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The background to The Art of Organising

How do we see to it that the group strengthens, rather than weakens, individual creativity? How does the individual involve others in a thought process without himself losing the thread? Is it possible to combine an effective decision-making process with a democratic one? That artists are interested in these questions is nothing new, but the questions arise anew with each new generation. Now we are there again, together, instead of in splendid isolation.

The Art of Organising began as an attempt to discuss a new movement within the Swedish art world during the past ten years, starting with the economic crises of the 90s–a crisis which pulled the economic foundation from an entire job category. Having just woken up, we were forced to accept a much less glamorous role as artists. In this post-hubris condition, a will to work in groups was articulated: a will to create small, more or less clear groupings, in order to together find an artistic role one could live with. A role which made a difference, rather than simply leaving large tracks. Even though this will is strong, there is no single Great Cause in which to engage oneself. Cynicism is rampant, world politics has the feel of a public relations event, and the few flames of involvement are quickly snuffed out by the sheer complexity of the situation. No one thinks that they can change the world. Besides, most people are too busy changing themselves instead. And perhaps it is here, in the small format, in the sense of a self which is no longer unique but instead mutable and connected to everything else, that a true movement can be discerned.




This movement can be partially described with terms such as networking, flat hierarchies, and social competence, all words that quickly became overused in the management rhetoric which dominated the knowledge industries of the new economy. Clusters of ideas proliferated in which free socialism seemed to receive new life, albeit with capitalistic overtones. In the companies started by those who went to nursery school during the 70s, the ideal was an organisation without a leader. The goal was for the workers to own the means of production, e g, their own brains. Everyone could become a millionaire thanks to generous stock options coupled with exponential growth, just like the Internet. The product to be sold was a new world, a "global village" for those with the proper attitude, where market mechanisms would take us to Nirvana within our lifetimes. Now, after the bubble has burst, an alternative global political movement gathers strength. The Internet is still growing, and is a unifying symbol and concrete tool for an entire generation. Built to weather nuclear war. Organised according to networking principles. Like busy little spiders, we support our expanding families in a world which has never before felt so threatening, with new wars everywhere. Networks are temporary, and fall apart if they are not maintained. Society continually proves to be a fragile construction, built with spare parts with different interests. Organising it is an art.