Crisis Special (Museum Sztuki, Lódz)

Crisis Special
Date: November 10, 2009 at 5 pm
Venue: ms2 – Muzeum Sztuki, 19 Ogrodowa Str, Lódz

Speakers: Iza Desperak (Lódz), Marina Gržinić (Ljubljana/Vienna), Jens Haaning (Copenhagen)

The international seminar Crisis Special, a part of the Public Preparation series, is dedicated to the critical exploration of interconnections between nationalist ideology and the capitalist economic system.

The Crisis Special seminar continues the agenda of the Public Preparation project, which attempts to deal critically with the growing tendencies of nationalism in contemporary Europe, and nationalism’s reflections and articulations in contemporary art practice. During the Public Preparation project, the issue of nationalism is split into thematic sequences that all focus on different aspects of the phenomenon. The current edition of the project is being held in collaboration with the Muzeum Sztuki in Lódz and focuses on the symbiotic links between diverse forms of nationalism in the public sphere and different aspects of the neoliberal, free market economy.

Some parts of the world, former Eastern Europe among them, have not yet recovered from the global economic meltdown and, according the darkest prognosis, it may take a decade to reach the pre-crisis level and restore economic growth. Besides populism, protectionist policies have also emerged, re-gained popularity, and started to play a central role in emergency plans for economies directed by national governments. How are national values and traditions used as an excuse for economic activities and corporate politics? How is capital used as a tool of power to fulfill nationalist-imperialist policies in particular regions? How might the return to protectionist politics influence nationalist movements in contemporary Europe during this crises of global capitalism? How do they deal with migration and transnational identity? These are just few first questions that have come up while following reports in daily papers’ economy pages…

As Brian Holmes pointed out in his latest book when discussing the phenomenon of “capital failure”, the form and function of the national state, by mediating its inhabitants and individual enterprises, both inside and outside its borders, reconfigures under the pressure of global economic forces. Capitalist principles form a fundamental part of modern economies, and having developed hand in hand with modern nation state apparatuses, the interdependence of these power structures is evident, although not so obvious at the first sight. Global capitalism is often seen as a cosmopolitan, borderless structure that relies on liberal values, but it rarely manifests its main methodology of reproducing itself – the latter taking advantage of cheaper labour costs in less developed parts of the world, and relying on the exclusion and inclusion conducted by governments of nation states. Recent changes in the global economy and the revival of nationalism force us to recognise, discuss and examine, the changes in relations between these two ideological super-forces which drive the world.

As Public Preparation is and has always been a self-educational project, the aim of this seminar/workshop is not to give final answers and offer finished, ready-to-go, solutions, but rather it is to raise questions and open up discussions in multiple directions. Therefore, two art professionals – outstanding theoretician Marina Gržinić, and the classic figure of contemporary political conceptual art, Jens Haaning – have been invited to participate. Both have addressed the paradoxes of nationalist ideology and capitalist economic structure in their previous practice. The whole scenario will be framed from Polish perspective through the eyes of Iza Desperak, a sociologist and feminist activist.

The seminar language is English and entrance is free. Please register at info(at)

For further information please contact:
Rael Artel, curator, rael(at)
Magdalena Ziólkowska, host, magda.ziolkowska(at)

– Bios of the speakers:
– Abstracts of the presentations:
– Programme:

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Filed under contemporary art, critical thought, racism, nationalism, fascism

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