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La promesse de l'avenir
Das Zukunftsversprechen
The Future Promise


The artist group REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (RG) acts as a forum uniting social issues in an interdisciplinary way in spheres of thinking and acting.
One of the main focuses in this experimental field of art is dealing with future itself and questions about future.

Whenever, from a present point of view, predictions about the future are made, one has to distinguish between two perspectives. The pragmatic perspective builds its vision of the future based on presently valid facts. Future development is a result of the presence and therefore may be calculated or planned. Opposed to this perspective stands the totally free vision of future reality. The goal here is not to interpret existing knowledge and experiences already made but to develop a utopia, an alternative to existing reality.

This conceptual sensitisation for us appears to be trend-setting, for our everyday life, being communicated mainly through the media, is full of future promises, be it the promises of politics or advertisements, advise by investment consultants or employment forecasts by investors. Based on the thought that demand determines offer the social need for these future promises is an expression for the discomfort of the people with the reality presently offered. In emancipatory movements too Utopia Lost is a main topic. In times of uncertainty and structural change precautionary and safety thinking gains a new level of importance.

It appears that society is seeking a new identity and by doing so lost its faith in dreamy alternatives. It is remarkable that guidelines developed by politicians and the economy are mainly pragmatic and that the idea of planability receives a society building function. This is visible in the virtualisation of social development, e. g. the communication and dematerialisation of work, a growing service sector. Automation processes have an increasing influence on the social arrangement of values. Thinking in terms of progress and growth thus becomes a widespread condition not only for corporate activity. Despite of the future developing dynamic the ability for critical reflection of the own person is limited in politics as well as economy since they are forced to have a positive profile. A politician wishing to be re-elected would not achieve this goal if he stated that the unemployment rate would be growing while social benefits had to be reduced. This is similar for the economy. Whenever an enterprise listed in the stock exchange shows a decrease in growth rates the shareholders react by selling their stocks.

This is why both sectors like to use the term "culture" in the construction of their identity. In this context the term "culture" receives new dimensions of meaning. In the economy, office and conversational culture are shaping the corporate communication leading to the development of a certain awareness of the employees, the corporate identity. This even goes for the growing group of people being excluded from working processes. Here as well the importance of media-formed identities und commercially staged ideas of human beings is rising. Visions of the future are adapted to current market trends. During an interview with the RG Wolfgang Ullrich said about this: "Surely we have a positive concept of future; especially the economy tends to look forward and not to look back; but even so there are no clear utopias. It is either a future seen as a linear extension of the present or a future being left as a projection where sharp and clear pictures never come to exist. Capitalism in particular tends to think linearly and to say that the yield return has to increase each year; much money has to become even more money. It is no longer about values of content but quantity replacing quality because quantity is the only real quality in capitalism."

The question of how to create a new social contract which grants every person the possibility to take an active role in building a responsible civil society remains unanswered. Obviously neither politics nor economy are able to start a forward-looking development of true importance for the whole society.

The neoliberal model is mainly characterised by economical dominance. With the opening of markets the global development of expansion and protection of new market shares started. Political programs, both conservative and left, showed hardly any differences under conditions of economical liberalism. The jubilation over the triumph of the free market and its institutions over the regulative state proved to be illusory. The once developed western prosperity und economical dynamic is starting to crumble. Full of envy we look to the Asiatic economic miracle. Inside the traditional industrial states the question of how to recreate former growth rates arises. Rationalisation and staff reduction, outsourcing of jobs into countries offering dumping wages as well as restructuring are aiming on this target. Yet it is questionable if this development can be maintained. If there are no more employees that are consumers at the same time capitalism exterminates its own basis of existence. Because of the stronger polarisation and the uneven allocation of earned capital the written off terms of ranks or classes gain new importance. It does not refer to the classical worker though, but to the human being that is forced to individualise and to become more flexible, the human being that is captured in a precarious employment.

"The global export of capital replaces the production of wealth based on national horizons and resources. ´More capitalism´ does not at all mean growing needs for (domestic) employees that are producing material prosperity. By cancellation of the historical pact between capital and work reciprocal social commitments are eased one-sided, those on top are doing less for those below. ´Bourgeoisie without proletariat!´ is the past; ´Bourgeoisie without (good) wage labour!´ is the new slogan." Forced individualisation often means disengagement from responsibility of the social state; it is not the same as emancipation. The search for community one the one hand and self-determination on the other does not necessarily create an antagonism. One has to ask if there is the possibility of a community being able to formulate its goals by itself, beyond national, liberal and institutional structures. Obviously previous definitions of social values like labour, freedom and democracy can give only insufficient answers to present and future questions. Maybe the unprejudiced analysis shows an approach to a utopian idea - even though that not coming to exist is the condition for the existence of utopias.


CAPITAL……….DEMOCRACY……….DISMISSAL……….EXTRAWORK………..RESIGNATION......…..

…...VISION....INNOVATION…. …SUSTAINABILITY……..INSPIRATION……..SELF-REALISATION…..

…MODERNITY….OWN INITIATIVE….TEAM SPIRIT….FREEDOM OF CHOICE….GLOBALISATION...

………SELF-RESPECT…....…JUSTICE…....…LIFE STANDARD…....…VITALITY…...…QUALITY…...…

…TRANSPARENCY….LEADERSHIP….OUTCOME….CUSTOMERS...ORIENTATION….INITIATIVE….

……WILLINGNESS TO LEARN……CRITICISM…...OBJECTIVITY…...ACCESS…...COOPERATION…..

DIVERSITIY…..EMPLOYMENT….MANAGEMENT CULTURE…..MENTAL WORK…..HANDCRAFT….

…ROUTINE…HIERARCHY….POWER…STATUS…HEALTH…TOLERANCE…CONDIDERATENESS…

…CHANGE...SALARY…EXPECTANCY…INCOMPETENCE….EUPHORIA….EFFICIENCY…..LOAN….

…..BONUS.…..TAXES…...DECONSTRUCTION…...DEBTS…..CONSUMPTION…..TRUST…..STRESS….

…FITNESS...FAMILY....EQUALITY…..PENSION.….APPRECIATION…..TREATMENT…...SECURITY…

…….PROBLEM…….BUREAUCRACY….CORRUPTION…… ….STRIKE…..HONESTY…....FRAUD…….

…...CREATIVITY…....LAZINESS…..HOLIDAY……IDENTITY……NATURE......UNEMPLOYMENT…....

…SUBMISSION…ENVY…PROSPERITY…POVERTY…CREDIBILITY…..DIFFERENCE…..CONSUMER

…..…ABSENCE….DISEASE…..AGRESSION…..HARASSMENT…..MOBBING…..CRISIS…..SOLUTION

……REASON…....EDUCATION…....OFFSPRING…....POTENTIAL…...CONFLICT…...LOSS…...GAIN…..

…INTERCONNECTEDNESS….RELATIONSHIP….ARROGANCE…..REFUSAL…..ADVERTISEMENT…

….…....UTILISATION…........MODEL….…...OVERTIME….…...REQUEST……....SOCIAL HOUSING……

……..EMPLOYEE AWARENESS.…....GLOBAL WARMING….....EUROPE.…...SAMPLE….....OFFICE…...

…..………ACTING SPHERE….........GROWTH……….AGENDA….......UTOPIA..….....PROCESS…....…….

………………………….......FUTURE……………………………COMES……………………………………………….......