All that is capital melts into Love
when the state collapses we still have each other
"All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.”
― Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
City Rising. Metahaven, 2014. Filmed, directed and designed by Metahaven. Models by Constant Nieuwenhuys. Words by Brian Kuan Wood.
When the state collapses, we still have each other.
"Over the past few decades, it has often been said that we no longer have an addressee for our political demands. But that’s not true. We have each other. What we can no longer get from the state, the party, the union, the boss, we ask for from one another...So, it looks like we are entering an era of profound love. The construction of the modern subject from the Western Enlightenment on through the Scientific Revolution advocated a mechanistic view of the world that inadvertently sought a kind of stabilization of life and causal relationships through a natural order. Peace and prosperity follow. Infrastructure would be built accordingly. Labor would be specialized, the train would arrive on time and take you where you want to go, the garbage man would keep coming on behalf of a large organization that does not want to have you living surrounded by your own waste. Yet, when infrastructure breaks down, we start to develop special powers—such as telepathy...Love becomes a society without the state, to paraphrase Pierre Clastres. Love within strong and well-managed infrastructural conditions is explained with transcendental and highly personal terms—we are meant to be together, we are made for each other. We have so much in common. We are a private commons within the society. Love is allowed to be platonic and never opportunistic, and only the most wretched or destitute people marry the child of a factory owner for that reason, for a passport, etc. But when the trash man stops showing up, everything starts to marble and flip. Infrastructure turns to love and love becomes infrastructure. The son becomes the trash man. True love becomes a healthy family business, with children as its labor force. The economic mobilization of love might explain how love can be used to territorialize close communities. It doesn’t explain how much power these communities actually hold through those very bonds, through their ability to dissolve the apparent necessity of making alliances with power structures that don’t offer any immediate form of reciprocal support simply because they are there."
-- Brian Kuan Wood, an excerpt from Is it Love?. e-flux, © 2014 e-flux and the Brian Kuan Wood. For the entire essay click here.
Producers of "City Rising"
Design with a prophetic edge
The prophets of the Abrahamic traditions experienced divine breathing through what a leading biblical scholar of our time, Walter Brueggemann, calls the prophetic imagination. This imagination is a form of spirituality in its own right, but it is very different from delight in beauty or mindfulness in the present moment. It is closer to shamanism with an ethical twist. It dwells in the imagination as a felt contrast between the way things are in society and the world and the way things can be and should be in the world.
We see this imagination in the biblical prophets and also in many who share in their way of walking in God: Sojourner Truth, WEB Du Bois, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and, of course, Mohandas Gandhi. Wherever we find people protesting against the status quo and resisting it, wherever we find people announcing a new and fresh possibility for living in the world, grounded in love and justice, we find the prophetic imagination. Think of Pete Seeger singing Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.
Last night I had the strangest dream
I never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war
Prophetic imagineers have strange dreams like this.People with strange dreams are not always happy people. And certainly they are not well-adjusted, if that means adjusted to the status quo. To the contrary they are often angry, frustrated, and discouraged about the way things are, even as they carry within themselves a hope for something better. The absence of love and justice in the world -- the sadness of greed, hatred, and violence -- keep them up at night. Whereas others sleep peacefully, trusting in the illusions of a well-ordered world, they are haunted by the truth of nightmares and, also, as in City Rising, the economy of love.
-- Jay McDaniel
"Metahaven is a research and design studio by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden based in Amsterdam. Metahaven's work - both commissioned and self-directed - reflects political and social issues in graphic design objects and media.
In addition to international presentation of design and research projects, Metahaven has published numerous essays such as ‘Uncorporate Identity’, a design anthology for our dystopian age.Metahaven’s ‘City Rising’ is a homage to Constant Nieuwenhuys’s ‘New Babylon’; a utopian architectural project based on the idea of an alternative, fully automated society in which human labour has become unnecessary. The video is an exploration of the conditions of life, work, and intimacy under neoliberalism. ‘City Rising’ uses the architectural models of Constant’s ‘New Babylon’ as its backdrop while proposing that through constant networked communication and the integration of work into every part of life, love is the most binding contract founded on mutual debt."
-- Today's Art 2014