What is „duende“?

“I think opening a grave means closing a wound” says Laura García Lorca, as the efforts begin to find the grave of his uncle, killed and lost by the gangs of the fascist dictator Franco. One of the bloodiest pages of fascism, which had left behind half a million dead / lost and displaced more than a million people could not be cleansed by finding the grave of a single person, it would not heal the wounds of millions of people. Because every wound tried to be covered becomes gangrenous or in other words turn into a swamp. “I think opening a grave means closing a wound” says Laura García Lorca, as the efforts begin to find the grave „Duende“, defined as “the hidden soul of grieving Spain”, is in some way a manifestation of the open wounds or swamps.

The remedy to this never closing wound is the weirdness and creativity of a human’s work of art. „Duende“ cares for the edges of wounds, and approaches places where the form melts away with a desire beyond its apparent expressions. „Duende“ exists in all voices coming from the depths, traversing the darkness or rising to revolt, and in everything that possesses these voices. These dark voices are an enigma each, and their roots that bring to us the essence of art are stuck inside muds. „Duende“ is not a matter of skill, it is a desire, a struggle; a matter of creation at a real moment of existence and action.

Who is duende?

As such, duende is the name of one of the autonomous spaces where those who aspire for the dark [t1] voice of „duende“ coincideand have their voicesunite. It is a team of people who come together for creating collective art/knowledge, care about working/creating together/in company and get enjoyment out of this, and set off on a voyage for discovering the paths of creating in solidarity/cooperation. It consists of people willing to create with a dialogic and egalitarian approach over an alternative channel. It comes together for creating art and knowledge that are critical, liberating, on the side of the oppressed and against the borders. It does not see art/knowledge as private property; it is persistent on the collectiveness of knowledge. It is open to working collaboratively with other collective structures and people, to solidarity and cooperation.

It convenes at the point of being anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchical. On this same note, it rejects discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, emotional/sexual orientation, age and culture; also male dominance, heterosexism, western-centrism, white supremacy and human centrism. It deems all forms, new or old, of fascism as pathological, and all neo-fascisms expressed particularly on hostility against migrants/refugees, neo-racism etc. as dangerous.

Beyond all borders!

Duende knows no borders, respect no borders; even further it rejects any and all borders. It resists against policies of erecting borders and dividing, through its creations and solidarity practices. It is of the opinion that borders/moulds destroy life and creativity. It stands against borders, moulds and acts of moulding through its creations. It dreams an egalitarian world, free of borders, classes and exploitation; it tries to contribute to the building of various paths to reach the world so imagined by establishing this dream of its through collective actions and creations, here and now. It negotiates with all who resist borders, classes, discrimination and exploitation at cultural/artistic/academic arena, for creating collectively. It acts in solidarity with creators of ideas and arts and media workers who are subjected to oppression/violence all around the world, aiding them in having their voices heard. Outside of any ethical/intellectual violations, it strives to provide space for the creations of the oppressed/subordinates and support their resistance with its creations.

It builds bridges between cultures. It believes in the fertility, productivity and pertinacity of cultural crossroads. It acts over its belief that each of the cultures/people/persons is beautiful in their own colourfulness and motley collections, that cultures are indivisible. It asserts that all cultural/artistic/intellectual creation belong to all the living beings in the world. It cares for the mobility, variability of culture, and its endless capability for reconstruction through negotiation. It considers that culture and art constitute a suitable platform for collectively creating the stories that will build a world free of classes/exploitation and a significant field for resistance.

It comes together with the cry of “Home is where we resist!”, and accepts everywhere with resistance as its home. It embraces all actors be they migrant or new migrants who reject all homes/homelands, who had their homes/living spaces wrecked over their heads, who build homes knowing they will later on be wrecked, who are displaced from their homes and pushed down to the state of exiles/refugees/immigrants and adopt new lands as their homes.

It is bound to the goals of living collectively in the world in peace and diversity. It accepts the policy of friendship, peace and collaboration as the basis of solidarity. It constructs the dynamics of such solidarity not over identities but over a collective struggle against oppression and exploitation while preserving the genuine voices of diversities. It is vigilant against the attempts of the dominant discourse towards dividing the oppressed into smaller pieces over given/essential identities, and strongly rejects the imposed essentialist/uniformitarian/heterogeneous identity consciousness and all kinds of chauvinism. It sees identity and culture as a transitive, polymorphic space that is productive and open to negotiation and transformation. Rather than trying to purge “the other”, it cares for the creative and productive potential to emerge due to contact with the other. It believes that collective salvation comes from an act of solidarity and standing together that does not reject the identities adopted.

“Home is where we laugh!”, and laughter is the weapon of those who resist. Duende creates not for any obligation/duty/compulsion or gain but for having again, for feeling joy again, for enjoying again and for carnivalising life again. Conforming binds the person to the authority. Duende rejects the conformity and docility that push one into adopting what already exists; it prefers challenging and freedom against submissiveness.

Duende continues to learn from the route over which it continues to create and resists. It does not bind itself with holy texts/canons. The place it exists in is merely the place to carry it over to the next location. And this points not to being unprincipled but on the contrary to a state of irregularity believed to push the one towards being critical, questioning and renewing oneself and progressing ever forward.

Duende is the opposite of whatever a central(ist) structuring is. Instead of a structure with rigid borders and predefined frameworks, it prefers an open-ended and mobile structure that act in line with a principle of mutual collaboration with other individuals and collectives and through a motivation of creating collectively. It eliminates hierarchies in creation, education and research activities and steers towards dialogic, active/interactive methods. It does not want to get stuck into disciplines. It particularly strives to eliminate the artificial borders between art, academy and politics. It renounces a universe design dominated by a single perspective, a single beauty concept, a single consideration etc. It avoids limiting itself with a specific style, field, master etc., as to avoid such a hierarchical universe, it does not want to become buried within itself.

Solidarity against competition and exploitation!

Duende does not feel obligated to create in line with the market rules; the hysteria of capitalism is of no consequence for it. It does not believe in the virtue of working, it stands against all types and forms of slavery. It creates by siding with nature against the culture of consumption brought to the extreme by capitalism and inflamed by the industrial-technological society, and with life against the culture of death produced by militarism. It rejects being a passive observer. It places collective creation, collective reason and creativity against the imposition of consumption and competition. It sees creating collectively and producing together as a resisting channel also against the dominant consciousness moulds that try to keep the subordinate away from the field of knowledge/art and keep them as audience/consumer.  It accepts the world as the home of all living beings. It envisions collective struggle against imperialism, which operates throughout the world and penetrates the remotest corners, and becomes part of this struggle. It regards the form of nation states as the Siamese twin of imperialism. It acts in line with the principle: “Whoever is stealing our energy, our labour, our health, the nature of which we are an extension, our mind, our laughter and our ground for solidarity, those are our enemies; and our neighbours are our friends together with whom we are to resist against exploitation and oppression”.

Duende is open to all participants who accept the ethical and intellectual principles of the collective and on whom the members of the collective have no reasonable/discussible constraints. Ethical and intellectual principles are open to discussion and review but also binding. None within the collective may have any authority for sanctions against the other(s). There are no decision makers etc. Decisions are discussed and made together. None are responsible for following any decisions they oppose and do not agree with, they may not be compelled to follow. The right to remain opposing is one of the fields of liberty in the collective, no sanctions may be applied. Nonetheless, anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchical mechanisms may not be used (by distorting them) towards procuring power or obstructing existing creation. Participating or not participating in the actions to be performed within the collective is one’s own decision. However, there people responsible/in charge of certain activities for the purpose of ensuring functionality; such responsibility does not bestow any power for those who assume such charge upon themselves, this only ensures that the decisions made are implemented. Whenever necessary, those in charge may be recalled from such tasks or reassignment may be realised. One of the dynamics of collective creation is taking initiative when necessary. Under necessitating conditions, every member has the right and responsibility to take initiative with the condition they do not go against the reflexes and principles of the collective. Without doubt, as with all actions, these are not above discussion and not taking initiative itself but the initiatives taken may be put under discussion and the reflexes of the collective may be updated. For a collective that puts to the centre creation and creativity, the importance of personal initiative taking and personal creativity is apparent, and thus, each member has the right to act as pioneer of recommending and establishing/implementation of workshops/projects.