Jonathan Meese Releases Bizarre Video on Donald Trump and the End of Democracy
Artists must act, not react, he said.
Jonathan Meese has uploaded a bizarre new video to his YouTube channel “Propagandawerk” (propaganda work), in which, for over 15 long minutes, the controversial German artist delivers a scathing take-down of the art world’s reaction to the election of Donald Trump, announcing that democracy, as a system, is faulty and must be replaced with something new.
The monologue, titled Dr. Humprt TRUMPty de Large d’On, begins with Meese announcing that he is speaking as himself, rather than one of the tyrannical personae of his anarchic performances. “I, Jonathan Meese, say ‘I do not participate in the game called democracy.'”
Calling Trump “the greatest performer on this planet right now, second only to myself,” Meese angrily lashes out against his fellow artists, accusing them of inactivity and idleness, arguing that Trump has pulled the carpet from underneath their feet, usurping the role of the artist by questioning and testing the limits of established systems on their behalf.
“How can I as an artist go on the street against something that has become a reality?” Meese asks. “The artist creates reality, the artist is reality, not the perpetrator nor the victim. Art is reality. As artists we cannot react, we have to act! We can’t go on the street to protest against Trump or Putin—because they are the ones who acted first!”
At this point in the video Meese, clad in his signature black Adidas tracksuit, starts to lose his composure, becoming increasingly louder and angrier. “At the moment the people only see the reflections of themselves. They celebrate their helplessness, and that pisses me off so much! I can’t stand the lack of anger and aggression of these protests and protestors. I can’t stand these masses of self-obsessed subjects who think that just because they’re reacting, they’re on the right side of politics. You must act!” He screams.
Placing the blame on what he calls the “dictatorship of democracy,” Meese goes on to denounce democratic systems of government for enabling populism.
Rather than going out on the streets to protest the travel ban, Meese says shaking with anger, people should counter with even more radical reactions, like closing the borders off completely. “Don’t let anyone in!” he suggests, “drive the situation to its absurd maximum, it’s already all absurd!”
The camera then changes to a wide-angle view of Meese’s studio, to show the artist’s mother uncomfortably fiddling with a jacket draped over the back of a chair while her son continues to shout, in a wide-legged stance, alternately directing his rant towards the elderly woman, and into the void of his workplace.
“Now the intellectuals and the artists are coming out and saying ‘what happened?’ The worst person has been elected.’ Maybe the act of electing is wrong? Maybe that’s something we should be thinking about?” He exclaims.
“The situation is that democratic systems enable people like Donald Trump, people like Angela Merkel. Democracy is so hollowed out, so non-saying, so idiotic—whether the people or the elite vote democratically is irrelevant,” he yells.
“The future is only that which is not electable. Love, humility, camaraderie, breathing.”
He closes the lecture by asserting that he wants a “system of government that produces neither victims nor perpetrators.” Rather optimistically, he shouts, “show the democratically elected politicians that this is our limit, we don’t want you!”
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