Imagine Gordon Ramsay cooking his beef Wellington while explaining Foucault’s theory of power. Surely, the complex relationship between subjects and the nuances of modern discipline would end up being more attractive than a 400-page volume. More or less, is what I intended The Cristal ball: explore television as a magical medium for the knowledge and transformation of the world. In other words: take the reins of a mass media to speak critically about current affairs.
The same does the platform Dis.art. It was born in 2018 by the artistic collective Dis as a new video channel with the aim of informing, inspiring and mobilizing an entire generation (especially post-internet) about the critical problems we face on a daily basis. Three years later, the platform online it breaks down critical theory into attractive shorts on cooking shows and makeup tutorials that hide theses on the socio-political situation in contemporary Greece. A hybrid and mutant present now open to the Spanish-speaking world thanks to the collaboration of La Casa Encendida de Madrid, which broadcasts on its website every fortnight a selection of Dis.art’s original pieces, series and documentaries, all subtitled in Spanish. A collaboration that started long before, with the exhibition Thumbs that write and slide in 2018, based on the common interest in using popular media to empower critical thinking.
The experience is similar to diving on Netflix or YouTube. The four members of Dis, Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso and David Toro, stretch the satire on him life style Inspired by Mooc (massive open online course) and the idea of a hybrid platform for entertainment and education. The pandemic only results in the idea that they had already had for years: that the learning tools have changed. See the rise of podcast or the future that lies ahead with classes online.
They are not alone in this endeavor. There are many artists, theorists, filmmakers and writers who collaborate in this attempt to generate period documents of that imminent dystopian future. The architect Gustav Düsing and the essayist Carson Chan, for example, they are the ones chosen by La Casa Encendida to open this window of collaboration with Dis.art biweekly. His piece Notes on the fortnight Available from March 2, it is a five-minute video conceived as an architectural response to the current pandemic and its lasting effects on human life. An idea, that of fortnight, what these authors say is our common future. Quarantine as a new temporary paradigm from which to reorganize work, leisure, productivity and rest.
Still from ‘Notes on Quincenismo’, by Carson Chan and Gustav Düsing, which are broadcast by Dis.art and La Casa Encendida. On video, fragment of the piece.
From March 16 you can also see the series on the La Casa Encendida website Metamorphosis, bearing the organization’s signature The Institute of Queer Ecology. The series is made up of three episodes and a prelude that invite us to imagine alternative strategies to implement throughout the world “a transformation that replaces the extractive relationship with the land, dominant today, by another whose pillars are regeneration and careful”.
Dis has always placed his artistic practice one step ahead of the future, sometimes from the perfectly predictable and sometimes from pure fantasy. From there they launched the ninth edition of the Berlin Biennale, in 2016, under that desire to explore culture horizontally, as the internet does through hyperlinks. They are never wrong there. The collective knows how to position itself as few in those cracks offered by the means to get away from the usual market, and give another twist to the idea of channel, audience and intellectual theory. That is the future of television, they say. Understand complexity and know how to handle it to build narratives that make sense in this disjointed network of information and mobilization. Let’s see how that cooks.
Dis.art and La Casa Encendida. From March 2 to September 3.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.