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About Carrot, War and Anarchy or Carthago est delenda, Extended Editorial in three parts
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About Carrot, War and Anarchy or Carthago est delenda, Extended Editorial in three parts

Umělec magazine 2009/1

01.01.2009

Alena Boika | editorial | en cs de es

1. This text was written on the way to Luxembourg, in the four consecutive trains required to get from Prague to Colophon, the International Magazine Symposium. This event had looked extremely attractive to me till the very last moment. However, on the evening before departure I was amazed to learn that a “flash-pass,” giving the participants the right to be just that, would cost 100 euros. Of course, there was written on the website well before the opening, “Buy our flash-pass now and save yourself and us from headache.” But in my post-communist naivety I did not connect this imposed fee with the invited participants, without whom, I believed, the event could not happen. I was wrong. …On my way I am reading “Anthology of Modern Anarchism and Left Radicalism” and one thought keeps haunting me, “Cathago est delenda” (Carthage must be destroyed). …I am thinking back to when this issue of the magazine was prepared it seemed important at the time to say something about war—in Georgia, in Israel, in Chechnya—about war in general. But then the “world economic crisis” started and all forgot about the war. The news was about what declined and how it did—economics, industry, employment, the dollar; and all became indifferent to the bombs that were falling somewhere over there. But this crisis, unlike the war, is something to welcome. I hope that it will ruin ugly redundant systems such as Colophon, which depersonalize any creative or personal engagement. I like the beautiful word Purgatory. And I support the crisis if it results in an absence of money for both war and Colophon. …I am thinking about home and war. In this issue these two subjects are bound together. Home is the first thing war kills, the first thing a man loses and tries to keep. How banal it must sound. Truth is banal. I think of the order of the world. It is not my fault that there is no order and, like mushrooms after the rain, Colophons grow in the world. It is obvious that order is either destroyed or never existed. In this case, I can only call you to anarchy as the best model of self-organisation, life and creativity, which would never again be termed as art production. To the anarchy where there is no place for war, because everything there is war, there is no home, because everything there is home, there is no art, because everything there is art. Franz Kafka Train. March 12, 2009

2. My friend wrote to me at midnight saying, “I’m eating carrots—you know, it is strange—to eat carrots.” Finding myself in a crowd of people who make different magazines; mainly about fashion, design and, yes, beauty things that make people pretty, stylish and totally coooool! Having paid my crumpled 100 euros for the opportunity to be one these people I could not rid myself of that same feeling—it is somehow strange. Having noticed this magazine’s editorial photo right in the center of the exposition, I thought that none of my dear colleagues, including the publisher, would see this presentation featuring our magazine hanging down beautifully from a metal boot-lace. I would not have either if it had not been for some exceptional circumstances. Upon looking at the magazines featured at the exhibition I come to the distressing conclusion that the majority of people nowadays are only interested in male and female teenagers and the way they are dressed or undressed, in punk games, where particles of realistic dirt have been added to make it all seem more believable, in the shooting of genitals, made in a studio but pretending to be natural and that everything may be interpreted as relating to sex. Unfortunately there are no carrots here, just the same hackneyed strawberries and cream. Luxembourg, March 14, 2009

3. The last evening, when I was almost calm having written several declarations on the It Should Be Public wall, expressing all my thoughts and discussing my most painful questions with the participants, I happened to get to the official Closing Dinner. At first I did not plan to go, but my departure was delayed and it was getting colder in the park. The first surprise was at the entrance, where it turned out that the organizers had only reserved around 30 places for about 300 participants. Still, being among the first to arrive I managed to be a part of that number. After the exquisite dinner, where I was treated to pasta, which I never eat, but it was the only dish available for miserable vegetarians, I suddenly noticed a strange plastic bracelet upon the wrist of my interlocutor, a pleasant young man from London. He was confused and asked, “You don’t have the one? The organizers said that those who were given a bracelet would not have to pay for the dinner.” At the same time some excitement arose as it became time to make payment. The pushiest ones raced to the organisers to present them with their bracelets. At this, a sense of calm, yet building anger came over me, what I call a white rage. It is not that I had no money to pay for this unplanned dinner with food that I had not ordered; it is simply that the situation was quickly becoming unambiguously “bad.” It is like in childhood, when you can accurately define what is good and what is bad. I could no longer convince myself that this had been a good meeting. With so many people and magazines, so many illusions and hopes, all in sunny Luxembourg, I wanted to believe that I was wrong in my mood and appraisals of Colophon. I spoke to people, went to the presentations without complaint, changed my mind and did not organise a fire (so many magazines, you know, so many bad and empty magazines…), I tried to be good. I had almost managed to make myself believe that I had been wrong and then, this happened. When a person sent for bracelets came back with only one I said, “Can you ask for one more for me? And for this girl? And for that one? We did not know that this was a dinner for the elite.” All stopped talking; the messenger took off his bracelet and threw it on the table. All felt uneasy. I could not be silent, an increased sense of right and wrong called for justice, at least demanded an open statement. It was brief and straightforward – against discrimination, racism, sexism, political correctness, and an impotent habit to be decent even when the situation when the situation becomes grotesquely unfair. When I finished this heartfelt speech newfound friends tried to shield me with their courageous backs to allow me to leave unnoticed. They thought I would feel bad to leave having paid nothing, yet this was far from my own thoughts. One of them put his bracelet into my hand. Upon it there was the inscription, written in gold, saying, “We love magazines.” In response flame-colored letters blazed in my head, “Carthago est delenda.” Klagenfurt, March 25, 2009




01.01.2009

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