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Machines, Spiders and buccaneers


In Greek mythology, Europa, a princess, daughter of Agenor, king of Phenicia, was kidnapped by Zeus. To prevent Hera, her jealous wife, from knowing about it, he took the form of a blue-eyed white bull and layed down in the meadow while Europa strolled with her ladies-in-waiting. Delighted with the calm and affection of the animal, the princess came close and caressed the bull. Suddenly, he grabed her and flew away, taking her to Crete where they lived since then. From the history of a myth, which is also the story of a theft, to Beuys' Eurasia, it is the complex narrative of the Old Continent which is presented to us: from a Europe that was stolen to a stealing Europe. If Tiziano, Claude Lorrain, Rembrandt or Luca Giordano painted The Abduction of Europa, thus recreating the Greek myth, also Joseph Beuys, through a manifesto, would found the fictitious state of Eurasia, an open territory without physical or dogmatic boundaries. It was the geographical representation of a utopia, a place still to be occupied. In the context of his performances between 1963 and 1968, he proposed Eurasia as a geographical vision and, at the same time, as a new and complex artistic identity that was not only territorial or self-sufficient, but also centered on the world and man. From Eurasia - the 34th movement of the Siberian Symphony 1963 to Eurasienstab fluxorum organum op. 39, in the words of Beuys, the revolution is us.
In 2008 and in the context of Manifesta 7, this project would be the subject of an exhibition project by Achille Bonito Oliva, which, with the collaboration of several curators[1], presented the exhibition Eurasia. Geographic cross-overs in art. Reflecting upon the artistic landscape of the territory we call Eurasia and proposing a historical re-reading of Joseph Beuys program, the connections between Europe and Asia, multiculturalism and the expanded concept of art or the growing attention to social problems, the curator sought to find these lines of strength reflected in a young generations of artists. The operativity of Beuys' work allows us to keep thinking with him and from him, allows us to think of a heterotopic becoming for Europe. As Jacques Attali pointed out, will Europe re-found its constitutive myth with the consequences that will follow for herself and for the world?[2] If in the Middle Ages one of the forms of exclusion would be to embark the madmen on certain ships, it was at sea that the old navigators sought the good health that they could not find on land. In common they have this kinship, the possibility of going and not returning. 
As a boundary between water and land, boarding and ship are figures of the beyond, the possibility of a dehors: "the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea (...). You will understand why the boat has been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, ... the greatest reserve of imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police takes the place of buccaneers" [3].
Which intensities do we find in Europe today? Are we facing a model of repression for our desiring machines that disinvest in the socio-historical field? How to invest the desire for revolutionary force and abandon the superior man, the humanist grammar of an aged writing machine? How to dethrone the Great Empire, the Great Significant, and keep with the active force of the cult of error, as Nietzsche called the invention of art? The liberation of Ariana, the spider that holds the thread in the labyrinth, supposes the Nietzschean appeal that we hang with this thread, meaning that we free ourselves from the ascetic ideal, from moral disguise. No longer the superior man but the agile man. Ariana forgets Theseus and Dionysus-Taurus becomes the labirinth itself. No longer that of knowledge or morals, but the labyrinthic ear that listens the yes to life. The leveling of the European man is that of the man "who makes himself better. We see nothing that magnifies itself, everything becomes harmless, mediocre, prudent, indifferent (...). Europe ceased to fear man, stopped loving him, worshiping him and hoping for him. Man's appearance fatigues us. (...) Man is weary of man." [4] To keep the active force of the cult of error, as Nietzsche called the invention of art, and to appropriate the philosophical mood of Montesquieu's Persian Letters, is what constitutes our "kitchen of sense."
Let us be Rica and Usbek, the imaginary Persians of this prodigious book. On the same Earth but with different men. Earth rotates around the Sun. And we spin with it, west and east.
                                               [1] Lorenzo Benedetti, Iara Boubnova, Cecilia Casorati, Hu Fang, Christiane Rekade, Julia Trolp.
[2] Jacques Attali - Europe(s). Paris: 1994, p. 9.
[3] Jacques Attali - Europe(s). Paris: 1994, p. 9.
[4] Friedrich Nietzsche - A genealogia da moral. Lisboa: Guimarães Editores, 1980, p. 36.

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