Sieraad 2ß17

Is politics the “new black”?

British Vogue (August issue) features an article on the sad changes in the (former) vibrant art scene of Istanbul one year after the failed coup d’etat, a piece on hackers and security threads in the internet (including Isis terror) and a reporting on how dressing for business dictates the trend for the next winter season.

These are topics you may also read in the Weekend Art & Design Section of the Financial Times. However, the readers of the FT earn their bread and butter in the capital markets and turn to art and design for prestige, entertainment and investment of their spare capital.

For readers like myself following the British Vogue for more than three decades the issue reflects a major change. We have witnessed something similar last year, when US Vogue endorsed a POTUS candidate, namely Hillary Clinton. Fashion, design and applied arts mixing up with politics is indeed not new, however it is a trend to welcome.

The British Vogue is a society scanner. Its editors predict what is going to be common place in art, design and fashion the coming years.

Art, design and fashion – needless to say – are not disconnected to society, politics, world of ideas, dominant social discourses.

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Is being “political” the new trend in fashion, art and design?

Is it the “new black”?

Jewellery due to its mobile quality is an ideal medium to “agitprop” in public space.

Will we be soon inflated by political jewellery makers as the Current Obsession March 2017/Munich Jewellery Week issue insinuated to be a growing segment in our field?

Is being, for example, “anti-neoliberal” or “anti-globalisation” or “anti-capitalism” the right attitude that will get us in the club?

Will the jewellery summer seminar listings change from “discover your inner self” to “be a good activist in three steps?”.

And if we do get to be more political, will we make more meaningful jewellery?

I am afraid things are more complicated than that.

Politics is a word coming from the Greek: Polis/City translated in having to do with the affairs of the city or in free translation: it is about how equal rights citizens co-decide and manage the affairs of their common ground in the best way possible for every one of them involved and for the city as a whole. Thus, the concept of politics includes debate, compromise and action.

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Last December Christoph and I decided to give ourselves a few months break from foggy Hamburg and come to sunny Greece. It is a country with acute social, political and financial problems accumulated over the years.

We discovered a rich down to earth – I dare say – “spiritual” tradition which I dare to call “political”, a tradition based not on individual and instant salvation but on collective experiencing and sharing; a tradition of vivid exchange of ideas and thoughts; you witness it at the bakery, in the bus stop, among strangers, at the cafe between political opponents.

We discovered a fascinating, earth bound, highly inspiring “Here and Now” connecting the ones who experience it to milennia long rituals and traditions still alive.

Life in Greece ignited our desire to learn, understand, act and share.

We try to condense and transfer this experience in the show series we call “Initiation”.

Initiation I” was shown at Florian Trampler Gallery during Munich Jewellery Week 2017 and is followed by “Initiation II” at Sieraad International Jewellery Art Fair (November 2017) featuring eight artists from seven countries.

“Initiation III/Kalli’horon” is the Athens AIR-Munich Jewellery Week 2018 program starting in a few months from now. “Initiation III/Kalli’horon” ambitions to establish synergies between jewellery, movement and politics.