Alernative лого
Start лого
South Caucasus
Elmir Mirzoev


The Report was read during the meeting with students of Russian-Armenian University
December 1, 2006
At the boundaries of 20th and 21st centuries the world was on the threshold of the New Era. We are the witnesses and participants of radical social-economic and political processes, namely, of very bold experiments in the cultural sphere. The process of public development gain a global nature, transnational informational structures are developing, that is, forces of the process of globalization in various spheres of its manifestation are gaining in strength.

Today, the entire humanistic philosophy of “human aspiration towards the progress” is being collapsed before our eyes, which has been existing since the times of the Renaissance. The 20th century in this direction was mostly centered and purposeful. The Utopia and idealistic outlooks (communism, national-socialism, liberalism etc – in short all what are appealed to certain ideals, not divine, but human fulfillment) coming out of the virtual world of books and sects, intellects and dreams, philosophical ideas and simply chatters, robed in military armours, went to a “crusade” of radical, unprecedented change of the world. Throughout the 20th century, man was in search of a certain mechanism of building an ideal society, earthly life (particularly the first half of the 20th century is an uninterrupted effort of powers of the entire mankind), but it appeared to be to no purpose and in vain that basically this cannot happen and as our life shows, karmic laws on the Earth function very accurately and precisely.

The approach of frightening and threatening of New Era is felt by almost all people, beginning from political commentators and ending with “Godfather” conception of “liberal end of the world”(In his latest works, an American sociologist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama completely revised his assertions of 15 years’ prescription about “Liberal End of World”.), which virtually repudiates its conception.

Idealistic utopias are over, the old world is coming to end, symbolic warnings and signs as 9/11 or ecocatastrophe, floods and all kinds of hurricanes such as Catherine are disappearing. The prototype of the world flood, landslides etc. are more than enough!

Everything is taken into consideration in the sphere of the spiritual world. All basic notions are changing. The entire cultures are deprived of a personal character, all fundamental basis of morality in the past are changing, immorality is becoming not only as a stylistic tricks of a new art and the part of a modern culture in general (the notion of culture as a metaphysical phenomenon is also being modified, but it is another subject for discussion), and plainly a principal of everyday vital activities (the outrage of sin or inferential torments and agonies already stayed behind), historical narrations are being rewritten, ideologies are being exhausted by completely dissipating its messianic fit and ardor. In the vacuum of ideas and ideologies, the importance of traditional, particularly, Abrahamic religions are to rise again. But the outward devotion of average man is simply a reflexion (introspection), they are religious because of fear and the prevalence of subordination reflexes. There exists an evident stagnation and signs of intellectual degradation, including, those of Europe and the entire Western World.

One way or another, the application for a global revision has been filed. All of us, experiencing chilling and icy feelings, rush to the darkness towards something unknown and mysterious, this future, the “harmony” of which is conditioned so far by simple common banalities and commonplaces of tastes and “lust for money”. There is no such a mythology which can clearly and precisely describe it, our future cannot be estimated by any marks.

Our modern life is gradually changing into a blind activity of certain dark forces, spirits, werewolf-ideas existing in the mineral-cemetery climate of the so-called “normal people” for whom an ordinary and commonplace “steamed lie” is becoming the driving force of elixir of life. The same lie repeated for many times and engraved in the consciousness of a growing number of people (but for all that the Internet and TV stand out as the main factor, beyond them there exists almost nothing!) is becoming true. Therefore, what was the beginning of 21st century marked by? The manipulation of humans became very, very simple work to do, even a mere occupation which was brought to the elementary level – That was said on TV!...”

There was an abrupt decline in the role and the meaning of the factor of the culture as an important aspect in the world politics and international relations against the background of grand global shocks. Its influence upon the global social and economic processes also weakened.

The collapse of all social achievements, the fall down USSR and the bipolar world, led to the world cultural decline. Today, less and less attention is attached to the cultural policy of the countries engaged in various problems of the so-called “cannibalistic capitalism”, the term “foreign cultural policy” is becoming less and less relevant and commonly used. Such a factor already dominates in this sphere in the world scale as an “American culture” (this notion implies a modern mass culture and pop-culture such as “Hollywood stuff”, TV and video radio industry, the mass media information on the whole and the entertainment industry).

It should be noted that such a notion as Contra-culture, a form of expressing spirituality, protest against the bourgeois culture, cooperative society, standards and stereotypes of mass culture and the mode of life itself, at the heart of which lie the directions for respectability, social prestige and material well-being which were widespread among the young people of the West in the 60s and 70s, - is now failed and were compelled to live longer and many of its leaders and followers abandoned their ideals. As astonishing it may seem, it did happen as in “No” Japanese theatre – all world contra-forces, except for several marginals such as Markos Subcommandant or Akhmadinejat instantly changed their masks robed in a toga of “normal people”, wished to enter into an “American Dream” and, thus, becoming an ordinary petty-bourgeois and gradually changing into the so-called “users”.

In the times of a bipolar world, the spreading and popularization of one’s own culture or, on the contrary, the rejection of foreign cultural expansion was a rather effective instrument for foreign policy and a rather effective means for a geopolitical struggle of “Titans”.

An unconditional interest of states and even special services, unlike our times, has made this sphere a rather highly-budgetary occupation or business.

The foreign cultural policy along with its successful realization was able to serve as a strong auxiliary ideological weapon followed by the fulfillment of a general foreign political strategy of a certain camp, thus, creating a much more stable foundation, in this way, allowing this or that pole not only to defend and advance its own interests on “the stranger’s territory”, but also to produce an immediate and a very serious impact upon various political, economic and social processes in the world.

The mass culture is the so-called leader of the modern civilization, a peculiar “business card” of the USA and one of the pillar of the modern North-American, or even Anglo-Saxon civilization. And if the high culture of the USA is rather a continuation of the European cultural tradition, then the modern American pop-culture is the genuine American outcome or product. It is a commercial product since the mass culture and pop-art (one should not confuse with artistic currents of Warhol and Rauschenberg, this is also Americanism, but of another system) are the industry (and its consumers are certain markets where they allegedly choose to buy or not to buy this product; to look or not to look etc) and the scales of this market spread practically over the entire world. Moreover, a sign of equality can apparently be easily put between the notions such as “American culture” and “mass culture”, since they are very often interchanged and used to denote the same notion. When the matter concerns the export of the American culture, cultural imperialism and other phenomena of a similar kind, then, naturally a poor (small) culture of the USA is primarily meant (not the creation of George Kramb or Folkner!), but their mass culture which due to the development of high technologies is transmitted throughout the world, is perceived on most of its part and which became the legacy of the modern world. In this case there is no mention of the mass culture of huge European powers such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia since basically they are derived from a modern American pop-culture and are under its influence. To struggle with cosmopolitan and superficial pop-art uniting millions of mass consumers, like in the case of Chinese with the sparrows is completely a senseless and meaningless occupation. Apparently the modern pop-culture factually succeeded in embodying the precept of F.Shiller from the ode “Towards the pleasure” – “Umschlungen, Millionen!” (Germ. – “hug one another, millions” – words taken from the verse of the final part of the Ninth Symphony of L. Beethoven).

Beginning from the second half of the past century, namely, in epoch of “Cold War”, the American cultural expansion, as some “nonofficial” ideological instrument of the foreign politics continues its “intrusion” by manifesting itself in various aspects and on different levels and due to the development of high technologies toward the end of 90s it yielded amazing results. It is appropriate to mention about the cultural aspect of globalization which is very often identified with the American culture of imperialism. With the disappearing of All-Soviet cultural integrity of the Soviet Empire, in the generated “fragments” total changes have been made in the civilized aspects and here the intrusion of pseudo-ethnical measures, “folk” and even the effect of “indigene” in the post-Soviet world of culture and art should be emphasized.

Speaking of the cultural aspect of our society, i.e. Azerbaijan (also, of the entire post-Soviet area), after the collapse of the Empire, unfortunately, up to the present days it has been tremendously far from the outer world, in some “closed area” and even in some opposition to the outer world (since today the “gates” to the “New World” with the help of a visa control are closed rather more firmly than in the times of the so-called “Iron Curtain”).

Virtually, introvert and a looped cultural process in Azerbaijan created an atmosphere of the so-called “jam in its own juice” of our “academic art” or even “native market” effect of “intoxication with oneself” pop-art and not only with it. This “beyond all bearing” bright and clear intoxication is the ecstatic way out beyond the limits of conventional, ordinary, commonplace events, thus, changing into a ritual-erotic-sacral-prophanic anti-intellectual primitive, primeval “processes”. It should be understood that the crisis which has been existing and continuing since the times of gaining independence in our society is undoubtedly and, above all, the cultural crisis. Unless we fully understand it, the country will not recuperate. Culture very often implies the art. This notion is not only false, but also dangerous, since it disorientates us in the understanding of the very phenomenon of the culture as a foundation of the existence of the Society. Art, as well as, the religion, is merely the branch of culture.

We (not only Azerbaijan, but also the entire post-Soviet area is meant here) have to clarify ourselves what meanings and notions are implied and put in the notion of culture, particularly, the art. As for the academic art, if regarded as something traditional and non-transmitted from generations to generations, but something frozen or stiff and amorphous with a notorious “national and world synthesis”, then in this sense, we most probably cannot apply this notion in respect of modern requirements of our unique time.

As for the infrastructure of semi-official bodies from the art and literature, every possible Unions, being a piece of propagandistic mechanism or machine of the Empire and created with an object of producing a cultural impact and domination of superstates, today do not function at all. Bureaucrats and bureaucracies of Art, “powerful small groups” of heavy weights of semi-official Soviet machines of propaganda, stuck in the aesthetics in 40s of the past century at best, filling almost the whole “creative” Unions, it is a hard legacy of “stagnation” which practically makes it unattractive and non-magnetic, if it does not averts it at all, and mostly it concerns the youth.

Courtliness and servility, sincere toadying and cringing which menacingly clinking the medals and regalias was demonstrated by the caste of priests of “art”, in their obsequiousness towards the authorities, the so-called our “intelligence” which for a long time has been aspiring to take up the role of “national conscience” - is busy, as a rule, with the solution of not only its own everyday problems, even not attempting to build a fundamental principal of overcoming the present catastrophe. It is impossible not to agree that the main responsibility for this collapse is not borne by the national masses as such, but the elites controlling them, which failed to build a real alternative destruction of our culture and our future, thus, attempting to serve for the existing authority, each on its own level.

The cost of the so-called “such a service”, mostly similar to the history of thirty silvers is not only a factual leveling of an academic art, but also a real perspective of its change into a primitive-indigenous absurdity, at the background of those remarkable events occurred in the last 20 years and break through all spheres of life which is not in its place.

Quite not simple questions put forward to the academic art by the new times which changed into a dust-laden museum, remain without any answers.

As has already been said, practically all huge countries are under the influence of mass pop-art of leveling culture and art, let alone ourselves. Hence, not only we face the sacramental issues on the crisis of culture, the condition of art and the way out of the existing dead end. Thus, in what direction should our culture be developed in the atmosphere of deideologization and what methods should be applied to stimulate the art? Where is the main stream?

The report of the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of Russia Alexander Sokolov (former rector of Moscow Conservatory after Tchaikovsky, doctor of art criticism, an author of brilliant works on musicology and culturology) “About the directions of state politics in the cultural sphere and mass communications” delivered by him in one December meeting of the government in the year 2004 which led to a split and great disputes in the cabinet ministries of Russia. He emphasized the most basic tendency of today’s life: “… today we do not have culture (according to him “a living source of our life, which should not be dried”), we have only A LEISURE”.

Actually, multi-channel TV and the Internet, DVD and CD-ROMs, computer games and the so-called “Hollywood stuffs” are not culture, they are just leisure, a spare time (it is well known that leisure easily pays for itself). As for the academic art, Tchaikovsky and the entire classical ballet, classical operas and performances, Pushkin and Tolstoy and even Dali and Shostakovich cannot be called an art in the full sense of a word, they are just museums, the classics, that it is a firmly established art of past epochs, periods.

Surely, they are cultural legacy, but the Art is a kind of living process, it is the interpretation of the present life through the souls of artists living in our period (one should agree that an Artist is the alter ego of a cosmic intellect on the Earth), art is the UNPRECEDENTED matter which causes them to create and in this sense the modern art is very much important for us.

It is the modern art, the art which is not yet firmly established, is mostly in need of support and stimulation. The modern art should cease to be regarded by our youth as a kind of terra incognito, threatening and contradictory to “national principals”. For our elder generation it should cease to be identified with the new design of tires and headlights of such cars as BMW.

It is still unknown when finally similar gaps will be filled and whether the establishment of an adequate new time of the situation in our art can be expected, unless a normal civilized society is built. But there is a thought that the 21st century will be the period of great reconstruction on the path from the tradition to the present, the sect intellectualization of culture can emerge in the direction, as well.

Elmir Mirzoev
Baku - Yerevan