Nowadays, we are treated to a wealth of information about the current global crises — poverty, environmental destruction and all those finance markets supposedly teetering on the edge of the abyss. Yet the time for far-reaching political change is long overdue. After all, despite the dramatic consequences of a consumerist lifestyle, the goal of non-stop growth continues to be propagated. Natural resources are being wasted as though there were no tomorrow, while the international finance markets seem to operate free of any legal or ethical restraints. Is the public sector today ruled by economic interests and nothing else?
Although general frustration with career politicians and scepticism about the money elites is growing, the majority of us still take a “wait and see” attitude. Helplessness seems to be the dominant factor or are we living in The Age of Stupid, as one recent film title suggests?
Instead of large-scale insurrections against political systems, small acts of private resistance seem to be the name of the game.
Utopias for a new world order taking in all areas of society – as last articulated by the 1968 generation –are nowhere to be seen. Yet there are still people who do not take it for granted that everything we use should be produced at the expense of others. Today, counter-designs by (women) artists, individual stakeholders and political groupings are often limited to a clearly defined project, as individuals develop credible projects and take local action in the face of the global crisis. “Do it yourself “is thus a cool answer to what is going on and a feasible option (if not for all problems). It is an approach that simply assumes that public space is negotiable, that interventions are possible and that public welfare cannot necessarily be guaranteed by politicians and managers alone.
Confronted with the “painful structural contradictions inherent in the human situation,” as Susan Sontag once wrote, there does seem a need for a rethink. Where is the potential and where are the catalysts that will stimulate resistance? Which protagonists will take action? And what will they ultimately stand for?
NOW WHAT is at once the question and the answer!
Dortmund filmfestival: call for entries!