeless.  Then they all just sit there at their spinning-wheels and wait for their allocation from the ministry, and weave.
FLEISCHMANN: But a large portion of the expenditures [on the arts] are basically expenses on personnel.  It would at present be a great hardship if people in that sector were, for example, fired.

BERNHARD: Well, some people will have to be fired; some people will also have to come [back] to life; the stages of our major theaters are frequented by actual corpses, there are literally thousands of people [there] who at bottom are chickenfeed and who are simply tolerated.  The theaters must support themselves, [especially] the state theaters.  The very word [“state theater”] is nonsensical.  A theater belongs in a specific building, whose rent and everything else has to be collected on the spot.  As it happens, I’ve got one of those buzzwords [for it]—all buzzwords are, of course, abominable—but, anyway, the word in question, “downsizing,” would in this case actually be appropriate.  Every single one of them deserves to be downsized, right down to the point where they’re invisible.  And if the actors put on good theater, then people will go into the theaters, and then they will manage to support themselves.

FLEISCHMANN: And what if one of these theaters then says, “Thomas Bernhard is demanding too high a percentage of the takings; we’ve got to cut his share back”?

BERNHARD: I am a businessman and I’ll demand, you know, what my product is worth.  It’s like my great-grandfather used to say: “I’m selling butter for this price; if you don’t want my butter and think it’s too expensive, then get the hell out of here.”  And because I hardly ever allow my plays to be performed and even then just once, I’m a relatively low-cost investment.  But for that one time I intend to get as much as Ithink I deserve for the time I’ve spent working on the play.  I’ve never made a fuss as a matter of principle or been a chiseller over what’s due to me [“as an artist”], because that’s all official [claptrap], and I’ve always detested the herd instinct, even [when it comes to getting paid].  Anybody who produces something has a sense of what it’s worth, and you can have it for that price, which I intend to have.  If the price isn’t right, too bad!  That’s the best system there is.  It’s the only one I’ve ever known.  


Source: Thomas Bernhard--Eine Begegnung.  Gespräche mit Krista Fleischmann (Vienna: Edition S, 1991).

Wednesday, 13 November 2013




Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1 from 15h

@ Ex-Macello - Via dei Mulini 23/25 – Cesena (Italy)

F.A.C.K. invites to temporary suspension of artistic / theoretical / curatorial / spectatorial practice in order to meet and debate on art’s status and power in our society marked by a profound structural crisis.

We go back to the drawing board with the question: Which radical way out?
During the last F.A.C.K. #2 event we asked ourselves about the meaning of our actions in relation to the political and economic situation that devastates our being in the world and about possible ways out of it. We opened a debate that has not been in any way concluded. Many felt that what is needed is more time for conversation. In following months, some of us continued the discussion and the necessity appeared for a more open and broad confrontation in order to understand if the sense of unease common to many may lead to a shared paradigm shift or to strictly individual one.
This time another crucial question adds up: which art?

“Take the politics: why does it not finally examine persons’ lives? Not biological life, bare life, which today is continually in question in often vain debates on bioethics, but the various forms of life, the way in which each of us is linked to a use, a gesture, a practice. Also: why art, poetry, literature, are museified and relegated to a world apart, as if they were politically and existentially irrelevant?” (Agamben)

The transformations of society have influenced and shaped so far different artistic languages and the underlying production models. Take the modernist formalist tradition for which art has its own autonomous rules and values not linked to social, political or everyday life. As is known the modernist myth of autonomous art was formed within the nascent 19th century bourgeois society and was the expression of ideological and economic interests of capitalistic elites (it eventually led to the formation of art market as we still know it today). As is sadly known too even the rebellious impulses of the 20th century avant-garde movements, which questioned the given concept of autonomy and sought for alternative languages and models, have been in most cases captured by the system (market), or ether simply marginalized.

Today, within the devastated social landscape that surrounds us are emerging some fresh and innovative cultural experiences in which new models of collaboration, self-organization and self-production are experimented. Those experiences call for radical redefinition of the concept of autonomy and for critical reconsideration of its potential in the present context. Will these emerging micro-models be able to generate the new artistic language(s)? Are they too doomed to being captured or marginalized? Or perhaps is (finally) becoming possible a different art - made by persons (artists or not), for the persons (spectators or not), and solely in the interest of the persons? An art not only truly unhampered from various ideological and economic interests - and in that sense effectively autonomous/independent - but also and above all able to influence and transform the present social paradigm based on profit and exploitation, on domination and exclusion.

On November 30 and December 1 F.A.C.K. meets in public at Ex-Macello in Cesena (Italy) for a shared reflection on those (and other linked) crucial questions. We invite those active in the field of contemporary arts and culture as well as all interested individuals to join the debate (or simply be present). The meeting is open and the debate adopts the form of a round table. Those who wish to participate can confirm their presence by e-mail:

F.A.C.K. is temporary and transitional, open and collaborative platform-event self-produced and self-organized by participating artists, theorists, curators and technicians. Its aim is to question the contemporary art system and to experiment with new models of organization and production in performing and visual arts. F.A.C.K. explores, both through practice and theory, the critical means for personal and social change within the context of the current crisis. The August 2012 and May 2013 events took place in Cesena (Italy), each lasted about two weeks and included performances, concerts, workshops, debates, film/video screenings and exhibitions with the participants from both Italy and abroad.

+39 338 1889040


* fragments from the debate on 25 may
first part -
second part -

Monday, 11 November 2013

F.A.C.K.3 / CALL - ITA


sabato 30 novembre e domenica 1 dicembre dalle ore 15
@ Ex Macello – Via dei Mulini 23/25 - Cesena

F.A.C.K. invita alla temporanea sospensione della pratica artistica/teorica/curatoriale/spettatoriale per ritrovarsi e interrogarsi sul fare artistico nella nostra società segnata da una crisi profonda:

“Prendiamo la politica: perché non interroga finalmente la vita delle persone? Non la vita biologica, la nuda vita, che oggi è continuamente in questione nei dibattiti spesso vani sulla bioetica, ma le diverse forme di vita, il modo in cui ciascuno si lega a un uso, a un gesto, a una pratica. Ancora: perché l’arte, la poesia, la letteratura, sono museificate e relegate in un mondo a parte, come se fossero politicamente e esistenzialmente irrilevanti?” (G.Agamben)

Ripartiamo dall'interrogativo "Quale uscita radicale?"
Durante la scorsa edizione di F.A.C.K. ci siamo interrogati sul senso del nostro fare in relazione alla situazione politica ed economica che devasta il nostro stare al mondo. Abbiamo aperto un dibattito* che non è stato in alcun modo concluso. Il tempo per le parole e i pensieri non è bastato. In questi mesi alcuni di noi hanno proseguito la discussione ed è nata la necessità di un confronto più aperto e ampio per capire se il disagio comune a molti può portare a un cambio di paradigma condiviso o strettamente individuale.
Gli interrogativi ora sono: quale uscita? quale arte?

Le trasformazioni della società hanno condizionato e plasmato finora i linguaggi artistici dominanti e i sottostanti modelli produttivi. Il mito modernista dell’”autonomia” dell’arte è stato un prodotto della nascente società borghese (capitalista) e l'espressione dei suoi interessi ideologici ed economici. Anche i fenomeni ribelli – le varie avanguardie - che sperimentavano linguaggi e modelli alternativi, nella maggior parte dei casi sono stati catturati dal sistema istituzionale, oppure del tutto emarginati. Nel devastante panorama attuale stanno d’altra parte nascendo alcune inedite esperienze culturali dove si sperimentano nuovi modelli di collettività, di auto-organizazzione, di autoproduzione, in forte contrasto con il paradigma dominante. Questi nuovi (micro)contesti socio-culturali saranno in grado di generare una prassi artistica radicalmente diversa, o anche essi verranno catturati o emarginati? O sta forse (finalmente) diventando possibile un’altra arte, fatta dalle persone (artisti o non), per le persone (spettatori o non) e nel solo interesse delle persone? Un’arte non solo realmente svincolata dai vari interessi economici e ideologici – e in questo senso veramente autonoma/indipendente – ma anche e soprattutto capace di influenzare, fino a trasformarla, la moderna società basata sul profitto e sul predominio, sullo sfruttamento e sull'esclusione.

Il 30 novembre e il 1 dicembre F.A.C.K. si incontra pubblicamente all’Ex Macello di Cesena, e invita tutti quelli che operano nel campo dell'arte e della cultura, come anche tutte le persone interessate, a intervenire (o semplicemente a essere presenti) nella riflessione. L’incontro adotta una modalità aperta e a cerchio. Chi desidera intervenire può confermare la partecipazione tramite la e-mail di F.A.C.K.

F.A.C.K. è una piattaforma-evento collaborativa e aperta, autoprodotta e autogestita dagli artisti, dai teorici e dai tecnici che vi partecipano, creata per interrogarsi sul sistema dell’arte e sulla società contemporanea e per sperimentare nuovi modelli di organizzazione e produzione nelle arti performative e visuali. Attraverso la pratica e la discussione F.A.C.K. vuole riflettere sui cambiamenti sociali in atto e sulla posizione da prendere nella crisi trasversale attuale. Nel 2012 e 2013 sono state realizzate edizioni della durata di circa 15 giorni, che hanno incluso dibattiti, performance, concerti, laboratori, video proiezioni e mostre, con la partecipazione di artisti, e teorici italiani e stranieri.