by Micael Norberg
“In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles.” – Black and White Photograph, 100 x70 cm, Micael Norberg, 2017 – PLAN Z El Espacio, Palau Altea, Altea Spain, November 2017
*“In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.” ― Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle*
by Micael Norberg
“Comment penser librement à l’ombre d’une chapelle?”
- Black and White Photograph, 100 x70 cm, Micael Norberg, 2017
In the preface to the second edition of The Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx stated that the purpose of this essay was to “demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero’s part.”
This essay contains the most famous formulation of Marx’s view of the role of the individual in history, often translated to something like: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” Unfortunately this translation obscures the meaning of his line, which should be read more like “People (die Menschen) make their own history, but they do not make it however they want, not under self-selected circumstances, but out of the actual given and transmitted situation. The traditions of all the dead generations burden, like a nightmare, the minds of the living.”
The Eighteenth Brumaire catalogs the mass of the bourgeoisie, which Marx says impounded the republic like its property, as composed of: the large landowners, the aristocrats of finance and big industrialists, the high dignitaries of the army, the university, the church, the bar, the academy, and the press. It also shows more criticism of the proletariat than is typical of his other works, referring to the bureaucracy as a “giant parasitic body” and describing widespread perceptions of the proletariat as a “party of anarchy, socialism, and communism,” a party paradoxically established on precepts of an oppositional “party of order.” – The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eighteenth_Brumaire_of_Louis_Napoleon)
by Micael Norberg
“Comment penser librement à l’ombre d’une chapelle?(How can one think freely in the shadow of a chapel?)” – One channel video, 06.o0 min video loop, HD, B/W, no sound – 14.9 – 15.10.2017, Galleria Valo, Arktikum. Rovaniemi, Finland
So ‘How can one think freely in the shadow of a chapel?’ as the Situationists framed it. How can we reclaim what is on its way to become lost and what should we do when even the art and the universities are being eaten alive in the shadow of new public management, elitism, new liberalism and markets forces? Is the university, education and art on the verge of becoming a part of Debords ‘spectacle’ or is it already a ‘spectacle’? Power is in one definition a ‘possession of controlling influence’. Power structures that exists around us are based on social, cultural and economic class so ‘how can one think freely in the shadow of a chapel?’. Yes, history repeats itself in new forms and in new shapes, we can only hope that we remember and learned something of our past.
“…. it really seems as though old Hegel, in the guise of the World Spirit, were directing history from the grave and, with the greatest conscientiousness, causing everything to be re-enacted twice over, once as grand tragedy and the second time as rotten farce, Caussidière for Danton, L. Blanc for Robespierre, Barthélemy for Saint-Just, Flocon for Carnot, and the moon-calf together with the first available dozen debt-encumbered lieutenants for the little corporal and his band of marshals. Thus the 18th Brumaire would already be upon us.” – 9 Marx/Engels Collected Works. International Publishers.
by Micael Norberg
“Behind the mask of total choice different forms of the same alienation confront each other”- Black and White Photograph, 100 x70 cm, Micael Norberg, 2017
“Behind the masks of total choice, different forms of the same alienation confront each other” – “Separation Perfected” Guy Debord, 1967.
“Understood in its totality, the spectacle is both the outcome and the goal of the dominant mode of production…it is the very heart of society’s real unreality. In all its specific manifestations – news or propaganda, advertising or the actual consumption of entertainment – the spectacle epitomizes the prevailing model of social life. It is the omnipresent celebration of a choice already made in the sphere of production, and the consummate result of that choice. In form as in content the spectacle serves as total justification for the conditions and aims of the existing system. It further ensures the permanent presence of that justification, for it governs almost all time spent outside the production process itself.” – Guy Debord, Spectacle of the Society, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: Zone Books, 1994), p.13.
by Micael Norberg
“Retour a la normale” – Atelier Populaire – May 1968
– Black and White Photograph, 100 x70 cm, Micael Norberg, 2017
“What can be done to create alternatives to capitalism in a world organized largely (even if not totally) by the logic of capital? What could be prefigured in Seattle in 1999, or later, in the Occupy encampments of 2011? In capitalist society, most what we do in school and work is governed by the logic of capital, and even leisure time is determined as the time left over after work (and that time is rapidly disappearing for reasons I have discussed elsewhere). Without a doubt certain forms of alter-relationality (relations beyond exchange relations) and human solidarity are available for direct experience in social movements, and these are all good things, and good reasons to participate. But, in the existing capitalist world, people invariably “retour à la normale” as appeared on the popular poster in Paris during the uprisings of May-June 1968. Seattle and Occupy protestors rupture the normality of everyday life, but the call to return to normal can only be resisted for so long before having to go back to work, school, etc. The return to normal demonstrates the power and pull of capital”.- Specters of Revolt: On The Intellect Of Insurrection And Philosophy From Below – Richard Gilman-Opalsky, 2016
In Specters of Revolt Gilman-Opalsky argues that the world is haunted by revolt, by the possibility of events that interrupt and disrupt the world, that throw its reality and justice into question. But recent revolt is neither decisively communist nor decisively Marxist. Gilman-Opalsky develops a theory of revolt that accounts for its diverse critical content about autonomy, everyday life, anxiety, experience, knowledge, and possibility.