Sarajevo, 27.-30.11.2014

Otvoreni Univerzitet



Vaska Emanuilova Gallery, the fridge & Social Center Xaspel








Stara mestna elektrarna, Ljubljana 29.4-03.05.




Ljubljana, Stara mestna elektrarna

"Samo jednom se ljubi"

17.10.2014 | 17-18.10.2014 net.culture club MaMa, Zagreb
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
Until not too long ago, even amongst parts of the...

27.05.2014 | Bucharest

CriticFest: Nature, Protests, Arts

A festival organized by CriticAtac

RLS - SEE / CriticFest: Nature, Protests, Arts

CriticFest took place between May 15 and May 17, at Spațiul Platforma (the annex of the Romanian Contemporary Art Museum) in Bucharest.

The presentations were framed by the connections between art, nature and capitalistic property relations.The discussions shed light on regional struggles of emancipation in the context of increasingly aggressive global capital flows and facilitate future cooperation between progressive social actors in Southeast and Central Europe.

The first day was dedicated to two panels in Romanian. The first one featured Alex Cistele can with a critical reading of the concept of nature in Marx’s writings and a discussion of several critical points raised against Marx, Veronica Lazăr with a revisiting of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s critical interpretation of “natural disasters” and an appropriation of Rousseau’s points for the left, and Andrei State with an analysis of the field of subaltern studies and of Vikak Chibber’s critique of the field. The second panel featured Ovidiu Țichindeleanu, Anca Simionca and Manuel Mireanu. OvidiuȚichindeleanu emphasized the neglected issue of dependency between the core and the periphery and illustrated this with instances of local environmental struggles against global capital in South America. Anca Simionca discussed the naturalization of gender roles within the nuclear family throughout history. Manuel Mireanu reviewed several recent instances of police brutality against environmental activists in Romania and discussed the overall criminalization of environmental struggles. The day ended with a short film and discussion about the protests against the exploitation of shale gas in the eastern part of Romania by Chevron.

On the second day, the participants mainly focused on local grassroots initiatives fighting the austerity paradigm. During the first panel, Jana Tsoneva discussed the NGOization of politics in Bulgaria, emphasizing the increasingly technocratic, self-colonizing discourse of new movements, Emin Eminagić presented the situation of the large working-class mobilization in Bosnia, particularly in Tuzla, where people have begun to organize themselves according to autonomist principles and have overcome the artificial ethnic divide, Dmitryi Kolesnik presented the escalation of tension in Ukraine from the perspective of left-wing groups in the country and Andreja Zivković made a theoretical exploration into the discourse of the EU which he dubbed as “Euromarxism.” The second panel consisted of presentations of newly-formed left-wing political parties in Slovenia, Kosovo and Hungary. Matjaž Pinter talked about the context of the founding of Initiative for Democratic Socialism, Agon Hamza presented and discussed several points from the platform of the Strong Party, a mock-party which makes ludicrous claims in the style of European bureaucracy in order to point out its absurdity, and András Istvanffy talked about the 4K (Fourth Republic) in Hungary, a party which has attracted a middle-class following after placing the legalization of marijuana on their agenda. The day ended with Richard Seymour’s keynote address, who mounted a critique of the concept of “market fundamentalism”, claiming that neoliberalism is far from being market-oriented, but is rather state-oriented.

The last day begun and ended with a panel on arts and protests, and the screening of discussion of Vlad Petri’s film on the 2013 protests in Romania.The discussions revolved around the politically engaged aspects of art and how art can be used both to disguise a thoroughly political act and to neutralize a potentially relevant social protest by framing it as a mere “artistic happening”. The panel also introduced the drawings and stencils made by grade-school pupils in collaboration with Laurențiu Ridichie, Mihaela Michailov and David Schwartz. In between these two panels there were two round-table discussions among the participants about the role of the EU and the rise of extreme right in today’s global dynamics of capitalism. The role of Southern and Eastern European region was questioned in this nexus and some points were raised about how this conundrum can be broken. An emancipatory leftist politics against the EU appears salient.

The role and aim of the festival was to bring together both local activists and intellectuals and regional left-wing thinkers and activists in order to discuss and find solutions to our common predicament. This was a good occasion to broaden the spectrum of the local left and reinforce transnational links with emerging leftist movements in the region. The format of the festival allowed for both intellectual (theoretical) ideas to be exchanged as well as the development of a common political goal. We hope the festival will continue, and grow, in the years.

Text and photos: CriticAtac


RLS - SEE / CriticFest: Nature, Protests, Arts
RLS - SEE / CriticFest: Nature, Protests, Arts
RLS - SEE / CriticFest: Nature, Protests, Arts

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