The liberalization of the regime of movement of people in the “age of globalization” (according to Safranski‟s expression) has been leading so far more too unforeseeable rather than foreseeable consequences: “Globalism qua ideology generates the image of a world society more unified than it is in reality.” Practice shows that this is rather a utopian idea, which takes no account of the “growing lack of simultaneity and the differences in the development” of individual countries. The new nationalist movements and parties, the restrictive laws on immigrants‟ right to work, the frankly discriminatory actions against foreigners on the part of government officials in various countries of the “new united Europe” cannot be accounted for by the myth that “united we are stronger.” On the other hand, the established models of neoliberal ideology have managed to integrate the markets but, dominated by the major economies, they are imposing through the media and various pseudo-scientific forums imported terms (coined primarily in the American market reality), which are expected to explain and establish the new economic relationships. The individual is finding himself interned into a fixed regime of existence subject to the new global rules. Or, as Pierre Bourdieu has aptly described these processes in a lecture: “Behind the globalist vision of the International of the dominant ones there is a philosophy of competence according to which it is the most competent ones who govern and who have work; hence those who do not have jobs are not competent. There are the „winners‟ and the „losers‟, there is a nobility, which I call nobility of the state, possessing all the properties of a nobility in the medieval sense of the term and who owe their authority to education, that is, as they see it, to intelligence seen as a gift from Heaven, whereas we know that in reality it is shared out by society and that inequalities in intelligence are social inequalities. The ideology of competence serves very well to justify an opposition rather like that between masters and slaves: on the one hand, the full-fledged citizens who have very rare and overpaid capacities, who are in a position to choose their employer (whereas the others are, at best, chosen by their employer), …and then, on the other side, a vast mass of people condemned to precarious labor or unemployment.” This opposition poses acutely the question of controlling the human individuality especially in the case of persons of diverse cultural backgrounds, history, customs and religions, who are seeking freely, legally or illegally, a place in the new multinational societies structured according to international bureaucratic regulations as postulated by the political elites and their economic experts. It is for this reason that governments are increasingly relying on the security mechanisms – already tested, if possible – which ensure the new models of trade relations in the broadest sense of this term, insofar as we live in times when there are hardly any values that are not susceptible to accounting. In this sense, Loïc Wacquant‟s analysis of the American penal system in Prisons of Poverty, corroborated by reliable sociological data, outlines the grim picture of a world where the new prospering business will be the business of private prisons. At a press conference, “draped as a symposium,” seeking to promote a new doctrine named “zero tolerance of criminality”, which was successfully implemented later in a number of European countries, Loïc Wacquant called attention to the following statement: "There is growing agreement between British and US police forces that criminal and subcriminal [sic] behaviour such as littering, abuse, graffiti and vandalism must be dealt with firmly to prevent more serious criminal behaviour from developing." One cannot help recognizing here the possibility that any citizen (one cannot imagine that there exists a person who has never littered, unwittingly or not, in public places) may land in the subcriminal
Ar t Project Depot / VITOSHA GALLERY category. This is especially true of various marginal ethnically-based groups, the immigrants from the so-called less-developed nations, the residents of poor suburbs, the jobless, the poor (usually classified as poorly educated), a large segment of whom are minors. Their fate is easy to forecast: they will come up in the future as the so-called “permanent criminal contingent‟ of police departments.
Naturally, the state mechanisms for coping with social problems have their historical roots. Leaving aside the complex analysis made by Michel Foucault in his Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison and focusing on some specific inferences drawn in this work known to all those interested in the problems of modern public life, we may quote the following passage relevant to what has been argued above: “Discipline cannot be identified with any one institution or apparatus… It is a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets; it‟s a “physics” or an “anatomy”of power, a technology”.
The response of the “undisciplined” ones to the desire of the authorities to enter them under certain “proto-criminal” categories and treat them accordingly is, historically and surprisingly, not characterized solely by the criminal deeds typical of a low-culture and poorly educated class of people such as are recognized by the “disciplined and normal public”. Various art interventions in an urban environment as enumerated in a long list (to be found in Wikipedia in alphabetical order) constitute the so-called sub-culture, the prefix “sub” denoting its subordinateness to the official or mainstream culture. This does not hinder the continuous process of assimilation by which the mainstream culture recognizes the uncontrolled original energy of the hip-hop and the graffiti or the dressing styles of the punks, for instance, with the purpose of mass-producing them for the market. Thus, at a time of constantly evolving strategies of communication with the public of contemporary visual art, quite often appropriated from a variety of sources, the issue of the officially non-endorsed cultural products and their interrelations with the media and the professional art critics scrutinizing them takes on even more intriguing aspects.
Alien Number literally brings diverse urban environments into the breakdancer‟s visual focus thus changing not only the customary, “normal” viewpoint but also raising questions concerning the functioning of the “wrong people” within an orderly and well protected urban milieu inhabited by the “right” citizens. In this case, the breakdancer‟s physical moving in space and the discovery of new places does not proceed from any wish for “inscribing oneself and assimilating” but from defying and disregarding the circumstances the artist has fallen into.
Alien Number A0463 is an itinerant performance artist whose main practice as a b-boy is studying the break, a dance that originated as a mode of communication and settling turf issues between gangs of the ghetto and later became a pop culture phenomenon. His anonymity, marked initially by a number of an American green card and the wish not to be identified on the photos showing his performances, is a deliberate move to bring the breakdancer back to the street where the virtuoso participants in the show are nameless and their skills are made widely known in the most effective manner possible: through the accounts of eyewitnesses. The
Ar t Project Depot / VITOSHA GALLERY elements of the urban environment have become a platform for “antigravitational actions” in which AN A0463‟s body performs movements that are unnatural and contradicting the normal logic of life and suggest the idea of defying and not accepting the support of the various props involved in the action: architectural elements, street signs and markings, street lighting, railings, stairs, etc. Dominant is the idea of the human body as an unexpected sign in the familiar to the point of clichés images from our surroundings where the abrupt changes are duly announced and, in this sense, foreseeable. The unexpected appearance of AN A0463 upsets the order of the arrangement and evokes a feeling of anxiety stirred up by the foreign body invading the familiar territory of the rank-and-file citizen. No place is insured against this appearance since it cannot be predicted according to the established rules of urban life, which would otherwise have confined the artist to a definite space of action and set limits to the happening totally alien to his artistic intention. That is why, instead of performing at a place where his actions would have been restricted and curtailed, Alien Number A0463 prefers to remain part of the anonymous army of those whom society chooses to designate as the group of subcriminals regardless that they are the creators of a subculture assiduously exploited by that same society.