Aleksandar Gubas on Tue, 13 Jun 2000 17:00:00 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> God is low-fi

(a contribution to the East-West cultural dialogue)

CFront 2000 in Plovdiv is nearing its end.

I was invited, but I wasn't there - I had some passport problems and I
was (and still I am) writing a screenplay very important to me. But I
was there in my mind, and I know what they did this summer.

The question that CFront asked, as I understand, was: What's between
East and West? Which kind of cultural link could be established?

But there appeared some other, more important questions, to be answered
before: What's the West? What's the East? As an Eastern European artist,
do I really know the West and do I really know the East? And how do I
use my resources? How well do I know myself and my capabilities?

It seems that many people, both West and East, expect to hear Serbian
artists talking about the politics. That's how the people usually see a
Serb as an Easterner. But what is that politics in Serbia that I should
talk about? There's no politics any more - the dictatorship (or call it
whatever you like) is now the only reality here. A cruel reality, but
one of the many possible ones. It should be changed, but the art is not
the way how to do the Job here (and we all know what the Job is...).
"Art for Democracy" is very funny idea when applied in Serbia.

Here, the politics is dead. Only individual stories live. The only
politics now is Me, Myself, My Body and My Mind. Forget about the
politics. Forget about the ideologies. If you're searching for the true
individualism, with a vague idea that it could be the way to re-define
the civilization, then meet the Serbian (or East European generally)
artist. But choose carefully whom to listen to: the answer, for example,
will not be found in an Easterner who is talking about the net
strategies while not knowing who is the leading Internet provider in
his/her country.

Want to hear what I'm thinking about the politics in Serbia? Well, I am

For example, B2-92... Some people still believe in freeb92 mission, even
under the present circumstances (it exists somehow on the Internet and
satellite), and that's OK. There is a certain sense in this. This may be
a worthy venture, but one should not turn away the eyes from the
reality: B2-92, as we knew it, is dead - it will be a land-based radio
station that broadcasts from Serbia never again. And even if it
fortunately would, the true importance of that station will never be the

"Genuine" Studio B, now dismissed by the government, wants to move to
the cyberspace. How very ridiculous. Who the hell would be interested in
reading or listening to what Studio B wants to say on-line?

And does it have to say anything at all?

Otpor movement... Well, probably it is honest and sincere cause. But
practically, it's the kids stuff - no chance for them to do the Job (and
we all know what the Job is...).

Serbian opposition? :-))))))) What's that?

And then why a Serbian artist should talk about the politics? The
politics is Me, and I want to tell you about THAT politics.

But I won't be long. The only thing that I want to tell about the
politics is that I am writing this on a Macintosh Classic II computer, a
machine from the late eighties. It's not an ad for Mac - the point is
something else. I am a poor artist, I live in a desperate country with
no job opportunities for the people like me, I have no PC with the
Internet connection - I have only that old Mac (actually it's not mine,
but lent by a friend) - but I have to communicate. So I am writing this
on Mac (using it as an excellent typewriter), than I'll save it on a
diskette as .rtf file (to be readable on PC), bring it to my friend's PC
and email it. That's my dealing with politics.

Geert Lovink is right when he says that there's no need for the upgrade
obsession. First you have to explore your existing technical resources
and try to understand them. First you really decide to communicate with
God in yourself, and then think about technologies, upgrades, Web
strategies, networking and stuff - if necessary at all. Because God is
much simpler than people usually think. God is low-fi. But do look for

The East is full of experts for exploiting technology to the maximum, in
order to express their ideas under very limited technical conditions.
The Easterners are surprisingly technically smart. But one thing should
not be forgotten - they are artists too. They are full of very provoking
dilemmas of interest to the West too, and Geert is right about another
thing: don't take those people only as skilled technicians. Try to
listen to the artist in them.

Yes, there is flesh blood in the East, but don't let it die. Try to get
to know it better. Ask the true questions and try to hear the answers

West is technology. East is confusion. What's between East and West? The
artist. Myself. I am the link. And give me the chance to tell it in my
way. I could sell the POLITICS IN SERBIA abroad, but why should I do it?
I want to present the picture of ME IN SERBIA. This is the only sense of
the so-called art and culture. And readiness to hear it is the only
sense of the so-called communication.

So, do you really want to communicate with the Eastern artist? If you
do, then forget about the politics. Listen to the confused,
disappointed, fucked up, bitter and paradoxically optimistic individual
from the East. His/her ways of handling the mess inside the head could
be inspiring to the others.

And please, set me free from the politics. All I am saying is give art a
chance. If you are interested in art at all.

Aleksandar Gubas

Belgrade, June 13, 2000

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