I am Pavel Brat, I am an artist and I live in Montenegro.
I started my artistic career in Voronezh, then moved to St. Petersburg, then moved to Montenegro, to Boka – Kotor, Herceg Novi, Perast … My creative journey has been long: from graphics and collages, 3D paper objects in the form of icons, sculptural forms made of silicone and paper, models of these forms in their surroundings, performances in collaboration with stunning visual artists and musicians …
I think already somewhere at the stage of making models, I began to move away from the market framework and market perception, understanding that what I really want to create doesn’t fit into them: neither in scale, form, longevity, or life cycle in general … This distancing was facilitated by various factors: my contact with performance art, setting out new relations with the viewer; the world economic crisis, knocking down the existing trade in concepts into some kind of discreet schematic format; and censorship along with self-censorship, either here or there seeping through in contracts, applications, conditions … verbal or written … condensing in the surrounding atmosphere.
Then emigration followed, and with it I found like-minded people, whose final destination was not achieved simply through a change of residence, but developed into a special contemplative life stance. A position of self-organization and mutual assistance, emerging onto a new level with advancing technologies, and acquiring a new significance on the backdrop of the extinction of traditional state institutions. These are ideas of a new construction of social connections, where the awareness of the lives of surrounding people turns into an involvement in that life.
I want to combine these ideas with a new economic format within the artistic community as a closed club. A formation from the hypothetical future, where the artist creates for a circle of people physically surrounding him, communicates with them and addresses them from the position of co-authorship, collaboration, involvement.
I want to develop ideas that reveal creativity as the author’s communication with the world, and not as a commodity trade.
Economy is not only «market economy» and the «market», but a broader concept that needs clarification. Economics is a system of exchange of values, and the main value here is attention. Not goods-money-goods, but attention-attention-attention. On the one hand, attention to the life of the author, on the other hand, attention to the life of the community. Everything is simple – from now on there is no global scale of auction mega-profits in exchange for «mega-concepts» presumed to be universal. The era of globalization is over, it’s time to pay attention to the little things that make up life.
If artist and artwork are inseparable from each other, then the next step is the intertwining of the author and the viewer according to the same formula, and for the same reasons. In the absence of a market, the artwork will only evince the fact of non-verbal communication between person and person. Author and viewer are no longer divided into conditional roles, they are mobile in this plane, they are involved in the process equally. This is now not a monologue, but a dialogue. This is the economy of attention: to the author, inseparable from the work, to the work inseparable from the life of the author and co-authors, to the viewer and his questions which really arise in their everyday lives, and are not virtual or global.
The exhibition space becomes inseparable from the space of the artwork’s creation, and all this becomes a kind of museum of the author and his co-authors. A single location becomes closed to the extent that a house can be closed when you open the doors and wait for guests. Guests who come to become involved in what is happening and get involved in the process and the entire life cycle of the work, from its creation to death, destruction, disappearance. They come to take part in the dialogue by means of the work, to exchange important information, to hear something, to say something, to show something, to understand something – but on a different level, on the level of creating their own language, the level of creativity. They come to help others find their language and communicate with it.
Everyone knows where they’ve come, and everyone knows what is happening because they’ve been here before. Everyone knows each other, everyone is calm, relaxed and easy, because they have all met before. Everyone brings something of their own, something they want to share with others: stories, experiences, their movement, their gestures, their statements. Our goal is communication, real not virtual, and at different levels – video, music, dance, performance, theatre, picture, gesture, costume, make-up, poetry, image … everything. It will be on all the different levels, on which it is possible to co-create with the people who surround me. Even through science, sociology, culturology, chemistry, physics and engineering …
So, about the economy of attention. I will be attentive to your life as much, as the master of the house is attentive to his neighbours — because we are real neighbours, and no distances are now an obstacle, neither between cities nor between countries. We see everyone, and everyone sees us, this is our reality now. I will help you express being, feeling, thought, in the co-creation of serious things, as an artist who created and creates serious things, both in engineering and in semantic terms. We will create works together, in real time, live through them, destroy them together. We will share experience, knowledge, skills.
Together we will build a club, as a meeting place for people united by a common interest. Everything we love will be there: cultural and historical artefacts, fine arts; giant self-destructing installations of natural materials – leaves, fragrant grasses, trees, lianas, rushes, moss; nature; bonfires, revealing the theme of a new romance and new mysticism; rituals conducted to techno and new disco, shamanism to a hundred bpm; fabulae … We will continue this for as long as we want. It will not be for one evening, night, morning, day … it will be a constant process which you can join, any day and at any time.
I am ready to educate and guide people through the joint creation of culture, people who are attentive to me, to my life, and who surround me in reality, without the interference of any intermediaries offering to enter market relations with the world. I renounce glory and all trophies, fame, recognition, titles, merits, collections, career, cv, resume, hits, markets, sales, auctions, galleries, preservation, conservation, globality, irony, and even postmodernity. Yes, yes, and postmodernism too, because what we are going to do will be deeper and more serious. Consider this a new manifesto.
The club will be closed from accidental penetration, there will be no accidental people, but it will be completely transparent, like an artwork in an anti-glare glass cabinet. It will be transparent, however no longer in a public museum, but in the public web domain. Everyone connected within the club will be connected by communication outside also. I want the atmosphere of love and trust to be our launchpad, I want to reconcile and unite, to engage in the process of creation and co-creation.
You can only enter or immerse yourself in a work without boundaries and frames, only in a work that’s not preserved but alive, that has a beginning and an end can involve in dialogue, only … only hardcore, basically.
Well, and of course, descending from the sublime peaks of verse and concept, you might finally ask: «Wtf are you flogging?» … And so on: where’s the money in this, how much do you for this service, a day, or an hour, for example, give us a subscription, give us two, let’s see the price list, and the schedule, and the budget, and the plan, it’s not gonna work, that won’t do, you won’t find the money, you won’t manage, it’s not enough, it’s not motivating, fuck, you’re fucked …
And here attention will come to the rescue, attention in the banalest human sense. I am an ordinary person, the same as you – those who talk with me, know me, met me. My life might be no different from yours, maybe more or less modest. By modesty, I don’t mean the style and colour and shape of my, sneakers, t-shirts and pants for example, but their basic cost. You can imagine how I live, you don’t even really need to look so much at my life, as your own. I eat the same food as you do, and why not, burn the same fuel in my car, maybe even rent the same car, or have the same roof over my head, take my son to kindergarten and clubs, sometimes I get something done, sometimes I buy something, I’m not living in luxury, I drink and don’t indulge in drugs, we are absolutely equal people, and our cooperation is equal.
Each of you can imagine the money I need to live and each of you can always divide this imaginary figure by the number of connected participants, by the amount of time, or by any other factor, because everything will be transparent and published. And the perception of each other’s lives will always be individual, always without coercion or manipulation, always in goodwill. We can solve everything and discuss everything, always and in any format, we already have all the tools. Welcome – try yourself and your ideas in the economy of attention.
And, yes, I have been asked – whether there is any demand for this, that it would be wise to conduct a market analysis. What kind of analysis, bro, dammit? Is there a demand for creativity and involving yourself in creative processes, communicate in the language of creativity? In a world where there is less and less mechanical work and people are being squeezed out by «machines»? In a world where everyone is freed from «slave» labour and everything is replaced by robotics? In a world where creative thinking becomes a real value? Do we need to analyse this … Dunno man…