DemoKino - Virtual Biopolitical Agora
Welcome to today's voting session
a note from the editors
textual and pictorial reader is more than just documentation
of an art project. It combines contributions by theorists and
a photocomic created from the original project's texts and visuals
by Dejan Dragosavac Ruta
to reflect on the proposition of Janez Janša's DemoKino
- Virtual Biopolitical Agora. DemoKino - Virtual Biopolitical
Agora is an anti-entertainment interactive film that develops
according to the audience members' vote. Inspired in part by
the "pianisti" scandal in the Italian Parliament when
a number of senators were filmed voting for their absent colleagues
via the electronic voting system, DemoKino is a virtual
parliament which through filmic parables, following one protagonist's
rethinking of the ethical dilemmas placed before us, provides
the spectators come voters/participants with the opportunity
to decide on issues that are, paradoxically, becoming the essence
of modern politics: the questions of life - abortion, cloning,
therapeutic cloning, water privatization, copyleft, euthanasia,
genetically modified organisms, same sex marriage.
DemoKino was published in a number of formats - as
web-based streaming, as live film presentation, on television
with televoting provided, as a DVD that may be rented from a
local shop and as a radio broadcast, no medium seemed left out.
This reader was initiated not with an idea to reformat the artistic
project to print form, or to approach it solely from a critical
or analytical perspective, but with an idea to contextualize,
to reframe the wider cultural and political environment DemoKino
appears in, providing a theoretical, artistic and social context.
To ask: who is the one who performs? The lone protagonist of
the film or the spectator who becomes engaged in a strategy
of making visible, even obvious, not just the button pushing
of the Italian senators, but the deceptive liberty of the spectator
to freely navigate through the film interactively, as a member
of a virtual democratic body.
Kunst examines the moment "when the issue
of life enters the political arena and modern politics becomes
biopolitics [and] the democratic decision reaches an impasse:
in the political arena laws are being debated on issues that
can actually tolerate no decisions and any kind of majority
rule is problematic in itself, any political regulation a publicly
legitimated act of violence."
Milohnić discusses the limitations of political
representation by analyzing the structure of DemoKino
as a virtual agora and a kind of exercise in direct democracy,
thus questioning the power of argument vs. the power of representation.
Voloshinov / Bakhtin´s notion of dialogism offers a productive
conceptual framework for such a theoretical operation.
Italy being only a symptom of what happens
when we push to an extreme the media manipulation of "televised
democracy" realized by Silvio Berlusconi. Procedural failure
of political representation and subsequent critical reflection
may lead one to ask if democracy has been reduced to formal
reading Paradoxes of Democracy by Antonio
Caronia, the author of the original DemoKino
screenplay and texts argumenting the issues, we can ponder if,
in an environment where new information and communication technologies
allow everyone to be directly connected in real time, the authoritarian
imposition of democratic decision-making through the representational
democracy of the parliamentary system should impregnate contemporary
daily life or should the transformations of the production and
circulation of knowledge due to the advent of digital technologies
result in possible new political forms, in social transformation?
Milat's contribution draws on biopolitical theory
and rethinks Agamben´s notion of disbando to address "community",
its bonds and burdens, the presumptions and praxis of "communing",
the life in the state of Empire.
yet, how much of our sublime-subversion image is just a pose?
Is the copy of Empire on our coffee table, read and reread,
bookmarked and underlined, quoted from on appropriate occasions,
just acceptance of a certain lifestyle? Using the motif of a
traveler, Leonardo Kovacević
is read with gusto, as if passing one's eyes over a foreign
Gržinić is critical of today's art institutions
and art projects produced in the capitalist first world, their
unbearable abstraction and the need of the capitalist engine
to possess new forms of production and expressions of creativity.
The emergence of political art in Slovenia in the 1980s was
shortly followed by its kidnapping, being taken hostage by the
communist political party then in power and released only when
it was already symbolically dead. The evacuation of resistance
from creativity is closely followed by a full sensualization
of the capitalist processes of abstraction, a sensualization
Medak reflects on the immance of notion of democracy's
corruption to democracy itself, on the inner workings of its
inability to create procedural limits on decision making power
as a consequence of singularities of life constantly finding
its way into the midst its parliamentary procedural set up,
on democracy as tainted by media as a true voice of democracy,
on democracy's power to pass decisions on what it cannot decide
upon, ultimately on the democracy understood not as an assembly,
but positively as a dissassembly.
textual and pictorial reader would not be complete without making
the full round back to an interview with Janez Janša conducted
by Domenico Quaranta.
We wish you a successful session.
and Janez Janša
- Virtual Biopolitical Agora
series, book no. 19
Series edited by Janez Janša
Institute for Publishing, Production and Education
Head of Publishing: David Ožura
Metelkova 6, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Institute for Contemporary Arts
Head of Publishing: Marcela Okretič
Gerbiceva 23, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
(c) MASKA, AKSIOMA
Texts and images copyright by authors and artists.
language edited by Susana Jakopec (texts), Jana Wilkoxen
Cover design, layout & prepress by Dejan
Photocomics based on visual material and texts of the project
DemoKino - Virtual Biopolitical Agora by Janez Janša. Photocomics
design by Dejan Dragosavac Ruta.
photocomics are published under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike
2.5 license. For more details click on the CC logo.
Films by Alten
Printed by Cicero
Ljubljana, Slovenia, February 2006