ABMachine / Ne travaillez jamais

From: Limited Liability Company

"From: Limited Liability Company" is a series of drawings created between 1996 and 1999. It was exhibited in August 1999 at Portikus, Frankfurt am Main. The series is concerned with the effects of economic power relations on public space, relations that during the nineties have been restructured once and for all and no longer face any competition.

The work on the drawings partially originated in a certain distancing from a practice of art in public space whose understanding of intervention appeared to proclaim a false freedom in face of increased restrictions in terms of rights of residency and freedom of movement in urban space. Often, precisely projects of art in public space seemed to adhere to a will to reform that in the process of overall gentrification could not distance itself from the client and switch sides.

It therefore seemed necessary to withdraw from this practice for a while and recapitulate at the drawing board under which conditions what can be designated as public space. Public space refers not only to streets and squares but especially to the production, and hence also control, of images and their patterns of significance, which reflect a trend in society as a whole – in the past decade this has often been called "Neoliberalism".

"Neoliberalism" as an is introduced into all aspects of society as the equivalent of the business location dictates of the multinational corporations (reduction of corporate, wealth and trade taxes, wage dictates, mass layoffs, and so on). Committees overseeing downsizing are an absolute "must" for every section of public interest. The city – including its cultural and social subsections – refers to itself as a "business" and indulges in a pose of efficiency. Both on the municipal and state levels, this involves a mere simulation of so-called "free" competition (the philosopher's stone of the market economy). Almost on a monthly basis the cartel lobbies of the OECD and the G7+1 agree upon their terms of trade, which effectively imposes their economic policy on the independent states in exchange for an offer to join the European Union or NATO. This is all concealed under the euphemism of modernization. "This rationalized mythology can be described . as a carefully thought-out delirium. It must be refuted, either by thought or by facts" (Pierre Bourdieu, "Der Tote packt den Lebenden", Stuttgart 1997) . or by drawing.

"From: Limited Liability Company" is divided into various lines of argument dedicated to the themes of unemployment, urban politics, corporate management, and the media presence of all these in urban space. In the drawings, their effects – reactions and counter-reactions to decisions and plans in city politics – are portrayed, in order, finally, to explore the contrary by introducing an if-then loop.

It is well known that technical progress does not create freedom from work but unemployment. The section "ABMachine" shows several measures "to fight unemployment": disciplinary programs, training for services in the areas of event marketing or city image marketing. Even if the "100,000 Jobs Initiatives" etc. prove to be a fake on the job market, they serve to uphold the employment and its many structures of command-and-obey as a factor of social order.

"NE TRAVAILLEZ JAMAIS" was written on a wall in Paris in 1959 and was attributed to the circle of the Situationist International.