The Splinter of Distrust

Wolf-Günter Thiel

Kristian von Hornsleth opposes the strategy of positivism and introduces the splinter of distrust and evil as a strategy and communication tool
The life in contemporary societies is following a general idea of positivism. Everything is solved by the free markets, as we are told by the neo-liberal strategists. At the same time while global economy is prospering, the empowered people in the underdeveloped countries lose more and more of their democratic options as they are guaranteed by the Charta of human rights.
Even in the European societies we gain a growing number of people who are losing touch with the prosperous economies of society. This development is covered by a matrix of positivism as it is projected through media and political statements of politicians in charge.
Kristian von Hornsleth opposes this strategy of positivism and introduces the splinter of distrust and evil as a strategy and communication tool. As we have seen it in the "Uganda Village Project". This is a possible way to start a new discussion and change the general opinion in and through the media. The aspect of distrust and evil opens the eyes of people and let them start to discuss the topic.
The German Philosopher Theodor Adorno saw the culture and media industry as an arena in which critical tendencies or potentialities were eliminated. He argued that these industries, which produce and circulate cultural commodities through the mass media, manipulated the population. Popular culture is identified as a reason why people become passive; the easy pleasures available through consumption of popular culture made people docile and content.
Von Hornsleth subverts these industries with the splinter of distrust and the evil factor and shows the ugly face behind the happy face of positivism. What Adorno described for the culture industry in general is visible in all parts of societies in Europe today. Marketing and Public Relations through Media have substituted content and critical thinking, especially in the art world. Talking about art means talking about the global art system and not about the ideas or critical potential which is represented. This leads to "pseudo-individualization and the always-the-same."(Adorno).
Hornsleth attacks these bourgeois consumers of bohemian life style from the beginning on "Fuck you art lovers" has been his answer ever since. Culture industries cultivate false needs; that is, needs created and satisfied by easy opportunism. True needs, in contrast, are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness which are not expressed in the contemporary art. To wake these people up he promoted the aggressive answer and attacked them as well as the markets, by his own way of marketing and public relation.
The attack of the general positivism which is common in the global world of art and culture is an evident proof of what Adorno prophesised. Adorno's "negative dialectics" was an attempt to articulate a non-dominating thought that would recognize its limitations and accept the non-identity and reality of that which could not be subsumed under the subject's concepts.
Jean Baudrillard speaks in "Le système des objects" of the true splinter of the real cross which everyone likes to call his own at his home. The real splinter of distrust or evil cuts an edge into the matrix of positivism. The evil, scary slot of uneasiness which exactly produces the awareness to discover the artworks of the kind Adorno suggests.
Herbert Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance", in which he claimed capitalist democracies can have totalitarian aspects argues that genuine tolerance does not tolerate support for repression, since doing so ensures that marginalized voices will remain unheard. He characterizes tolerance of repressive speech as "inauthentic."
Von Hornsleths answer is authentic and artistic, in showing exactly what has been hided in the arts: aspect of hardcore pornography, brutality and total poverty. Instead, von Hornsleth promotes a discriminatory form of tolerance that does not allow so-called "repressive" intolerance to be hided. He opens it to the public.

Wolf-Günter Thiel, Art Historian, Berlin 2007