Saskia Sassen
George Soros
Anita Sieff
Ronald. M. Bosrock
Slavoj Žižek
Umberto Galimberti
Francesco Antinucci
Timothy Druckrey
Marina Gržinić
Rudi Rizman
Carlos Basualdo
John Peter Nilsson
Olu Oguibe
Mika Hannula
Jordan Crandall
Eda Čufer
Aleš Erjavec
Nataša Petrešin
Mark Amerika
  Viktor Misiano

Aurora Fonda iterviewing Carlos Basualdo

1.How do you think the phenomena of globalisation is effecting the art scene? Is it enriching it or you have the impression that something gets lost? Like the notion of national identity and tradition for example.

When we say globalisation sometimes I feel it is a kind of very wide umbrella, that protects many different things that are happening. Because there is a culture of accumulation, but also of communication. But I think this is basically the strategy of capitalism. Capitalism is a machine, they say it accumulates, but it also establishes further connections, all the connections necessary to accumulate more effect. After that machine comes development and technology. And the machine Deleuze used to talk about, the diagram of capitalism plus the achievement of technology, produces another phenomenon, which is the communication of culture - the accessibility of different people in different places, who can talk to each other. I think when we say globalisation we are referring to all those things indistinctively, without making any kind of differences. We understand the nuances of all those things. I think globalisation is a wide term, as a matter of fact it encompasses a lot of different phenomena operating at a lot of different levels in cultural and daily life. It is a kind of little problematic term. Therefore is better to concentrate on the specificity of it, rather than try to talk about it in very general terms.

And what about the question of identity?

Establishing a common ground for communication among different cultures and producers all over the world, while at the same time retaining a degree of effectiveness when those practices were developed or put into practice in the specific context in which they were produced. So at the same time, I think the modern attempt was to try to develop a practice that both can enter a dialogue internationally and that can be very effective at a local level. So I think modernism, at least for me, was never at the opposition of the international versus the local, but it was very much about trying to operate at both levels at the same time. This is very clear when you think of certain writers like Joyce, or Borges, it very clear that they operate on both levels. They are not thinking in terms of either or, they are thinking about both things. I think that the most interesting cultural producers today are working in that direction. I feel they are operating within the context of where they are. Places were they live and work, but trying to produce an intervention that can have a life beyond that context. And I actually would say that they have a life beyond that context because they are so effective at a local level. So I don't see any kind of opposition in the most interesting people's work today. On the other hand, I think the idea of identity related to nationality is dangerous, and it has always been a dangerous thing. National identity is a fairly risky construct. I think that discussing national identity today is dangerous because it is still contaminated by the discussion of national identity of the last couple of centuries. There is basically a belligerent way of thinking about identity. So if that belligerence is to be eroded, the level of global communication is going to be forced to come out with a new way of defining identity. I welcome it.

2.One of the positive characters of the global communication system is that you can obtain information and inform the world even if you live in the most remote village, the most important thing is to have a computer. In such a way an incredible amount of different visions are going to come out. Do you think that they will have any effect on the "stability" of the so called established art scene? And how?

I think there is something that we call art historical modern and contemporary time, which was basically North American and Western European. It was a narrative for post 45' history and now this is changing because we are realising that in the 60s there was flourishing interest in centres like Japan, Buones Aires in Argentina and the countries of the former Yugoslavia, for example, and Russia. So, in the last ten years we have been in a process of continuously re-mapping the world. And I certainly would agree with you that people feel the threat of either authority or investment. When I say investment, I would even say that authority is another investment. There are many kinds of investment, such as emotional, intellectual and financial. And this re-mapping of the world is definitely affecting all those levels. People sometimes react with curiosity, react anxiously and some people react aggressively. And this is kind of natural. This is a way human nature is. I think that is not going to stop and that it is a kind of long term project which will have a lot of cultural implications. And it is not something that is going to be welcomed and embraced by the hegemonic institutions. But you know it is going to happen and that they will have to face it.

4.To emerge and to be included in an international exhibition does not mean that the art market will be interested in the work of an artist of the so called periphery. You organized an emblematic exhibition on this topic in Ljubljana last year, called "Worthless". We often hear talk about the global market, but I have the feeling that we cannot apply this term to art. What are the reasons for it?

I think the global market is a sort of slogan, it is not something that really happens, this why I said that global sometimes is very wide concept that involves many things, but in effect is very contradictory. Sometimes when we talk about globalisation we understand and immediately associate it with the idea of free trade. But we know that free trade is somehow defended by hegemony, which means they exploit whatever they want and maintain restrictions, so basically France and the United States can exploit whatever they want. But they still maintain the restriction, for example, of agricultural travel in Europe. Not to speak about labour. Because as we know, although travelling all over the world seems like a commodity, labour cannot. The whole issue of immigration and illegality emerges exactly from this contradiction. Market dynamics are very specific and very much in control of the hegemonic countries and hegemonic institutions and of course, it reflects in the world of culture, in that access to international exhibitions does not mean that art collectors are up to date with the global market. Not to say that right now our practice depends entirely on the market in order to be culturally effective. It seemed that for a practice to become culturally effective, first it has to be disseminated or somehow filtered through the market. But I do not think this is the case of market penetration and cultural effectiveness. I think we have to make a clear difference.

There is a sort of barrier towards artists coming from non hegemonic countries. A kind of distance and a simple curiosity, but nothing goes further?

I understand that market penetration is important for the life of the people. In so-called cultural market penetration it also means a financial investment in the work produced and ultimately a financial investment in the work seems to be a guarantee for producing a historical memory for that work. But the truth of the matter is that on the other hand some of the most interesting work produced in recent years has resisted market penetration. So I am not ready to embrace the idea that we have to fight for market penetration. I would not go along with that idea. So, I am specifically concerned about the impact that this isolation from financial circuits may have for the life of individuals, but I am not so concerned about the real effect. I think that market penetration usually happens at some level or another. And I definitely agree with you, that people who had invested in let's say German post-war art or American Minimalism, are going to find it difficult to buy constructivism, because there is a lack of consideration. Because they are mainly trying to promote the art in which they have invested, because there is a lot of prejudice involved. I mean there are a lot of different facts. And I think those are operating and I think they will continue operating at one level or another. I think traditionally in the modern world that the cultural effectiveness of a practice at some level or another wants us with the collector and all the collectors represented in terms of bourgeois values. But I am not sure that we are at that point right now. I'm not saying that we are any better, because I think that bourgeois culture has been replaced by a corporate culture. But I wouldn't say that corporate culture is any better or an improvement on bourgeois culture. However, what I was saying is that they are completely different and I am sure that corporations operated at a cultural level with different intensions, not so much for collecting, but for promoting themselves through culture by establishing a completely different kind of dialogue with individual practitioners. Basically we have to try to look for what is going on now and try to think within the categories of what's going on now, and forget a little bit about the past. From the white cube to private collectors, you know from private collectors to the museum, the relationships are changing. Corporation, the biennials, the relationships between cities operating as corporations at the biennial, is really challenging that whole circuit. Challenging what the white cube really is. I am not saying that is changing for the better, but it is definitely changing.

6.On the other hand, this attitude of the global market to create a huge amount of commercial products provokes artists to react more and more, and consists in giving particular importance to the process rather than to the object.

That has been going on for the last thirty years and actually I think it has relived the way the artists were interested in the process, let's think about the 60s and 70s, statistically it was much more clear than what was happening in the 80s or 90s, clear that they were about a certain commercialism. I think that although there are very interesting people working more in the terms of process, much more then in terms of the object, I think we were banalizing, and we have to go a little bit further back in the past.

7. You don't think that today's mainly ironic and desecrated action towards the media system is a form of interesting and effective art, even though it's impossible to be sold or bought?

That is also part, as I said, of a tradition that has been happening for a long time. I think it is almost art history. I think it is definitely interesting, and what is most interesting is that there is no big difference between the kind of thing that is happening today with what was happening thirty years ago. We have to remember that thirty years ago there was the '68 revolution going on around the world, and artists were responding to it in a very creative way. I think the main difference is how curators and institutions are responding now. It's a question of whether they are able to amplify them, connect them and make of them a whole different understanding of art production or if they are going just to try to translate them into a commodity and make them part of the old system as it was. I think this is the crucial point right now. I think that artists have been trying to break the system of capitalisation for the last thirty years. I believe the way which all people in different cultural fields can operate with those practices has now changed. And so this is a great opportunity to develop a new programme.

So let's do it...

Yes, but in terms of collaboration. You know, in the past artists had institutions to react against. Right now that may have changed slightly and there is a chance that institutions can reinvent themselves so they can work with the artists, not really against them. That is what I hope.