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Active Resistance To Propaganda

Vivienne Westwood / 2007

I make the great claim for my manifesto, that it penetrates to the root of the human predicament and offers the underlying solution. We have the choice to become more cultivated and therefore more human – or by muddling along as usual we shall remain the destructive and self-destroying animal, the victim of our own cleverness (To be or not to be).

Among the travellers who accompany Active Resistance are:
Alice

Pinocchio
Art Lover (an anthropologist)
True Poet (an alchemist)

Our journey to find art will show that art gives culture and that culture is the antidote to propaganda.

AR
Dear Friends, We all love art and some of you claim to be artists. Without judges there is  no art. She only exists when we know her. Does she exist? The answer to this question is of vital importance because if art is alive the world will change. No art, no true progress.
We must find out; go in search of her. – But wait! Who is this with fire-cracking smouldering pigtails, gold teeth and a brace of flintlocks in his belt? He is a pirate. – And what does his t-shirt say? – I love crap. 

Pirate hands Active Resistance a Hawaiian garland of plastic flowers.

Pirate
Leave everything to me. I plunder for you. Stick with me and you might get a share of the bounty. My name is Progress.

AR
But you have stolen imagination. There is hardly anyone left now who believes in a better world. What is the future of unlimited profit in a finite world?

Pirate Progress
I like you artistic lot. But, trust me or not, I’ll take you with me if I go down. We’ll all burn together. 

Film clip, close up. the pigtails burst into flames and with a “Ha-haagh!“ the Pirate disappears in a pall of smoke followed by black night.

AR
He is not Progress. Sir Morgan Mammon stole the name and the Pirate works for him.

The defiant face of Pirate Progress appears and disappears like the Cheshire Cat. Light returns. 

20th century progress was a bad idea. Smash the past and the future will take care of itself. Follow the trend, keep up with the times. Artists and intellectuals jumped on the bandwagon. Progress and future were automatically linked. March on! Don’t stop to think. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Pinocchio
Now that I have become a boy I want to be a freedom-fighter.

Sir Morgan Mammon
Music to my ears! More freedom, more consumption. 

Pinocchio
No! Freedom to think for yourself, don’t believe everything you’re told! Consumption is propaganda – I want to fight propaganda.

AR
Culture is the antidote to propaganda.

Alice
Pinocchio, if you try to free yourself from the past completely, you drop the stuffy ideas and the good ideas. You throw out the baby with the bathwater. The only thing is hey kept a bit of the dirty bathwater and they’ve been piddling about in it ever since.

True Poet
The present is always the present moment of the past. We are the past. Art links past, present and future. Cut off from the past there is only habit. 

Art Lover
We have lost touch with ourselves. Only the art lover stays in touch with ideas. I shall write a book, ‘The Art Lover and the Lost Generations’. 

Beautiful Slavegirl
To progress or advance in any way you must know what is your end or purpose. For example, money is not an end but a means to an end. And for this reason, I shall be set free.
I am so happy! I am the famous Rhodopis (Rosycheeks). My master made a fortune from selling my body but now my lover will pay a vast ransom, – even more than my future earnings could be. Oh, Liberty! I thought you were my end, but now, I see you are just a beginning. Can I be happy when the other slaves don’t have a beginning? The only true End must be Happiness – but not just for one person. I see now that progress can be an end without limit for there is always a better way of living. And though we may progress towards greater happiness, as an end it will always escape us, and a good thing too, because if we ever reach Paradise we’ll all be dead. 

AR
Aristotle took the practical view that the essence of any object lay in its end or purpose. If that could be discovered and realised then that constituted the true meaning or ‘happiness’ of that object – or person. I feel our end is to live in harmony with Gaia. This will happen when we each discover our deep interest.

Dryad of the Rainforest
How can humans be happy? For every tree they cut down a future child dies and there are more trees than children. Some people know these things but they plan to end the forest in one generation. (Nobody hears her…)

Pinocchio
Hey, Aristotle! He’s the chief who said that most slaves were happy for being told what to do. But you’ve got to give people the chance.

Child Slaveboy
A slave is not a person but a thing. A thing can be something like a car, or a hammer, as well as a slave. Soul-destroying, to put it in a nutshell. But my mother told me how to survive. I must try to understand the world and that way I don’t lose my soul, I know who I am. When she said goodbye, she said, “Love Liberty, but forget the key, for the key turns only once. I love you.“

Alice
She was your mirror. Her love showed you Yourself. She believed in you. The key is the key to your character. Aristotle said that character is a person’s habit of moral choice.

True Poet
This brave child who is capable of experience will find himself in a different world in every decade of his life, seeing it with different eyes and his outlook on life continually renewed. We are more privileged. As art lovers we have a more vast and intense experience. We see through the eyes of the artists who lived before us, all those very different views of the world throughout time, which we concentrate into our own existence: knowledge of life through an artist’s knowledge of life.

Alice
No mirror is big enough to show us the world, but art can.

Art Lover
(telling Pinocchio) Art cannot imitate life directly: it does it by representation as in a microcosm. The microcosm, which means small world, comes from primitive ritual. They made a man king for a year, then killed him to symbolize the destruction of the old world, then they made a new world from his butchered body – all inside a fenced-off area, a kind of magic circle; for example they took his eyes and said, this is the sun, this is the moon. The idea was that the small world was a pattern for the big one and that by controlling the small world you would have magical power over the exterior world, the macrocosm.

Pinocchio
Gotcha! Artists make small worlds.

Art Lover
And this small world imitates the real world. This is something humans do – we transform the world into something small so that it is within our scope to understand. All our concepts are put together from abstractions – symbols to work things out – for example, words, numbers; we can understand a model because we get an overview, then we can project it back onto the real world.
Art makes us feel the world can make sense – the satisfaction of something understood. And this piece of art, this slice of life, is a whole thing – because it is separate from the world and therefore complete. (Like the microcosm we fence it off – in a book, in a frame, on a stage). We have power over it because it is whole. It is the only time we’re in complete control, otherwise the world passes us by. That’s why we need art; crave it through all the generations. 

Alice
(to Pinocchio) I love the idea of concentrating myself into a small complete world, then extending myself – Art gives me the power to face the real world.

Pinocchio
Through art we can stop the world! And make sense of it. I’ll be a painter and a freedom fighter. It’s all symbolic – the painter doesn’t paint every leaf on the tree.

AR
Action! Let’s continue our search by asking Aristotle about the art of Greek tragedy. To the Lyceum! 

On the way, Pinocchio stops and turns to Alice

Pinocchio
There’s a bloke here who lives in a barrel.

Diogenes
I shit and wank in front of people in the street like a dog. I am the Cynic. The Great Alexander made a point of coming to see me and asked if he could do me a favour. Nobody’s better than me. – I told him to step out of my light. I am famous because I’ve got the balls to do what I want.

Alice
(Puzzled that he could be content with so little) He doesn’t want much. 

Pinocchio
Cool, I’ve found art! I could be Diogenes II. I’ll call myself a piss artist and make lots of money.

AR
Come back children. You’ve gone too far. Alice we’re waiting for you to introduce us to Aristotle. And Pinocchio, you’re just being silly. Though Diogenes is obsessed by himself he doesn’t believe in anything, let alone himself. That’s why he’s a cynic. This self-promotion, and doing what you want is a sham philosophy of life. No, no, it’s not self-indulgence but self-discipline that makes the individual. And you, especially, need self-discipline if you’re going to be a painter.

Pinocchio
You are right. Diogenes seemed kind of happy, but he’s a poser. Too boring, I couldn’t keep it up. Ha, ha, keep it up! I could sell canned sperm. Great marketing opportunities.

Alice
(sarcastic). Oh how lewd!

At the Lyceum Aristotle, a Greek gentleman, impeccably dressed – in contrast to Diogenes – is in conversation with a philosopher of today (Adam Parker-Rhodes).

Aristotle
For the beginnings of art in general, there appear to have been two causes, both rooted in human nature. Thus from childhood it is instinctive in human beings to imitate. And man differs from the other animals as the most imitative of all and getting his first lessons by Imitation. And by instinct also all human beings get pleasure in Imitation.

As Alice enters Aristotle moves to centre stage. Alice stands beside him.

Alice
Aristotle refers to the writer of tragedy as ‘the poet’. Greek tragedy was expressed in verse but this is not the important thing. What defines the poet is that he is an imitator – just like a painter or any other maker of images. If a historian were to write up his whole history in verse this would not make him a poet; for he tells of things that have happened in real life and this is not Imitation. Imitation is more philosophical. Indeed Aristotle adds that the poet may imitate life not as it is, but as it ought to be. Even if the plot is historical the poet must select his facts to make a unified whole and then fit the characters into it – as in a microcosm.

Aristotle
For tragedy is not an Imitation of men but of actions and of life. It is in action that happiness and unhappiness are found, and the end we aim at is a kind of activity, not a quality; in accordance with their characters men are of such and such a quality, in accordance with their actions they are fortunate or the reverse. Consequently, it is not for the purpose of 5presenting their characters that the agents engage in action, but rather it is for the sake of their actions that they take on the characters they have. Thus, what happens – that is, the plot – is the end for which a tragedy exists, and the end or purpose is the most important thing of all.

Alice
Thank you very much Aristotle. I know that Active Resistance would like to ask you something.

AR
Aristotle, it is essential to every art in any medium of expression that it is a whole. For only art can achieve perfection. Please tell us what you mean by ‘the Whole’ in the case of tragedy.

Aristotle
The events which are the parts of the plot must be so organized that if any of them is displaced or taken away, the whole will be shaken and put out of joint; for if the presence or absence of a thing makes no discernable difference, that thing is not part of the whole.(Aristotle retires)

Alice
That’s how I feel about Velasquez. His work is so minimal and reduced. The paint is so thin and the people in the paintings are so real that I sometime think they weren’t there, especially in the split second before you turn to look again. I just wanted to melt into a pool on the floor.

AR
One can begin to grasp something of the obsession people have had with the idea of the circle as a perfect form. A work of art then, is an Imitation reduced to its essentials, thereby forming a whole – as in a microcosm.
Real life cannot give the complete picture. It is – a jumble of particulars in which events are engulfed in the flux of chaos. How can the artist see things as they really are when he, himself is part of the change? He needs a fixed fact to stand on.

Alice
Tell me all about it! If there is nothing fixed in the world then you find yourself in Wonderland where everything changes – including yourself. – And you try to play a game of croquet with a flamingo for a mallet and the ball is a hedgehog who runs away. 

AR
A hedgehog must understand the world from a hedgehog point of view, and we must understand it from a human point of view.
We do have a fixed fact to stand on: IMITATION.
We know that Imitation gives us art – but that is as a result of the main fact which is that our species is programmed to imitate. We are the world’s best imitators and that is how we evolved into humans. We understand the world because we imitate it.
Alice will begin to explain.

Alice
It’s what happens when a baby smiles back at you. He sees you do it and the muscles in his face know how to make the same pattern, but it’s not just the muscles but his whole system which is at work. Our body is a coding system which can blueprint the eye’s impression of a smile and convert it into an actual smile. Scientists would tell us what chemicals etc. are involved.
Without this key – our human coding system, we could not hold anything in our memory or repeat our actions. Animals can do this to a limited degree. I’m thinking of a puppy I once met. I took a stick and it immediately understood my intention and was ready to run. And it brought the stick back. But animals do not have that continuous relationship with the world which gives us a great deal of control over our behaviour and our lives – even though we are free to act unwisely. 

Adam Parker-Rhodes
Apes can’t dance! 

AR
The philosopher Adam Parker-Rhodes is racing against time as he pins down the theory of Imitation. He knows that an understanding of who we are bears upon what we shall do in the face of looming disaster from Climate Change. 

Adam Parker-Rhodes
Following on from Aristotle and with a better understanding of the brain we now know that human beings have the unique ability to transform patterns from one sensory or muscular medium to another. It enables us to do things like dancing to music which is translating sound patterns into corresponding movements of the body. We can feel something in the hand and match it with something seen or we see something in front of us and draw its form on paper. We can see someone else’s movements and imitate them ourselves. Most importantly we can see an action performed and understand its intention in terms of our own bodies and experience. Apes can do none of these things, which is why we are able to develop complex culture and they are not; civilization with language, science and technology and of course all the arts.

Pinocchio
We’re cross-wired! (dances and sings) 

AR
Dance is not necessarily art but, for example, ballet is – because it aims at perfection. We spend our lives looking for perfection – because we are looking for standards to imitate. Every time we compare one thing with another we are imitating; we are trying to find a match between the data we hold in our mind and the new example – trying to find an ideal. (AR puts one hand on top of the other, palms facing) This is Imitation – matching one thing with another. We discriminate between good and bad, better and best. Discrimination is the mechanism of intelligence. 

True Poet
The painter Whistler said that nature copies art. When the painter paints the perfect sunset we see it through his eyes, then look for it in real life.

AR
Not only through the eyes of the painter – we look at everything as if through other eyes. In order to judge, we want to know that other people feel the same. And don’t we always look for that communication – someone else to share the sunset? We’re looking for the perfect universal standard.

Art Lover
I’d like to tell you my idea of Imitation. It’s when we jump outside ourselves. Leave our own preoccupations and ego behind and see things through other eyes, know what it feels like to be someone else. Empathy – kindness. I like to think that everything we know has its source in human kindness.

AR
Everything becomes clear when we consider what Aristotle says: art may imitate life not as it is but as it ought to be. He is talking about perfection and only the whole is perfect. He means ideal; universal because it is something we recognize as being true to life, even if we’ve never seen it before; each part must be more essentially itself, even if it is something horrid like envy; more typical. Aristotle says that the best characters in a play are ‘someone like ourselves’ – people we can relate to.
For example, Chaucer’s characters are as alive to us today as when he first invented them. Timeless – outside of time. They speak to us of human nature. Each detail illuminates the type and is what we call the universal in the particular – ‘someone like ourselves’.
The universal in the particular is familiar to all of us – that flash of insight, that detail which suddenly reveals the whole thing, and we see things complete and as they are – and as we never saw them before. This is direct knowledge.
Insight happens because we suddenly exteriorize ourselves – it’s like ‘I am there’ and yes, if our object is a fellow human being we can imagine what it feels like to be them. We can put ourselves in their place.
Insight is often just a thrilling conviction that certain things are connected; we hold them in our mind waiting for the day of perception. (Turning to the True Poet) You are a poet and an alchemist. How does the artist create – arrive at perception?

True Poet
The originality of art lies in bringing ordinary feelings to our attention. Not everything that enters our orbit makes an impression; only the things we notice. Our senses do not register things unless we attach a feeling to them, so feelings are our prime contact with reality, more primitive than language or reason. Indeed the poet struggles to express feelings which are beyond words.
The artist’s mind is in fact a receptacle for storing up numberless feelings,phrases, images which remain there until a new idea ‘comes’ in. All the particles which can unite to form a new compound are then present together. This is alchemy.
Fusion into the whole takes place under an intense creative pressure from parts which are felt together. Emotion has its life in the work and is separate from the real-life passions of the man who creates. He must rid himself of habit.

AR
So we arrive at perception by imitating. Sometimes quickly, as when we imitate directly. Pinocchio, you’re really good at Imitation.

Pinocchio
When I notice habitual gestures and facial expressions, I say to myself, “Do that! What does that feel like?“ And then it’s quite shocking to find out. It reveals a whole attitude to life. I don’t know how some people get through a day. And have you noticed, if you’re fed up and you just make yourself do a smiley face, how the whole world lights up?

AR
And we can imitate through empathy, using our imagination to get outside ourselves.
(And turning to the True Poet) But you, the artist, are a professional imitator. These human feelings are the very stuff of art. You are the one who manages to re-present them, brings them to light – by modifying and distorting everything in relation to everything else.

Alice
These feelings about things connect us to spiritual unity, when everything is one. They show us likeness in unlikeness and difference in likeness.

Art Agent
You seem to be talking about old art. As if a work of art had a life of its own. People want the artist and they want him to give them something different. 

Art Lover
Oh yes, ‘the artist’! Me, me, me. No culture – and trying to be extreme. The trouble with ‘something different’ is we’ve seen it about 17 times already. 

Alice
Oh hello, Mr. White Rabbit! Please stop a moment! The artist has just produced a giant hole in the air. Perhaps he thought it was a ‘whole’. I’m sure you have an interesting observation on holes.

White Rabbit
Negative. (rushing off)

Artists Agent
Superb intellectual irony –Right on! 

Mad Hatter
What do you mean a hole in the air? We’ve all got a hole in the head and we can fill it with whatever ‘Whole’ we want (changes price-tag on hat from 10/6d to £10m)

Art Agent
He’s right. The art-hole is shockingly ‘something different’, the ultimate aesthetic of all modern art. A last the past is blast! Value is once and for all transferred from the work of art to the mind of the punter. 

Alice
How will you sell it? 

Art Agent
Fantasy.

AR
Non-stop distraction makes people gullible. 

Alice
What about fakes?

Art Agent
No problem. All genuine artists have an agent.

Alice
You’ll have to give them some sort of certificate.

Art Agent
Yes, authentication from the agent. Holes will be very popular. All those journeys into private fantasy. Like Lourdes without the crowds. Wait a minute, the art-hole concept is endlessly capable of manipulation; we could hire a stadium, the punter could pay for a massive event. The art-hole is the last word. (a moment of doubt) But not the end of ‘something different’. Anybody can be an artist, my door is always open.

Pinocchio
You people really believe in yourselves. Get a life! I just met Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They are now performance artists. When I told them I want to be a painter, Dum called me “Bourgeois!“ for believing I needed skill. I said, “I don’t think anyone uses that word anymore“. Dee said, “Contrariwise you are an elitist.“ I’m ok being an elitist – when I get the skill sorted. Hard work, though. 

Talking Cricket
Pinocchio, you know that there are two sides to people, the donkey and the boy– the self who wants to live in Toyland versus the self who wants to grow up. It is the inner struggle between doing what you want and being true to your real self that humanizes a puppet.

Pinocchio
Dear little Cricket, I still get around, have a laugh! But, yeah, this inner voice is always having a go, “Pinocchio, don’t be an arsehole! Sorry – art-hole! I am your human self. Listen to me!“ (turns to Alice) C’mon Alice, you’re the chief. How do I trust myself to know what is genuine? Help me out. 

Alice
Those primary feelings we’ve been talking about are ordinary feelings and they’re ethical feelings because we look at things in a universal way as if through all human eyes, trying to see things as they really are. That’s what being true to yourself means. Everybody knows this.
When they don’t, it’s because they don’t think it’s important. They prefer fantasy. And being true to yourself, Pinocchio, is when you’re not there, when your stupid little Pinocchio doesn’t get in the way. Trust your feelings. Don’t get in your own light! That’s the style!

Alice and Pinocchio
(pointing fingers, rapping) Feelings!
Pinocchio. Feelings: prime contact with reality.
Alice and Pinocchio. Trust it! Imitation!

True Poet
(to Pinocchio) Truth comes from doing the work. Art is always original. If you didn’t exist, that way of seeing wouldn’t exist. 

Pinocchio
I feel like King Arthur. Only he could pull the sword from the stone. Here comes the hero! Gotcha, Alice! Good Imitation true, Bad Imitation false. 

AR
I know a great couturier. He said to me, “I have prepared a dress shaped like a heart which I plan to make in black taffeta, it will hold the shape well. Now I ask myself, how would it be in black poplin? More poor, more nothing – less. In which one would a woman appear more beautiful? Until I know the answer, this will destroy me. And yes, I feel silly in front of the terrible problems others face in this world.” What does this tell us if we rely on our feelings, our feelings about things, not our personal ones? Put yourself in his place. Is he genuine or too extreme? Does he represent human nature?

General Assent
I believe in him, he’s true to life – well, he is alive. Is he self deceiving? 

Art Lover
Well, next day it might not be so important, he might have other worries which also destroy him. It’s very difficult to empathize. The word ‘destroy’ is too extreme. I can’t bridge the gap.

Pinocchio
We all suffer when we can’t make decisions. But we have to make them according to our character and our character can grow strong from its seeds. We’re more wise when we’re older. 

Dryad of the Rainforest
The acorn is happy when he becomes a tree.

Alice
Whoever is close to him should really try to help him. It seems serious.

True Poet
I think there’s something here which could be worked up into a play. If it were me, I would place the couturier in the context which he, himself, has introduced – world problems, the suffering of others. This begins the alchemical process of collecting and selecting the significant factors; being alive to metaphor and symbol. I would begin the action by having him make both dresses. For as Aristotle says, “It is in action that happiness or unhappiness lies.” The same woman would wear each different dress. I would discover the behaviour of the couturier by making it fit the unfurling action; set him free to find his own purpose. There are no rules as to what is true to human nature, only the discipline of our feelings, judging through trial and error. Through art we can reach what is universal, penetrate to the essential sickness or strength of the human soul.

AR
Without judges there is no art, which is the same as saying: we get the art we deserve.

Art lover
Very good – as an art lover, my passion keeps art alive. Therefore art exists! Through our engagement in art we gain culture. Culture makes us more human; elevates.

AR
But, the artist has no responsibility to us. He serves art, alone. He must tell the truth. This is the meaning of the L’art pour l’art movement, misleadingly translated as ‘Art for art’s sake’. But then, the English have never understood it. The painter, Whistler, is a protagonist of the creed and we must seek his opinion before we can safely say that we have found art. 

Whistler
Art happens – no hovel is safe from it, no Prince may depend upon it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about and puny efforts to make it popular end in quaint comedy, and coarse farce.
This is as it should be. Why after centuries of freedom from it and indifference to it should the people have Art thrust upon them? She has no desire to teach, no purpose to better others.
Art seeks the Artist alone. Where he is, there she appears, and remains with him –loving and fruitful… And when he dies she sadly takes her flight.
With the man, then, and not with the multitude are her intimacies; and in the book of her life the names inscribed are few – scant, indeed, the list of those who have helped to write her story of love and beauty.

AR
We also have our part in all true art! Remember, Imitation makes the whole world kin.

Whistler
True indeed. But let not the unwary jauntily suppose that Shakespeare herewith hands him his passport to Paradise, and thus permits him speech among the chosen. Rather learn that in this very word, Imitation, he is condemned to remain without – to continue with the common. 

AR
You mean that what is popular is also vulgar. We know the artist is a freak of nature yet he sees through human eyes. We small band of art lovers expect no favours from art. But from you, the artist, we hope to see the world through your eyes – in this way we serve art. It’s down to the art lover to engage in art.

Pinocchio
You get out what you put in – that’s my motto from now on. As a painter, perhaps Art will visit me some day, just like the fairy with blue hair. 

Art lover
Mr. Whistler, I fear for these young people! In your field, painting – which has had such an impact on our lives – there is nothing happening nowadays. What are they to do? All their friends run around trying to catch the latest thing. When you’re young you like to think something is happening.11

Alice
Running around? I don’t waste time, I make time – to see the ‘latest thing’ – the Rokeby Venus! Manet’s Olympia! There is so much happening outside Time. 

Whistler
If Art be rare today, it was seldom heretofore. It is false, this teaching of decay. The master stands in no relation to the moment at which he occurs – a monument of isolation – hinting at sadness – having no part in the progress of his fellow men.
He is also no more the product of civilization than is the scientific wisdom of aperiod. The assertion itself requires the man to make it. The truth was from the beginning.
So Art is limited to the infinite, and beginning there cannot progress.
We have then but to wait, until, with the mark of the Gods upon him, there come among us again the chosen – who shall continue what has gone before. Satisfied that, even were he never to appear, the story of the beautiful is already complete – hewn in the marbles of the Parthenon – and broidered, with the birds, upon the fan of Hokusai – at the foot of Fujiyama.

Pinocchio
Mr. Whistler, are you the only American genius?

Art lover
progress in art – Picasso! What would he not have given to capture the ‘mana’ of those bulls from the cave paintings of twenty thousand BC? If art progressed then today’s painter would be greater than Picasso. 

True poet
One truth is not more true than another.

Art lover
But time is running out for the art lovers. I’m talking about the planet. It’s all very well to say that we can become more human through art – human enough to save the planet!? Meanwhile, all we can do is believe in Alice and Pinocchio. At least they will have the advantage of a sane outlook on life.

Giant projection of Hitler’s face – in relation to which Hitler, standing on the podium in front, seems to be about the size of a garden gnome.

Hitler
All effective propaganda has to limit itself only to a very few points and to use them like slogans. 

AR
Alice and Pinocchio, we have come to the end of our journey and you have passed the test. In the pursuit of art you became automatically impervious to Propaganda. Indeed, each of you quite forgot to take your daily NINSDOL pill. You are no longer addicted to Nationalistic Idolatry, Non-Stop Distraction and Organized Lying – the three constituents of Propaganda. The art lovers now invite you to become members of our movement, AR. Let us progress to the inauguration ceremony.
On the way we could look in at a Conference on Culture which is attended by those very same art lovers who from the beginning had no interest in our journey. Here it is in Paris. Pinocchio, I know you’re dying to go to the Louvre but Alice, you could just pop back in your book and I’ll put it in my pocket and take you in. 

Opening speaker (French professor of anthropology)
And Man came out of Africa 180 thousand years ago …

AR
The talk lasts 3/4 hour. He’s scared of seeming Eurocentric …and the good thing is he ended up in Paris. (laughs) Quite right, too. France was the greatest flowering of western culture for the three centuries up until the First World War – interrupted by the Revolution, of course. 

Philosopher
We need more festivals to promote cultural exchange between the world’straditional and popular arts and crafts. 

Top cultural advisor
We need a common vision of the importance of television and cinema for the cohesion of society.

Choreographer
Dance is the only international language. It should be at the top of every agenda.

Rapper
I need the state to sponsor my music. The internet only helps established artists.

Composer
Young people should know that culture is not entertainment.

Director of state art gallery
We have not once mentioned American culture!

AR
As we began by saying, artists and intellectuals have abdicated their responsibility. They wish to be popular instead of truthful to their vision of the world. We have no avant garde. Art has never been popular; it is original and it takes time for people to see it. But where there is an avant garde, others will follow: this gives culture. There has to be a hierarchy of values. They’ve swapped culture for the cult of the individual.
When you boil it down, people think that culture is being nice to each other. Being nice is not enough. Life has to have meaning: discrimination in pursuit of truth – my way is through art. In the conference they realized they had a problem, when you like everything you end up with some sort of global soup –

Alice
– along with vanilla ice cream topped with onion sauce, magic mushroom Cornish pasties and …

Pinocchio
Ratshit!

Art lover
And Pinocchio, I think Alice has pinched some of your cheek. As we were leaving she jumped out and yelled –

Alice
You’re all a pack of cards!

AR
Children, You are expensive – crap is not good enough for you. Time is your luxury. You like to be alone because you like to think. As art lovers and readers you will converse with the highest forms of intelligence. You will form your own opinions and your ideas will be the avant garde. Ideas will give you power and you will fire the imagination of your friends. You see through propaganda. Therefore, engage in politics. It is time for you to receive your badges from the noble warrior, Leonard Peltier.

Alice
But Leonard is innocently serving Time. 

Leonard Peltier
(It is the spirit of Leonard which now speaks) Art is an imaginative illusion which captures the imagination. State your vows.

Alice
Every time I read a book instead of looking at a magazine, go to the art gallery instead of watching TV, go to the theatre instead of the cinema, I fight for Active Resistance to Propaganda. 

Pinocchio
The freedom fighters’ motto is: You get out what you put in. 

Leonard pins on their AR badges

Leonard Peltier
Alice and Pinocchio, you are now in the presence of a great secret. Your journey has revealed to you that human beings have a choice. We can cultivate the human genius and build a great civilization on earth. Through art we see the future. It holds up a mirror of our human potential. Or, as victims of our mere cleverness we will remain the destructive animal. Our innovations can contribute to progress, but our humanity is a scientific fact, and must be taken into account for advance to happen, otherwise we have partial science which will kill us.
Indians have not made this mistake, they see the world in its entirety. Our first duty is to love our mother, Earth. Indians know the importance of living in harmony with creation. Men – not gods. The Greeks called human arrogance hubris.

Voice of Icarus
Remember the myth of Icarus. Do not fly too near the sun. Your wings are made of wax.

Light radiates through the patterns in a mandala composed of concentric circles alternating with diminishing squares. The squares represent the organization and knowledge of man and the circles represent the truth and chaos of nature.

Leonard Peltier
Progress lies in the centre of the mandala. Step forward. (In his hand he holds a small convex mirror from which the light is coming.) This is the mirror of true progress. 

Alice and Pinocchio look at themselves in the mirror.

Dryad of the Rainforest
I must stay with my trees.

The most important thing about the manifesto is that it is a practice. If you follow it your life will change. In the pursuit of culture you will start to think If you change your life, you change the world.

Wiederabdruck
Das Manifest erschien unter http://activeresistance.co.uk/getalife/Manifesto_ENGLISH.pdf [5.6.2013].

[Dieser Text findet sich im Reader Nr. 1 auf S. 599.]

[Es sind keine weiteren Materialien zu diesem Beitrag hinterlegt.]

Vivienne Westwood

(*1941) ist eine englische Modedesignerin. Sie wuchs in sehr einfachen Verhältnissen in einer englischen Kleinstadt auf. Ihre berufliche Laufbahn startete sie als Grundschullehrerin in London – zur Mode kam sie durch ihren damaligen Lebenspartner, den exzentrischen Malcolm McLaren (Manager der Sex Pistols). 1981 brachte sie ihre erste professionelle Mode-Kollektion, die berühmte Piraten-Kollektion, heraus – ein Abschied von der Punkszene, bevor diese zum Mainstream werden sollte. Seit den 90er Jahren auch Theaterprojekte sowie Lehraufträge an der Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien und an der Universität der Künste Berlin. Web: http://activeresistance.co.uk/

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Aristoteles  ·  Diogenes II  ·  Hitler, Adolf  ·  Manet, Édouard  ·  Parker-Rhodes, Adam  ·  Peltier, Leonard  ·  Picasso, Pablo  ·  Tweedledee  ·  Tweedledum  ·  Velázquez, Diego  ·  Westwood, Vivienne  ·  Whistler, James Abbott McNeill

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