[Sharlene Khan sets up a discourse for looking at 'contemporary' African art, in particular from a curatorial perspective, seeking to challenge the role of Western curators taking on the job of selecting African works and taking them to the world stage. This is a comparative text calling upon Edward Said''s idea of the intellectual and curators to seriously consider the implications of their role as intellectuals in contemporary culture. This article has been structured in a way that considers 'representation and responsibility' and moves on to discuss 'accountability'. Major factors which are examined are the problems with contemporary/craft representations in taking African art to western audiences as well as issues surrounding race, education, ethnicity and questions the morality of such curatorial procedures.][1]

[Image: Sharlene Khan and Collen Burrows Hung Curator 2007, digital photograph]

Politics is everywhere; there can be no escape into the realms of pure art and thought or, for that matter, into the realm of disinterested objectivity or transcendental theory (Said, 1994: 16).


African art has, since the 1980s, gained ground in the Western contemporary art world as large-scale shows featuring African art have set the stage for portrayals of a post-colonial Africa. This has not been an easy task of course when one has to negotiate a minefield of myths and fallacies about a continent filled with hundreds of cultures, religions, languages, traditions and histories.

2012 m. rugsėjo 21-23, DAMTP vardu pati save pasiskyrusi kuratorė Chus Martínez kviečia į negamybinių psichodarbininkų ir duomenkasių, neproduktyvių mirusiųjų darbininkų, reprodukcijos darbininkų ir valytojų (samdomų ir neapmokamų) suvažiavimą Alytuje. Darbotvarkėje: buržuazinės kultūros griovimo strategijų aptarimas ir mėgavimasis jos agonijomis, pašalinus prieigas prie švaros (valytojų, chemikų ir santechnikų streikas), šviesos (jungtinis elektrikų ir vizualiųjų menininkų streikas) ir stilistikos (rašytojų, stilistų, korektūros darbininkų ir spaustuvininkų streikas).

today – July 28th, 2012 is the anniversary of the death of Isidore Isou and the founding of the Situationist International and founding day of REproductiVe wOrkers and Lovers indUsTrIal union.

here is a little bedtime story as comment on declaration that “baker cannot leave her bakery”:

so the baker leaves the shop and goes off to other work...

but she still bakes

for herself

maybe for her fellow workers

maybe she ends up working in a kitchen

(that is not exclusively for baking...)


is the baker the same as the shop?

can she refuse being a baker and still bake?

can she refuse baking and still be a baker?

why bake? to resist hunger? for herself? to feed others?

how does she fight hunger? how can she ignore starvation all around her?


1. I read the "REPORT ON DAMTP PSYCHIC ATTACK ON MANIFESTA 9...". I agree and do not agree with the tactical conclusion "it’s time for artists to face their own misery" since the misery is quite clear to everyone but artists who stay arty or non-arty artists might not be able to face it. Anyway perhaps 99,8 percent of those artists got to do jobs that are not arty, as long as Beuys comes around telling everyone is one and everything is art. it is a vicious cycle to use the term art and criticize it, it's at least (and furthermore) an apologia for doing art as art. it is okay I guess to attack exploitation in the sector of the arts, but (no mission here and no believe) as long as art as a social need is not sublated as art of the bourgeois society nothing can be 'art'. So I rather think of leaving the art-field and check out more economy/work/life (whatever this means) -- mh, the way to the woods I guess? Crisis I’d say.

0. The term art I use in a very particular sense - as a capitalist specialization, therefore the artists are capitalist specialization of non specialists. The exploitation I take rather not on the level of art production in economic sense, but rather as the playing of the role in the capitalist specialization machine. It doesn’t, matter it is critical or conservative, or bourgeois or proletarian. The problem with Beuys was that he played a double game - that was exactly what you call using the word art and criticizing it. I am using the word art since there are existing artists and my call is to resign from playing the role and to become psychic workers. Also the exploitation I see not on the level of the art production, but rather cultural capital is created on the manipulation with masses of the participating artists. Another point is the overwhelming eurocentrism in the whole approach of the white bourgeois propaganda in the form of serious culture and particularly in arts - I mean linguistic and ocularcentric colonialism of mind. Simply I am talking about racism (fascism is just a small part of this much older and bigger problem as it was just the form of how it revealed itself in Europe). Reviewing the economy without referring to colonialism would be stepping deeper back into a capitalist illusion. 

0. If to talk about crisis - this is not economical, but that one of paneconomism.

0. It may be useful to consider our activities in their historical context: amongst other things, the psychic workers union comes from discussions and studies of the work of Gustav Metzger who was one of the artists who pioneered the art strike strategy Metzger also called for artists unions and even was in communication with the graphic artists union in the 60s - but the talks failed ...


0. You may have heard of course when Beuys said to Metzger "Jedermann ist ein Künstler" he replied: 'Himmler auch?


The discussion sprang-up after the DAMTP report was sent to the artists and curators of the Manifesta related event called HDI (Hotel de Inmigrantes) and also Cosmopolitant Stranger.