Blog Post 12- Jonathan Hanna

In the Chto Delat piece, What is to be done?, Delat begins by asserting that that the “postmodern has become impossible on a purely aesthetic level.” I believe Delat here is calling for a cessation of the purely theoretical and aesthetic approaches to postmodernism. Postmodernism’s only feasible conduit has to be on a pragmatic level, not on the abstract, purely artistic level. Delat then continues on to define the avant-garde’s role in art. The many extremist protests that have occurred in recent years provide a “reference point” for the new avant-garde, a situation similar to the time of the Revolution, specifically the Russian Revolution, and now again the aura of change is unarguably present throughout society. Russian artistic life had become, as Delat emphasizes using abstract English phrases, dependent on the ability to net-work, work as a community, remain “socially engaged”, and keep the view going that social change is possible. Russian artists, most crucially, hold the notions that they are no longer bound by anyone else’s rules, that they are capable of forming a society in which “life will be creative and the world fair.” Thus, the artists are motivated and driven to affect social change without thoughts to the feasibility or immenseness of their task. Without giving thoughts to how best represent themselves ot the general public, the artists must be willing to give, and thus, even the most meaningless and inconspicuous  of acts can have far-reaching social consequences. Society must be saturated with the position of people to deny consumerist culture and reject the desires affected by the products of consumerism; this is the most dangerous weapon we have against the current situation of society. The artists, according to Dealt, no longer have a right to be “passive or pessimistic,” because if art is made a genuinely autonomous medium, then we will achieve the “capability to form and disseminate alternative models of aesthetic and social transformations.” Only then can the details and smaller aspects of original work be discussed with new inspiration, and thus, according to Delat, the artist will become as radical as the newly formed reality. Now I would like to talk a bit about Manifesto 003, in which the city of St. Petersburg is paid special attention to. The Manifesto calls the reader to rethink the future of St. Petersburg. Delat claims that the conservative politics of the city’s politicians ios choking the city. The only focus of the city is to restore what once was great, to focus on the past culture and history of St. Petersburg; however, there has been nothing new done, no new buildings built, no influential newspaper, that rival their counterparts in other areas of the western world. The city’s leaders need to involve the new avant-garde artists in the city’s planning in order to secularize the city and open it up. The authorities and artists should join forces in developing city projects as well as rejecting old, clos-minded traditions, such as the jubilee. Only then can the city be opened up to a series of artistic actions, performances, discussions, texts, aimed at the transformation of the city space and of the cultural politics” which will eventually also renew the city into a free space, without “roofs or barriers.”


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