Vesna Bukovec, I promise to change the world but only if 10 other people will do the same

Vesna Bukovec chose  the postTo change the world”: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Is there any other possible idea for the artist than to change the world? At least a little bit! To change it at least in our attitude, in our perception, in its clarity. In this aspect the artistic project approaches a scientific and political project.

Many networks have extended the scope of activity to a symbolic one. However, we can ponder over the impact of sometimes preposterous actions whose scope does not exceed a neighbouring garden. The label of “hacktivism”, a portmanteau of hack and activism, is appearing more often in places where it is not expected: on delicately anti-conformist objects like a jacket with studs hiding a tie.

Political endeavours often make a bad soothing aid for a symbolic helplessness… Success results mostly from the influence of the media, which in reality are a real target of a considerable number of awarded projects described as “hacktivist” ones. For the others, fortunately, it means also confirming their affiliation to a certain community which remains vigilant against new digital media and those who control them.

The border between social activity, amusing sociological practices and an artistic project is thin. It is often the place of distribution that determines whether a project is on one or the other side of the field of action. The art critic who mentions an event on the Internet directs it towards artistic practice while a sociologist notes down the phenomenon as evidence of a certain process. Everything, as we know, is not limited to digital media but it is there where we find various practices ambiguous in both form and intention.

The aim of the project is to look for things in our environment that can be changed by our activity. We have to notice them, find the evidence and create a catalogue whose unavoidable thinness will aim to confirm the fact that it is more difficult to mark minds than the surface of things.”

The post suggested to the artist to make a catalogue of the things in our surroundings which may be changed as a result of our activity. “I started to think about the level of moral responsibility of contemporary (western) individual. The fact that art cannot change the world anymore and a single person cannot change it either is commonly accepted. Nevertheless there are various initiatives spreading on the internet inviting people to become socially active. For example protests following the 2009 Iranian presidential election even got a nickname “Twitter Revolution” because of the protesters’ reliance on Twitter and other social-networking Internet sites to communicate with each other. Nevertheless most of this online initiatives remain in my opinion only on the “click if agree” level where people get the feeling of social activity if they join such and such group on Facebook. And their actual activity stops right there.

While researching various online activities oriented towards changing the world I found. They explain it as “a site to help people get things done, especially things that require several people. We think that the world needs such a service: lots of good things don’t happen because there aren’t enough organized people to do them.” However noble this aim may sound it turns out to be a bit problematic when promoting the logic of “I will… if you will” action. With this kind of pledge not only a person gets rid of the burden and the effort of making a decision and the action by oneself, but also puts into the question the actual possibility to make the action.

The drawings use selected successful pledges from the website and are presented as propositions to the viewer.”

The work were in the form of simple hand drawings, scanned, enlarged and printed out as posters. Black lines on a white background stressed the technical provenance of the picture.


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