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Cultural Embrace

“Art Class War”, curated by Mike WatsonFondazione Pastificio Cerere, Roma
November 2016




The evening was organised in collaboration with The Rome Process, a new platform created by Mike Watson. He proposed to investigate, through a programme of events, performances and shows, the possibilities of training (or education) through art in cultural and public spaces, with particular attention to Rome and its specific cultural traits.  

Through its own language these expressive forms could carry information directly, involving the public, both physically and mentally, thus moving ideas beyond the body. Art has to go back to playing a key role in promoting collective involvement in themes which are at once complex yet concern us all. The economic crisis has accentuated social inequality, and globalisation has shown its true face, of indiscriminate exploitation of resources, and of war, thus leading to mass migration and the wave of racism now flooding Europe.

Art can counteract the excessive power of the dominant hierarchies and, especially in the complex context in which we live, can provide the public with instruments with which to confront the worst excesses of capitalism, as in the past powerful subcultural movements did  (for example the beatnik, punk, rap or rave.)

Too often artists have put themselves at the service of those in power, on the one hand promoting the interests of the capitalist classes through creations that hypnotise, confuse and pacify and on the other providing a cultural distraction for the elite, lost in the irony of the glamour of the Biennale or the Art Fair. So the art system must begin to rethink what it represents before it can protest against the injustices of class and power. Art. Class. War wanted to put the world of art at the centre of these problems for one evening. This was a night of music and performance, which asked above all, what was the role art in the link between class and war.

The evening was organised in collaboration with The Rome Process, a new platform created by Mike Watson. He proposed to investigate, through a programme of events, performances and shows, the possibilities of training (or education) through art in cultural and public spaces, with particular attention to Rome and its specific cultural traits. The event fell within the Transnational Capitalism Examined project, the second personal exhibition of the Austrian artist Oliver Ressler curated by Mike Watson and realised in collaboration with The Gallery Apart with the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Rome.







© Robert Pettena 2018