Inteview of VOID NETWORK to J.R.A. (Jovenes en Resistencia Alternativa Youth for Alternative Resistance / Mexico City) for the «Seminario about «Other» Communication Tools» // Octomber 2008
When, Why and How Void Network created?
“Void Network first appeared in 1990 in Athens with aim the radicalization of every day life and the construction of situations in Public Space through the creation of Temporary Utopian Public Environments. Believing that there is no possibility for the society to change as long the people remain the same we work as a re-programming mechanism trying through our active influence to fight against apathy and enforce all kinds of young mutants (freaks, hippy ravers, hip-hopers, hardcore punks, manic depressives, melancholic’s, Goths, amateur intellectuals and artists e.t.c.) to sustain their difference, to attain visibility in the public space and to act like conscious political social beings by participating with their own autonomous and independent ways to the social struggles of our times. Our work is mainly the positive influence for the arising of personal critical mind and the transformation of the old boring left politics into enthusiastic collective urban spaces of resistance
Void Network started in 1990 as a company of 15 (or more) close friends that, through every day meetings in all kinds of urban spaces, they felt the need to manifest the enthusiasm of their co-existence in the public space…Some they had rock or experimental electronic bands, some they were painters, poets, photographers, amateur magicians, crazy urban mythologists, networkers, techno-visionaries, astro-physicians, anthropologists, urban poleodomists, architectures, d.j.s, visual artists or just all of them crazy motherfuckers in need to destroy any kind of modern authority for the benefit of eternal Love and Chaos…All those together we call them cultural activists, multi-expressional artists, space travelers, ecstatic beings…It was love and the fact of the understanding of interdependence of our individual separate knowledge, sciences, feelings, political ideas and activities that kept us together…Year after year we realized that each one of us was incomplete without the wisdom, the love and the action of all the others…Interdependence is the key word…We felt that by the participation in this urban, collective, self-invented and self-organized identity we could achieve and manifest moments of real life that we could never ever leaved alone… We realized that to be a lonely individual trapped in your own interests is a normality in our times but in all past cultures it was a form of social punishment…The English word «idiot» (stupid) comes from a Greek word «idiotis» that is this one that doesn’t participate in the common political and social life, this one that doesn’t have and don’t express in public his/her opinion, this one that has only private (ïdiotika-stupid) interests…From that early moment we started to look this world and the bourgeois individuals completely different
After 2000 Void Network transformed into an international collective with active psychonauts in England, Germany, Brasil and U.S.A. This happened through international travelling for Void Network situations that end up in great friendship and creative collaboration with some new, wonderful, creative friends and collectives from all the places that we ever being as a collective (this process is always open) .
How you organize and how you communicate in each country and internationally with the different sections of your collective?
Void Network is not an organization, a formal typical organization. Void Network is a company of friends meet informally almost every day, that means that we don’t have a specific day of assembly. Generally speaking, from the first years until know we expressed a psychological effort to separate our forms of organizing from the classical boring ways of left organizing…Anyway we meet cause we want to and not cause we have to…, whoever doesn’t want to participate in an action he doesn’t, there is not existing any feeling of obligation for any specific goal that has to be achieved or that is higher than the personal feeling, the personal feeling is in high respect, and the collective needs are not most important than the personal needs …In this way we are completely different from any kind of left organization that through paternalism and psychological control manipulate the feelings, the relations and the personal needs for the benefit of an ideological common goal (that suppose to be more important). In Void Network there is not any collective goal higher from the efforts to achieve the best possible feeling of co-existence and love…From the practical way, Love can save us all…As long as you feel trust, love, mutual aid and mutual power with your best friends then you can do everything, even things you could never imagine… For some period, (about every three or four months) we make some assemblies that we call them Void Cycle….in a different friend’s house every time or in some public park in the summertime to talk about our general feeling, to rearrange commitment and to focus on the strategies and future coming situations. Of course, in the centre of Athens before 4 years we created with other collectives the social centre Nosotros, where we meet also in an informal way each other and we discuss about the events that we want to do, as also we participate in the open assembly of the social center and trying to bring in contact with the functioning of the social center as many interesting and creative people of our city is possible. The important thing is that we don’t have some specific person to do some specific work, all of us we do all the work, and that day by day we meet and every night we expand our visions and hopes and dreams about Void Network, any kind of debate, criticism or analysis turns into public action, any kind of personal idea becomes collective dream, any kind of individual inspiration becomes collective ecstasy.
In the same way has to do with the international cells…We try to invite the people from other countries to come and stay in our houses for some months and we try to travel also to meet them…is the best way of communication, as also of creativity, cause mainly we try also to meet «on the stage», this means to meet on the process of creating all together a situation, an event, a public show, any kind of public appearance…Of course also we use internet, emails and the Void Network blog as to follow and be informed all by each cell about the absolute independent actions of any other existing cell is undertaking.
We have an email address that is same in all countries and that all friends have passwords and access so they can be informed (if they want) about all messages that we receive and send and according to each person’s interests to focus, to start further talking, to express opinion, to invent ideas, to participate…
What tools you use for communication inside Void Network and with other people?
Another very important element in our action in Greece is the existence of the area and square Exarchia in the center of Athens as an undergound meeting point of the anarchists and radical leftists, the punks, the freaks, the metals e.t.c., an area with many social centers (among them Nosotros ), publishers, typographers, clubs and bars…In this square coming people from all around Athens and is the center of information for all movement…This means that we stick our posters and spreading our thousands of flyers and pamphlets face to face to the comrades, the friends and the interesting faces that comes to the area of Exarchia, and as it is in the center of the city, and people coming there from all the different city sections, the message is spreading through rumors in all city. In a different way existing another entertaining area in Athens, named Psiris, where all kinds of commercial clubs and bars existing there and all kinds of thousands of people going there especially in weekends…We go there also to spread our flyers choosing face to face the people that we find interesting and we want to meet and invite in our situations…This means that we don’t feel any interest to communicate with any other people except the thousands and thousands of the people that we find interesting and interested. For this reason sometime we can stay in a central street spreading 2000 flyers in 3 hours and you will not find after even one of them thrown down to the street .We try our flyers to be in the same moment announcements of high quality super interesting events in high quality design and printing and in the back side always to exist small manifestos and provocative philosophical-political paragraphs that arises questions, thinking, dialogue and debate…In this way we don’t waist all the efforts of spreading this 15000 or more flyers every time in the city just as an announcement of our event but also as a face to face provocation for critical mind and creative debate…Parts of our experience and methods from our work in Athens are infiltrating our work and putted in practice also in all other cities in the world that we work …
What kind of educative tools or workshops you use ?
The main project of Global Earth Academy is to bring physically together creative people wishing to engage with many different issues, help each other be better prepared to form and enforce their dreams, provide a close network of friends for future collaborations and support.
Our plan is whilst exploring our planet Earth stay in a series of natural and urban locations, meet up with like minded positive revolutionary people from all over the world, spending anything between a few days or a few months teaching each other, learning through experiential collaborative projects, exchanging information and inspiration, creating, sharing, growing and built up together great free open public festivals as a conclusion of this meetings.
Our day programe is simple : Every individual, being both student and teacher, aiming to posses the collective knowledge of the whole group. Sharing and exchange of practical information, technologies, artworks and skills in the mornings, putting it in creative collaborative practice in the afternoons and spending celebrative free time in the evenings. At the end of each Global Earth Academy residency the results of all the cross platform collaborative projects will be presented in the form of interactive artistic shows allowing for the open public social interaction with the local community and the wider world.
Skills to exchange and put in practice: media, photography, music, painting, drawing, sculpture, performance, graphics, fashion, design, theatre, dance, poetry, political philosophy, anthropology, spiritual cultivation, confidence, determination, science, electronics, software, sustainable living, culture jamming, moneyless urban survival, squatting, wilderness survival, zen aikido, reiki, meditation, nutrition, health, communication, philosophy,utopian non-profit economics, underground anti-business, piratic managing, traveling, collaboration, Kosmo-Political Consciousness, happiness, empathy, wisdom…
The educative tools that we use is the speech , the discussions and explanations about what we do and the willing to share our experience and our work .The educative tools are not some machines or computers .They are the living discussions between activists and friends. Also is the meeting with new upcoming artists, groups, djs, visual artists or theoreticians and the invitation to take part in our events as so to give them the opportunity to express their message and their art to thousands of people, a process that offers to them strong enforcement to continue working in the underground scene and become better and better.
Thinking theoretically about the communication tools and visions about the Öther Communication
For us as Oscar Wilde was saying about the moralists, the do-good people, the obeying masses of the virtues poor workers, the tabloid newspapers readers and conformists searching just for a comfortable private life : «they have made private terms and contracts with the enemy and sold their birthright for very bad prize». We know that existing many rationalized parts and functions of the normal life that in reality there are paranoid mechanisms of totalitarianism and fascism but all of them they can be explained by the normal citizens as rational and with no real reason to fight against them. The concept of normality, as this of a common sense that leads to apathy, is highly suspicious to us, as to all libertarian and anarchist tradition, and we could accept the advice of Michel Foucault that «maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are»…What we are, Foucault is saying, «can mean being conformist and submissive, accepting the social and political identities that we happen to inherit historically as if they were natural and unchangeable»…In the other hand we believe that there are existing millions and millions of people out there on the planet Earth ready to participate in the social struggle for liberation and equality…and these are our friends, our people, our comrades…Our arts, our talks, our actions, our gatherings are dedicated and directed to them…This is not an art show, this is not politics, this not propganda…This is our Life…When we fight, we fight for our lives…We create Utopian Atmospheres, Liberated Public Zones, Temporary Autonomous Zones, squats and social centers as welcoming areas for all the people they are dedicated to escape from the common sense, for the anti-conformist people they decided to jump in the unknown lands of negation, autonomy, self-organization and critical consciousness…There are millions of people in all those years that they took a trip, or they refused their work, or they took a van, a train for a far away land, they left to the mountains, escaped to the secret city areas, to underground clubs and dirty rooms of squats around the world…They disconnected…they left, gone away…We would like, after our disconnection to have places to meet again, a position to stand, visionary directions to follow and travel all together…Many that gone, lost themselves…and never reach any point, never arrive…Our strategy is therefore the following: to immediate establish a series of locations and conditions of focus for all kinds of desertions, secession poles, meeting points. For the runaways, this ones that escaped, for those who left away, a welcoming set of places to take shelter from the control of a civilization that is headed to the abyss…When we fight, we fight for our friends, the people we love, for all the people they revolt, and with the power of their revolt, they escaped…
The «Other» communication is a communication in depth, a live communication not a skeleton one, a communication face to face and not only through a computer screen.
There is the local communication with the groups and with the collectives in our city, in our country and there is the global communication with groups, collectives outside of our country, in u.s.a , in europe , in balkans , in asia…
The global communication needs of course the use of the internet but what kind of global communication? May be we know each other but we don’t do anything together .The point is that we should organize and make things , events , lectures, parties, marches together as a real international movement ……To find the collectives that we feel that we care each other, that we like each other and co-ordinate international events together, in all over the planet…by sharing common programmes, lectures, documentaries, visual shows, recorded music, organizing the same event in different places of the planet in the same day, sharing power and resources…Because the problem is not that we cannot find each other but that we cannot meet each other…And the best way to meet is «on the stage», in the streets, in the social centers, in a collective created situation, in a global day of fight, in the spherical space of the global co-organized and in-tuned struggles
The Void Network has started in 2003 and will continue in the future the TOTAL FREEDOM Global Tour as invitation and tool of collaboration of the international cells and groups of Void Network with local activists, collectives and artists of many different areas of this planet…We find this a wonderful way of meeting with other people not as invited artists in a far away land but as co-creators of multi-element festivals in far away lands…We believe that activist nomadic life has a lot to offer as a personal experience and as a double sided sharing of inspiration also for the travelers and also for the people that offers hospitality to them…We would like in any moment , to be ready to undertake the goal of offering hospitality, solidarity and sharing of skills and material resources to as much revolted people are possibly in need of them …
Through your work and your experience what was the problems and limitations that you faced? Which was the things that worked and which not? Which are the limits of your actions, the challenges and the problems that you face?