Loophole to happiness

A collective exhibition Loophole to Happiness makes loopholes appearing on the margins of social and economic systems as its point of departure. The loopholes provide an opportunity to extend the limits of personal freedom and bring the possibility of happiness and fulfilment closer. Capitalism has perfected the art of absorbing any criticism and thus using creativity and social dialogue for the purpose of generating profit; it has created new forms of exploitation and the never-ending pressure of productivity. The exhibition Loophole to Happiness examines the possibilities of creating exceptions to this rule, of finding escape routes and avoiding the smoothened surface of neo-liberal capitalism. These activities are shown from the perspective of the resistance strategy of the working class in Central and Eastern Europe in the times of socialism.

The title of the exhibition is taken from a cult book y a Hungarian dissident Miklos Haraszti titled A Worker in a Worker’s State. The book presents the ignoble working conditions and the acts of employees’ resistance that the author witnessed when working at the Red Star factory in Hungary in the early 1970z. Haraszti describes the illegitimate practice of creating objects for personal use by means of machinery, and materials available at the factory, The objects were the fruit of the workers’ creativity bringing relief to the dull days at work, challenging the exploitation of doing piecework. Social creativity released in the process of creating the objects can be contrasted with the Post-Fordist reality in which all activities related to creative thinking are sucked back into the vicious circle of economic profitability and emotional energy is translated into professional competition.

The exhibition presents the works that touch upon the theme of adjusting working environment and everyday life to the requirements of economic mobilisation of human passions; the works offer alternative models of life that release free time and allow it to be used creatively: for learning, travelling, enjoying it. Escape routes fro the rules governing contemporary social and economic order are discovered in the places and activities you least expect to find them such as a painting recollection of common celebrations in times of communism or reflection on the freedom of having fun in public places before there appeared a ubiquitous fear of the dangers of contemporary world. The pursuit of happiness and fulfilment is contrasted with mental pollution resulting from the excess of information and set against the background of activities aimed at resurrecting the non-capitalist forms of knowledge as well as at promoting the non-economic approach to inter-human relations.

Artist participating in the exhibition: Adam Chodzko, Petra Feriancova, Siniša Labrović, Ciprian Muresan, Csaba Nemes, Nada Prlja, Janek Simon, Péter Szabó and Katarina Šević
Curators: Maja and Reuben Fowkes

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