‘Is history of humanity not the history of violence; what Walter Benjamin calls the barbarism of civilization? … Is this violence not the violence of the narcissistic ego?’
Araeen argued that the attempt by artists to argue that they were outside the socio-political system was based on a ‘naivety of opposition’, and that the avantgarde had ‘badly failed’.
‘Art today is trapped in the facile idea of confrontation, producing merely media scandals and sensations, and widening further the gap between art and life in which it now operates purely as a commodity.’
He argued that this same artistic narcissistic ego results in the same object-based art, produced for the bourgeoisie and the museum which reifies and commodifies it.
He finished by talking about climate change and argued that artists should get involved by conceptualising the process of desalination as an ongoing artwork to produce more water for irrigation and drinking.
‘My manifesto for the 21st century would therefore be for the artists to abandon their studios and to stop the making of objects only. Instead they should focus their imagination on to what is there in life, to enhance not only their own creative potential but also the collective life of earth’s inhabitants.’
Dieser Text erschien als Einführung zum Reader Eco-Aesthetics: Art Beyond Art – A Manifesto for the 21st Century in: Manifesto-Reader Serpentine Gallery, 2008.
Eine längere Version des Textes findet sich unter http://www.globalartmuseum.de/site/guest_author/37 [8.9.2013].
[Dieser Text findet sich im Reader Nr. 1 auf S. 25.]