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|The Last Day of Socialism
11.02. - 12.03.2006
Gallery Meneer De Wit
Marianne Flotron (CH)
Bas Medik (NL)
Wim Jongedijk (NL)
Saša Karalić (NL/BiH)
day of socialism is a quick glimpse at the current condition
of the welfare state shown through subjective viewfinder of artists
belonging to generation famously mocked as X.
Generation X is a popular term coined to describe a politically absent-minded generation born in the sixties and the seventies, who proudly practice cynicism and an over-intellectualised approach to the world. It is the generation who allow history to overcome them, whilst rebelling against the idealism and social engagement of the previous generation and being pathologically unprepared for the emerging violent logics of the liberal market economy. Stuck between two extremely different generations
(the idealistic hippies and money-driven yuppies), generation X transgressed from one extreme vision of the world to another, while staying ideologically uncontaminated.
During the 90’s the discussion concerning generation X lost it’s importance and became something of a nostalgic buzz, having to do much more with popular culture of 80’s than with a social theory. By that time, generation X was no longer representing a youth culture, while their worst critics, the baby-boomers, already started collecting their pension benefits. The discussion on idealism vs. cynicism was over and both generations entered a new world that, swept by the new trend, was quickly changing into a neo-liberal playground.
The new profit-based liberal market-philosophy indirectly demands a slow but steady dismantlement of one of the biggest achievements of post-war generation – the welfare state.
The welfare state was a flag proudly carried by the baby-boomers and comfortably taken for granted by generation X. In the course of sixty years the status of the working class slowly declined from ‘revolutionary proletariat’ to ‘tax payers’ and, more recently, further down to ‘customers’.
One could argue that the welfare state in it’s modern form was never meant to be part of the wider democratisation of Western society. It was merely forced and determined by global political changes (rise of communism) and kept alive through workers’ demands to get paid back as promised. The current trend of privatising the social sector is then the final attempt to get rid off of that socialistic legacy and to exercise ‘the pure capitalism’ in it’s crude and naked form. The humanistic idea of equal and fair society is still overwhelmingly present in political talk, but seriously undermined by practical obstacles that determine the perception of ‘the other’ through a money driven attitude.
Since the utopian ideas reached the elephant graveyard and cynics and idealists equally got turned into customers, a social fabric of western society started to show itself in it’s cruel and basic form. The social pattern that suddenly appears might not be beautiful or appealing to humanists, but it contains one quality that generation X always missed: it is so perfectly clear.