ABOUT THIS SITE >>> This site is a blog as well as an archive. It gives visibility to the continues working of radical_hope, its current move to radical_house, the research project Distraction As Discipline (2016 - 2019) and the process of OTÇOE - works for passers-by, a working trajectory (2013 and 2014).

radical_house is a long term project and has a threefold nature: it presents a physical place, a framework and a logic. When in 2013 teaching and mentoring became an extension of Langsdorf's artistic practices now radical_house stems from her pedagogical experience where 'being in dialogue' with others is her main principle.

Distraction As Discipline is an investigation into enactivist principles in art and education (research trajectory at KASK School of Arts Ghent 2016-19). It considers the potential of performance art and pedagogy in general, in resisting the current and massive desubjectivation, by critically reclaiming both, attention for the moment and participation in a process.

OTÇOE - works for passers-by was the development of radical_hope's artistic practice in the city and questioned how and by whom this practice (and its bodily, social and economical aspects) is perceived. The title refers to the public of a city and to how we encounter and register most things on our way through the city: Out of The Corner of Our Eyes. OTÇOE.

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radical_house 2020 ...


Nicolas Y Galeazzi - Sint Jans Molenbeek / Brussels

12-03-2013 [• shop shop • economy ]
Nicolas Y Galeazzi uses performance as an act of research. His work focuses on developing and questioning social, economic, and political discourses through artistic research which are articulated in diverse concepts, installations, performances and printed matter. Currently he is program coordinator at the post-master research environment a.pass (advanced performance and scenography studies) in Brussels.

"I prepared four questions for you. They are based on where I think content is overlapping between my own artistic research trajectory OTÇOE – works for passers-by on the one hand, and your research trajectory Speculating with CO and the workshop you recently gave at the Buda arts centre in Kortrijk, What’s the Currency of Art?, on the other. I think the both of us are questioning 'togetherness'. And the both of us are trying to ‘act’ with art.

For the moment, as an artist you are working on ‘obscure economy’, the organisation of togetherness, irrational human behaviour like speculation, the disinformation policy, hypercomplexity in economics, the potential of half-knowledge (as opposed to: expert knowledge), business plans,…

Me, I am currently interested in how 'commerce' actually works. I want to look at its original meaning coming from the Latin ‘commercium’, meaning: "trade, trafficking," from com- ("together") + merx ("merchandise"). As you know, I developped SHOP, a proposal for a group of artists to start and run a shop together. In this context we could reflect on commerce through ‘doing’ it. You are one of these artists.

There’s many possible ways of making art and acting with art. I’m interested to know more about your ways ;) I understand that, as an artist, you are interested developping tools…"

1. What kinds of tools do you develop? And what do you use them for?

Nicolas : Today we witness a huge abstraction on a technical, technolinguistic, monetarian and financial level. Especially in the last century, money became more and more disembodied, more and more an abstract value. When in the 1970s the gold standard was released, money became a kind of free-floating means of communication. Together with the total abstraction of money came the total mathematization of it. As there were no physical rules applied to money, people could start to play around on this mathematical level with money. And that proved kind of exciting, because it created huge amounts of money, faster than ever before. But all this incited very irrational economical behaviour. There was the belief that out of nothing you could make everything. But for most of the population, the financial sphere became all too complex to be understood. And this is how we live a big part of our lives today. We don’t understand what is really going on. We only have knowledge of the surface of things. The ‘deeper’ knowledge is something we have to catch back. And as an artist, I try to create tools for this, tools that help us to re-embody, reconnect procedures of our lives to our bodies. An important source of inspiration for the workshop I gave at the Buda arts centre was The Uprising, a book by Franco ‘Bifo’ Birardi. He proposes to use poetry for this re-embodiment. 

Sébastien : And your tools are also meant to help us understand the ‘all too complex to be understood’?

Nicolas : In my work I propose the following: if it’s too complex, let’s make our own complications and try to approach the gap with the knowledge we have. We can approach what we don’t know, in order to create it.

Sébastien : To create what?

Nicolas : To create the knowledge which could be placed in the gap. We don’t have to find out what the ‘correct’ knowledge is, we can create it ourselves. If you don’t know what a term, an economic term like a derivative for example, actually means, you can start to learn a bit about it and then with that small bit you can speculate about what it could mean in another sphere.

Heike : The purpose of the tool would then be to generate questions?

Nicolas : No, to generate terms, not questions – terms which we appropriate and can operate with, fill with meaning. And through creating meaning, we could create a world.

2. What do you consider to be an ‘artistic practice’? And where in this practice lies the ‘artistic moment’?

Sébastien : What do you mean by the term ‘artistic moment’? Is it just another word for ‘art’?

Heike : Nicolas mostly talks about ‘artistic moments’.

Nicolas : I even go a bit further by using the term ‘artistic momentum’: when is the practice turned into something that is perceived as ‘artistic’? And yes, I detach that from an artistic practice. I have to frame that shortly a bit in my thinking. At a certain moment it became quite important for me to see art not as a discipline but as an approach, a quality, a perspective to see and approach the world in a certain way. I’m talking about an adjective – ‘artistic’ – and not about a noun – ‘art’. With this approach I can create a lot of different things in the social field. I can create happiness or I can create conflicts or I can create an object. I don’t need to call that ‘art’. This makes the artistic practice very free, deregulated. As an artist I can place the artistic momentum where ever I want to. Where do I place the zoom? For example it’s possible that the artistic momentum doesn’t lie in the object I made – that’s just a bunch of stuff – but in how I got there, what my strategy or methodology was. I think nowadays, with the very broad understanding of art, we are able to define the artistic momentum in very different places in the whole process of the creation of art.

Heike : And this you detach clearly from the artistic ‘practice’. Then how would you define the artistic practice?

Nicolas : The artistic practice is the constant generation and negotiation of these approaches and momentums. This is interesting in an economical sense. Somewhere between the approaches, methodologies, the practicing and the appearance of art, there is labour and commodity and value and procedures,… And suddenly it creates an economy.

Sébastien : Could you give a concrete example of this interplay between approaches and momentums?

Nicolas : In the last years, copying was a big issue for me. Me and Joelle ... Verwimp, a collaborator of mine, were invited to do a performance in a festival in Helsinki and we proposed them to install a copy shop with two copy machines. During the whole festival the audience was able to copy the performances they just saw. And so we created a huge bunch of copies, all spread out over a huge table. At a certain moment we asked the audience which copies would be worthy to keep. The continuously reshuffled selection was put in a grid of 80 spreads. At the end, when the festival was over, we had a journal and it was made by hundreds of people. It was totally impossible to trace any authorship. The journal was a complex, self-organized sphere which suddenly materialized into an art work. I learned I can detach the authorship from the art work. I was not the artist that made the journal. My artistic momentum lay in the providing and guiding of this whole situation.

3. What is for you the risk related to our SHOP SHOP proposal? And what is the potential of it?

Nicolas : It’s tricky, the appropriation and re-enactment of a term like ‘shop’. You appropriate common economic procedures, but the question is: will you be able to make a difference? Or will you in your turn be appropriated? History showed that artistic procedures are very easily appropriated. They are avant-garde, they make examples and at a certain moment they become common. As artists, we do our stuff and we hope, with huge idealism, to charge the society with our understanding. But we can’t control in which way it will then be used. In the past, we promoted values, which are now turning against us. Freedom is a well known example of this. Our promotion of free labour is totally appropriated by neoliberal thinking! Freedom wasn’t understood in our own sense, namely as emancipation or liberation, but rather in the middle ages-sense of ‘not being secured’. Not being secured by, for example, a city wall. You are outside, free, wild, to be shot.. Everyone can do with you whatever they would like to do. In this sense it was applied.

Heike : The resistance to appropriation should be part of the group practice of SHOP SHOP. We should always rediscuss our own procedures and be aware of the traps of appropriation. If this critical awareness would indeed be one of the core tasks of the group of shopholders, what would then be the potential of the proposal? Couldn’t the shop be an interesting case study, a tool for the understanding of making money, making art, making prices and making currencies?

Nicolas : Yes. We also have to see SHOP SHOP in the context of the potential dissappearance of the state funded art world. It’s possible we will be obliged to find other ways of sustaining our work, other ways of living and producing. Many people are thinking about new ways of creating art and of creating a local economy amongst themselves. The shop could be a research field for a bunch of people who kind of bind themselves to each other, to make them more or less dependent on each other. What kind of economy would we be able to create?

Heike : An economy based on dependence instead of independence…

Nicolas : Yes. This shop would create dependence amongst a peer group and not between the economy and you.. or the state and you… It could be a special economical zone, wherein people serve each other and not only themselves… It’s a kind of totally idealistic thing I design right now. For me it’s a lot about the ‘co-’ obviously, about the togetherness. The SHOP SHOP shouldn’t be a hub where every one can take out whatever they like. Actually we should make a contract amongst the members of the group. It’s about getting rid of your own ego. A less egoistic way of producing art.

Nicolas Y Galeazzi, Sébastien Hendrickx, Heike Langsdorf @ a.pass, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, 12-03-2013

[>>> here you can find all OTÇOE-conversation >>>]