In 2017, the Romanian society seems to be deeply divided between the “enlightened and civilised” and “uneducated and not enough culturalized”, a division that is marking the deepening class division of transitional society, (for)ever waiting to achieve standards and merits of the “developed” societies. The somewhat Godot-ish position hampers the intensity and the agenda of productive social debate, blaming one or other societal group of being guilty for non-achievement. One can find this in the reflection of the divided situation in the cultural sphere, where it easily finds its logic and support.
Under different political, cultural and other discursive practices and influences, the middle class appears on the political and cultural scene of modern Europe in the role of an instigator, later a guardian of the order and progress and especially in the role of a protector and interpreter of related societal norms and values. But who is, or better to ask - what is the middle class of today? In an European country, in Europe in general, in a third-world country, or globally?
The tranzit. ro/ Iasi project “The Glitter(y) and Misery of Middle Classes” offers multiple perspectives and insights into the histories and actualities of middle classes and different related problematic. The political, cultural, economic and ideological capacities and characteristics of middle classes will be creatively focused, researched, analysed and challenged through different artistic and theoretical formats.
The planned inquiries, seminars, workshops and debates will revolve around the issues targeted by artists, activists and theoreticians in several European countries. The project’s organization and production will offer many opportunities for creative and emancipatory co-work and participation to different specialists and audiences. The activities by several international and Romanian authors have a prehistory of realization in both different and similar societal contexts and their realization in Iasi should bring the accumulated experience and co-generated new knowledge to some new levels.
The project will be opened by the reading group led by Belgrade based artist, activist and theoretician, Noa Treister: Reflection on the Question of the Middle Class. The group will follow the creation, constitution and consolidation of the middle class, its capacities and the contradiction it carries within it through its development in the 19th and 20th century in the liberal-capitalist and socialist ideological and governance systems. The group will read and analyse 4 texts by notable theoreticians from different European contexts and different theoretical traditions.
Noa Treister is an artist, curator and activist whose work is dedicated to articulation of various possibilities of economic and political relations and scission in society. She finished the Bezalel Art and Design Academy in Jerusalem, Israel and currently is taking Postgraduate studies at the Division of Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought of the European Graduate School. Since 2011 she is a founding member of the Ignorant Schoolmaster and its committees – a platform for self-education. In that framework she is the author and leading member of the project Naming IT War – cooperation of war participants and anti-war activist of the 90s War in Yugoslavia and Testimony – Truth or politics as well as a member of the project The assembly of Workers Society – joint articulation and legal help of workers’ groups fighting against privatization and for workers’ rights.
Co-curators of the project are Nebojša Milikić, Livia Pancu and Florin Bobu.
The illustration is derived from the family scene in the movie Roy Andersson's film Du levande (You, the Living, 2007).
Cultural project co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund.
This project does not necessarily represent the position of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how project results can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.