Class journal

Class journal
1998 admin

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Class journal

 

This work consists of a list of products that cannot be exported to Iraq as a result of the embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council, together with a selection of everyday objects included in it. The critical reflection is on two (to all appearances) different levels, which however converge in a radical scrutiny of the Neo-liberal paradigm.

A first, immediately legible aspect which is political and terribly present, is the trade embargo imposed on Iraq by the oil industry lobbies; the second aspect focuses on the symbolic-social relations dictated by a system based on goods.

The list of banned products surprises us for its cynicism and excessive zeal: toothpicks, gas cylinders, toothbrushes, spoons, paper tissues, prescription glasses, etc. Almost if, in consideration of the Iraqi population’s daily life marked as it is by the deprivation of the basic tools for survival,  the products here listed reverted from being goods to being objects more suited to social appropriation.

Naturally this is just an impression. We know that in Iraqi reality, a toothpick, a bulb or a thermometer are signs marking the difference that has caused the death of up to two million from amongst the most vulnerable people. However this stimulates a critical reflection around the complex relationship between social communication and the realm of objects.

It is an opportunity for reflection on the formal and linguistic code of objects, which beyond their functional nature are measures of value and social stratification. Objects are depositories of symbolic and social values which, in their incarnation as goods in the capitalistic production system, convey the relationships created by this system.

As well as an explicit denunciation of the tragedy experienced by the Iraqi civilians, Class journal is also a reflection on the ambiguous, complex theme of objects-goods fetishism.  This particular angle on the theme leads to the formulation of a hypothesis, according to which our relationship to objects reverts to a somewhat direct one if we subvert the production system by shifting from private to collective appropriation.

 

 

 

AAM-Architettura Arte Contemporanea, Roma 1998

This work consists of a list of products that cannot be exported to Iraq as a result of the embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council, together with a selection of everyday objects included in it. The critical reflection is on two (to all appearances) different levels, which however converge in a radical scrutiny of the Neo-liberal paradigm.

A first, immediately legible aspect which is political and terribly present, is the trade embargo imposed on Iraq by the oil industry lobbies; the second aspect focuses on the symbolic-social relations dictated by a system based on goods.[…]

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