commissioned by the curator Rael Artel, 2009
Crisis Special in November 11, 2009
Faithful to his discourse formed as a politically driven conceptual artist, Jens Haaning presents his project Bicycle Holiday in Poland, 1979 in a self-criticizing manner whether he addresses the Scandinavic political system or himself as being part of it. On this occasion he shifts attention from the excluded due to political systems, a familiar subject to his previous work, to how we identify each other as nations. As to say, we are subjects to our different cultural background and ultimately products of the political system we are affected by.
What’s like living in your reality? Don’t answer it!
Let me color your reality
Within the current global climate cultural boundaries are never fixed but subject to constant change, which does not quite fit the idea that the West still posses of the East. As the world is progressing towards looking as a sole organism, the old economical barriers between different countries are now to be found within the same country where first, second and third worlds co-exist. Within this increased homogenized political-economic space the issues of ‘we’ and ‘them’, the processes of ‘otherness’ have to be redefined according to the change of paradigm engineered by the increasingly predominant division between rich and poor. The 19th century project of the creation of national identities is being replaced by that of transcending them, which in the case of Europe do not necessarily translate into a shared European consciousness, especially as the media usually present European issues through their national element. It came as a response to pressures from national state and their citizens to resist any further erosion of national identity as well as sovereignty. Under this influence which still prevails binary bifurcations and pyramidal system there is a long way before emancipatory concepts will start to take shape. According to cultural theorists such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak or Boris Buden it is in this context that the notion of cultural translation is of paramount importance. It first of all combats the very idea of an original cultural identity, which multiculturalism, as the basis of future Europe, is grounded on and secondly it focuses on rearranging relations between countries engaged into a reconstructed concept of universalism. Cultural translation is drawing away from the literary translation where one word is given a different meaning in several languages and takes one step beyond into a zone which neglects the existence of original and reproduction.