OS POSITIVOS

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Pop-Art com H

Uma crítica recente ao Eric Hobsbawm que lemos entre jacobinos termina num agridoce de confirmar o impacto da sua obra diminuindo a importância do seu livro mais bem-sucedido, “A Era dos Extremos” 1994 (orig.) Conseguiu-nos o mesmo que gostamos de imaginar provocar-vos quando vos apresentamos um qualquer livro pelas suas falhas: a vontade de o ler. Eternamente adiado, no more! Trinta euros depois (*)E a capa mais feiota que lhe conhecemos - lookin' at you, 7ª edição da Editorial Presença 2017/2018 e um calhamaço à revisão do século XX a ocupar-nos nas próximas semanas, na primeira página tropeçamos imediatamente com overlaps recentes aos cómicos :) A esses, senhores!


I


O nosso trajecto é longo e tortuoso, mas tentaremos expor-vos as ligações em alguns traços largos, começando pela crítica que despoletou a curiosidade:

With the publication of Age of Extremes, Hobsbawm was writing as a passionate advocate of humanity, but one increasingly unable to articulate capitalism’s trajectory or explain socialism’s demise. [...] This undoubtedly provided a mass readership with a comfort zone in which the demanding analytic rigor of Marxism receded. Hobsbawm’s evolution as a writer and his later publications tended to substitute a one-sided depiction of historical process as degeneration that appealed to progressive indignation, but they sidestepped the more difficult multidimensional, historical materialist responsibility to address capitalism and the structural inevitability of crisis as the raison d’être of socialism’s necessity.
in "Eric Hobsbawm’s Century" 8 jul 2020

Ie, um relato despegado da carga ideológica que se esperaria de um autor com as filiações partidárias e sensibilidade política que se lhe conhece. E sobretudo, como o próprio admite, um relato diferente dos seus anteriores porque trata duma era correspondente ao seu "presente” vivido e não de uma era longínqua apenas acessível por fontes indirectas ou registos de terceiros.

"ou seja, acumulei opiniões"

Neste ponto as nossas duas notas a despoletar comparações adiante: a distinção entre a história do passado e contemporânea, e a distinção de métodos a cada. Do EH sabemos-lhe o suficiente para reconhecer que o nosso conhecimento é-lhe superficial, mas socorremo-nos do mesmo jacobino para uma base de trabalho:

Hobsbawm’s method was to survey class experience from the vantage point of what printed material could be assembled out of a metropolitan library system, focusing not so much on new and fresh discoveries of obscure peoples and happenings as building a broad overview that targeted a problem, addressing it in ways culminating in historical reinterpretation.
in "Eric Hobsbawm’s Century" 8 jul 2020

E assim terá investigado os anteriores volumes das suas eras et. al., chegado a este volume a sua própria vivência dos anos tratados exige os disclaimers da introdução acima. We good? Good. Ponte/pontos aos cómicos na mesma propensão à reinterpretação histórica que apontaram ao “Hobsbawm’s vociferous appetite for consuming available writings and his methodological penchant for generalization” - que, como nós, procura os porquês:

Interpretive problem-solving was the raison d’être of historical writing.
in "Eric Hobsbawm’s Century" 8 jul 2020

Small print: conclusões d"A Era dos Extremos" quando o concluirmos, irrelevante para hoje, next:


II

Even the dead are not safe from the enemy if he is victorious

Aterrados no "political meaning of history" pelo reforço da interpretação de eventos "subject to legitimate disputation and reconsideration" contra o estrebuchar daqueles que preferem as sebentas usadas do estado novo.

History tends to take the form of a single calcified meaning, generally in the equestrian vein. The victors of the long durée, those who preserve “the past” as a means of securing the power structures of the present, benefit from a resolvedly static approach to history nearly as much as they benefit from the particular history they have decided to memorialize. [...] Careful and thorough historiographical analysis, to explain how and why certain narratives become useful to whom, is one way to fight this tendency. Kinetic historiography, or just pulling the damn things down yourselves, is another. A third way is to contest the affective structure of history writing and offer less settled, arguably more humanistic, alternatives. It is this third option that is perhaps best suited to popular art.
in "The Years Start Coming and They Don’t Stop Coming: Witnessing as Practice in Warren Craghead’s 'Live Drawing' Oeuvre 29 jun 2020

Pop-art no apoio à rescrita da História com H grande. Vinte-vinte chegou com uma mão cheia de desgraças, mas traz no bolso alguns pequenos bombons. Dessembrulhado este, aquilo do cómico, com atitude, do contra:

This is not to say that such representations cannot make arguments; indeed, they necessarily must, since to represent history is to opine on it [and] change the focus from the established or desired meaning of a historical event, determined retroactively, to the moment that meaning was far from settled.
in "The Years Start Coming and They Don’t Stop Coming: Witnessing as Practice in Warren Craghead’s 'Live Drawing' Oeuvre 29 jun 2020

...com os propósitos de sempre que nos/vos motivam:

The somewhat conventionally fixed meaning of a historical event is pushed out of alignment with conventional historical narratives and back into the temporal experience of a tragedy unfolding, as it was when it was preventable or changeable.

Extremamos do novo (*) Solrad: em menos de um ano já passaram à frente do TCJ em referências. lugar do costume a propósito duma longa exposição que arregimentamos aos hábitos que nos são familiares: molhar de leve o dedinho do pé no zeitgeist, e com as duas mãos tentamos arrancar-lhe das entranhas sentidos maiores. Outro artista, este também com obra no século dos extremos com um WWI e um genocídeo arménio em arquivo, ocupado agora com outro atentado à humanidade em "TrumpTrump", "exercises in visualizing world memory which reintroduce experiences of temporality and sequentiality to history". Liga-os o experienciar a história, mais extremada no segundo exemplo. Onde o Eric acredita o NYT ou o The Guardian e entrevistas àqueles "directly involved with the bandits, mafias, millenarians, anarchists, fasci, mobs", o Warren trabalha fontes análogas e outras mais imediatas: Facebook e Twitter.

Craghead is working in real time, generally drawing events from the day’s news cycle. Thus a more traditional act of witnessing, as Craghead makes his selections from events he is seeing through the press or Twitter, rather than trying to blow the dust of history off historical documents. Craghead’s choice to work temporally and sequentially [ie, to to engage in witnessing as an experience of duration, rather than documenting and retelling incidents] contribute to our felt understanding of these events in their ongoingness, rather than their retroactive meaning as events.

Poderíamos terminar aqui e pedir-vos que percorram agora os caminhos que vos faltam, mas... um terceiro ponto a fazer.


III

Questions probably need to be answered about the work of "witnessing" in the era of up-to-the-minute reporting.

Ora, se a testemunha assombra:

Because much of his text in his historical witnessing projects is found testimony, I find this creates a sense of haunting, or of a blurred, ghostly, ambiguity as to what constitutes a presence on the page and what constitutes a representation.
in "The Years Start Coming and They Don’t Stop Coming: Witnessing as Practice in Warren Craghead’s 'Live Drawing' Oeuvre 29 jun 2020

Obviamente, testemunhar a testemunha assombra.

Witnessing in itself doesn’t constitute a politics, as much as we might wish it to do so. Explanations like ‘raising awareness’ fall short. Instead, Craghead shows us his looking at horror, his project of carrying the weight of engaging, every day, with historical memory and present catastrophe, and the work challenges us to find our own way to carry the same weight, and, more urgently, to contest that the past or present are closed books, beyond intervention.
in "The Years Start Coming and They Don’t Stop Coming: Witnessing as Practice in Warren Craghead’s 'Live Drawing' Oeuvre 29 jun 2020

dark modern