In this respect, I think that art professionals in the neighboring countries should respond to the call implicitly put forward by the organizers of the biennial and redirect projects, funding and human support towards the next edition. OFF theorized and enacted the commons, but within the isolated Hungarian culture. The fact that they could not predict the full range of criticism and impact shows that their premises were correct: atomization is the wrong position against neoliberalism, one needs to be part of a collective mission in order to receive a voice. Moving from the local to the regional level, we can say that a regional cooperation in view of the third OFF-Biennial would turn the discrete voices into clear messages, would boost the organizers’ morale and have impact on the regional players as well. During my first trip to South-East Asia this year, I understood one important thing: a region, even though a (colonial) construct, is a powerful configuration on the global scale. Eastern Europe is not a construct to be built, it has been here for a long time already, whether we like it or not. Instead of debating its relative borders, we should start to use it in our own manner and to our own good. A transnational cooperation in the case of the third OFF-Biennial would be an interesting and perhaps important test, a move away from our self-colonialism and an attempt to build relevant tools for structuring our world.
Further down the line, this move would perhaps make OFF aware that the questions that they are asking are not art questions per se – they are precisely the questions of the entire society. Thus, OFF artists, curators & organizations should look for allies less in privileged owners and funders, who might facilitate material displays but with whom the political & symbolic cooperation does not undo the current impasses, and more in the other groups who are suffering from the dominance of the privileged of all kinds, state or private. Fascism makes us forget who are the ones that suffer and segregates communities who do not share the same vocabulary anymore to express their pain, turns them against each other so the real oppressor is obscured. The art world is one of these splinters from the community, an entity separated from the others and expressing its anger at the government and those who brought it into power, thus forgetting its role as one of the layers within the community charged with creating an imaginary of resistance.
I would like to thank everyone who took the time to debate the arguments in this essay with me: Gergely Nagy, Barnabas Bencsik, Flora Gado, Júliusz Huth, Martyna Nowicka, Piotr Sikora, Csaba Nemes, and G.M. Tamas.