It's called POT TIN GOD, a joint 10 meters in height. It will be on display in Graz for three months, but the guys from Monochrom.at are planning to go on tour with it. We have just noticed the new überproject of Vienna's digital culture scene mastermind, Johannes Grenzfürthner and friends. Is this our western neighbor's way to fight the financial crisis? Another European government recognised the potential of becoming the biggest ganja dealer? And they already build statues advertising the holy gift of Shiva?
Since the post was written in german, we sent a message to Johannes on Facebook if he could help us understand the extraordinary installation. Johannes kindly replied our message and explained the project. It turned out that the giant joint is a cultural abstraction of course. A symbol of the once-radical counterculture is now just an icon of highly accepted recreational consumption. Here is the story behind the giant joint statue of Graz:
"It is a very colossal and (literally) bloated statement about the emergence and decline of subcultural symbols" - Johannes told us. "In the 1960s and 1970s the "joint" was a radical symbol of counter-culture, a strong gesture of social revolution. But such icons of subculture -- such subcultural "memes" -- appear, just to be hollowed out by the harsh waves of normativity. After a short period of time the symbol climbs up the career-ladder. And what remains is a footnote in the endless realms of bourgeois history (or even worse: bourgeois art history). Our sculpture is as blunt and boring as that. It's a somewhat classical portray of what happens to subcultural icons once they are sucked in and became global players in the field of symbols of freedom and coolness in a sadly cool and monotonous "free world".
What is left of the radicality and political message of the joint? What is left of it's shining glory of "fuck them all?" Well, consuming pot is a minor offense (thankfully) kept alive by administration (not in Budapest. We'll have a Marijuana March next sunday though, it is still a bloody fight here). It's more a trade-off than a subversion anymore. It's a "yeah, it's somehow wrong to do it, but well, you know, yeah" kind of approach. And what is subversion anyways? Just a direct path into the dark dungeons of guerrilla marketing?
We have to find ways around a very-late-capitalist system that actually want us to be subversive. How can you subvert something that wants you to break rules? Well... we are working on it.
Don't Vietcong us - we'll Vietcong you!"