2010 In praise of Leisure
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  • Curator 2010
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    ©Sergi Margalef

     
    FRANK KALERO

    Frank Kalero will succeed Alejandro Castellote, curator of the first three editions of GETXOPHOTO. Licensed on Media Communication at Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona, Frank has a degree in Documental Photography at the International Center of Photography (New York). He was a resident at Fabrica de Benetton (Italia), he is the founder and director of the OjodePez magazine (Spain) and he was in charge of the introduction of the Vice Brasil magazine from Sao Paulo. He co-founded Invaliden1 art Gallery and in 2009 he also founded The World according to magazine, both in Berlin. At present he is in charge of the photography magazine, Punctum, to be distributed all around Asia. He lives between Berlin and New Delhi.

     

    IN PRAISE OF LEISURE, by Frank Kalero

    Modern leisure appeared as an instrument of production systems. Its purpose was to guarantee that workers recovered from their working day, thus regenerating the labour force. In addition this ensured that the surplus value produced by these same workers returned to the economic circuit. Our interest here is not to focus on leisure per se, but on when we are not working, which leads us to draw a distinction between free time and leisure. Leisure happens during free time. But it could be the case that free time is used for doing Nothing, which automatically turns that dolce far niente into leisure.

    David Reisman, in The Lonely Crowd, argues that the era in which individuals realize and reassert themselves through their work is over. This sublimation will now arrive by way of free consumption and through the way in which individuals manage their free time. So, leisure has come to form part of man’s needs, altering those he already had and creating new ones, all of them conditioned by varying kinds of stimuli and propaganda. What we devote our time to is the clearest symbol available to us with which to tell our neighbors who we really are, or think we are.

    The paradox of leisure lies in the fact that what for some is fun and self-realization (cooking, fornicating, riding a motorbike or playing an instrument) is for others nothing but the arduous obligation of their working day. Which makes us think that most of us are in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. For the less fortunate, work has become a means of earning money, and leisure, a way of spending it.

    Free time has increased and keeps on growing. It is demanded as an inalienable right. But it is not the same for all. Leisure is consumed, and consumption depends on means. The social stratification of leisure is inevitable. Going to the beach at Benidorm or going to the beach at Portofino. Flying a kite or flying a microlight. Floating on an air bed from Carrefour or sailing a Belliure. What does unify the act of leisure is the fact that people must totally give themselves over to it, as fully consenting individuals, freely and voluntarily. These activities will be performed once they have got their social obligations out of the way. Although, strangely enough many leisure have turned into other social obligations.

    For Adorno, the cultural industry enslaves man more subtly than any other mode of domination. Free time is directly associated with industry and with production patterns. All the freedom with which individuals believe they go about their leisure activity, is directly propagated and manipulated by social macrostructures and, in particular, by corporate propaganda.

    Being idle is a tool for transcending the ego. A spiritual avenue of scant spirituality. The sublimation of our existence, without our knowing we are sublimating it, or without even knowing we exist. Our ego is there, present, conscious. For a while we are going to be something more than a social cog. Sadly, the point at which our time becomes completely through retirement our society casts us off into the fiction of leisure. This happens, paradoxically, when our bodies are no longer able to enjoy the experience to the full, either in terms of sport, sex or food. We cut a grotesque picture: circus acrobats attempting to drag sensations and experiences out of their last days, doing what we could not do when it was possible, simply because back then no free time was allowed.

    All the works that make up this edition of GETXOPHOTO have been chosen because they deal in some way with the concept of free time and leisure. Captivating on a visual plane, diverse in their subject matter and varied in the techniques employed. All united in their use of documentary image as a vehicle.

    Now enjoy your free time and come and see what people do when they are not doing anything.

     

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