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I never get what I want (To the proliferation of letters and a personal disbanding towards the repetitiveness of symptoms) – a public intervention by Daniel Marti

as part of Dimitrina Sevova's exhibition proposal “an Exhibition that envelops its double unExhibition. Cartography of Excess – The (re) turn of the Uncanny”

22 November 2014, 15h00

at Gasthaus zum Bären, Bärengasse 22, 8001 Zürich

Gasthaus zum Bären, Zürich

Bärengasse 22, 8001 Zürich

In the context of the exhibition at Gasthaus zum Bären

Unsettling the Setting. Playing, Plying, Squatting // Operating, Owning, Occupying – or rather?

Saturday, 22 November 2014, 15:00h

I never get what I want – a public intervention by Daniel Marti

To the proliferation of letters and a personal disbanding towards the repetitiveness of symptoms

“I never get what I want” is an intervention by Daniel Marti concerned with the Museum Bärengasse’s public urban space, in dialog with Dimitrina Sevova and her exhibition proposal for “Unsettling the Setting. Playing, Plying, Squatting // Operating, Owning, Occupying – or rather?” The intervention ends in a performative discussion between Daniel (the artist), Dimitrina (the invited and inviting curator), and the audience. “I never get what I want” is part of the curatorial proposal by Dimitrina Sevova,

an Exhibition that envelops its double unExhibition. Cartography of Excess – The (re) turn of the Uncanny *

* uncanny: corresponds to German “unheimlich” (literally: unhomely), an estrangement of “heimlich” (literally: homely), meaning clandestine, secretive, furtive. Theorized by Ernst Jentsch (1906) and later by Sigmund Freud (1919), with reference to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Sandman, and later re-read by Hélène Cixous.

The intervention will start at 15:00h in front of Gasthaus zum Bären, follow Bärengasse and Talackerstrasse to Paradeplatz, and from there, via Bleicherweg reach Schanzengrabenpromenade. If the weather is good, it will continue on to the park of Völkerkundemuseum, and return to Bärengasse along Basteiplatz. The bad-weather route would return to Gasthaus zum Bären straight from where Schanzengrabenpromenade and Bärengasse cross.

In a resilient fashion, when public outcry demands change, what we see occurring instead in the course of a conservative backlash that allows for no real movement, is exactly the resurgence of remnants of the past in ever more outrageous forms, increasing rationalization and imposing the consensus. A small thought experiment might illustrate this dilemma surrounding the ambivalent figure of the incorrigible fool, or in German “Unbelehrbarkeit.” When someone comments on another’s behavior inappropriate to the situation, even if the comment is most insightful and well-intentioned in the common sense, like the uttering “You want what you don’t know; you want what you can’t have,” the above title “I never get what I want,” is exactly the sort of askew message that ends up sticking to the inner linings of the injured soul.

In the light of the latest scandals in the world of finance that arrive upon us in steady regularity, of renewed speculative trading, fraud and corruption, the demand for public indignation grows, or in German the word “Empörung,” free after Stephan Hessel’s famed 2010 publication “Time for Outrage: Indignez-vous!” as a possible alliteration to taking a stance “Haltung” or Protest.

Instead of emphasizing the moment of retaliation, I propose to take a more differentiated look at what happens, when under the demands and time pressures of neoliberal governmentalization, we ourselves come into conflicting situations in which we personally make mistakes to the extent that the lines along the categories between aggressor and victim, between victimizer and exploited become increasingly destabilized regarding our perception of our selves, where a drama unfolds when we end up either ignoring or insulting our beloved through no fault of theirs. Where, in other words, under pressure we tend ourselves to become actors altogether estranged from our environs, who tend to either symptomally overreact or become enveloped in a realm of being that is commonly thought of as “losing one’s senses,” myself included.

(Daniel Marti)


The unconscious no longer deals with persons and objects, but with trajectories and becomings; it is no longer an unconscious of commemoration, but one of mobilization, an unconscious whose objects take flight rather than remaining buried in the ground.
(Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical)

The proposal here is to move from the subject to critical and collective practices of creating relational fields or fields of subjectivation, which can be understood as topological spaces of equality and dynamics that function by a “strong linkage of contrast with equivalence” (Roman Jakobson), characterized by the imperceptible and unstable geology of the pre-landscape, which is not a history but an anticipatory force of becoming, a diagrammatic space of loops, leaps and links where truth takes place and dis-plays itself and induces ruptures with hegemonic views. It is the space of production of intensive multiplicity and production of value – the value of truth, not of surplus, where the exhibition quality of truth is the leap in which the ungrounded quanta are given form as temporary concreteness.

The process of subjectivation and its singularized space can be understood in the relation between fiction and the politics of truth or ‘naked freedom’ as the eventualization of molecularity both in the museum space and the urban environment, an eventualization produced by the categories of proximity and distance (Foucault). Let us call it a politics of distance, where politics has to be understood as the active experimentation of unmasking and unleashing the forces of fiction and its phantoms so as to confront its naked truth on the aerial paths, the return of “the unbending spirit of eternal rebellion” (Vladimir Mayakovsky).


If the uncanny qualifies the aesthetic experience, what will be the quality of life and aesthetic of existence? “What qualifies as citizens?,” let us ask together with Judith Butler following her analytical and interpretative essay on Foucault’s What is Critique? She asks there, together with Foucault: “What, therefore, am I?” To her question I would like to add the Deleuzian “Who am I?” This kind of questions are technical questions, as Deleuze points out, which are in critical complicity in the coexistence of ideas between Foucault and Deleuze, where both insist that they need method, technology and tools, as they concern artificial entities that need to be invented in order to be accomplished. These questions are a force of action, which is un-natural and therefore not “individual” but rather of the “milieu” (what Marx once called general intellect, or Baruch Spinoza second nature or savage anomaly of all the collective matter that acts on the imaginary horizon together).

“Paradoxically, self-making and desubjugation happen simultaneously.” (Judith Butler) It comprises the proposal of self-making as a processes in which the “art of governing” has to be turned into “the art of not being governed quite so much” (Foucault). It has the aesthetic and political implication of liberating the imaginary horizon, and of unleashing the productive forces and their phantoms in response to “rationalization” that takes new forms in the “neoliberal consensus” of flattening the urban life with its symptoms of securitization, mediatization, and financialization as a governmentalizing effect on ontology that serves bio-power in the current grammar of normativity and its demand of normalization.

(Dimitrina Sevova; extract from her text which can be found in the brochure she produced for the exhibition)


Further information about the event can be found at <>.


Daniel Marti is an interdisciplinary activist and Performer. His research into Body, Time and Space is regularly updated on his weblog <>.

Dimitrina Sevova is an independent curator, researcher, and artist living in Zurich. Her approach as a curator is research-oriented and involves a-disciplinary references and interventions across contexts, spaces and media. <>