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Culture was Propaganda!

Hier DE

The speaking artist on art and culture in pandemic Europe

Milan Mijalkovic, the Austro-Macedonian architect, author and artist, repeatedly adapts the stylistic tool of speech as an art form to illuminate social conflicts and problems of the time. "We do not need culture!" - under this heading, the speaking artist takes account of a society that has simply switched off its arts in the face of Corona. At the same time he warns the cultural establishment to turn away from old cultural aspirations full of arbitrariness. Mijalkovic demands nothing less than a cultural revolution and a new confrontation with the unknown.

The cultural establishment and cultural workers in crisis

Artists like Milan Mijalkovic von Makedonien could not find a real stage in spring 2020. The cultural scene in Austria and practically all over Europe is closed. Almost everything has been closed down by the governments, without asking the people - who was supposed to govern and determine democracy. Nor has it been asked what is vital now, what is allowed to remain open and alive. If it had been asked, it would certainly have answered: Supermarkets. 

Mijalkovic makes a virtue of necessity and at the beginning of April 2020, turns the sidewalk in front of an Austrian Billa store into a stage. This is where he gives his inflammatory speech and sends it into the new world via the channel that is always open, around the clock and despite every virus: YouTube.

Culture was propaganda

With this statement Milan Mijalkovic sets an early exclamation mark in his new performance. Unlike in The Democratic Speech, the artist here sends words and echoes to the audience. Echoes seem to be the only appropriate thing in view of recent developments. Everything has become cultureless overnight. A world of culture that can so easily be switched off, repressed and forgotten can never have had any real cultural content or value, criticises Mijalkovic. He calls it deception, a swindle, propaganda and gluttony. For the artist, the cultural establishment has recently developed into a consumer good that is quickly dropped when other things seem more necessary. 
For Milan Mijalkovic, culture was only arbitrary, well-known and therefore exchangeable and dispensable. In his view, the culture has not fulfilled the actual deeper idea of what culture is. It was basically cultureless, because it no longer absorbed, interpreted or processed the foreign or the unknown. Is Mijalkovic now calling for a cultural reorientation that reconsiders the cultural essence and its roots?For the artist, the striving for culture led in the completely wrong direction and has now made the cultural world disappear in a niche - in the Digital Culture, in Kulturdigital. In the digital world, where hardly anyone listens or watches and where the attention of a larger audience can only be regained if the artists adapt, make themselves replaceable and adaptable.

Milan Mijalkovic, Kultur ist Propaganda, 2020, collage on paper, 50 x 35 cm

Camera: Gerald Kofler
Thanks to: Christina Werner, Stephan Klinger, Heidulf Gerngross, Barabra Spannocchi

Copyright: Milan Mijalkovic, 2020