The new edition of the Organ Vida International Festival is dedicated to feelings, a topic that we wish to approach by observing the various manifestations of feeling in contemporary society.
The time we live in is marked by increasing uncertainty and insecurity, and consequently by collective oscillations between affective extremes – despair and ecstasy, deep anxiety and frivolous euphoria, the need for control and meaning, or indulgence in chaos and acceptance of senselessness. Lack of control over one’s own life causes constant anxiety, confusion or absence – a condition that affect theorist Sianne Ngai calls affective disorientation – an ambiguous intensity that we perceive sensually and try in vain to specify, verbalize, situate in a familiar framework or relate to familiar experiences, to provide it with a structure. That is why we invent tools and/or discourses on organizing, such as gamification, self-branding, micromanagement, that enable us to manage the different spheres of everyday life: free time, rage, concentration, etc. For the same reasons we nostalgically idealize seemingly simpler, more authentic times, try out new forms of spirituality such as astrology and tarot, or we simply run into the metaverse. However, temporary pleasure or consolation immobilizes us, it prevents us from perceiving the limitations of our own perception, i.e., the impossibility of acting outside the given patterns of behavior. Frameworks give us the illusion of order and control. These are all, as theorist A.T. Kingsmith points out, only temporary solutions because anxiety is not a subjective issue or responsibility of an individual. If we are anxious, we are anxious collectively.
It is the subjective dimension of feeling that has long suppressed the legitimacy of feelings as an object worthy of analysis, but the affirmation of the affect theory in the academic context resulted at that time with an increased interest in the social aspects of feeling. The disintegration of a number of seemingly stable social structures that we have been witnessing lately has re-actualized this perspective and popularized, that is, caused the emergence of new affective perspectives in the artistic context as well. It is those perspectives that we would like to present at the 12th Organ Vida Festival.
We are interested in artistic projects that explore the ugly, non-cathartic feelings that dominate the present. Anxiety, paranoia, irritation, fatigue, apathy… feelings marked by dullness and duration, that bring neither satisfaction nor relief (cf. Ngai, 2007). Can apathetic dissatisfaction and frustration be transformed into a visual critique of reality?
We are also interested in works that map and reflect new feelings that arise as a result of being immersed in the metaverse. How do virtual patterns of behavior such as seeing, ghosting, stalking, liking, swiping and the like transform (interpersonal) relationships? How do they generate new, elusive spectra of feeling? What are these new feelings?
We also focus on works that contemplate feelings that arise in opposition to the anxious capitalist reality. Even if feelings of exhaustion, indifference, or disappointment are naturalized, it does not mean that they are natural or unalterable. We see the focus on affects and feelings as an incentive to create affective alternatives, explore and/or imagine different affective dimensions of dis/u/topias, imagination and fantasy.
We are interested in innovative photographic and video formats, but also artistic works from various fields of visual arts that start from the image, but at the same time relativize and/or expand it, step into space or cross into motion: spatial installations, performances, etc.
More info is available here.
- Bibliography: Ahmed, Sara. 2020. Kulturna politika emocija. Fraktura.
- Ngai, Sianne. 2007. Ugly Feelings. Harvard University Press.
- Kingsman, A.T. 2018. “We the Affectariat: Activism and Boredom In Anxious Capitalism”. In: Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging. No. 34. Web.