Róza El-Hassan

How to share the void?

On Basic Income Concepts

Basically I could also speak about the recent five years, which I experienced as an activist, but when we compare all what happened it with the current situation of new media and public speach and the problems - how they are is distributed and influenced (distorted), the responsibility is very big and somehow we think it over two times how to speak and what to speak.

Basically there is a text what I wrote about it but we still, I mean most of the people who spoke a lot at the beginning and demanded positive social change, - we never gave up this idea and we still believe in it, and we never gave up and we never forget the sacrice of those, who sacrified private lifes or just their lives.. But the mechanism of distribution of free public speach has changed a lot.

Exactly becuase of the mechanism of istribution of reality behind new media.

We still demand the freedom of all the prisoners or conscince, but the question is how can we address those, who keep them detained?

And which are the the tools and the right media distribution for this to avoid avoid misstakes ?

Three years ago I decided to work on ecological design and nota as a political human rights activist, who attacks the power.

Instead of demanding system change I planned to set a common positove goals for conflicting parties. No more fight – just create something positve. Something what offers hope and gives us mental strength.

On this field of earth-architecture I have an exhibtion now in Basel, which is titled Future’s Dialect. It is a collaborative show with Martha Rosler, who is the counter-theses to my silent work critizising the system in a very brave and subversive way.

But the show is also one of the topic, about which I will not speak either, because I do not want to promote just my art here, but would rather try to add something to the discourse. A topic, where I do not endanger others, do not repeat false informations and where I do not have to lie. And which seems still a very valuable thought for me.

So instead of the other tipics, I have chosen the notion if Basic Income, and Art which can be a very interesting aspect concerning The Commons, the object of our talk.

This was influenced very much by Tamás St. Auby, one of my professrs at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hungary at the early 90-s. He introduced to us his theory of IPUT ( International Paralell Union for Telekommunications) and notions of Basic Income and Subsistance level and many many Fluxus art theories. One of the idea was, that artists must not work ( or to be exact, that art can not be described with the notion of labour or work or production ) - he was also very much supporting and often practicing a general art- strike.

In the early nineties, I studied art in the newly founded Intermedia Department in Hungary. One of our professors, Tamás St. Auby spoke about his utopian theories on the border of traditional spirituality, art, and social change. One of the notions, which returned in his lectures, again and again, was the notion of "Basic Income". We heard from St.Auby about monks in Tibet who never worked and the community always provided the subsistence level, we heard about the new and eternal role of artists after the Fluxus movement: Artist should never be forced to work, and the community should provide a minimal income to survive. Artists and monks serve the community. Work was in the seventies during state socialism in Hungary often disconnected from creativity - but even from real production since there was no free market. Human were a kind of robots. St. Auby was punished with exile for his rebellious ideas.

On the other hand Beuys said "everybody is an artist"

If we summarize the two manifestos ( St. Auby and Beuys) we ask:

Should all the people have a basic income?

All this sounded twenty years ago for me as like an artists’ subjective mythology on the level of social and metaphysical utopia or subjective politics.

Suddenly in 2016, I bump again into the notion of basic income. This time, it is a real economic proposal to provide for all the people a basic minimal income and broadly discussed in media.

One of the ideas in the background is to ease the tension of people who try to find jobs in vain and the social tension in general in times when there are fewer and fewer jobs. Too much social tension arises because of the competitive fight in the society for work and employment. Robots take over our work.

Meanwhile, most of the agriculture is automated, so most of the rural work is gone and countries have become deserts because of climate change, other countries has very high wages and it became nearly impossible to produce (e.g. Switzerland) simple goods in the global competition for a low production price.

The tendency is to disconnect work and income, to disconnect redistribution of goods from work and by this from Marxist theory, which is based on the notion of working class.

The lecture introduces the notion of economic concepts of basic income and the first experiments in poor countries like India and the discussion in welfare states like Switzerland. Of course, basic income in India is ten times less then in welfare states, but the principle is similar.

Beyond the economic aspect, I am reminded of the lectures of Tamás St. Auby, which showed us, that the basic income was traditionally the privilege of monks and spiritual communities, groups. A life without work was connected to a high degree of spirituality or to art.

The Buddhists monks spent a lot of time with fasting and meditation. Andrej Rubljov was painting, the hippies and Fluxus people of the seventies smoked grass and were fasting.

The question arises, how a society will psychologically and mentally regulate themselves in times when machines take over most of the work and humans will receive a basic income?

How will we share the void?

The lack of work, creative work and a tool of production? How will we share the spirit? What will be the role of art? What was and will be the role of collective fasting as practiced in traditional societies, and religions ( e.g. Ramadan in Islam) and suggested in modern advertisements’ stereotype and by vegan, life-style and diet movements – although it was predicted to be nearly lost as a respected discipline in Kafka’s Hungerkünstler? What will be the role of sports and yoga, will it be able to fill the gap of work

End of the nineties - going hand in hand with the postmodernity of the third industrial revolution of the internet – we spoke of The Creative Industry, – art and creativity as a tool to increase marketing and development – as described in exhibitions and texts – one of them which impressed me very much was "Be creative" by Marion von Osten.

Today, five years after the sudden revival of new revolutionary movements as it happened with Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, followed in many places by the deep humanitarian crisis and horror, we have to think about new roles of art. It is no longer the neo-liberal creative industry anymore, but art in times of crisis, ruptures, sectarian fights, and war. It is the question how to share the void. I think art is very important and can save the society.

In my artistic works drawings, objects and buildings e.g. Breeze earth domes or wicker laptop bags I design often small new solution for an economy, ecology, and life practice. In my personal artistic practice, ecological design is connected with spirituality. While describing my notion of "spiritual design" I am aware, that I use a prohibited word in contemporary art. Still we have to share and redesign the void.