Oliviero Toscani

fiat::individui radicali — compagni sociali

Excerpts from the video interview*

God the Father created light on the very first day of the world. I think that’s how it was, but I’m not quite sure right now of my memory. He created light and darkness, and then the waters, and that was the genesis of everything. On the fourth day He invented plants and flowers, and up to here everything’s okay, right? The flowers and the plants, and the grasses, and then on the fifth day He created the animals. And all the animals are perfect, virtually angels, their place in creation is perfect; on day six God created man; and on the seventh day He rested.

But there’s also a problem. Because God the Father didn’t get His planning right. A single day wasn’t enough for the creation of Man. He should have worked on Man a little bit longer. Instead of taking a Sunday rest. And why, after all, should the Eternal Father need to take a rest, since he’s… perfect and infallible? What’s the point of His taking a Sunday nap? He ought to have kept on working, since by stopping his work on the sixth day He didn’t really finish us. He left us with the possibility of further creation on our own, completely unlike the animals. Animals don’t create because the world they belong to is already complete and perfect. But the human being can create, and this ability could also lead to our self-destruction. That’s why society doesn’t work. We’ve got this capacity for the creation of art. Art is in fact the missing space between our imperfection and what we see as our imperfection. Our potential as creators is also our ruin.

Doubt, as far as I can see, is the center of creativity. There’s no such thing as creativity combined with security. People in the market, people involved with economics, want security. But real creativity has nothing to do with security. Things that already are sure of themselves no longer belong to the world or the sphere of creativity.

Creativity is not knowledge. Creativity is searching for something, and you don’t know what it is. For something that’s still unknown. It’s discovering things that perhaps one day may also belong to the great wide world of real economics. So, anyone who limits or suffocates creativity is paradoxically responsible also for destroying the economy they think they’re trying to defend by attempting to maintain its security.

Creativity has already lost the battle with economics. We’re now in the hands of… we have to produce economic results. Which is to say that the artist is trapped in a space between production and consumption, and these sorts of values, this way of measuring human art and creativity has ceased to be… this doesn’t look to me like the right scale of values.

We live in a world of images made by other people: made, edited, speeded up and slowed down by other people; and these images are involved with the various realities around us.

There is no such thing as future communication. Everything is communication. We live on communication. We breathe communication. We live in a society of images. We believe in what we’re told by advertising and communication more than in what we really see.

But, basically speaking, there has always been a cross. There has always been a swastika. And there has always been a Coca-Cola. Once upon a time the cross was much more important: there was an era of the power of religion. Then came the time of political power, the era of the swastika. Now what we’ve got is the dictatorship of Coca-Cola. The great churches now are the Coca-Cola companies, these enormous industries. So art, really, has always been contaminated, and has to be contaminated, because art that’s not contaminated doesn’t really mean anything. So, Michelangelo…. Caravaggio was a sodomite and a homosexual, and didn’t believe in God. The models he used for his angels and madonnas were whores, rather than virgins. So, he too had to turn out an image of virginity, though clearly he couldn’t have cared less about chastity. And I could hardly care less about Coca-Cola, but I work for these Coca-Cola corporations. Benetton’s sweaters never meant anything at all to me, and now mean even less than that. But they gave me a system for self-expression. What finally survives won’t surely be Benetton’s sweaters–the church madonnas, the purest of the purest virgins. What will finally remain is the human art and creativity that had to confront these problems.

These "no global" people, moreover, are very highly global. They’re the most globalized people of all. So, I find that the things they have to say are extremely interesting. Because, clearly there’s a problem with these multinationals…. But the multinational corporations are not themselves the problem: the problem is what do we want to do with all these possibilities. There has always been globalization. For the perfect beings of the Book of Genesis the problems of globalization don’t exist: they have the world, and the sun, and the air…. Everything’s perfectly normal and natural; but what do we mean when we talk about globalization.

Instead of breaking the windows at McDonald’s, we can use McDonald’s for something else. This is something I’ve tried to do, and I’ve attracted all the possible forms of criticism, especially from the world of the intelligentsia.

*) Video-DVD fiat::individui radicali — compagni sociali
Interview with Oliviero Toscani, DV PAL, 5 min, 2003
Recording and editing: Wolfgang Rebernik
Editorial department: Doris Ladstaetter
Production: Thomas Feuerstein
Video interview Oliviero Toscani, ital. Originalfassung (mpeg1, 340Kbit/s.)