WHAT IS DARK, SHORT, AND KNOCKING AT THE DOOR?
The migran FUTURE [i]
An Artistic Indiscretion Manifesto
A European Diplomat and a European Bureaucrat meet at a high-level meeting to exchange notes on European integration and its challenges.
– How are things in your country?
asked the Diplomat. The Bureaucrat sighed:
– Well, in my country the situation is serious, but not hopeless.
The Diplomat replied:
– Ha! In my country, the situation is hopeless, but not serious[ii].
Humor happens when language and images are used creatively, in a way that interrupts the rational logic of what we experience: arguments, discourses, emotions, taken-for-granted truths.
Elements of surprise, contrast or absurdity make us change our interpretations of reality, provoking laughter, relieving tension, disrupting ordinary perspectives and ways of thinking.
Dark or gallow's humor is about looking at the amusing/absurd in stressful, traumatic or life-threatening situations to cope with hopelessness and hang on to the joy and dignity of life.
The humor we fight for:
Affiliative: a mean of developing relationships, amuse others, and reduce tensions;
Self-enhancing: to take a humorous perspective to life and its troubles, a mechanism to cope with stress;
The humor we fight against:
Aggressive humour: discriminatory humor to offend and belittle others for malign amusement;
Self-defeating humour: self-belittling humor mocking oneself, and laughing with others when mocked to fit in;
NOTICE OF STATE OF WAR
Performing Article 1 of the Convention Relative to the Opening of Hostilities [Laws of War: Opening of Hostilities (Hague III)], entered into force on 26 January 1910, and ratified by the Plenipotentiaries gathered for the Second Peace Convention at the Hague, the 18th of October, 1907:
A state of war now exists between Borderline Offensive and the state(s) of Cultural Phobia and Phobic Imagination: morbid irrational dread which prompts irrational behaviour, flight or the desire to destroy the stimulus for the phobia and anything reminiscent of it. Or as in layman’s terminology:
Fear (of Others, Dialogue, Uncertainty, Future, Peace, Creation, Change and Psychological Mindedness).
Borderline Offensive is an armed operation using non-violence, humor and art as weaponry to achieve its strategic goal of societal change, development and integration between intercultural communities within and outside Europe.
Borderline Offensive is not a sovereign state; it has no state border delimitation, capital, political ideology or chief of state established by hereditary, elective or revolutionary process.
Borderline Offensive is a collective of cultural forces, mercenaries, idealists, double-spies, demagogues, pedagogues and andragogues, cowards, heroes, outsiders and celebrities, without norms on gender, ethnicity, religious or scientific beliefs, age or ability constraints.
Borderline Offensive is a social imaginary: a potential for a new creative and symbolic dimension of our contemporary word, a dimension of creative collectivity through which human beings create their ways of living together. A special ops mission giving citizens direct access to the political life of their community and dialogue directly, without intermediation of populists, demagogues and cronies.
Borderline Offensive is strategically operationalized by its humoristic perspective to life: to seek laughter and joy as instruments of political warfare and peace building when facing fear and hopelessness.
Whereas a state of war between us, the Borderline Offensive, on the one hand, and the state(s) of Cultural Phobia and Phobic Imagination, on the other;
And whereas it is necessary to specify the articles with which it is Our intention to conduct our operations in accordance with laws and customs of war;
To serve, even in this extreme hypothesis, the interest of humanity and the ever increasing requirements of civilization, the Borderline Offensive appeals to arms: humor, art and joy.
1. Guerilla art tactics are employed to fight cultural hegemony and fear.
2. Prudent risks are taken - with tactical small steps.
3. Common spaces for access and infiltration, into each other's arms are created.
4., Dishonorable exfiltration from shared social realities is fought with laughter and ideas.
5. National borders are offensively abnd humorously crossed, physically and in discourse, in a total war of ridicule.
6. Happiness and peace are encouraged as political needs, for which employing Machiavellian strategy is a legitimate military strategy.
7. Discourses of isolation and scapegoating are invaded, broken and occupied to create mutual integration and disrupt the dynamics of polarization;
8. Curiosity for other realities is provoked, to change approaches to encourage critical thinking.
9. Providing alternative ways of making sense of reality which resist the distress and suffering bearing down on people by unpleasant, serious and painful circumstances;
10. Inspiring perspective-taking from an emotional point-of-view to cope with stressful circumstances;
11. Mobilizing in-group bonding and affiliation, when shared, unspoken knowledge about potentially deeper truths is the access point to understanding a joke;
12. Addressing the individual and collective salience of mortality to facilitate open mindedness, creativity, and sense of humor;
13. Giving the threatened and the excluded a voice to joke and seek joy in dialogue with others and increase creativity via abstract thinking without elevating conflict about personal perspectives and beliefs;
14. Countering extremist narratives and icons, who lose power once ridiculed;
15. Learning and experimenting to infuse the random chaos and suffering of everyday life with significance;
16. The notions of gravity in virtue in art are challenged – in how we look at, talk about and make art.
17. Art and/or life are mocked and exaggerated to reveal how norms and conventions are constructed and then change attitudes;
18. Multiple and paradoxical perspectives are used simultaneously, suppressing discourses of normative, rationalized (hypocritical?) morality;
19. The imagination of the audience and the creator are mutually aroused in dialogue about human existence, in a challenge to make us think more critically and creatively;
20. The heritages of humor (what is humorous, what is ridiculous, what mutual stereotypes exist and how they are perpetuated through humor) are challenged and negotiated;
21. Situations, ideas, stereotypes are ridiculed, but not real individuals or their experiences (physically present or not);
22. Old humor stereotypes are challenged and new humor heritages and stereotypes about European and global identities are created and explored;
23. Everything is criticized, by implying, not plainly stating;
24. The punchline hits our own fears, vulnerabilities, flaws, independently of who we are and where we come from: it is not them who need to be more like us or us who need to be more like them, it is we (together) who need to be better than we are now.
25. Others - these articles are preliminary, and subject to change/additions as more warriors join the cause.
Turmoil and crises are the new normal and the permanent state-of-affairs: complexity, uncertainty, movement and change urge an immediate future in which the lives and ideas of people are bound to extreme violence in different forms, brought by nature and society. In our societies, the money flow replaces the flow of ideas, and these ideas are the bearers of social change.
Contemporary Europe predicates a vision of peace, progress and stability, but reality makes it face its predicament: how does it define and re-define itself, its identity and its future in the global stage? No laughing matter.
How can humanity and art contradict this predicament? Creating safe spaces for democratic, horizontal, intersectional dialogue about the crises, what is promised and what is reality, and oppose to those who create conditions from which fear and anxiety about the future arise. The crisis is reflected in relation to “Other”. Humor is liberating.
To argue such grave matters, we propose Humor as an artistic, cultural and social force. To challenge taboos and the mutual stereotypes arising from the contact between different global communities, to rethink the way Europe sees itself, asking the questions and seeking the answers, together with the newly arrived non-European outsiders. Humor represents a break of state of affairs, portrait of an epoch, description of reality. Humor re-creates communality.
Humor breaks tension by helping us look at the world, others and ourselves from a different perspective, it prompts us to experience joy even in the face of difficult times. Humor and open-mindedness enable social reset, and represent a first phase of reformulation. We will be critical and self-critical, empathetic in order to reach and acknowledge deeper truths, we will share wisdom and discover common meanings, we will ridicule extremist narratives without seeing the excluded as a threat. Laughter is a step towards the future.
Redefining Europe, new and old Europeans will take difference, uncertainty, change as a shared substance of the European community and its future, and share friendly remarks, be more creative, ridiculous and deal with our fears and the problems they bring together, with a smile in our face, laughing.
If only two different persons can smile at the same joke, a most difficult and important achievement has been performed: the implicit, tacit and joyful titillation of their common humanity.
Humor is catharsis.
JOIN THE STRUGGLE
Apply as an Artist, or Join us in any other way you can. Don't let FEAR win! Nobody will thank you, but it will be fun.
[i] (stolen and adapted from the internet, allegedly stolen from Romanian oral literature);
[ii] (stolen and adapted from the internet, allegedly stolen from Germanic/Holy Roman Empire oral literature)