International Necronautical Society

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Official Document
Title: Declaration Concerning the Relationship between Art and Democracy
Type: INS declaration
Authorised: First Committee
INS Authorisation Code: TMcC010703

This proclamation was commissioned [in 2003] by Peer for their publication 'Art and Democracy'. The publication was later abandoned 'in view of recent events'.

Document follows

1.1 It is held by this organisation to be axiomatic that good art despises democracy to the same measure as bad democracy covets art.

1.2 Bad democracy's administrators covet art inasmuch as they demand of it that it package and promote their core propaganda motifs: inclusiveness, accessibility, good citizenship, public dialogue, 'creative entrepeneurship' etc etc.

1.3 Art is about none of these things. Its origins lie in transgression, death and sacrifice.

1.4 Good art despises good democracy as much as bad democracy. Art which sets itself the task of promoting democratic principles, branding itself as 'oppositional' to globalisation, worker oppression and so on, is invariably banal. It is also more insidiously reactionary than the most excessive proclamation of Marinetti. Good art cannot be a space in which individual rights - to freedom, self-expression etc - are asserted for the reason that in good art the very subject who might enjoy such privileges is abjected and annihilated. Good art cannot assume a 'position' as it is predicated on the destruction of every position, every point of origin.

2.1 Leon Golub's paintings are not 'protest art'. They are Homeric.

2.2 It is noted with approval that Spartans forced captured Athenians to learn Euripides's work by heart. If they made mistakes reciting it, they were executed.

3.1 It is held that the generative processes involved in a work of art's production are inherently undemocratic, requiring peremptory decisions, hierarchisation and suppression - in short, the ruthless management and exploitation of symbolic information.

3.2 It is held that the lines of sucession along which influence in art proceeds are fraught, oedipal and not egalitarian, and that the character of apprenticeship is a master-slave one.

4.1 See photo 1.

4.2 See photo 2.

5 It is noted with interest that most good writers were either extremely rich (Tolstoy, Proust) or in prison (Genet, Solzhenitsyn). Sade was both.

6.1 That fascism and art go well together is attested by Futurism and the writing of Yeats, Pound, Spengler, Hamsun, Junger etc. If fascism is taken to be 'the aestheticisation of political life' then it is hard to think of a good artist who could not be called a fascist.

6.2 Left-totalitarian systems serve art in more roundabout but equally constructive ways. Censorship and interdiction should be welcomed by good artists as enabling. In this light, it is proposed that Stalin's policy of arresting and eradicating artists and writers was inspired, as it placed them in the zone of silence and impossibility from which all good art stems. Good artists should be quiet, invisible or dead.

7 Do we contradict ourselves? Well then we contradict ourselves. We are large. We contain multitudes.

Document Ends