iran / News

The Future of Art? Protests over Abu Dhabi Guggenheim


An artist’s image of the new museum

At the Italian Futurism exhibition at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, protesters took to public action to highlight the plight of migrant workers being exploited with American money in Abu Dhabi.

The museum, which looks like it might have been designed with the Futurists in mind, is to be the largest art museum in the entire world and will open in 2017, despite having met with some financial and other setbacks of the years. Presumably the financial setbacks and not an integral sense of race superiority or class has led for those involved in the construction to create working conditions akin to what has been repeatedly called “modern slavery”. Treatment includes the withholding of passports, a total lack of health in safety and deportation over pay disputes, conditions not dissimilar to those of the new Louvre workers (also under construction in Abu Dhabi) who were strapped with immediate employment fees that take nine months of their wages for them to to pay back.

The action for human rights seems perfectly in keeping with the nature of the Italian Futurists who generated a cult of the modern, despite the fact that they were mostly all upper and upper middle class bourgeois and fierce advocates of progress and science and even fascism. In this video record of the protest, the disparate voices fall out of sync to create a cacophony, the protesters use sound to occupy the space and turn the natural acoustics against the organisation that owns it. No one else can talk or be heard. All other activity is arrested. Ushered in by a rather flatulent tuba which is of course the call to arms, this action is possibly the sole manner in which to make good use of Marinetti’s objectionable idea that la guerra e sola igiene del mondo / war is the sole hygiene of the world.