Thursday, May 01, 2014


The image above is one of the more striking photographs taken during the 12 April 2014 anti-austerity demonstration in Rome. Notice the image of Pasolini encapsulated in the median-qua-barricade to the left where the barricade doubles as a view screen or billboard. My first assumption was that the photo must have been doctored, digitally modified. But the image is an Agence France-Press photo and the barricade is in fact located within the violence as an advertisement promoting Pasolini Roma, an exhibition which began 15 April and runs through 20 July.        

Cf. Pier Paolo Pasolini: Contemporary Perspectives (University of Toronto 1994): "Pier Paolo Pasolini's response to the events of May 1968 was highly controversial. He sympathized not with the student revolutionaries but with the police. The real victims of society, said Pasolini, were not the students, the spoilt products of corrupt bourgeois culture, but the police, the sons of the proletariat, forced by lack of educational opportunity and chronic unemployment to take the jobs nobody else wanted. Pasolini interpreted the confrontations between students and police differently from most left-wing intellectuals, not as the first step in a liberation but as confirmation of the extent to which bourgeois ideology had taken control of every aspect of existence."

Cf. Luke Roberts, "AGITPROP (AN ODE)": "The poet dreams of totality, | but Pasolini sided with the police | and you nearly lost a finger in the fleece | when it was time to get to grips with disappointment, | become didactic, slipping in and out of uniform | as it suits."

Cf. Pasolini on anti-bourgeois bourgeois theater ("Manifesto for a New Theatre" 1968): "As we’ve seen, this theatre has the following characteristics: a) it addresses itself to the educated bourgeoisie, drawing them into its unchained, ambiguous anti-bourgeois protest; b) it seeks non-traditional places to perform; c) it refuses the word, and thus the language of the ruling class, in favor of a diabolical, counterfeit language, or pure, simple gestures intended to be provocative, scandalous, incomprehensible, obscene, and ritualistic."

Cf. Luke Roberts, "AGITPROP (AN ODE)": "This is what you get for playing dumb, | a whole generation of writers playing dead, | fixing up their brands and flawless assets | in advance, switching larynxes at leisure | quoting Pasolini and the opening chapters of The Class Struggle in Ancient Greece. | And the police get over-time | and they get to wear protective clothing. | And the peasants over time | begin to dream of protective clothing."

See: "AGITPROP (AN ODE)" in Internal Leg & Cutlery Preview, ed. Pocahontas Mildew (Critical Documents 2014); Luke Roberts, Left Helicon (Equipage 2014). NB: Both publications are still yet to be formally announced but should be relatively soon.