One by ANA PRVACKI: Let’s Make Paying Taxes Sexy! 2014 Video

This video was made in response to an invitation from the European Union initiative called New Narrative for Europe. “In his ‘State of the European Union’ address, delivered in September 2012, President Barroso invited artists and people of culture in Europe to contribute to the development of a genuine European public space and to be involved in a wide debate on the future of Europe.” 

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SIZE OF THE SHADOW ECONOMY in the top 10 countries losing to tax evasion in absolute terms:

U.S. 8.6 % – Brazil 39.0 % – Italy 27.0 % – Russia 43.8 % – Germany 16.0 % – France 15.0 % – Japan 11.0 % – China 12.7 % – United Kingdom 12.5 % – Spain 22.5 %  (According “Tax Justice Network” using Worlds Bank’s data)

During the debates two issues resonated with me. One was the issue of taxation. Many of the participants brought up the problem of taxation and tax evasion and the effect this has had on arts and culture. Tax evasion is a real problem, in Europe as in many other countries that are suffering and collapsing due to the lack of contribution. Then there was the question of “How to make Europe sexy?” a question that deeply addresses the physiology, the fluidity and the experience of pleasure in our society. I proposed a two in one solution, a union of the economy with the libido; “Let’s Make Paying Taxes Sexy!” is a playful yet serious proposal to transform our contemporary narrative of taxation and reconsider what is sexy. I presented this project to the delegates, colleagues and President Barroso as a spoken statement at the Berlin convening. (A.P.)


ANA PRVACKI, still from video: Let’s Make Paying Taxes Sexy!

The second by ANDRE´ GIDE, from his Prometheus Misbound, (Le Promethée mal enchainé) 1899

Between four and five o clock of an autumn afternoon, Prometheus left his chains on the top of a mountain (Caucasus) and walked down to Paris, on the boulevard between the Madeleine and Opéra.

 “Gentlemen, anything I could say would have so little relevance. … I don’t even see how … in fact, the more I think of it … No, really, I can’t possibly say anything. Each of you has his own story; I have none. You must excuse me. […] it is hardly two hours since I came to Paris. There hasn’t been time yet for anything to happen to me—except your invaluable acquaintance, which makes me feel most keenly what a Parisian conversation can be, when clever people begin to …”

But before you came here,” said Cocles.

You must have been somewhere else,” said Damocles. “Yes, I admit it,” said Prometheus, “but, I repeat, all that is quite irrelevant to …”

It doesn’t matter,” said Cocles, “we’ve come here to talk. Both of us, Damocles and I, have already brought out our story; you alone make no contribution; you only listen; it isn’t right. It is time for you to speak, Mr. …”

The waiter felt with all his tact that it was time for an introduction, and, slipping the name in as if to complete the previous phrase: “Prometheus—” he said simply. “Prometheus,” resumed Damocles. — “Excuse me, sir, but it seems to me that this name has already …”

Oh!” interrupted Prometheus immediately, “that is of no importance whatsoever.”

But, if nothing is important,” cried the other two impatiently, “why have you come here, my dear Mr. … Mr. …?”

Prometheus,” repeated Prometheus simply. ‘My dear mr. Prometheus—for after all, as I had occasion to remark just now,” continued Cocles, “this restaurant invites conversation, and in any case, nothing will persuade me to believe that the peculiar name you bear is the only thing that marks you from others; if you haven’t done anything yet, you must mean to do something soon; what are you capable of doing? Show us your distinguishing characteristics: what have you that no one else has? Why do they call you Prometheus?

Under this deluge of questions Prometheus bowed his head, and was obliged to reply, submissively and in a tone graver than before, though still confusedly:

You ask what I have, gentlemen?—What I have, I personally, is —ahem! an eagle.”

A what?” “An eagle—or a vulture, perhaps—people aren’t quite sure.”

An eagle! That’s a good one!—an eagle … Where is it, then?”

You really insist on seeing it?” said Prometheus.

Yes,” they said, “if it isn’t being indiscreet.”

Then, all too completely forgetting where he was, Prometheus abruptly rose to his feet and uttered a great cry of summons to his mighty eagle. And there occurred the stupefying event that follows:


A bird, which seemed enormous from a distance, but at close quarters was seen to be not so large after all, darkened for a moment the sky above the boulevard, fell like a tornado in the direction of the café, smashed the plate-glass window, and alighted—dashing Cocles’ eye out with a blow of its wings, and uttering a shower of affectionate but none the less imperious chirrups—alighted, I say, on the right hip of Prometheus. The latter immediately unbuttoned his waistcoat and offered a morsel of his liver to the bird.

“Come, come now!! It’s nothing but a conscience, at the very most.”


O  B  J  E  T S      D’  A  F  F  E  C  T  I  O  N



 Paul McCarthy as I know him: André Gide wrote it so well that I won’t change a word.

It could be Paul’s voice:

“I maintain that what an artist has to believe in is this: that there is a special world, to which he alone has the key. It’s not that he must contribute something new, though even that would be an enormous achievement; but that everything in him must be or seem new, transmitted through a powerfully coloring idiosyncrasy.

He must have a particular philosophy, aesthetic, morality; his whole work tends only to show it. And that is what makes his style. He must also have a particular wit — his own sense of fun.” 

(Photos: R.A.)

Signs that change buildings

Rosanna Albertini about Fiona Connor

They look exactly like the ones stuck near the sidewalk. Yet they are something else. An artist made them anew and brought them into her small apartment: one has long legs, must lean on the wall. Others sit on contentment. Never, they had never seen a house from inside. Words painted on them get quiet, what for? The LIVING MODERN of Brighten Villas lies down on the floor replacing the bed. What? They are supposed to compete! And scream their message, and help make money. “See what happened in a New Zealand artist’s brain?” the naked pole mumbles. “She brought me here with all of you, all dressed up with colors, and I have none. Who am I?”


Maybe the oceanic distance of the New Zealand islands from all inhabited lands molds people’s thoughts as it does with birds and trees. They also think on their own. Fiona Connor is from Aotearoa New Zealand, and is of British descent.

“And the bird arrived from the other side of the world

 its flight so tiring the sun was scared it would be eaten,

  the bird fell to my feet and I carried it to the sea 

and cut open its stomach full of stones. 

The stones are now my eyes, 

white like my mother’s hair.”

From Tagata Kapakiloi, Restless People, by John Puhiatau Pule

In Los Angeles, Fiona’s eyes, ears still carry the native stones. History’s clock slows down. She records and prints conversations from which the stones erased the talkers’ names. “I replicate already existing objects,” she says, “materials and forms from a not very far past, usually neglected, mostly not worth looking at: benches, steps, real estates signs.”


FC     To best understand a building, in addition to approaching it from the outside you have to be inside and look out. It is dependent on the environment it sits within.

RA    Same with objects? You try to be inside them?

FC    So interesting to discover the varnish quality, history of materials, the time they were produced, by whom, as well as cultural history, the taste of a different time.

ANDRE GIDE    Infinite receptivity of matter – porosity. The immaterial world – with infinite complications – fights against the matter’s brute memory, inertia postponed, apparent docility, until the matter becomes completely impregnated with it, changed. Passivity stops when the matter is traversed by an idea. (My loyal, true alteration of a real text by Gide)

RA    Trees peeled off  by Giuseppe Penone to touch their marrow have the white charme of new born creatures. Your replicas are not a modified original, they only show the original look, usually quite ruined, they are illusions! Physical ghosts and objective demostrations at once. Aren’t you afraid of being completely absorbed by the objects you are observing?

Walking on the seashore, Fiona stops by a small pile of clothes admirably folded: shorts on the shoes on the shirt in an impermanent, vertical sculpture. She clicks her phone. She is not afraid. What her art brings up is a reversed magnet redirecting her and our attention. If you are patient enough, you can discover how in Claude Lévy-Strauss words:

CLAUDE LEVY-STRAUSS    The same mind which has abandoned itself to the experience becomes the theater of mental operations which, without suppressing the experience, nevertheless transform it into a model to release further mental operations. In the last analysis, the logical coherence of these mental operations is based on the sincerity and honesty of the person who can say, like the explorer bird of the fable, ‘I was there; such and such happened to me; you will believe you were there yourself,’ and who in fact succeeds in communicating that conviction.


 Photos: Peter Kirby