A Paradox to Establishment
by Mariveni Rodríguez
As far as, it is a Cenacle where minorities are going to subvert. The counterculture is not alone. Because it is spiral, flow, pattern, disruptive image and perhaps an unfulfilled animal … Never mind that the establishment absorbs the bloodiest icon, human or fierce or that it “loads” to underground movements. There is no point that in its determination, the power rise (first) and swallow (later) claimed trends and voices for (of course) serving their heads on a silver plate. Counterculture will always be bitter-sweet, and you can’t eat it with potatoes.
Manifestos, communities, people and committed artists resist because, in front of each of their personal and socio-political discourses, there are clear symbols that arise criticism and reaction. Sociological problems, environmental concerns, constitutional illegalities, civil rights, racial segregation, sexual and gender discrimination, refugees and exiles crisis, serve as foundations to this countercultural catalyzing force.
Art power is on the streets
The countercultural phenomenon gives a warning to society beyond the systemic order. Against the ominous and skeptical forecasts, the counterculture is still here. The irrefutable proof is on our streets, under tunnels, perhaps, in a subway car where bystanders, police officers, tourists or workers intersect.
A call from the Art Power. Creative, intellectual and genuine critics seek and find their space. So, today, Swiss fruit sellers sing their merchandise on a sunny morning. Tomorrow, an artist will paint on the canvas his critique to globalization. Today, a man stride and do business on Wall Street, Tomorrow, a poet and philosopher will write an anti-establishment ode. Today, a politician delivers his speech to a needed audience. Tomorrow a woman wearing saris will defend bare handed her right to an identity.
Contraculture has these things, nevertheless. One day, it succeeds in motivating and changing structures. At other times, it fails to keep the passion previously provoked. Stand firmly -as a boxing champ- That is its but.
Clinging to dreams with claws.
The Social Networks phenomenon, the Internet, indie web, and the murmurs from mouth to mouth have served for decades as a platform for transgressive artists. So, the counterculture can keep its boxing gloves high in the fight against inequalities. If time ago, a record company was the platform to make known underground talents, that relationship has been wiped out.
Anonymous artists are conquering platforms and opening their space. Although mainstream culture absorbs maverick aspirations, the future society knows how to recognize art that describes of art that prescribes.
Right, history has icons that have kept their demands and style until death. The beats generation led the way. Inspiration is challenging: Standing firm in the ring ropes. Some artists we can recognize are M.i.A and Benjamin Clementine. Two artists that can offset the system strength. But, how true to themselves have they been without giving in to the market?
M.I.A, the acronym of Missing in Action. Singer, composer, founder of her record company Neet, visual artist, director, English, Tamil and Sinhalese origins, daughter of an activist. She has endeavored to achieve her dreams. She has made her bastions: refugee affairs, politics, and religion.
In this fight, we also recognize to Benjamin Clementine, composer, and pianist. He has won followers for his anti-system lyrics.
Indeed, this British singer-songwriter has made heard his voice in Paris subways. He is considered an artist similar to Nina Simone. M.i.A. has made philanthropy her ideal until she was considered as one of the most influential women in the world by Time magazine. However, nowadays, are their discourses avant-guard promises or are they already part of the star system?
There are enough examples of how the superstructure of the system perverts the apparently antagonistic by legitimizing it. Standards like M-15, opposing models like Julian Assange (Wikileaks) who provides free information to businesses and is labeled as terrorist, while Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) sells confidential information and is named the man of the year.
Dissent, a voice heard muted
However, there is another perspective. Maybe, dissent is a complaining scream that will end up as a counterculture voice heard muted. This just seems to be part of the counterculture game, that not subcultures. A counter game, where all that originally has gone against the system will not be turned off by the power structures. Every day, other voices emerge. Isolated, perhaps?
The picture that illustrates this article, simply. The image of the power of flower against the Vietnam War in Arlington, Virginia (1967). The image of a student defending her right to education who kisses an officer in a protest, Colombia (2011). The picture of a man who plays the piano for the police in Kiev, Ukraine (2013) The image of a protester carrying in his arms an injured riot police officer in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012). The image of a woman assisting a protester from a military bulldozer in Egypt (2013). The image of a protester giving a rose to a soldier in Bangkok, Thailand (2013). The image of a Ukrainian soldier kissing his girlfriend in a pro-Russian base, Russia (2013). The image of a child touching his reflection in the police shield in a protest of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia, USA (2014). The image of a Venezuelan assisting a riot police after his assault against protesters demanding a presidential recall (2016)…
Those are images that beat, once, twice, three times…They rise as history, because with or without bravery, the counterculture is an uncomfortable mirror to look ahead with optimism. In this ring, where power and counterpower are, art is not just alive, but free.