Where lie the Associates?

Kelly Fliedner


Friends, we gather here, a group to serve the people: a union of workers, artists, students, writers, designers and socialists. From limitless states we arrive, awkwardly foregathering across space and time, arriving under banners of jarring colour.

We are the peoples’ rally against a government that insists upon the present, a government of poverty and oppression. We demand freedom for our jailed bygone comrades. You have found yourself attracted to this historical place, just as we once returned to history—another rupture. You have fallen into this familiar trap, writhing in convoluted directions of pink, purple, or black concertinaed shapes. We struggle to find our way out together.

We in the past, like you in the contemporary, use history as our scrap yard: we rifle through, harvesting something interesting here or there to cultivate our practice. We inscribed our aesthetic application in regards to time. Here we lie, associates, making associations, floating between then and now, each other’s past and future—let us make the associations together.


Allies from the north, south, east, and west: inspired in our loathing of the capitalists who wilfully destroy the welfare state—pull yourselves up, rise to this everlasting occasion. Look here at our postmodern drawings, at how these posters reflect and distort. They reject the capitalists’ unreserved admiration of the new, the present. They imitate their subject: indigenous asymmetric orange shapes, gleefully floating between continuity and rupture.

Our patterns are a celebration of the past, creating a new retro-fetishism of the future—the then celebration of a future that was pitted against its past, now hanging in the air like a flaccid frozen moment. Has what was once continuous now been muted? Or what was once radical, withered? And is it nostalgia for a projected future?


Earlier in Rome, as in London, Moscow, Beijing, Buenos Aires: an alleged killer goes to trial seeking redemption, begging for mercy from his overlord. The pro-fascist media look on with disdain. I know these industrialist men all too well. My father was one of them, and he named me after the capitalists’ sporting spectacle. Once hostile to it, I now embrace my moniker as a symbol of my enlightenment.

This is the past, but like my comrades, I am not only interested in the past and the disavowal of the present. I strive to envision the future. Here I present to you this teapot: see its unrestrained optical columns. Drink from it blue patterns, and care. Smoke next to this ashtray.

Keep moving through these moments to avoid confusion and deep disappointment in the social forces of our present. Do not stop, or you will suffer the wrath of stagnancy. Continuously move backward and forward or perish into obscurity.


The neoliberal media organisations are, as always, afraid of the student and artistic movements, with our revolutionary potential, and our support from the masses. Together we form a united invincible front.

The same media, with their utopic obsession with the present: their lies, their myths—we gleefully throw their pop-up container villages in their faces. It is their obsession with the emergent and new that we also disregard.
For them, the emergent is the most important. After it’s moment of newness; after it has been graced with the presence of a new audience and grasped the joy of insight; its short moment is over for someone else to seize. Workers and students join in this fight against the immediate!


The exhibition and the artwork is the event, but what remains of the event or performance? The emptiness and void between the moment of emergence and the moment of inscription. Here documented, we are an archive of the associates manifold. This archive of commentary, organised around the void.

We fill the void with animal print and houndstooth bordered with yellow and mint, for fear it will be enveloped by the deans and policemen. The blind instruments of the capitalist repression, they will not be able to stifle the right artistic revolt. No one will dare mess with this violent crimson red. Unite in this fight today!


Here is an art of montage, like layers of history compiled upon each other, harlequin we come forward, unrestrained, joyous and mad. Colours, patterns and text unite, aristocratically integrated into this historical fabric. Picking and choosing what we like.

Anticipating our audiences’ duel role in remembrance and anticipation. But none of us remember, memory, immemory, impossible memory. These perfect images. Time has been pirated. Connections between stillness and movement. Collective memories pulled together. Reiterated to death.

Giving us memories that are not our own. Let us be obscure! Let us get stuck inside this mobile with the Memphis blues again. The conservative bureaucrats in parliament only ensure peace for the bourgeois. Our anarchist immodesty. The workers, students and artists in the factories support the class struggle. A struggle between exotic and historical designs. They unite us.


Have you enjoyed your time with these bold blue shapes? They float upon white posters dressed with black text dripping in blood. They form the material for you, the militants, to discuss in preparation for your own return. Is this kitsch enough? This is playful. With a sense of mischief, we prevail.

All that we thought we could do—images projected onto the future. Forgotten images, applying ourself to detail, translating the other, magnifying the small. Tiny thoughts that reside now, and in the past, into the future. Memory, history, gigantic archive, all in one site together, catalogued confusion: a radical way to organise our thoughts and build a parallel universe.


Here lie the associates, within this continuous struggle. Pitting ourselves against the archive, we sit and squirm in our imaginary museums within turtle shells. Here at this regionless conference, we consume ourselves with this monster—history—that has no beginning and no end. Our concepts of time and linearity perforate and transform.

Look here at this preparatory document, the rupture in chronology it represents. We rehearse these aesthetic techniques over and over again. We toy with distance, interject ourselves into circles of time in which we don’t belong. Let’s take the city today! Let’s seize history within our fists, intensify this fight. We are the program of mass struggle, quickly dissolving into one another. Within this collective, we disperse ourselves.

Here lie the associates, the workers, the artists, the students, the writers, the designers, the socialists, on this grid in relationship to each other, these written words, these images, these designs, one continuous moment.

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Kelly Fliedner is an editor of West Space Journal.