The work of Sasha Kurmaz (born 1986, Kyiv) is circled by an uncanny abstraction. Screen printed images in red, based on pictures from forensics books, which are used by doctors and criminalists for investigating the nature of an injury. The screen printing technique aestheticizes this depiction of brutality, just as any other image honed through acute angles. However, the series attempts to bluntly question: can art be a weapon itself? What legitimizes the usage of potential objects of violence, as seen in abstract experiments of modernity? Photography is the actual weapon of choice of Sasha Kurmaz, being his method to fix the constantly moving visual membrane of everyday life. It’s all about the feelings of fear and terror, which are evoked by information flow, full of the news about real and symbolic violence.
Rüdiger Bachmann on the Case for Harder Sanctions.
I want to commend German politicians, in particular the German government, on how fast they adjusted deeply held convictions, almost theorems, of German foreign and economic policy and acted. This proves that democracies are more resilient and adaptable than they are often given credit for. I also understand very much the different systemic logics between politics and academia. With upcoming state elections for the young and still somewhat fickle traffic light coalition, potential political poison pills such as an immediate and encompassing energy boycott against Russia are difficult to stomach for them. Personally, when I talk to politicians, they are usually very open minded and interested in the arguments.
My grievance is with the public debate in Germany, which has now been taken over by industry and labor lobbyists as well as their think tank economists. As for the costs to Germany, they paint a bleak picture of complete substitution pessimism, mass poverty and unemployment without, essentially, a shred of evidence. Instead, they claim the usual insider gut feeling economics of the practical men against which academic inquiry is asserted to be an empty and invalid ivory-tower exercise. As for the effects on the war in Ukraine, the bold claim is that they are zero. The naysayers predict maximum damage to Germany and minimum benefits to Ukraine. Nervous politicians are all too eager to listen to such warnings.
Even if Ukraine cannot be helped in the short-run, economically weakening the Putin regime now to the maximum extent might prevent other aggressions in Eastern and Northern Europe.
Political economy considerations suggest that neither capital nor labor wants to adjust, who ever does? Labor might also be afraid of damaging the center-left traffic light coalition in the upcoming state elections, after so many years of working hard to get them elected. I am certain that labor’s concerns are not chiefly about their members in the affected industries, among others the important chemical industry, because Germany has the fiscal capacity to make them whole, for example through a very well organized short-time work program, as it did during the Corona recession. Of course, the debt break would need to be suspended yet again, which could be a political poison pill for the Liberal Democrats, the yellow in the traffic light. More government resources and poison pills like partial and temporary government takeovers of some chemical firms, just as Germany did with its national ariline Lufthansa during the Corona crisis, and local bank bailouts might become necessary. In any event, mass unemployment and mass poverty can be prevented through good economic policy.