“It sounds like you need to write a manifesto,” and with that lunch was over.

The good thing about working with anarchists is that the conversations can remain agreeable, at least until the inevitable time when someone—usually me—shakes their head while bemoaning the State Of Everything. Then: somebody vents, everybody nods, anxiety increases, despair looms.

last year: Medika, Metalkova. This year: Christiania and now a small anarchist-principled art residency in the north of Denmark. I look at all this in wonder, knowing full well the general impossibility for a presence like this in America

part of it is that Anarchy as a commodity is valuable in the USA twice over: those who don’t understand it have an easy, pop-culture reference of teenagers with pink hair to disavow it with, and those who would seek to control everyone else can simply use the power of the status quo to initiate fear using class and material wealth as mechanisms of division.

the rest is just ownership. capitalism thrives on inequality and division, and the principles of, say, a legally gray co-living space are roughly the opposite.

still, it’s nice to spend time in these places. making art is difficult in an age when every action is meant to be a sales pitch for every creation one is involved with. Richter did Capitalist Realism, I’m busy working on my manifesto for Anticapitalist Expressionism

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

The first thing I notice is how everyone is smiling. Like, everyone. This place would be a cartoon if it was in America. There’s not a lick of insincerity. And this is leaving the fucking airport, where I thought it was a rule that basically everyone is miserable, always, everywhere.

This part of the world is often used, in one form or another, as a political talking point in America about places that “get X,Y or Z” done right. The clean streets, effective and modern transportation infrastructure, seemingly robust economy, not needing to worry about health care or police shootings (or, really, shootings much at all).1

Copenhagen felt like Amsterdam without all the vice tourism, which is nice because it uncrowded the streets a bit. Even at Christiania, with its turned-eye hash market, everything was relaxed. Energetic and wonderful, but no drunks on parade the way one might find around various downtown areas back in Holland.

I think the only depressing thing about travel is with each new city and culture I experience, it piles on more evidence as to exactly how much America has got wrong. How much we’ve veered off-course as a country, as an idea. How bad things are and how much it would take to get remotely back on track, toward an idea of a place where people would actually smile at one another leaving the airport.

  • Of course these are mostly leftist talking points; the right would probably like the fact most of the people are white, but nationalism is for suckers.