Came back from Venice

„PENSA CON SENSI -- SENTE CON LA MENTE" (Biennale di Venezia, 2007)

first come those that sell bullets, then journalists, then grave-diggers 
and buildings mafia, finally there is the art-world and the movie 
production, some make money - the other careers

Ana Peraica

How is it possible that one of two this year's biggest events, Biennale 
di Venezia shows images of wars under an unclear concept of "pensa con 
sensi -- sente con la mente," being in the same year a Bosnian city in 
which European largest massacre after the WW2 is fighting for its pride 
and not even mentioning it? Is Den Haag's coldness for the suffering of 
Srebrenica and the whole selection of the Biennale indicating the same 
symptom? War tourism accompanied with role-playing of victims and 
general moral irresponsibility, spectacle of indolence…


Caught between thoughts of Susan Sontag, analyzing images of war in the 
peace societies, its perverse enjoying of distant deaths that actually 
make them feel more secure and Baudrillard who has turned even Sontag's 
pacifism into the critique of pathetic standpoint in the text on 
Sarajevo, as actually Sontag went to write there, I am thinking again on 
the role of the war reporter that has emancipated indicating a cultural 
need for the distant trauma in public, and adrenaline addiction of 
reporting, but also a rare profit-making of the war .Moreover, the 
indolence grows, as it shows the algorithm of media and cruelty noted 
once by Billwet / Adilkno: more ethereal the medium: more violent and 
frequent the image of the dead. So, we see plenty of photos and videos 
of graveyards, corpses… but names of artists are coming more important 
than victims represented.


To be honest, I could not see more than Arsenale show. To sum up the 
Arsenale -- war, death, victims, among which of course - plenty of 11 
September planes, models, toys, dead children and rarely some of 
conflicts caused by the West. A colleague, Ivana Bago with whom I was 
cruising the show has commented; we should have worn t-shirts with 
Srebrenica's appeal. The show had made me sick, not only as I've seen 
too many images of war myself, but as actually I am sick of war tourism, 
especially when someone is making a career on it. It indeed reminded me 
of plenty of conferences on war topics in which speakers were "caught 
in war" for a day, having all kinds of bullet-protection jackets and who 
had only made troubles to local police that had to cover them up instead 
of taking care for children, old people and women in danger that would 
not be able to escape, as these "reporters" Also, they would not be able 
to earn anything for a day being in the war, as photo-reporters, 
journalists and others.

Even here, rarely some artist was reporting the original experience in 
the sense war being a disaster to one's life, mostly origins of artists 
were countries that had not seen the war since the WW2. But, exposing 
war images at Biennale is surely making them more important than all the 
memories of people that had suffered for years at same places.

It is not a matter why did they went to report on the war, the matter if 
they were adrenaline freaks, but what the selection entitled "think with 
your feelings, feel with your mind" wanted to forward to its public? 
Some more of adrenaline to the asleep Biennale public… or the indolence 
that is the actual international politics showing again with the 
Srebernica's case? Or it is yet another case of making a profit out of 
war. As if not presented in such a context, most of these artworks would 
actually be so immoral.


So, why does then the Biennale show wants to get the picture of war -- 
most of which finished? And why does it not mention the only consequence 
of the European wars in which a victim did not gain the place as all 
other European victims? What is the difference between all presented 
cases and Srebrenica? Amazingly enough this years largest fight for the 
recognition of the pride of the victim has staid behind. Actually in the 
art-world that is really not a problem … as, except of the work by Šejla 
Kameric', there were rarely some other ones. Srebrenica does not find 
the media representation that has been given to the Holocaust throughout 
the XX century or during couple of years to 11th September. Its victims 
seem to be totally irrelevant.

And in this review it is not the matter of the pure curiosity but the 
support that has to be given in the world in which Nazi war crimes or 
terrorism of extreme Muslims
are not forgotten (yet) -- but are forwarded to whole nations and 
religions, while the case of the contemporary Western crime is not even 
risen to question. And that is the crime of indolence and war profit.


The only work that has actually given a critique was by Dan Perjovschi 
with graffiti at the entrance of Arsenale commenting that to show in 
Arsenale "must have killer instincts". The rest is to me modest -- framed 
by a really bad context, the unoriginal PTSP (post-traumatic stress 
syndrome). But, how do we know it is false?

It is very simple -- victims of PTSP, even when being whole cultures, are 
not willing to speak on own trauma, but are closing themselves in, 
feeling ashamed of what they are passing through. They rather attach 
themselves to the imagery of eroticism, of life creation than to the 
ones of war and death. Thatis also the reason there were rarely some 
original artists from societies in war.

It is indeed strange as this has happened in the year that for the long 
time the World Press Photography has given the award not showing the 
death, but life in the conditions of the destruction, a youth still 
being young. Something should have been learned there -- or actually it 
is not the same public we are speaking about? An algorithm of the media 
in war is quite simple: more life is endangered people speak on 
eroticism, only CNN starts with spectacular topics of international war, 
while all other national stations actually put them at the end.

So why should someone mind seeing video by Yang Zhenzhong in which ten 
people say "I will die"? Do you know how many people died in Srebrenica 
in real? 2000 identified 3000 for sure but even 8500 may be, they say.

But as seems none cares but war profiteers of journalism, academia or 
even art, the concept of Biennale could easily be renamed into "think 
for your ass, feel for your valet / art career."

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