Sunday, April 1, 2012

poster by Beata Sosnowska (PL)

RID [WRINKLE] in collaboration with Stefan Tiron

Sometime in the 23rd century...the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There's just one catch: Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel.

Logan’s Run, directed by Michael Anderson, 1976

Today we are regulating the rigid borderlines of art ‘youthness’ on a daily basis with the help of in-built cultural expiration dates, artistic freshness certificates, forceful calls of up-to-dateness and a good dose of coercive dynamism. Biennials for example are always keen on trapping and showing off their youngest curators, or labeling themselves as exclusive and foremost dealers of “YOUNG” art. At the same time, the warranty of young or forever young is authenticated by universities, cultural institutes and mass-media.
The notion of youth/Jugend was a favourite example of the totalitarian systems and a symbol of the renewing capacity of a nation. The modernist project also relies on the concept of youth as a regenerative force involved in nurturing the triumphant dreams of progress and limitless growth.

The Workings of Youth
The vitality of the workforce is maintained by a ready supply of migrant workers, cheap labor and high birth rates. Exploitation in this sense is dependent on a perpetual supply of young bodies. Late capitalism needs to ensure a strict separation of age groups based on the temporal segmentation of life. A certain age group, for example under 30 is one of the desired engines of this lost productivity, renewable physical energy. Youth as a cellular concept identifies ageing as a biological process in which cells are failing to keep up with the ever increasing pace and acceleration of their environment. Thus, youth is just a selective and increasingly over-productive association of cellular automata powering our global economy.

The Arthritis of Youth
Youth has all the advantages it needs. Old age is only acceptable if it’s redefined as vintage. Vintage has come to signify the luster of preciousness, an anachronistic mark of distinction following the ultimate eviction of the old bodies from their newly recycled garments.
The threat of aging is an incentive of fearless consumerism - the only escape promised to a society with gerontophobic ideals. In the same way, the fear of wrinkled concepts drives the employment of a young creative class always ready to execute each time the necessary facelift.
However, the visual monopoly of the youth surfaced by advertising, magazine covers and popular TV shows, promoters of young talents, is countered by the unfaltering cultural gerontocracy. Old masters, professionals, experts and advisers serve in an army of moral guardians in charge of re-establishing our jumbled values.
In this context where age limits are constantly produced and enforced, where the biological expiration dates are the ultimate deadlines, we want to question these segmentations of life and the use of age as a tool of contemporary biopolitics.