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Oliver Ressler - This is what democracy looks like! / Disobbedienti

Year: 2002, 54 mins
Code: IN-Oliver

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The video "Disobbedienti" thematizes the Disobbedienti's origins, political bases, and forms of direct action on the basis of conversations with seven members of the movement.

In the video, the Disobbedienti spokesperson Luca Casarini describes the Tute Bianche as a subjective experience and a small army, whereas Disobbedienti is a multitude and a movement.

The Disobbedienti emerged from the Tute Bianche during the demonstrations against the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001. The "Tute Bianche" were the white-clad Italian activists who used their bodies - protected by foam rubber, tires, helmets, gas masks, and homemade shields - in direct acts and demonstrations as weapons of civil disobedience.

The Tute Bianche first appeared in Italy in 1994 in the midst of a social setting in which the "mass labourer," who had played a central role in the 1970s in production and in labour struggles, was gradually replaced in the transition to precarious post-Fordist means of production. By forcing the closing of detention camps through specially developed acts of dismantling the Tute Bianche became involved in protests against precarious working conditions and the immigrants' struggle for freedom of movement. The Tute Bianche were part of the demonstration against the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and the IMF in Prague in 2000. They sent delegates to the Lakandon rainforest in Chiapas and accompanied the Zapatist Comandantes 3,000 kilometers to Mexico City.

At the G8 summit in Genoa the Tute Bianche decided to take off their trademark white overalls that had given them their name and instead blend in the multitude of 300,000 demonstration participants. The transition from the Tute Bianche to the Disobbedienti, the disobedients, also marked a development from "civil disobedience" to "social disobedience." The repressive actions and massacre by the police force in Genoa brought the practice of social disobedience in from the streets to the most diverse social realms.

Disobbedienti maintains the political form of the Tute Bianche and attempts to create a better legal justice for and from the people. The conversations with the Disobbedienti were carried out in Italian in Bologna and Genoa in July 2002.

Oliver Ressler, born in 1970, lives and works in Vienna. Ressler is an artist who carries out projects on various socio-political themes. Since 1994 he has been concerned with theme specific exhibitions, projects in public space and videos on issues such as racism, migration, genetic engineering, economics, forms of resistance and social alternatives. Recent solo-exhibitions and projects are Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies (Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana, 2003; Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg, 2004), European Corrections Corporation (container-installation in Wels, Graz and Munich, 2003/2004, with Martin Krenn) and Boom! (with David Thorne, since 2001).

Ressler has taken part in group exhibitions such as fly utopia!, Transmediale 04, Berlin; The Interventionists, MASS MoCA Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Emoção Art.ficial II, Itaucultural Institute, São Paulo; Banquete, Centre of Contemporary Art Palau de la Virreina of Barcelona; Conde Duque, Cultural Centre, Madrid; Attack!, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Empire/State: Artists Engaging Globalization, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Exchange & Transform, Kunstverein München, Munich; , Steirischer Herbst, Graz.
He has also taken part in many video festivals in Europe and North America. In 2002 his video This is what democracy looks like! won the 1. prize of the International Media Art Award of the ZKM.

In Oliver Ressler´s works art becomes a political position.
(Ursula Maria Probst)

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