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whatever creativity, freedom and action Maštazine is an open platform for creativity, freedom and action. The word Mašta means imagination. It also means whatever. We understand it as organic creativity: open, daily, borderfree, experimental, unconventional, challenging, positive, provocative, flowing and playful. Mastazine.net provides space for creative expression and exchange where people from all over the world can both inspire others with their initiatives and become inspired by the actions of others. We are an international collective of journalists, writers, artists, researchers, makers, third party fists and we multiply and report on creative acts that reflect the world we actually live in. Masta magazine’s objective is to report on innovative ways to address social-political problems and to inspire old and mobilize new forces for social change. We receive contributions from various individuals and groups, people like you. Now we want to hear more opinions on politics, life and the world. Images, articles, artwork and ideas is what makes Mašta magazine possible. Don’t hesitate! We are here for you to help publish stuff that expands our readers expectations. 2growth
Do you remember thinking during your childhood: “When I grow up I will become...”? But while growing up it appeared that this point, on which you can say: “I’m grown up”, simply doesn’t exist.
This example shows that growth is not a linear path towards a certain point. It is an ever going process. It’s the theme of Masta #7. For the last 100 years or more, growth has been the ideal way to go: things got bigger, faster, better. Global corporations supply mass-produced junk food on every street corner, search engines help you find what they want you to find, entire neighborhoods can be torn down and rebuilt fast as hell, even charity has shifted to inhumane proportions and at the same time larger groups of people can and are being suppressed. What significance does a single person hold in a society where size does matter and only the biggest succeeds? A big one! A single person already owns a basic condition that makes one capable to make a difference: creativity. It’s from Latin ‘creare’, which means ‘to make something new’. Creativity also spawns from ‘crescere’, meaning ‘to cause to become’ or ‘to grow’. Seen from this point of view, each person is capable of causing something to arise, manifest, evolve, expand, mature, advance or whatever: to grow. Creativity can undermine the monstrous growth of unnatural proportions that may suffocate the Earth, and our vitality, and give air and freedom to a comprehensible world. Bring life back to more enjoyable proportions. During the production of Masta 7 we discovered the subversive sound of singer-songwriters, the emergence of lively green in urban environment, what to do with discarded space, the objectivity of subjective article writing, how to fuck for the forest, that degrowth is the new growth and how to spread ideas without using the internet. All this, and more, is created by individuals who let things grow and people act. People like you.
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Words by Alex Kemman and Francisco Pedro
There it is. The contours of the castle-shaped tower contrast in the city-lit sky. Without effort, we climb in the open window and start exploring, randomly wandering around. Finally, we reach the top of the building, which gives us an overview of the enormous proportions. Imagine what freedoms could be exercised in these infinite possibilities. The time has come to return to the normal world. We exit the building filled with inspiration for what to create. After acquainting ourselves with our new home, we start to make plans and a list of necessary materials. Let the fun begin! Heavily packed, we travel to the abandoned factory. Our feet invade the dusty, empty floor – today is the day. A message somewhere in the building says, “home is where we are.” Then ideas start to spread quickly through the floor and up the walls. Stop motion animation, stencils, paintings, stickers, weird sculptures: a creative orgy. “I don’t want to leave this place!” Descending from the tower, our feet back on ground. Streets, traffic lights, U-Bahn, reality. A project made by action group during training “Stream it! Social inclusion through new media”
check out the video here: www.vimeo.com/18166957
Words by Rūta Vimba
on Brooklyn (NYC) based Hungarian artist Edina Tokodi plays with living materials to reconnect the urban environment with nature - ornaments and patterns from grass and moss are growing on the walls, billboards, pavements, not only in the streets but also metro stations, interior designs and exhibition halls.
Image - Edina Tokodi ©
Web site: www.mosstika.com
urban surfaces On your website it says Mosstika Urban Greenery. How do you see the role of your artworks in urban greenery? My actions contain this kind of critical view of our attitude towards living in and with nature as well as my passion for it. As a public artist I feel a sense of duty to draw attention to this deficiency in our daily life. I intend my moss installations to function as exclamation marks all around the city. This is my personal way of ‘going green’. What is your personal motivation to work with moss, grass and other living materials? To point out our huge distance from nature sounds like a cliché already. City dwellers often have no relation to animals or greenery. I feel that, if we devalue our knowledge about nature, our life gets unworthy too. If we lose the connection to the origin, the purpose and the goal will be lost as well. It’s the sincerity in a creative piece that has value the most either in an artistic or in a practical sense; that it’s made with heart and hand. What surfaces in the urban environment do you find interesting and important to work with? My site-specific installations are inspired by Japanese Zen gardens and informed by the space’s environs, whether organic or man-made; often sheathed in steel, glass, pavement and stone and providing an unavoidable contrast to its surroundings. Surrounded by their contrasting atmosphere, my installations playfully call to mind a more familiar, environmentally friendly state, breaking cold urban norms. Finding the right form for my ideas can be like a spontaneous reaction; in other cases, it takes a lot of time and research. What is your dream project? My greatest ambition is to create even more complex works that allow me to explore the diversity of, and possible intricate connections between (organic) materials while still remaining close to nature. 7
Galo Surreal Brazil galosurreal.com
super TREE Comic by Anita Rupeika
egrowth is growing
Words by: Francisco Pedro
For an orthodox economist “Growth” is an article of faith and in any capitalist economic system is considered the holy of holies. Productivity, consumerism, competitiveness, exportations, high technology, entrepreneurship... the European Union has gathered every country to sing together in the neo-liberal church choir and our generation has grown up with these sound bites. But if resources are limited, so is growth. Today, an increasing part of the citizenship is demanding a drastic change of the economic patterns established with the Industrial Revolution, and ‘Degrowth’ can be the name of the change.
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“DEGROWTH TODAY!” Our society remains totally dependent crisis over the last three years. But it hasn’t yet managed to become a widely on limited non-renewable resources that discussed issue, not even among alter-globalists. Still, the Barcelona Degrowth are inevitably, and rapidly, running out and Conference’s declaration states that: “the folly of growth has come to an end, the latest attempts to ‘green-wash’ the the challenge now is how to transform, and the debate has just begun.” production system do not give much more hope of eventual improvement. ‘Sustainable LESS IS MORE: TOWARDS A NEW SOCIETY. development’ is still rooted in mainstream The aim of the degrowth movement is to maximize happiness and well-being development ideas that aim to increase by devoting more time to art, love and the community instead of consumption capitalist growth and consumption. and GDP. Then, the economic goal of society would shift from quantitative Under the productive model, green promises expansion to the qualitative aspects of existence. end in a paradox: green technology = greater At the individual level, degrowth is achieved through voluntary simplicity. efficiency in energy and resources = greater Actually, this is nothing more than what traditional holistic wisdom has production and consumption = greater impact always taught us. We can recall Gandhi’s swadeshi-sarvodaya (selfon the planet. Development based on growth is sufficiency and welfare) or what indigenous South Americans called inherently unsustainable. Therefore, more and “Pachakuti” (in Quechua “pacha” means time and space, and “kuti” more people are now saying “degrowth today!”. upheaval or revolution). ‘Degrowth’ is the voluntary downscaling of Later Latin American indigenous movements managed to place production and consumption to a sustainable level. degrowth-like strategies within their progressive governments’ goals. Serge Latouche, emeritus professor of Economics Bolivia adopted “vivir bien” and Ecuador “buen vivir” as national at the University of Paris-Sud, and one of the most development plans; which means “Well-living”. Not to live better at the prominent authors of the Degrowth movement, expense of others, living a sovereign and communal life in harmony with conceives it as “a collective detoxification” that nature, sharing and producing for the community without excluders society needs in a world where “the growth doctrine and the excluded, without exploiters or the exploited. During the is like a disease and a drug”. “Rejecting the current 2010 People’s Summit, Bolivian president Evo Morales put the issue economic orthodoxy means abandoning a faith in stark terms: “Either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies.” system, a religion...” A CALL FOR THE ‘CO-REVOLUTION’ A GROWING MOVEMENT Degrowth ideas have long been strongly present in movements that Time really does fly and almost four decades have link anti-capitalism and ecology, such as Eco-socialism or Anarchopassed since the Club of Rome warned, in its wellprimitivism but the awareness of the consequences of unlimited known report “The limits to growth”, about the growth seem to permeate too slowly in the political left. environmental perils of an economic global growth “We need to construct a new co-revolutionary society, dedicated never seen before till then. And it is also thirty years to the common needs of humanity and the Earth” appeals John since the concept of ‘degrowth’ was introduced for the Bellamy Foster, editor of the independent socialist magazine first time in a book called “Degrowth Tomorrow” written ‘Monthly Review’. A “co-revolutionary movement” that brings by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, a Romanian economist together traditional working-class critique of capital, critique of now considered the creator and theoretician of the current imperialism, critiques of patriarchy and racism, and critique of movement. “Degrowth is a term created by radical critics ecologically destructive growth. of growth theory to free everybody from the economic Direct action against big institutions, people exiting towns correctness. It is not a concrete project but a keyword”, and adopting voluntary simplicity, “buy nothing day” clarifies Latouche. actions, academic conferences, green and socialist parties’ Degrowth emerged as an intellectual movement in 2008 initiatives... all can complement each other in the refusal in France, Italy and Spain. It was the year of the historic of growth society. But if we’re talking about going back to international conference in Paris on “Economic De-Growth basics, to the grassroots, it makes sense to believe that for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity”. The second change will have to come from the grassroots. conference was held in Barcelona in March 2010, gathering 500 Degrowth, Décroissance, Decrecimiento, Decrescita, academics and activists. One month later the first conference Postwachstum... It’s about time for people to rise up – and in North America (Vancouver, Canada) took place and by June economy to go down. local Degrowth groups in 70 cities all over the globe joined the very first “Global PicNic 4 Degrowth”. “Change always starts with More info: a nice chat around a good dinner!” organizers explained. English: degrowth.net This meteoric rise has coincided with the reappearance of economic German: postwachstum.net, attac.de French: casseursdepub.org ,decroissance.info 11
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Hobotown project unites young creatives, inspired by the living styles of such contemporary nomads as vagrants, wanderers, fair people, traders, circus people, gypsies, harvesters and shakers, to create a town within a town for playing, experimenting and challenging others. Project participants claim to break architectural and psychological borders of mainstream citizens, by emulating these settlements - performing in a similar way of living and mixing art, humor, and social criticisms. Recycling old materials and waste that can be found in everyday surroundings, these contemporary hobos are building towns in the middle of urban society, inviting locals to visit and reflect.
The pictures are taken from the 9-day Hobotown experiment, created by Traffic Mutants, T.R.A.U.M.A. and Keller in Spain, in September 2010. Locals were first met with puppets and clowns, followed by an invitation to work in the fields. They were brought food and sweets, and they created comfortable surroundings in the cozy meeting point of the village square.
refugee Tuvalu, archipelago located on the western Pacific Ocean –about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is one of the smallest sovereign nations in the world. Tuvalu means in Tuvaluan: “Eight standing together”, referring to the eight out of nine populated islands that compound the country; although Tuvaluans will not be able to stay together in their homeland anymore, because 3,000 of its inhabitants have already fled to New Zealand. That is what happens when your country drowns: you become a climate refugee. In 2005 the environmental conditions and the expectation of being completely submerged in ten years urged the Papua New Guinean government to authorize the evacuation of more than two thousand natives of the Carteret Islands into the nearby Bouganville, becoming the first community in the world that has had to be relocated because of climate change. The increasing storms and king tides that washed away homes, infected the fresh water supplies and ruined the islanders’ staple banana and taro crops, made eventually the life unviable. 14 g r o w t h
Since 2006, Tulele Peisa (“sailing the winds on our own” in Halia local language), an association founded by the elders of this atoll island, watches over the distressing relocation and resettlement of Tuvaluan families. “Elders do not want to see their people scattered and become marginalized; they want to see a systematic transition for the community to maintain the integrity of family units and their culture” explains the pioneer organization. Obviously problems do not go away for people who had to flee from their homes. Fleeing inevitably leads to disastrous consequences, shared by all refugees. In this case, people had to run away from their islands because of the rise of the sea. With the resettlements in foreign countries, the very unique identity of ancestral cultures like Tuvaluan are endangered and most probably condemned to sink, like their lands. Others low-lying island countries like Kiribati, Vanuatu or Maldives “are looking for similar ways to evacuate their entire population because of saltwater intrusion and rising sea levels” explains Christiana
Words By Silvia Font
es Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), during the last climate-change meeting in Cancun. These are some of the bluntest examples of how climate change is forcing us to reshape the world. However, these numbers are almost nothing compared with the millions of impoverished people living in global warming hot spots like India, Bangladesh or African areas, where an estimated 10 million people have migrated or been displaced over the last decades mainly because of environmental degradation and desertification. However, as Christian Parenti -a contributing editor at THE magazine and war reporter who is about to publish a book about climate change influences on conflicts and violent situations all around the World- points out this “is not only because of the climate change but also because of the larger macroeconomic policies in which they found themselves stuck. For instance, there are pastoral communities in East Africa where the State doesn’t provide
The Geneva Convention (1967) defines a REFUGEE as “a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.”
proper support for their economies, and because they are facing droughts and flooding produced by climate change they become climate refugees”. Precisely, this is “one of the cruel ironies of the world economic system, that the countries that have contributed most to the problem of climate change through the industrialization and emission of GhG (namely the industrialized countries in Europe and US) have created through our history a problem that is hitting foremost underdeveloped and agricultural economies. Some of it is related with the fact that climate change hits Equatorial areas earliest. But it has to do as well with the history of imperialism itself that has left much of the global south underdeveloped and overpopulated and therefore not able to face these problems”.
NO PLACE, NO NAME, NO RIGHTS FOR CLIMATE REFUGEES
The UNPCCC estimates that by 2050, the number of climate refugees could reach 150 million people. Paradoxically, there is no internationally recognized legal definition for those who migrate as a
result of environmental degradation and climate change. It should be a priority to fill this loophole in order to attend their necessities. “A new legal definition that does not compromise the status, perceptions or treatment of refugees under the principal international instrument benefiting refugees”, claims the Environmental Justice Foundation in its last report about climate refugees “No place like home. Where next for climate refugees ?” This legal void also leads to a complete ignorance of the problem, both politically and socially. Our understanding of how global warming will affect people—how many lives will be threatened, and what we could do to avert a succession of humanitarian disasters—still extremely low. As Bill Gates commented in his 2009 Annual Letter about Agriculture, “it is interesting how often the impact of climate change is illustrated by talking about the problems the polar bears will face rather than the much greater number of poor people who will die unless significant investments are made to help them.” 15
Stepping aside from the official forecasts, “we have choices to make now, something about what the future will be” thinks Parenti. “And there has to be a program of adaptation that includes social elements, not just physical elements like building seawalls against raising seas as a physical adaptation. It has to be a social adjustment that involves assisting the population in the global South to adapt to a new and extreme climate, and that is going to require that they get capital and new clean technology”. Actually, the social adaptation must work both ways. People in industrialized countries, even if not suffering from the worst consequences of climate change need to be aware of the issue. They also need to be “politically involved and be realistic of the limits that one person can do on its own by buying greens product or not buying them” continues the reporter, currently living in New York. According to him, “people should do it but it is not a substitute for politics. Politics happens when people come together”. Via Campesina, an international movement of peasants based mainly Latin and South America, Southeast Asia and Africa gathers over 148 organizations from 69 countries. They advocate for food sovereignty and peasant and family farm based production. Together, they agree that since the failure of Cancún, UNFCCC processes obviously were stumped and that only direct action by the people and from below will bring changes, points Tina Gerhardt, an academic and journalist expert on climate issues who has covered the last COPs for The Nation and The Huffington Post. When Lee Kyung-Hae, a 56-year-old Korean farmer and former president of the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation, fatally stabbed himself at the WTO meeting in Cancun in 2003, while holding a banner saying “WTO Kills Farmers!” as Gerdhardt remembers, it became not simply a rhetorical rallying cry but a wakeup call to the world about the reality of free trade and the necessity of facing such problems. During last Cancun summit in 2010 ‘Via Campesina’ organized a march: “Life and Climate Justice”, bringing together peasants, indigenous communities and activists from all over the world and making a commemorative stop at the mile marker where Kyun Hae died. Looking up to the officials, every climate actor can see the simple assumption that all people have toget closer to each other reflected in their geopolitical
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agenda. Looking down to the earth, one thing gets clearer and clearer, we cannot afford to wait any longer.
Necessity to Act: “Not Climate Change yet System Change”
One of the most repeated slogans during the muchtalked-about Copenhagen COP held on December 2009 by NGOs, activists and citizens mobilized in the Danish capital was the one that claimed the necessity of changing the regulatory system. The fiasco of the international summit –due to the incapacity of all the participants to reach a consensus for a binding treaty that could replace the Kyoto Treaty, expiring in 2012— did not do much more than increased the skepticism amid the population about the viability of a serious plan to combat climate change. Nowadays, we don’t witness a political mobilization spirit that made 20 million U.S citizens take the streets in the 70s, asking for a more sustainable environment in response to the pollution caused by industrial development in USA for the previous years. The first nation-wide protests took place on April 22nd 1970, under the initiative and coordination of Senator Gaylord Nelson. It had a great impact in the public policy leading to the creation of the US Environment Protection Agency. Since that date, the ‘Earth Day’ has become a global event with hundreds of million people from over hundred nations participating in environmental actions and activities. Such international concern for the environment has helped raise environmental issues on the transnational level, and has pressured some governments to create agencies for environmental protection. However, social mobilization trends have changed in the digital era. The last example of great worldwide environmental movement is Bill McKibben’s 350. org campaign. Its aim? To form a global movement dedicated to solve climate crisis, by creating and inspiring people to organize their own actions within their communities, on a local level. According to the organization, “if an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to the latest climate science, we can start the global transformation we so desperately need”. So, over and above what each of us can individually do now to reduce our personal impact in the environment, there is an urgency to put pressure on our political leaders. What is crucial is to get connected to the movement and stay active.
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Words by: Silvia Font & Jasna Dimitrovska
Paintbombs and grafitti sprays THE FACT “The term ‘gentrification’ signifies the transformation and sanitation of an urban area where first lower-income classes and later the high-income classes move in, generally accompanied by the renovation of old, dilapidated buildings, an increase in rents and ultimately, the driving-out of the original residents.” THE TRIGGER: Last Berlin Biennale (2010) had an anonymous protest against the curators and their choice to move this biannual art event from Mitte to the South-East area of Kreuzberg, so the entire area of the main exhibition building was covered with posters of their faces as „wanted women-gentrificators“. The explanation was that art increases the value of the neighbourhood which in capitalism doesn’t mean making life better for all, but only for those who can afford it. In the meantime, a young foreigner in the mid-twenties arrives to Berlin, the capital of the coolness, full of energy, plans and desire to conquer the city: just an everyday scene in the German capital. First step to follow for this artsy-crafty newcomer: find
a place to live - But “WTF! Berlin was supposed to be a cheap city, innit?”. THE BIG Q Beyond the vague excuse of “it’s the markets‘ fault”, we were wondering whether there is any chance that our beloved street art could be (un)intentionally contributing to the gentrification processes – as it happened in the suburbs of London, where Banksy’s graffitis could be found, which afterwards led to an enormous wave of juppies moving there, rendering increasing living costs unattainable for the residents - a reference for what could happen in an underground city like Berlin. SPRAYING THE GENTRIFICATION On a typical Berlin day, guarding our cameras from the winter’s rain, we are heading to Friedrichshain, an East-Berlin neighbourhood that gathers some of the most active house project initiatives - like Rigaer78 and Rigaer94 or the recently evicted Liebig14 - against the scourge of real estate market’s treats and the claim of alternative, self-managed free spaces.
Our first destination is an ex-squatted house located in the 34 of Liebigstraße, now an anarcho-feminist house project called XB Liebig. We enter the fully graffiti-painted building with the idea of getting some warm drinks in the meeting place, but what we find is a bar in a total mess: a few guys attaching wood panels to the windows and a girl in charge of the whole process. Her name is Karin and she is living in the house project for three and a half years. To our question she has a short and a long answer, but since we caught her having her hands full she explains: “The short one would be: no, I don’t think the graffiti make the gentrification process faster. And actually it depends which sort of graffiti we are talking about, because in general the tags are messages of frustration or anger. I think those are not inviting for the higher income class. But for example the graffiti we have here in the house project are usually a tourist-target“. Actually XB Liebig’s fully decorated facade and backyard walls offer an outrageous and amazing sample of masterly graffiti artists’ works. “So, I think these nice looking graffiti are a tourist-target”, she continues, “but on the other hand the neighbours that live in the buildings around have this concept of living in a quiet neighbourhood, so the events that take place here in our bar, the tourists that visit, everything bothers them”. In fact, that is why they are attaching wooden panels to the windows, a trial of “soundproofing the room” due to “all the police complaints lately due to bothered neighbours”. “They knew from the beginning that we are loud sometimes. But they want to have the quiet, sterilized, restricted and posh neighbourhood . It had not been that way before, but they are expecting it to become that now.” Hence, what you see when you take a good look at the neighbouring building’s facades, you’ll find lots of paint bomb marks, a sign of revolt against someone that is trying to interfere in your lifestyle. Harold Friedl from the “Karla Papel” anti-gentrification of Treptow area initiative, and “Berlin on sale” (a wider interest initiative) knows pretty well about lifestyle struggles and standing up actions against gentrifiers. “Eating in parks is
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forbidden in new neighbourhoods, as everything should be controlled and restricted so public space is getting almost unusable. I see it as a class war, when the rich people only have the means to use these places, the poor person is marginalized”, he concludes owing to one of his experiences after a recent action with ‘Berlin on sale”. “I think Berlin in ten years from now will have nothing for poor people, everything is adapted to the posh/high class people and they usually don ́t like graffiti”. This around forty-year-old Berliner remembers that he had noticed “something interesting happening” a few years ago in Kreuzberg: “I know that most of the houses have different owners that didn’t care too much about the looks, but then suddenly all the streets appeared cleaned from graffiti, so obviously someone had organized this urban cleaning”. After enquiring about the opinions of a few house-projects and anti-gentrification collectives’ members, what we want is the point of view of some “street-art world” insiders. ‘Stick-a-thing’, a 30-year-old street artist from Berlin-Neukölln, currently working as a bike messenger, has no idea whether his rent ever rose because his flat has been payed through unemployment money for some years now. However, he believes that street art has nothing to do with gentrification, which according to him is only influenced by people and infrastructure.
in certa cases street a Gudrun van Rissenbeck, Coordinator of Neurotitan Gallery, one of the last graffiti art spaces in Mitte, agrees with ‘Stick-athing’ in not blaming artists although she goes further in her explanation: “I don’t think it’s the fault of street art, I would say it is more a coincidence, and in certain cases street art is being exploited”. The same happens when talking about gentrification in general, she continues, “it’s always that artists and creative people are looking for cheap places, afterwards the cafés come and hence the ‘schickimicki’ people... But you cannot blame the artists for that! It’s something that can be observed quite often yet not necessarily has to be part of the gentrification”.
It is pretty clear that these two phenomena – urban art and gentrification - do converge in the same scenario: our streets. And even clearer is, that the „whose fault is it?“ is not a blaming tag that can be put just on one player, because dear friends we all are (willing or not) involved in this meaty game of the capitalist housing. But for us the saddest fact is to realize the distortion that the graffiti has suffered within the years. Born in the city walls of the USA as the gangs’ tool to delimit their territories, graffiti started to be related with art in the mid-sixties, when the first artists began ‘bombing’ the streets with their (nick)names just for raising the attention of neighbours and media. The community was eventually created with the graffiti’s developing in the streets of New York during the eighties. Decades after, it became a powerful political tool, a free and anonymous way to express political and social defeats and denounce oppressions. And now... It has become a categorized art, big names as Keith Haring or Banksy pieces are sold and exhibited all around the world, and the advertising brains have found the commercial potential of communicating through the language of graffiti. Although something remains intact: street art will remain dispute and controversy generator.
The fact is that while the risk of eviction raises day by day in Berlin-city, some real estate companies and business people are starting to make profit out of urban art works. For instance, two years after the controversial fire of Rigaer84 (an exsquatted house project in Friedrichshain) the new apartments in the renovated building were advertised with the words: “... the most beautiful pieces of graffiti artwork of the past have been kept and integrated in the new stairwell”, points Jakob, one of the people that live in Linienstrasse 206, or as he considers himself: “an inhabitant of an actually uninhabitable neighbourhood”, out. Indeed, Linie206 can be considered a total survivor of the gentrified Berlin-Mitte, after more than two decades of resistance, and part of PIMP (Projekte In Mitte und Prenzlauerberg) initiative.
art is being instrumented
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Illegal squatting Words by Alex Kemman
A housing struggle in Amsterdam
A long history of squatting exists in the Netherlands. In the seventies, squatting was legalized, leading to a regulated way of squatting empty houses. This regulation often made squatting a legal fight instead of a violent confrontation. The rules of the game were clear. However, an ongoing fight between advocates and opponents of legal squatting persisted. In the political realm, this was mainly a fight between the left and right wings. Recent changes in squatting law reflect a rise in dominance of right-wing politics. As of 1 October 2010, the squatting ban has become law. From now on, squatting, regardless of the reason, is illegal and carries a maximum sentence of two years. The tables have turned. Now, in light of the new anti-squatting law, the future of squatting remains unclear. Will it go on? Will the phenomenon die out, or might it even grow? Other cases have shown that often the squatting movement grew bigger in reaction to repressive measures. The problems that led to squatting have not
been resolved - affordable housing is still hard to find. While the movementâ€™s growth cannot be predicted, historical precedent proves it will not die out soon. Squatting seems more marginalized compared to earlier years, however there is still much going on. With protestors ready to take on the fight against the new law, the struggle is played out in several arenas: in the media, in politics, in the courts, and on the streets. 1 October demonstration One major event was a demonstration in Amsterdam on 1 October. To show that laws will not stop squatting, protestors organized a march through the center of Amsterdam. The crowd was accompanied by music and gathered onlookers. Slogans were shouted and fists raised. A highlight was the squatting of several empty floors during the demonstration. The symbolic importance of this squat on the day that it was officially banned--next to a police station--could not be ignored. After lingering for a bit, the demonstration moved on to finish the day. However, 25
the police had different plans. A street was blocked and the demonstration was attacked, horses charging the crowd. While many fled through the alley, others stayed and resisted the police violence. A game between stone-throwing activists and head-hitting police was played. Tear gas and fire filled the streets of the charming canal district. The chaos ended late at night. Some people were arrested, though the newly-formed squat was not evicted. Did the police just feel like a fight? National squatting days After a period of silence with only secret squats in Amsterdam and some open squats in other cities, it was time to make a move. National squatting days were announced, introducing a yearly event whose purpose is to make the squatting movement more visible. Several squats and a demonstration took place throughout the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, two squats were organized. The effectiveness of these actions was a crucial goal. One squat in particular brought attention, as it was at the Muntplein, a busy square in the center of the city. This squat was intended to emphasize the fact that a beautiful house on an amazing location was left empty. This house was intentionally left unused by the owner to make some easy money. Unfairly, this results in the building remaining empty for a long time, its state degenerating even more. The squat went smoothly as always. A group of one hundred walked to the empty house, concealing the most illegal act: the break in. A curious crowd started to gather on the other side of the
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street. A banner stating “The squatters of Amsterdam wish an exciting new year to the speculators!” was let down from the window. Police cars arrived: would they intervene or not? The group waited, occasionally shouting protest slogans. “Law or no law, squatting goes on!” Later the police made clear they would not intervene--for now. The crowd clapped and shouted following this announcement, and then everyone was allowed to see the house from the inside. With an important message for world, squatters will keep drawing attention to housing problems, law or no law. Interestingly, repression can achieve the opposite of its intended effect. The squatters certainly wouldn’t have left without a fight. Such issues unite the movement and strengthen its goals. The attention it draws, if framed well, can draw more sympathizers. Students who are unable to find decent housing for a decent price might see that squatting is still an option. Without squatters, people would not be aware of spaces that are purposely left empty and unused, and the discussion about the millions of empty office spaces would not be so visible. While it can’t be predicted if the movement will grow or decrease, surely the situation has been given new momentum. The issue is news again, showing the motivation of squatters. Certainly, risking jail for ideological reasons undermines the idea that squatters are doing it the easy way or out of laziness. Combined with the structural problems of empty spaces, the future for squatting is brighter than was initially thought when the new law was enacted.
H t P
nd Frie Illus nds t r Kito ate Col d by che ste rÂŠ
1.candlewax ---> melt
2. waterballoons ---> fill with water to the size of an orange (or any size you think is good for throwing)
5.fill shells with paint (preferably waterbased) and close hole with wax
4. take balloon out of the shell
3. dip filled waterballoons in melted candlewax until the wax layer is almost a half centimeter thick
How to Paintbomb 7. THROW!
Words by: Rubén Gómez García and Tranvía Cero
Tranvía Cero is an art collective in the city of Quito, Ecuador, whose work includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation and most significantly, performance and city interventions.
re museums an indispensable tool for our society? Do they help us develop a culture, or define the identity of a nation? Or might this role of museums be breaking down as the twenty-first century goes on? We can feel that something is changing even one of the most acclaimed artists in the first decade of this new century proclaims that he would rather exhibit his work in abandoned spaces or zoos than in galleries1. Art interacts with its context, and as a natural consequence distances itself from certain “academic” or “formal” circles.
1“None of the print and painting exhibitions in proper art galleries are anything to do with me, it’s all stuff they bought previously. I only ever mount shows in warehouses or war zones or places full of live animals”. Banksy
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“Museumification” has become a global keyword to define this nostalgic vision in any discipline frozen inside the “golden cage,” taken out of its context, and constantly being revised and reinterpreted (very often due to political, ideological, or economic interests). The Tranvía Cero Contemporary Art Collective was created in 2002. We confront the exercise of institutional power, academic and artistic circles, and even citizenship. Our focus is on the democratization of public space and its interaction and coordination with the community, as well as a constant critique of the ways of interpreting culture and its
museumification. We question the formal and aesthetic records of the visual arts with the intention of reformulating them from an integral vision of the artistic practice. In fact, the art space circuit in Quito became a closed circle, or a space where the country was symbolically “built” according to certain interests, and from which a number of cultural events, artists and social groups were excluded. Essentially, the work of one particular group was seen. This generated a separation from other sociocultural processes produced within a communitarian, neighborhood, or social context. This matter was the starting
THE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE ON URBAN ART “al zur-ich” (Quitenian slang used by some of its young inhabitations as a name for the south side of the city) is an independent and autonomous project proposed by Tranvía Cero with the purpose of integrating art in the urban area to generate experiences that combine visual arts and the community. The initiative presents twelve selected projects in twelve southern districts annually. The main goal is research and experimentation on contemporary art in the city’s southern neighborhoods through an appropriate approach to their organizations in order to strengthen the identity of these peripheries from its imagery, traditions, and historical and contemporary practices. The key elements are discussing, coding and interpreting the facts experienced in everyday life to create works of art
(meaning a multidimensional artistic product resulting from the interaction of operator-community-urban space). While the al zur-ich project is a process that develops most intensively during the summer, it is the product of twelve months of work. The whole process becomes visible in the month of September, when participants present the projects in the means best suited to their work.
ACTION: El Paseo De La Fama (The Boulevard of Fame) Parque Central Ciudadela México, Quito At the very heart of the Ciudadela México district, a group of residents and the Tranvía Cero Collective created the “Real Boulevard of Fame,” where the immortalized characters are families who actually live, work, and build the history of the neighborhood every day. This project starts by the Collective contacting the neighborhood authority. Next, the location is picked together with the people who agree to participate in the project and to help to carry out the production process of the idea. Then,
the technical team takes measurements and tests the strength of the materials to find the most suitable, economical, and viable options. The final presentation day is a modest celebration where neighbors activate the installation and appropriate the space, giving personal attributes to the “stars” and seizing the art object. Then the real “stars” and “heroes” are built according to their own vital characteristics, not necessarily through spectacular media tricks. Tranvía Cero (Quito, Ecuador) Pablo Ayala, Pablo Almeida, Omar Puebla, Karina Cortez, Silvia Vimos, Samuel Tituaña LINK: http://arteurbanosur.blogspot.com/
REFERENCES: “The Museumification of the Village: Cultural Subversion in the 21st Century” by P. Dellios w w w. i n t e r n a t i o n a l - r e l a t i o n s . c o m / wbcm5-1/WbPaulette.htm
photos : “From archives of Tranvia cero”
point for building a project that seeks a comprehensive work of the relationship and recovery of the cultural dialogue between the social fabric and the artist.
JOURNALISM? Words by Malte Reißig
The word Gonzo is used as a derogatory term for either “the last one standing at the bar”1 or a “gimp”.2 3 The journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson is known to have coined this term with probably one of his earliest works called “The Rum Diary” a story which publication was rejected 7 times by various publishers he approached in the 1960’s.3 It’s release came in 1998 and in 2011, the Hollywood production, staring Johnny Depp, will be shown in cinemas across the globe. As the title of the first story 1 Stefan Kluge: Unknown Source 2 Dictionary: www.dict.cc/?s=gonzo 3 The Rum Diary: http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Rum_Diary
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by Mr. Thompson might predict, if one would like to follow his style guide one would probably end up like Mr. Thompson himself, he ended the fight against his health problems through committing suicide at the age of 674. Navigating ones own deep into the situations which itself are a mirror of the chosen topic one want to report on, is gonzo style research. Telling it from your personal point of view and to write your character having a very own experience as part of the story, is gonzo writing. Some professional journalists would stop naming it journalism when hearing that 4 Suicide: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Hunter_S._Thompson
because they see the author heavily involved. Officially “Gonzo” writings are often be identified as such who contain “exhaustive usage of strong language” and which content could be categorized as very much marginalized.5 Without the famous report on incidents on the way to a motorcycle derby, as described in the book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, I would probably still be unaware of the cool and self-destructive forces that seem to dictate the moves of a good gonzo journalist. By now, I would tag Gonzo as an excessive or ultra-personal form of written expression hooked up with some facts. The thing you write about is told by you, me, the person with the experience at hand, it is this perspective which is presented to the reader and which therewith becomes part of the information presented. I had the chance to talk with Stefan Kluge, an open movie maker from Leipzig who produced 2 open gonzostyle roadmovies, and after all, he said: “Gonzo authors experience the situation where the story takes place and at a time where they probably cannot foresee how their actions will unfold, they interact with the foundations of their yet unwritten story.”
5 Gonzo Journalism: en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Gonzo_Journalism
By now, it maybe a bit clearer what Gonzo-Journalism is, its you telling your story. Therefore you have the chance to contribute to a in my opinion, so desperately needed plurality of opinions. Though it often maybe easier to write a story just from your personal point of view it is often more desirable to see the things as they are, which is at least complicated but often even complex. So to report on a matter with multiple sources and an utmost level of possible objectivity is a precondition to actually be able to get an opinion and therefore you do need to be informed from some sources. What I also want to make very clear here is that authenticity comes through some kind of openness. You tell us who this person is because this is a vital part of the information you want to share with us, we need this part of the information to actually be able to interpret it and relate it to our world. At last, if you don’t have anything else, it’s the identity which stands for the information, which is what makes things complicated if one can easily buy an identity reporting on a matter. Doing research and getting into difficult situations and getting drugged before starting to work is something during which you should try to not loose certain facts, at least if
your goal is to tell someone about your experience as best as possible. Just make sure when starting to work on your story that you find a certain rhythm in which you take care about your everyday recordings and notes, it should be at best while or at least shortly after you took them, otherwise you’ll be screwed, trust me. Also be aware of what it possible could do to those identities you’ve explored and now want to expose to the public. Consider if they are an important part of what you actually want to say, if so, you surely need to consider all the consequences before publishing your work. You need to work with great sensitivity for the personal rights of the people involved in your story, up to the point that the life of the person is not threatened by revelations in your writings. In the end, it’s nothing that hard to do, a lot of people do this in their spare time and/or just because they are curious about things that happen in front of their eyes.
Maybe you want to read some writings by one of the more elaborate protagonists of the Gonzo-style and therefore I name some of them here alltogether: Tom Wolfe and Allen Ginsberg for example. Also there is Jack Kerouac known as one author of the post-war beat generation along with his book “On The Road” from 1957 6 7. I can’t wait to hear about your story! Article based on the research and an interview with Stefan Kluge. Read and watch more at http://vebfilm.net/free/en. 6 Beat Generation: en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Beat_Generation 7 On the Road: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ On_the_road
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TO GROW SEED- THOUGHTS AROUND
Words by: Silvia Font
ometimes you don’t know why a sentence from a book, the lyric of a song or even the slogan of an advertisement sticks in your mind for the rest of the day. A shocking image or meaningful quote that shakes your mind and maybe even makes you reconsider some of your rustiest ideas.
Did it just come about? Was it the unexpected moment and place? Or did somebody placed it purposefully? You have the opportunity to play with chance while sowing some thoughtprovoking messages that will take people by surprise!
DO IT YOURSELF: THE CONTENT
-Find the quotes, reflections and questions that you consider thought provoking. What message do you want to spread? Which food for thought do you think people are in need of? -Start making the notes by hand, computer or as a collage, anything works!
You are now fully prepared! Go out into the streets; find passing peoples shoppingbags, bicycle baskets or mail boxes. Any place where they could be easily found yet unexpected. Let your imagination run riot by adding some small objects in the boxes or planting your seed thoughts in books and food packets.
NOW GO OUT THERE AND SPREAD YOUR THOUGHTS!
● With simple origami technique you can make nice and easy-to-place boxes to put your messages in. If you are already in the up-cycling mode, you can also reuse empty packets of cigarettes or matches, reshaping them into seed-thought boxes. ● Don’t forget to write an eye-catching notice, such as “pick me up” or “for you”, on the lid. ● Put your thoughts in the box and add a candy or some other object you might find thought provoking if you like.
A TRAVELLING ARTIST
BECAUSE YOU CAN’T
Words and interview by Kaj Derks
verybody knows the romantic image of the minstrel from the middle ages. A travelling musician passing through towns, villages, markets, parties and carnivals to play his or her music, tell stories and entertain the public. Travelling musicians were not just entertainers. They also spread news that they had picked up during their travels. Functioning as a sort of travelling newspaper they expanded the consciousness of people past the limits of their village and everyday life. In a world that is drowning in media of all kinds, the existence of the contemporary minstrels is hard to notice, but nevertheless they still exist. Nowadays, ‘folkpunks’ are playing in living rooms, (underground) bars, backyards and such like. Basically what they do now is no different from what minstrels did in the middle-ages: entertaining people with their music while at the same time expanding people’s thoughts outside the boundaries of everyday life with their lyrics, and picking up news from one place and spreading it as they go. If you think they only do it to change the world, you are wrong. Travelling as a folk musician is a good way to take a vacation, see different places and meet people that you otherwise would not encounter. To gain insight in to the life of a contemporary minstrel, the travelling folk-musician, I asked five different folk-punks about their experiences on the road, how they got into it and more.
EVAN GREER (EG)
EIRIK ARLOV A.K.A.
age 45 •from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England •touring as folk-musician for 21 years •plays acoustic guitar and sings
age 25 •Boston, United States •touring since 18, so already for 7 years. For 3 years ‘professionally’ as full time job •plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums, piano, harmonica, ukulele, bass and a few other things, but mostly guitar and also singing.
age 25 •from Trondheim, currently residing in Oslo, Norway •touring as a folk musician for a little over a year •plays guitar and sings
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TWO FIGHTERS AGAINST STARDESTROYER (EA)
BJARTE MALUM A.K.A BALLE MALURT (BM)
age 31 •from Bergen, Norway •playing as a folk musician since 2001, first real tour in 2008 •plays the guitar and sings in the Balle Malurt project and sings/ screams, plays electric guitar and drums in other bands.
INTERVIEW How did you start touring as a folk singer? EG: My first tour was with this kid. We met on the internet, I had a car and we decided to go on a tour together. Within five minutes we discovered that we had radically different views but we managed to get along. I think most of the shows were visited by less than ten people but it was fun and I knew I wanted to do it again. Now I am part of the Riot Folk collective consisting of 9 musicians working together to use music as a tool for social change. Do/did you also play in a band? And why do you tour as a folk artist next to/ instead of playing with a band? Bar: Sometimes I play with a band. It’s good fun playing with other people but it’s often more efficient and practical to do it on your own. (Possibly there is a parallel here with sex!) What is it you like about playing acoustic? EG: It’s practical: you can play anywhere without the need of a sound system. I can get there on a bus, by flying, or even on a bicycle (once I toured that way, 2500 km around Florida). Is there something you play for, apart from having a good time of course? What would that be? BM: Money is always nice but even better is when we got a full tank of stolen or home made diesel, that’s as DIY as it gets these days. Food, something to drink and a decent place to sleep is nice as well but applause and positive feedback is what keeps me going. If a beautiful girl wants to kiss me or, more realistically, just talk, because she likes my songs, then I’m on top of the world.
What do you get out of it? EG: Few times a week I get e-mails from people who relate to my music. These vary from a simple ‘thanks’ to really intense personal connections with people who feel my music helped them through a hard time making them realize they are not the only ones that feel that way in the world. What kind of places do you play at? BM: All kinds, squats, farms, after parties, festivals, under a highway, barns, VoKu’s, birthdays, parks, on the steps of a police station, a Muslim holiday-celebration and outside a NoFX concert in Boston to get free tickets (and we got them) How do you find places to play at or do places find you? EA: On my last tour I was lucky enough to have a friend do the booking, I am horrible at promotion. The punk community is a great help when it comes to booking shows, most creative punks and activists can find a place for my weird acoustic slam/poetry although it is not very punk. What do you think your role is, as a touring folk musician, in the social setting you are performing at? BM: On our last tour we were always convincing ‘crusties’ with their arms crossed. For ourselves we proved that you can come very far with an acoustic guitar, some planning, (non)sense and insanity. Many people told us they were bored of the same type of hardcore bands delivering the same message in the same old package. We are making the message refreshing.
What would be your ideal setting to give a show? EA: The possibilities are endless. My current wish list contains a rooftop, elevator, cave, mineshaft or a hot air balloon. Give me a call. Do you have any advice for those who either want to start touring as a folkartist, or host a folk-show at their home/ bar/venue/school/anyplace? Bar: Keep in contact with people who are already doing it. Take calculated risks. Ask people for help (promoting, organizing etc.). If you’re new at putting on gigs, ask some experienced people to play. Take it serious. Don’t get drunk or stoned before or during the gig, there is lots of time to do that after. And don’t get disillusioned if you have a bad show, the next one will probably be great. Links: James -Bar- Bowen: www.myspace.com/jamesbarbowen email@example.com Eirik Arlov a.k.a. Two Fighters Against a Stardestoyer: www.myspace.com/ twofightersagainstastardestroyer Evan Greer: www.riotfolk.org Bjarte Malum a.k.a. Balle Malurt www.myspace.com/ballemalurt & www.nrk.no/urort/artist/BalleMalurt/ default.aspx
Distribution About About About About About collaboration
Masta magazine is a project based on and participation. Without the participation and help from people like you, we couldn’t have reached all of the countries and people that we did. We are still looking for people and distribution networks who want to help with distribution of our magazines among friends, interesting places, organizations or whatever places you think are cool in your country. Besides, it will be a great opportunity for you to get in contact with other people or groups who are already active in the Masta network in your country. If you want to distribute the magazine, please contact us on:
--> and we will send you some magazines- as long as we have some in stock, of course.
photo by Alshepmcr’s ©
Currently, the Masta network and cause is being spread in the following countries: Austria, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Ecuador, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Latvia, Macedonia, Thailand, The Netherlands, Turkey, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, and Romania...
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Call for proposals for the Mašta #8
ociety members have potential to act like quantum, not only by performing different roles but also by taking active roles in several spaces at the same time. Passing on energy, sharing seed-thoughts, leaving examples and networking – all these processes take place in certain levels that, itself, could be a topic for research.
photo by Judith Meijer
For example, experts couldn’t predict economic changes. While biology is based on similarities, economy is based on regularities. Unpredictability makes the regularity-based systems fragile. As soon as I expect laughing in a certain moment, I can start performing as a professional comedian in an online show. As soon as you expect me to expect you to laugh, there is no laugh at all and the campaign to sell cleaning tools, cars or political ideas has failed. Besides, it’s not all about selling items or ideas - the fundamental idea of humor states that a joke itself includes unexpected violations of the conventional. There are cases that the most conventional actions can be
perceived as unexpected, depending on the context of the situation. Count on your fingers examples during previous weeks when claiming the basic right of freedom of speech or movement was perceived as unexpected. How often is the simple right to ask a question interpreted as radical? To find out, what made them so – context, chosen media, time, or space - Mašta invites you to look for unexpected changes, behaviors and opinions in your surroundings that can make change, and report on them for the # 8 UNEXPECTED!
Photos and articles, drawings and interviews, manuals, commentaries and all other submissions are welcome to EDITOR@MASTAZINE.NET until 20th of June2011! For more info about submission guidelines and Mašta magazine please visit WWW.MASTAZINE.NET! 37
photo in the backgrownd by Ana Correia © photo on both pages by Alshepmcr ©
Bank run 20 10 ////A DEMONSTRATION IN CASH//// ///words by Julia Vernersson/// Last autumn a call for action appeared on the internet: through facebook, blogs and emails, citizens of the world were encouraged to demonstrate their disappointment with the current economical system by attacking the banks. The idea of the action was simple - to make as many people as possible withdraw their money from their accounts on the 7th of December.
eople are alienated from the structures their lives actually depend on - lack of transparency as well as complicity of the ways money circulates, or economy functions. Economy expert, prof. Leonardo Bechetti, points out: “The problem is that people don’t understand what’s the role played 38 g r o w t h
by banks within the economic system. For this role - activities banks are doing instead of citizens - they need to be paid. We could discuss if this reward is too high or too low”. There are concerns about the banking system and a developing inequality due to the distribution of interest cost, expressed by activists, theorists and several organisations. “Most people think they pay interest only when they borrow
money from banks and in fact it’s quite obvious that every producer of goods must add the interest he pays to the bank to the final price,” explains economist Margarit Kennedy. Possibilities to reduce the costs seem to be limited. In order to take back the legitimacy to act, call for Bankrun 2010 points out that politics is determined by financial and economical structures instead of the people who voted. “It is time to
remind the politicians who are those they were elected to serve,” claim the initiators of Bankrun 2010. “Strikes and demonstrations are no longer useful because whatever we do, we are not heard. And whatever they do, we are not consulted. So we decided to hit the system at its core - the banking system”.
///DEMONSTRATION IN CASH/// When a demo out in the streets rather means a swindle to yourself, the way to realize revolution nowadays is to destabilize banks, claims one of the inspirers of Cantona day, Eric Cantona. French former football player explains that there is a change of paradigm and instead of gathering a lot of people in one place, shooting and attacking, one can make impact by taking action within the framework of the system, using its tools. The idea of Bankrun 2010 was to trigger a bank run, as the effect of the protest. A bank run occurs when a large number of bank customers withdraw their deposits because they believe the bank is, or might become, insolvent. As a bank run progresses, it generates its own momentum, in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: as more people withdraw their deposits, the likelihood of default increases, and this encourages further withdrawals. It can destabilize banks to the point where they face bankruptcy. Following up on news, it seems that the aims of Cantona day haven’t been achieved. But organisers are going on, continuing to dream about a world without air pollution, GMO, with global watering systems, innovative methods to create and share energy and space. WWW.BANKRUN2010.COM/ EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/BANK_RUN
///REVOLVE FOR: AN EVOLUTION TOWARDS A CITIZENS’ BANK/// As a possible improvement of the current system, one of Bankrun 2010 dreams is a “CITIZENS’ BANK”. They describe it as a bank that serves its customers: “We want
banks that lend only the wealth they have. Banks that help small and medium enterprises to relocate jobs, and bank lending at zero rate. What the Islamic banks successfully achieve by refusing usury for religious reasons, we can get for civic reasons. Banks that support projects which benefit citizens rather than the market. Banks where we can deposit
our money so as to maintain a peaceful conscience within ourselves”. Besides, it seems to be not only a dream - there are several financial organisations, as well as inherited mechanisms, to store and lend money. One of them - JAK Membersbank - is called a “bank without interest”.
///JAK BANKEN – A MEMBERSBANK A SYSTEM TO SET UP YOUR OWN BANK/// Up there in Sweden approximately 35000 members united to keep their savings and use the service of JAK Members Bank (JAK Medlemsbank). The bank is ruled by an annually elected board and aims to realize its activities outside the capital market, giving out loans to its members without interest. According to the JAK philosophy, economic instability is a result of the taking of interest. JAK operates under the following premises:
•The taking of interest is inimical to a stable economy •Interest causes unemployment, inflation, and environmental destruction •Interest moves money from the poor to the rich •Interest favours projects which tend to yield high profits in the short-term The ultimate goal of JAK is to abolish interest as an economic instrument and to replace it with instruments in the benefit of people. First aim of the bank is to offer a feasible financial asset to its members, sustainable for the environment and serving local economy. JAK says that it works without interest, though there are some experts who have calculated that it’s not completely true. One of them, prof. Leonardo Bechetti in an interview says that JAK tries to apply an interest proportional to the costs of the bank’s work - the implicit interest estimated to be 2-3% ; money that JAK members lose, because the money is taken out of the global monetary system, which relies on higher rates of interest as well as higher estimated chances to multiplicate the value of the savings. “In my opinion, JAK should stress more on other benefits it helps to create, like the capacity to connect resources and territories, or the relationship it holds with its members ,” continues prof. Bechetti, “I consider it as a therapeutic association for people who want to fight against dept dependence”. While some members of society are looking for therapy, others are taking action in order to reorganize the whole monetary system, deconstructing the concept of money itself. “99 is not 100,” a quote from the movie “Waste land” (2010). Every step matters to create the world we want to live in. WWW.JAK.SE EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/JAK_MEMBERS_BANK
sea Report on re
ne might say that it’s easy to theorize about money, while there is still unequal distribution of resources in the world, and a lack of real life solutions. Meanwhile, there are actually several organizations and initiatives working on a daily basis towards solutions where members of society can chose their own value for things, share goods and exchange resources. “The reason why we need money is broken trust between strangers,” says Jay from the project The Future Of Money. Supported and financed by the public, a schematic of the dimensions of wealth and a short movie of collected thoughts and ideas from thinkers all around the world provides real reasons to rethink the concept and meaning of money. 40 g r o w t h
of mo e r u t u f e h t about
The Future of Money initiative started with the help of the Emergence Collective collaboration platform, when Venessa, one of the project’s core members, was invited to speak at the SIBOS Conference, the world’s largest annual international financial conference, in Amsterdam on 25 October 2010. To impress the banking elite, she asked for collaboration with the platform Emergence Collective, and The Future of Money crew was assembled. The work started with help from studio KS12 and Jay from Open Design City. Brainstorm sessions and endless Skype interviews with thinkers and experts, social entrepreneurs and activists brought the crew to a seven minute video, which reflects the process of research:
Words by Rūta Vimba
• Fernanda Ibarra, an advocate working with a project about metacurrency says: “Money is not wealth. Money is potential wealth, but we give it such power that it influences the way we feel about ourselves.” • “Everyone has a potential, and if you base the credit on potential, that leads a lot more people to financial inclusion,” believes Ashni Mohnot, founder of “Enzi,” which financially supports students. • “People need to see themselves more as producers. And if they see themselves as producers, they can also see that they create the value and that there is probably someone out there, what can benefit from that value,” Linus Olsson from FLATTR. COM, the micropayment service, encourages the public.
• “You put yourself in a more vulnerable state, when you express what you need. We go out and we buy it from people we don’t know, but we don’t turn to our community. If we would collect all this information in a database, it would create enormous amount of energy – when you know what a community needs, you know what the market demand is,” appeals founder of the “GiftFlow,” Hans Schöneburg. • “Just as corporations are free to compete about various value creating opportunities, currencies should be free to compete. Different currency models [should compete] against one another for their ability to serve different purposes,” believes Douglas Rushkoff, author of “Program or be Programmed.”
Diagram by Emergence Collective
of the petrol and tra vel in the sa me car. There are networks for sharing working places, time, knowledge, and other things one might need for daily life. One of the most well-known initiatives is couchsurfing. “Somebody has a space and is going to share it without getting anything material for it,” explains Jay Cousins. “What the person gains is the emotional value and interaction.” Sharing enables not only stronger social networks, but also broa
dens the possibilities for individuals to access more re sources within the network. As for couch surfers who invite strangers to their sofa, the host can be sure that he or she will have greater chances of finding a free sofa for an overnight stay far away from home on his or her next trip. Empowered by networking opportunities provided by communication technologies, a regular consumer can make his or her choice and change the operating system based on
his or her values. There is still space for development in the implementation of these systems in local communities, as well as in finding ways to share these social technologies and involve people who do not belong to the laptop generation.
THE FUTURE OF MONEY WWW.VIMEO.COM/16025167 EMERGENCE COLLECTIVE: WWW.EMERGENCE.CC
photo: Anna Correia ©
As the experts explain in the video, collectively owned resources and the creation of new operating currencies doesn’t mean the end for the businesses–on the contrary, it opens opportunities for innovation and cooperation with social actors in fields that can recreate the meaning of value. Creation, storage, and access to value is pictured in the schematic “Lenses Of Wealth,” a result of the “Future Of Money” project, complemented by an impressive list of initiatives, which are currently working in such fields as co-working, digital currencies, human capital investment, and knowledge and resource sharing. There are freecycle networks, where people exchange items they own. There are networks where people who are going in the same direction share costs
for Growth Words by Silvia Devecchi
“There can be no more growth if it is not sustainable: actually, we need to sustain the growth we have experienced so far, or we will end up fried. It is going to be clear to you when you take a look at the data”
says Nathaniel Mulcahy, whilst looking at the work of Organization 350. He is a pragmatic man, whose idea shows the simplicity which contributes to geniality, a trait than many would also attribute to Nathaniel. 42 g r o w t h
Nathaniel’s action is carried out through a very specific type of stove, the Lucia Stove. It is intended as a tool to set up micro industries in communities. The selfsustaining stove also converts waste into energy, helps plants grow in depleted soils, assists in cooking, prevents CO2 from being released and helps families create healthier households. “Our organization,” explains Nathaniel, “constructs the base components and then works with local liaisons to set up small manufacturing plants. These plants do not require welding, riveting or drilling. They serve as a skill based income generating activity for the community. We provide the instructions and guide for assembly of additional stove parts and then work with local groups to set up the plant and to adapt the Lucia Stove to local cooking needs”.
Stage 1: Flat packed stoves ready for shipment
Stage 2: Stoves assembled by trained local workers
In his studio, you will discover that an emptied soft drink can and a smaller metallic cylinder, fuelled with a tea spoon of pellets from the jute sack in the back room, is all he needs to realize this miniature dream with massive impact. And when a dream grows in size, only a couple of thin pieces of aluminum foil and very basic utensils are needed to lead it to reality. Some of the current models of the Lucia Stove reach 93% efficiency and this is the first on a long list of success stories where Nathaniel overarches his own short term goals. However, the final objective is ambitious and â€œtime is a terrible work masterâ€?. Following the diktat of the Organisation 350, World Stove is aiming to efficiently subtract carbon from the atmosphere, by distributing a million stoves by 2020. And even if the road is still long, they are ahead of schedule.
Nathanielâ€™s semi-family run business currently works with nine people, a number of volunteers and with a number of NGOs, active in eleven countries. Work is going well at the moment: the stoves are usually very well accepted by their recipients in the eleven countries where Nathaniel has distributed. They have been perceived just as positively by the Berlin inventors we interviewed, you can read that on the Masta website. Evidently stoves can fuel growth.
Stage 3 Stove ready for distribution
O T L CAL
VISIT THE “BEYOND GROWTH?! ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE. SOCIAL RIGHTS. GOOD LIVING.” CONFERENCE IN BERLIN. We can help you find a nice place to sleep and get in contact with nice people. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to get organize accommodations for you. When & Where: The “Beyond Growth?! Ecological Justice. Social Rights. Good Living.” Conference will take place the weekend of May 20 - 22, 2011 at the Technological University of Berlin. For more information, a program schedule or to check out the aftermath on the discussions page, check out their website at www.jenseits-des-wachstums.de
SEEDTHOUGHTS WANTS TO START GROWING! The idea is to leave notes, images or whatever around in small paper boxes. The Purpose? To set people’s thoughts and smiles on fire! Join the most progressive and thought-loving movement! Visit www.get-growing.blogspot.com to get instructions on how to build nice boxes. 44 g r o w t h
WRITE A LETTER TO TAREK MEHANNA JOIN AL ZUR-ICH: THE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE ON URBAN ART The Al Zur-ich process begins in April each year. In July, participants meet with their district (if they have not already done so) to network and establish contacts with the inhabitants of the district. Once contacts are established, the proponents are able to involve the district’s inhabitants in order to deploy their project. The call for participants in the exchange is published in February. For further questions and information please visit: www.arteurbanosur.blogspot.com and look for the article in this issue of Masta.
Tarek Mehanna has been an active and respected member of his community, fulfilling the roles of scholar, friend and teacher. He has advocated for other Muslim prisoners and spoken out against U.S. foreign policy. As an Arabic Muslim leader from Massachusetts he was targeted and arrested by the United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. After refusing to become an informant against his own community the FBI pressed charges on Mehanna. Mehanna has been illegally held in 23hour solitary for over a one year period while awaiting trial. His trial will not take place until October 2011. A simple but important way you can help as international supporters is writing letters to Mehanna. We therefore ask you to write your letter to: Tarek Mehanna ID#50660 Unit GSE-108 Plymouth County Correctional Facility 26 Long Pond Road Plymouth, MA 02360 USA
Time/Bank is a platform that helps groups and individuals pool and trade time and skills by passing money as a measure of value. Time/Bank is based on the premise that everyone in culturalfields has something to contribute, and it is possible to develop and sustain an alternative economy by connecting existing needs with unacknowledged resources. For example, if you happen to be in Beijing or Hamburg and need someone to help you shop for materials or translate a press release, you would be able to draw resources from Time/Bank without exchanging any money. For more information please visit:
photo & wheatpaste by Ludo ÂŠ check out his amaizing street art at
GET YOUR ACCOUNT AT TIME/BANK
r o F k c t s e r Fo words by: Kaj Derks
photos by Fuck for Forest ©
YES, ECOPORN. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF POLITICALLY CONTAGIOUS SEX. FUCK FOR FOREST IS RADICAL, CONTROVERSIAL AND ABOVE ALL, VERY SEXY. WE SPOKE WITH LEONA, TOMMY AND NATTY, SEX-TIVISTS OF FUCK
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If you have access to the internet, you’ve probably already noticed that there is a lot of porn out there. It’s well known that sex sells. Making porn generates money, and - if you have a lot of money to spend, you can conserve the rain forest in Brazil, save the historic forest of Slovakia and support reservations for tribal communities. Since 2004, FFF supports environmental projects through spreading porn on the internet. However, according to FFF, ‘porn’ isn’t the right term to use, since they are activists rather than porn stars. Porn, as we know it is a product made by an industry, with the intention to be sold. Porn has caused sex to be viewed differently to how the people in FFF see in it: a way of expressing their sexuality. What FFF produces are real sexual experiences of people who want to have sex and not an act performed by actors.
As time passed, they met many people who saw themselves in the experimental attitude Tommy and Leona possessed, and also the search for freedom and acceptance of lust and the human body. FFF opened a website where people could openly share their experiences by submitting their pictures and videos. On the website you can also get a free account if you upload nude pictures of yourself. Since then about 1400 people have participated in erotic activism and an average of 800 people log in every month. Every year FFF earns in excess of hundred thousand Euros with their website.
HOW DID IT ALL START? Leona and Tommy met at the Roskilde festival and started an open relationship. Both of them were experimenting with CONTROVERSIAL? GET OUT! love, sex and relationships and they Fuck for Forest is considered a shared a critical view on conventional controversial organization from many ideas of sexual relations. At the same perspectives. Even though FFF made time they were concerned about the current state of the “Every year FFF earns a big effort to find projects Earth. This brought them to in excess of hundred they could sponsor, they were the idea to set up a website on thousand Euros with rejected time after time. The WWF for instance, refused to which they shared photos and their website” accept money from FFF. videos of them having sex for In another case FFF sponsored donations, and supported environmental a project in Costa Rica that was set up projects by displaying the material at the to replant a large forest which had been same time. cleared for farmland. After a good start they were accompanied by another
sponsor. But the condition this party had for their sponsoring was that the organization would stop receiving money from FFF. Because the other sponsor would be giving more money, Fuck For Forest was set aside as a sponsor. The controversy started with their performance at the Quart festival. After a speech, Tommy and Leona had sex on stage while a band, the Cumshots, was playing. They were brought to court where they plead for artistic freedom. But FFF have been facing predjudice, not only with legal aspects of their activities, but they also tend to get in a clinch with other political movements. In 2009 FFF joined a sex and anarchy workshop at an anarchist congress. Unfortunately the FFF-sextivists and the organization had different ideas about it and they were removed from the congress with force.
SO, WHAT’S GROWING? But even though they are perceived as controversial, it cannot be denied that FFF reaches a broad range of people that otherwise would not be confronted with environmental issues. In doing so they have already managed to support a number of ecological projects in Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica and Slovakia. They started with nothing but their bodies to send out a positive message: contribute to preventing deforestation and replanting great new forests and reclaiming the living-environment for tribal communities. “Sex is great, so why not enjoy – for a good cause.”
Grow up and
Words by Judith Meijer
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Decide your own rules about what growth is and where it goes.
photo by Judith Meijer
rowing up you have many restrictions and boundaries placed upon you in regards to social behaviour. Gone are the days where we expressed that we wanted to become a fireman one week and then the next, an astronaut. We felt we could go down any kind of career path, no matter how unobtainable it may have seemed to those around us. We now have to behave according to certain social rules and we have restricted ourselves from things like expressing our dream careers without the appropriate training or sticking our tongues out to complete strangers, as to others we might be viewed as a little insane. One other thing that we deprive ourselves from is playing like we used to as children. Adults are supposed to be serious and responsible, striving to achieve security in a social sense, for example careers, families and success. It seems that now all actions should now have a reason. But should we completely say goodbye to our childish behaviour when we grow up or is it more important than we realise?
Growth is seen as an increase, like a growing plant or animal and it is not seen as something that is breaking down or uncertain. For example, while growing up you find that increasingly you explain your choices and lifestyle in an adult way, a way that makes sense. “What do you do? Why do you do it?” are questions that particularly common and part of the ‘growing up stress’. The words ‘work’ and ‘career’ are not mentioned in these questions but are without any doubt one of the first connections that will come ones mind. Are we forced to identify ourselves by profession? Do we force ourselves? And what happened to the longings and passions we feel, that cannot be explained but define us, although do not fit within the general boundaries of ‘classic’ growing up? These questions, that cannot be answered or measured and maybe do not confirm growth, but should not be seen as a decrease but as an increase in freedom to grow in whatever direction and to be whatever person you decided to be. These questions could inspire your own rules and break free from generalisation, when you let them. It is virtually impossible to avoid the “So…and what do you do?” question in a situation whilst getting to know someone. Many people have started to get irritated with this question and have decided to interpret the question differently, by not automatically thinking they have to answer from the work perspective but stopping and thinking about the last thing they did and
that defines them. If this was playing hide and seek or baking bread then that would be my answer. I’m growing to change my own view of the expectations that I put upon myself and the expectations of modern society, but as you and me make our society, then we all have to change our expectations. I discovered that playing without any rules, frames or productivity helps me in my search for the way I want to grow. Spontaneous and childlike behaviour opens doors for me through which I discover what really matters to me in and my growth. If you would like to try it yourself then do basically everything you always did or wanted to do as a child but never did or dared to do. “It is considerable difficulty in defining play, concluding that play is best described by six core characteristics. These are: that it is free, or not obligatory; that it is separate (from the routine of life) occupying its own time and space; that it is uncertain so that the results of play cannot be predetermined and so that the player’s initiative is involved; that it is unproductive in that it creates no wealth and ends as it begins; that it is governed by rules that suspend ordinary laws and behaviours and that must be followed by players; and that it involves make-believe that confirms in players the existence of imagined realities that may be set against ‘real life’.” Man, Play and Games, Roger Caillois
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w e cr COVER: front: photo by Alshepmcr’s © Illustration & lay-out by Jasna back: Ludo ©
CHIEF-EDITED BY Rūta Vimba
WEB POWERED BY Tom Buytaert Malte Rießig Joep van Delft
EDITED BY Kaj Derks Rubén Gómez García Silvia Font Malte Reißig Jānis Vītols
photo by Judith Meijer
EAD BY i PROOFR ll na Zane Cristian bles Iain Pee lmi a H Nicole igova G . Jana F Burnier Marcia arzak Farah M i et Laura R tin ar M li Shar aan K h Yosia
ART DIRECTION & LAY-OUT Jasna Dimitrovska & Tara McLean