Regardless of whether a person is a member of a political organization, a social institution or a for-profit corporation, for anyone who holds the position of an employee in the service industry these days it is relatively safe to assume that he or she is in a secure situation. Nevertheless, slowly but surely, this presumption that one is being taken care of is turning into quite a trap for those who hold on to it.
After all, in today’s ever more apparent information-based society, employees are morphing into slaves of total control who are as transparent as glass. Just like the farmers were considered chattel during the feudalistic era and laborers were exploited in the industrial age, the future class of employees will form the base of power, devoid of any rights, for the new upper class.
The latter will be the major players in the information game of Infoism. As we speak, they are already in possession of the essential informative production tools (= servers, transmitters & satellites). In this new genre of society, traditional possessions on the positive side of the balance sheet will no longer exist. They will be replaced by loaned objects that are part of the negative side of the balance sheet, which will be handled more or less restrictively. Hence, only those who disclose themselves within this all encompassing virtual control; submit to it and become part of it will be considered creditworthy. Those who do not accomplish this for whatever reason will become information pariahs suffering an isolated existence excluded from the rest of this new society and will have to wait out their reduced, much slower lives there.
Structurism is the force that will counter act this development.
German artist Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986) propagated the term “Social Sculpture” several decades ago. The concept: Art was no longer going to be permitted to simply be a passive reflection of societal evolution, but would have to play an active part in the everyday lives of the people.
To date, it has been impossible to turn this vision into reality. Ultimately also because such a standard can only be concretely implemented if artistic works do not merely reach the audience to stand on their own; but are instead specifically re-interpreted or reshaped for the social activity. This approach applies in general, i.e. not only to visual arts, but to all genres dedicated to the creation of art (e.g. literature, theater, music, etc.).
Beuys’ attempt to pave the way for the individual – as the “Sovereign of Legislation” – take the direct initiative by making a three-phase declaration pertaining to the work of art (through an initiative of the people, the will of the people and the vote of the people) was therefore doomed to fail.
In this context, his vision of a freely accessible educational system, of original political democracy and of social security or economic equal treatment represents the opposite ideal of the pertinent governing power apparatus along with its established bourgeoisie. This ideal is based on principles that originally were conceived during the era of Enlightenment: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
Of course it is possible to explain virtually anything related to the arts (including philosophic and philanthropic ideals). Nevertheless, if you were to do it, you would barely achieve anything – not today and not in the future. After all, today’s artistic products have long been degraded to a level where they are nothing but profane consumer goods.
In our (non) culture with its hedonistic touches, which is currently in a free fall headed for its imminent disastrous impact, especially visual works of art are increasingly being imprisoned in museum jails or used for meaningless decorative entertainment or, and this is particularly disturbing – make their careers as speculatively abused objects.
This modern age phenomenon does have its roots in the past. After all, in the 19th century, the so-called Bohemians did become synonymous with the concept of the non-conforming artist. In a society, which adores an improperly perceived epicurean principle of savoir vivre (*) a certain ego-manic self image emerges in an almost compelling way, to which in particular artists tend to get addicted.
(*) derived from Epicurus, the Greek philosopher (341 – 271 BC) and founder of the Epicurism (=physical incidents can be explained using the rules of nature, hence supernatural things do not exist. Consequently, humankind should strive to find fulfillment in this worldly lifetime, which includes peace of mind as well as the satisfaction of physical desires).
The artistic way of life we consider a general given today certainly was not on par with the norm in those days, which could certainly cause inner doubt or to a desire to compensate for same. While this conduct, driven by excessive individualism did guarantee quasi post-human fame in the early days of this era, the developments that went hand in hand with it have doomed the fate of today’s artists.
The problem is that a narcissism tinged focus on the self distorts the way one views one’s own work. In most cases, the ability of realistic self-assessment is lost.
This fundamental attitude fosters the destructive element of speculation. In the original sense of the word, “authentic” pieces of art that simultaneously represent great craftsmanship are indeed – in rightfully so – the only objects that continuously gain value as time progresses. However, this should not happen prematurely, but based on long term outlooks. If this is not the case, the danger of exchangeable randomness arises, which is now evident on the modern day art market (sometimes less, sometimes more, but always blatantly obvious).
Initially, artifacts and their creators are artificially pushed to the top and subsequently hawked at prices far higher than they should fetch (in the manner of stock brokers) only to be later sold off cheaply depending on the mood of the market or, much in the same manner, they are dropped like hot potatoes.
Of course this may be to the liking of certain renowned contemporary representatives of the arts. Who would not be flattered by the feigned adoration by a public that is in fact highly capricious and therefore disloyal? Understandably, most people are willing to deny the obvious in exchange for a moment of (financial) bliss.
However, in the long term this approach never bodes well for the future of the artist’s own work. The reason: The more expensive it has been made in the absence of any justification for the high price, the more readily it will be forgotten (if an individual consciousness that has cyclically recurring characteristics should actually exist, it will hurt the vanity of the creator much more deeply than the illusionary caresses he or she receives for a mere moment could ever touch him or her)
Having said that, how is anyone going to make any noticeable difference in a decadent society that no longer holds anything sacred and that has an anything goes attitude toward all that is ethical or unethical? After all, the current situation in the art world actually does make room for “cool subversion.” To read more on this topic, please check out the article written by Alain Bieber in the German art magazine (http://www.art-magazin.de/kunst/20595/?mode=print).
If, given all that the frequently imminent message in a work of art is to be anchored sustainably in modern society, it will have to be given a supplementary, quasi new function. In other words, the artwork becomes the vehicle for (idealized) information aiming at changing status quo. It is a given that this opens the way for ideological proliferation. This circumstance is, for instance, evident in the historic art streams of all known political cataclysms (more about this can be found in related literature, e.g. “Kunst und Revolution” (Art and Revolution) by Gerald Raunig, Vienna 2005).
Art can (and according to the Machiavellian culture cycles should when the need arises) certainly influence the fate of society (whether this be a misappropriation is no doubt a topic for the cultural-societal discourse; nevertheless, it is only of secondary importance for the matter in hand). Mind you, though, politically motivated “good” intent will absolutely not suffice. Consequently, political revolutions that decry social injustices without offering alternatives for the suffering protagonists are obsolete.
The objective at hand is to organize a revolution that will not only be groundbreaking and innovative, but that first and foremost represents a fundamental existential counter force to the stately top of the societal pyramid.
For those who will pursue this goal, it is, however, essential to become aware of how future power oligarchies will work (and are actually already eagerly taking action behind the scenes).
Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) realized this back in his day and age already: Power is always founded on the seizure (by way of sacrosanct legitimization) of tangible production supplies (a quest that is also supported by the military). At the time when blue bloods and the church ruled, this was evident in the possession of land, from which everything humans needed to survive could be produced and on whose guarded trade routes it could be transported to subsequently be sold in pertinent market locations. Later in history, commodity, manufacturing operations and distribution networks became the targets. During the service age the focus was on banks, the insurance industry and the stock markets. In our post-industrial area, the so-called “information society” has since evolved.
Many people do not understand what exactly this means. After all, the followers of the Kondratjew cycles (according to Nikolai Kondratjew, 1892 – 1938, a pioneer of the theory of economic cycles), for instance, are already claiming that we are in the process of leaving the information age behind us right now. And although visionary people, such as author Aldous Huxley (e.g. in his novel Brave New World, 1932) or George Orwell (e.g. in his novel 1984, 1949), already demonstrated rather accurate foresight of what has been pursued consistently for quite some time now, humankind shows remarkably little interest in what is happening to its foundations as we speak.
There is no doubt that by now, capitalism has reached the end of its rope. Think about it – why else would so many political organizations, social institutions or for-profit businesses be allowed to pile up virtually unlimited debt although – right now – not a single bona fide gross domestic product in the world would be able to ever pay back these mountains of debt? Would this be possible in the very same fashion if humankind was still being governed by the traditional financial streams?
Today’s global society has entered the full phase of the installation of Infoism. What this means is nothing more than the consolidation of all information streams into a more or less centralized platform used to control the masses. The Internet is a perfectly suitable medium for this undertaking.
Initially, classic money will lose its importance in the world (e.g. as a result of drastic debt cuts in favor of countries who have reached unmanageable excessive debt ceilings). Eventually money will be worth nothing (except what it is worth in metal or paper) as a result of inflationary amounts of currency flooding the international money market. All informational content related to an individual human being will be consolidated in a single informative interface. Consequently, all of the information about this person’s education, occupation, assets, income and expenses, medical data, tax loyalty, buying habits, social contacts, political and religious leanings as well as any other likes or dislikes (i.e., in short, all society relevant behavior patterns) will be consolidated.
This has become possible only thanks to the post industrial mobilization of the information and communications technology, and due to the specific optimization of hardware/software. All of those who still do not want to believe that the Internet has already become a government entity among government entities, should visit and explore the website of the “Internet Society” (http://www.isoc.org/). Countless technocratic institutions have already been incorporated into the former. Most people have never even heard of any of them and are not aware of any of their functions. The “Virtual Rome” of modern times does indeed exist. The new emperors will demonstrate their innovative power structures to the public soon enough.
This ever accelerating development must not be viewed in a simplified way as a conspiracy of power-hungry Illuminati. After all, from a cultural point of view, it is completely natural. Factoring this in, there always was and still is an elite oligarchic group at the top of every society, which uses the adequate (technological, pecuniary and military) resources of its respective era to pursue the expansion, retention or execution of power.
Consequently, it is becoming increasingly critical that the people form a targeted and conscious counter pole to the establishment of Infoism, which will soon have complete power. To achieve this, a process of becoming aware of these facts will have to be completed.
While it is possible to gradually interpret ideology (or its legislative, executive or judiciary tools) and classify them accordingly, reactions to governing bodies are frequently not even properly recognized. Nevertheless, in all eras and in all cultures, antipodes to the dominating socio-political dogmas of any given power structure emerged, which evolved into the driving media of history. Maybe this has not always been stated so clearly – but what would the world be today were it not for the conflict zones between capitalistic free market economics and the planned economics of the Communist power systems?
It would be naïve to presume that globalization, or more specifically, the reorganization of the three large blocks – Asia, Europe and America – would be able to make it in the future in the absence of such polarities.
Given the above, the Structurism Manifest will be proclaimed just in time for 2012, the upcoming fateful year for humankind. Established by art philosopher and communications analyst Felix Stoffel, this movement is socio-economic in nature. Hence, it is not an artistic, but a social revolution. Visual art as the medium is being used specifically because of the practical and constructive opportunities it offers.
The protagonists of this movement refer to themselves as “Structurists.”
This absolutely indispensible anti-thesis to Infoism (as the successor system of capitalism and power tool of the future bourgeois power players, the so-called Key Owners of Information) is emerging as the philosophical successor of socialism and as an enforcement tool for an ever growing class of society – the Info-Pariah. Consequently, it targets all those citizens of earth (who are at least free in spirit), who in some cases cannot, do not want to or are not permitted to integrate themselves into the increasingly visibly established Infoism system.
After all, the cast-aways of the virtual pot and informative cornucopia will find themselves on the fringes of society a lot more quickly than they would like to.
However, what is an exclusion from mainstream society based upon, how does it manifest itself and what will it mean for those affected by it?
A concentration of power resulting from the merging of all sources, channels and store houses of information will necessarily result in the creation of a transparent human being, i.e. one made of glass. Such a person will not feel any pressure from being monitored or will not feel “messed with” in any other way as long as he or she holds a favorable position with the invisible information establishment.
However, let’s presume the same person is observed committing any negative act (e.g. by refusing to serve in the military upon being drafted, by circumventing government agency mandated measures, such as the rejection of vaccines dictated by authoritarian rulers or through the participation in unauthorized protests or by making unfavorable statements in blogs or similar user forums). If this should happen, this person will eventually be subjected to some kind of backlash, which will usually be evident in access restrictions to the electronic streams of money, now called info-credits (ICs).
This will happen relatively quickly because current and future search robots can trigger such access restrictions fully automatically depending on the degree of punishment dished out. For instance, the offender might be in the check-out line at the super market wanting to charge the purchases as usual by holding the chip implanted beneath the skin up against the reading device. Suddenly nothing will work anymore because the offender’s credit rating has been impaired so that credit is no longer available or only under certain circumstances.
What makes this future expansion of power so insidious is the fact that the individual credit rating will define us. Hence, we will always be in debt – sometimes to a larger and sometimes to a smaller extent. Consequently, the citizen of the future will no longer be defined by what he or she has (possessions being interpreted as tangible accessible assets), but only by the virtual information content of his or her individual creditworthiness.
The question is: How is it even possible that most of the people living on planet earth will find themselves in a state of indebtedness?
What makes this emerging story so incredible, after all, is the fact that the slaves of the future will be recruited from today’s class of well-to-do employees with permanent jobs (Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, aptly labeled them info workers many years ago).
How in the world is it possible that the much revered (small time, middle management or executive) employee – the benchmark of the middle class and all things associated with the service-based society of today – will eventually walk in the footsteps of the oppressed sharecroppers and miserable laborers of the past?!
It is precisely this insight that closes the cycle of the above described developments – the development that made us aware of the gigantic mountain of debts, which was specifically fostered and is still being promoted. The formula is quite simple:
An (independent) world bank grants loans to the national banks, which pass them on to a variety of banks under their control. Through these affiliated banking institutions, virtually everyone who holds a (notably) permanent job can obtain loans for any understandable, stimulating and sometimes not so reasonable consumer dream. This malpractice has been blatantly evident in particular in automotive sales, real estate mortgages, leasing deals and small consumer loans for many years. This is an ongoing process that flows on consistently while small and medium sized companies, or the self-employed or founders of new businesses have no way or a tough time when they try to obtain liquid funding for their business operations. However, the latter are the ones who provide the actual backbone for any type of economic progress.
An additional tragic circumstance is the fact that virtually all currently existing governments have accrued disproportionately high amounts of debt only to use these loans (i.e. money obtained at high rates of interest, making it very costly) to bail out the very institutions who have wasted the capital of innumerable smaller and larger investors by entering into breakneck speculations – and we have seen this happen numerous times in recent years.
These are certainly not random acts. The sole purpose of such processes is to lead the vast majority of humankind away from potential ownership into lasting debt and therefore a state of dependency from which there is no escape. Indeed, people will still be able to get the material things they need. However, they are always borrowed and one no longer owns anything.
As soon as a nation or a community of nations has also been rendered bankrupt, every single citizen will be held liable for this devastation. Nobody else could be held liable (certainly not any of the banks, because they will either also be bankrupt or escape their co-culpability, frequently using perfectly legal methods).
In such a situation it is key not to ask anyone to make payments directly. After all, this approach to the collection of debts (which could not really be enforced) could provoke a general uprising of the people (which is currently evident in those countries, where governments are making an attempt to get their embattled citizens to accept principle-based cost cutting measures).
Instead, current currencies will simply be converted from material, i.e. tangible money (such as coins and bills) into virtual, i.e. intangible states (such as information stored electronically). One example of how this somewhat sneaky and unnoticed change is taking place is the so-called online banking system, which has not only become common practice, but is also being increasingly managed via mobile phones (which in turn are linked to the Internet).
It is therefore hardly surprising when a seemingly sudden phenomenon arises: the search for concealed assets everywhere with great vehemence, and the fact that even the banking secrets of former illicit account strongholds are being undermined and tax havens are shutting down one by one as if hit by a tidal wave.
A crusade against material assets is in full swing, because the former cannot only be kept out of the reach of national internal revenue service offices, but they also give the common man a certain amount of liberty (thanks to the fact that the flow of such assets is harder to control now).
The traditional form of capital we are all familiar with (which also includes traditional stock certificates) was more accessible to the average person up to a certain extent (and indeed also more beneficial) than the common man was aware of. After all, this hybrid object was definitely tangible and made it possible to manifest material possessions. Anyone who attempts to do this with virtual capital knows that it would be more reminiscent of fluid one cannot grasp than a ghost in the tower of a castle.
Hence, the citizens made of glass who will be the citizens of the future will no longer be able to conceal anything because virtual objects are not tangible material objects (and not every person has the talents of a well-versed hacker…).
In any event, humankind will always owe something to the Infoism powers to be who have seized control over all available servers, transmitters and satellites. This original debt will have to be paid back through mankind’s constant alignment with the wishes and ideas of the regime in power. The parameters of this will be almost religious (we won’t have to wait much longer until we will experience a cyber inquisition…).
Maybe those readers who have managed to sustain the ability to make critical judgments have noticed that many acquisitions of companies that do not appear to be very lucrative often involve transaction amounts that are incomprehensibly high. Why do the buyers spend such astounding amounts for these business that do not even offer anything close to the essential economic substance (which was for instance the case with Skype, which was recently taken over by Microsoft for an amazing amount of USD 8 billion)? What’s more is that this happened albeit the Internet phone company generates only a few hundred millions in revenues per year and rarely brings in marginal profits.
It would certainly be amiss to presume that something that could be described as business romance is happening here and is driving these apparently insane transactions.
The objective is in fact the possession of involved (I&C) technology (basically the electronic production sources of the networks) and, most importantly, the customer rosters affiliated with them (Skype currently has close to 700 million registered users). There are good reasons why Google, Facebook et al boast stock market values that cannot be explained using traditional cost effectiveness calculations or commercial trade considerations.
Those who have still not noticed the already existing droves of virtual gamer communities, web exhibitionists and peeping Toms, of platform networkers and bloggers, as well as the countless operators of websites, e-mail writers and Internet phone service users, will probably also not pay any mind to the fact that the thus generated streams of information are painstakingly intercepted and wire tapped. The data is collected and allocated increasingly over time. The information juggernaut is brought under systematic control.
It would be a fallacy to believe that only a few unlucky ones will be prevented from gaining access to this virtual “paradise.” The info pariah, who – despite their false conviction that they are “part of it all” or who hardly ever receive “first class” information (i.e. information that is real time and real location based) – will be so huge by comparison that it will be comparable to the mass that once was made up of peasants and slave laborers who did not have any rights in bygone eras.
These outcasts will have to (more or less urgently) find substitute solutions for themselves and for their families. After all, those in power working in the background will not even have to go through the trouble of conducting any costly man hunt and/or incarceration mechanisms. All they have to do is catapult the non-conformists back into the information stone age.
Anyone who is not or only partially connected to the global electronic information network will find himself or herself in a desert, where nothing will grow in the most literal sense of the word. This de-acceleration through informative isolation may not even appear quite as threatening at a first glance; however for the outlaws affected by it, will be an extremely penalty.
What happens next is this: The outcast turns to the existing specific communities of the people, which guarantee initial survival. In these (sometimes even ghetto-like networks, which may possess illegal server structures), a parallel social and economic organization will take place, which will be based on ancient methods of production and trading (will have to be based on the former).
Besides traditional bartering, they comprise the pawn and bill of exchange system, or metal currency or other substitutes for money. Business occurs on a type of ongoing black and gray market (where the rule “you do me a favor and I’ll do something for you” is a necessary evil). Those who live in this world will do work and use processes they never even knew existed or no longer were familiar with and which they first have to get used to. In this world, a person is actually worth as much as the service it provides to the community.
This is exactly where the socio-economic concept of Structurism makes its mark. Such an environment does indeed call for a tangible material asset that can be produced with relative ease, but is not quite as easy to access; rare but not too rare; one that is a material value that can be readily traded because it is unproblematic to transport and store.
What is it? A STRUCTURISTIC IMAGE.
In terms of concept, Structuristic images are individualized mass products creating a value that will have what it takes to substitute for all tangible types of currency. An individualized mass product allows customers to interfere with the production of objects representing various categories, such as food, furniture items, clothing or personal care products by making selections. Consequently, the final product is customized based on the buyer’s specific wishes, i.e. it is individualized. Instead of making something for the mass market, the product is now made and delivered personally for the individual person (and this happens at a price that is only slightly higher, even if the order volume is small or minimal).
What makes a Structuristic piece of art distinct is that it is also individualized vice versa. After all, the common mass product made to be faithful to the wishes of potential customers is usually manufactured in an anonymous manner. A Structuristic image, on the other hand, is created by an artistically identified individual, i.e. a bona fide Structurist female or male artist. The artists hail from all classes of society.
Hence, these Structurists are both, the manufacturers and the users benefitting from their products. On the one hand, they trade these material objects amongst their own community, but definitely also with people who are outsiders. Under these arrangements, Structuristic images are not being traded speculatively. As a result, the value of the artwork grows in an indexed, controlled and consistent manner (regardless of who actually produced the work). In a certain sense, this is equivalent with a planned economic system, although it remains individualized.
The founder of Structurism and of its practice, Structuristic Art Studies – Felix Stoffel – is the heir of a textile industry dynasty has led the role of an outsider – sometimes unintentionally and in some cases because he wanted to. At a very early age, he began to evade the rigors of everyday routines that come with a defined career. In his youth, he already established himself as an artist with quite a following.
This, however, landed him increasingly in the traps of the speculatively oriented art market. Among other things, he experienced the realities of this art market in the luxurious gallery owned by his father and managed by his brother at the time. The gallery provided exclusive showcases for established artists, such as Max Bill, whose work fetched lucrative prices.
This distinct art was at complete odds with what was happening to the artists Stoffel had met in his lifetime and who were frequently burned out to the point where they hardly knew how they would pay for their next meal.
Taking into account the numerous forms of support he had extended to the outcasts of society (in particular also artists for whom success remained elusive or other people who had been stranded by the storms of life) he began to explore opportunities in the mid 1980s to find a way that would help such people help themselves.
Over a period that spanned several years, he developed a special technique that was not only easy to learn, but that also allows artists to create highly customized paintings under a common denominator that could be recognized instantly anywhere.
This Structuristic concept is currently being successfully proliferated from the three nations’ region located on the upper Lake of Constance area. Art enthusiasts from all around, some without any prior art education, are drawn to the region as if by a magnetic force – people with a wide variety of backgrounds and of any age. As a result, thousands of images have already been created and are being painted. Each is created by an autonomous artist, yet all are made visible under the same label – the label of the Structurists.
Children, adolescents and adults find themselves in this populist craft and consequently prove that the social and economic claim that society needs art by the people, for the people and among the people holds true. This process happens completely independent of the conventional concept of the arts, of academic pretence and the affectations of the speculative art market.
Felix Stoffel has good reasons for jokingly referring to himself as the “McDonalds of the Art World.” Having said that, he never forgets how serious he is about his revolutionary intentions aiming at the creation of a counter force to Infoism, which is on the verge of taking complete control. The enormous following he has generated corroborates this statement. It is obviously high time for this to happen!