Fifteen artistic stories and initiatives that transform our representations of elsewhere, money and future
Following the exhibition ELDORADO MAXIMUM, Les commissaires anonymes extended their research into artistic representations and the formulation of fantasy projections of a better future.Thanks to the grant of the Christophe Merian Foundation/Atelier Mondial (Basel), they spent a long term residency in Brussels for the writing of this first self-published book : Eldorado Maximum, a new typology of contemporary eldorados.
Extracts of the prologue :
In 2014, Les commissaires anonymes move and set up house in Brussels. The Schengen borders are wide open ; we just need a truck and the motivation to make of this place what we will soon call ‘home’. We are far from being the first French immigrants in Belgium. During the last few years, a number of artists, as well as the independently wealthy, have made the choice to move ; for some they think that they will find in Brussels more liberty to create, and for others the move is with the wish to escape newly imposed taxes. Is the Belgium capital becoming a type of eldorado ?
These simultaneous migrations of two very different social groups, with the same destination, were a starting point for this task to redefine the myth of the golden future : What ideas of the beyond motivate these groups to leave what one has already ? What projections of the future lead such departures ? What attractions prompt people to want to change cities or even countries ?
Cecile Roche Boutin and myself have left France, Paris and Strasbourg respectively, for the practical reasons of escaping high rent and low paying jobs. But those weren’t our only reasons. If gold is the symbol of eldorado, we could make the hypothesis that it was never the one and only drive in the quest for a better future. Capitalism has appropriated from this legend as a founding portrayal of itself, preserving only the spectacular image of untold wealth, riches and easy pleasures. “Dubai, the new eldorado for collectors”, says a headline from Le Monde newspaper on March 23rd 2013, or “Nigeria, the new eldorado for Champagne” calls out the L’Union, the local paper for the Ardennes in May 2013. Having no personal capital to invest and grow ourselves, we are not able to identify with headlines such as these, which most ostensibly have been written to pique the interest of those with higher income. Since Les commissaires anonymes search a different type of wealth, the myth’s very definition separates us from our fellow fiscal neighbours in paradise. (...)
A beach riddled with coconuts trees, on the other side of a walled border, or an alternative model of society : what would we not do to get there ? The image of eldorado creates adrenaline ; she manifests herself within each individual who’s on the quest for change. Today our work as curators allows us to meet artists and other cultural players who possess such drive, and to thus enter into their stories and share with them in their adventures. The idealism, poetry and engagement of their initiatives doesn’t supply the type of gold necessary to solve the dysfunctions of the global economy, but the quest that drives them is an invitation to refresh our own worn down representations of that something better found elsewhere, from money and the future in favour of new models for living. (...)
The quest for eldorado is also a tragic story. The appeal of gold will have led many souls full of illusions for a better future to their final end. This quest represents an appetite for gain and the lure for property that motivates capitalism. But what matters to us today, is the intent of these abstract and immediate territories on which our desire for transformation is built. Eldorado must remain a precarious space, without the promises of security, frontier, or absolutes for real wealth. (...)
“We shouldn’t be afraid of austerity, but rather embrace it. Through austerity, we encounter resignation. But through austerity, we also meet each other.“ In the video The Beauty of Austerity 26,artists Guido Giglio and Hannes Bernard question the term of austerity, which has kept on conditioning western society into adopting a submissive and restrictive attitude. Respectively born in Brazil and South-Africa, these two artists warn us about the ambiguity of this western concept that mortifies bodies and souls to the benefit of capitalist economy. Their work proposes that we consider a creative and emancipating sobriety. So that the quest for a contemporary eldorado should remain a posture of resistance against disenchantment, an opposition tactic to fight moroseness,
so as to generate multiple desires to transform the world. (...)
With the artworks of :
Albertine Meunier, Alain della Negra & Kaori Kinoshita, Bureau d’études , Etienne Boulanger, le collectif Exyzt, Grégoire Motte, Guillaume Barth, Hannes Bernard & Guido Giglio, Hôtel Charleroi, Jean-Charles Massera, Joseph Popper, Léo Delafontaine, Le Parti Poétique, Ne pas plier, the collective Saint Machine.
Graphic design by the studio Ultragramme, printed on Rizo machines et handmade by the Atelier Papier Machine.
This book has been realized with the support of the Atelier Mondial of the Fondation Christophe Merian (Basel), the grant of alumni of the HEAR (Strasbourg) and the grant of Alsace Region.
To order the book, contact us by email to lescommissairesanonymes gmail.com (price 14€)