8th Lecture 2015/2016 »Deformation of Inter-Position«
How pictures tells us what to do, to get a fulfilled life and to reach a place in heaven…
The role model – viewing into Paradies
Kate Moss at Alexander McQueen Fashion Show „The Widows of Culloden“, Autumn/Winter 2006; Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris; 3 March 2006
The political dimension
McQueen revisited his interest in his Scottish ancestry and the historic subjugation of Scotland at the hands of its English neighbours. This time the inspiration was the Jacobite Risings that culminated in the Battle of Culloden (1745), the collection a memorial to the widows who had lost their husbands in the bloody conflict.
Lee Alexander McQueen, 1969 – 2010, was a British fashion designer and couturier. His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA's International Designer of the Year award in 2003. McQueen committed suicide in 2010 at the age of forty.
The role model – the state of maximum impact
This is Licio Gelli, born in 1919. This man writes poems. I write poems too. A lot of people are writing poems, but very few of them have used the hermetic structure of their poems as groundwork (or a proof for the need) of an extraordinary vengeance.
The victim of the vengeance was the dead body of Juan Perón. Peron was thrice elected President of Argentina, serving from June 1946 to September 1955, when he was overthrown in a coup d'état, and then from October 1973 until his death in July 1974.
In July 1987, 13 years after his death, Perón's hands had been removed from his tomb along with his army cap, sword and a poem written to him by his last wife, Isabel. The dismemberment had been done with an electric saw.
During the 1930s, Licio Gelli volunteered for the “Black Shirts”, a force sent by Mussolini to Spain in support of Franco's rebellion. Subsequently, he became a liaison officer between the Italian government and the Third Reich, with contacts including Göring. He participated in the Italian Social Republic with Giorgio Almirante, founder of the Neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). After the World War, Gelli founded his own textile and importing company.
In 1981, Gelli was revealed as being the re-founder and so called “Venerable Master“ of the clandestine Masonic Lodge, Propaganda Due (P2).
P2 was (or still is, now named P4) a “state within a state” or – better to say – a “shadow government”. The lodge had among its members prominent journalists, members of parliament, industrialists, and military leaders –including Silvio Berlusconi, who later became Prime Minister of Italy; the Savoy pretender to the Italian throne, Victor Emmanuel; and the heads of all three Italian intelligence services (at the time SISDE, SISMI and CESIS).
As the former CIA agent Richard Brenneke claimed, the CIA had paid during the 1970s nearly ten million Dollars each month to support the activities of P2.
It has not been finally proven but it is most likely that P2 was used by the CIA for the undercover communication of the Operation Gladio in Italy and the other european countries, that where involved.
Operation Gladio is the codename for a clandestine NATO “stay-behind” operation in Italy during the Cold War. Its purpose was to continue armed resistance in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion or conquest. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all of them.
Christian Democrat Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti publicly recognized the existence of Gladio on October 24, 1990. Andreotti spoke of a "structure of information, response and safeguard", with arms caches and reserve officers.
Juan Peron's official biographer, Enrique Pavon Pereyra, claimed that in 1971 Gelli and the First Italian Prime Minister Guilio Andreotti visited Peron in Madrid and offered to carry out the necessary arrangements to recover Evita's body and promised him it would be with him in three days. The promise was fulfilled.
In November 1973, Gelli had been given green the light from Washington to bring Peron back to thwart communism. With his strategy to use Free Masonry as a front for his activities in Argentina as he had previously done in Italy, he was highly successful. Gelli wrote: “Things are developing as we had foreseen, not only so we receive what was promised, but also consolidate what they will hand over.”
But there was a price for Gelli's little complaisance: When Peron returned to power, Gelli would be allowed to have control of the Argentine exports to Italy, and through that he and Andreotti had controlled of the exports.
This deal was agreed by Gelli with Lopez Rega, a close confidant of Peron, but without Peron ever knowing and Peron denied the deal. Therefore he had to pay.
Our aspect of interest is not the vengeance itself but with it the link to mystical deformation of poems, therewith to the deformation or abuse of art. That Gelli caused this abuse to happen tells us a lot about the relation between art (or design) and the Inter-Position of history, at least for the aim which Inter-Position is used (in this case: abused).
As I mentioned in the last lecture, the task of Art and Design is to give the History of Ideas an aesthetic dimension. If we go to the origin of the History of Ideas, as to find for example in the ancient mythology of the Greeks, we recognize a permanent confrontation with death and diverse definitions of rituals of how to set the soul into a state of immortality.
Damian Nabot, an American journalist, wrote in his book “Unveiling the Enigma: Who Stole the Hands of Juan Peron?”: “In fact, Gelli’s literary work is the best testimony of his secret creed.” In his poem “Sea Flowers” Gelli wrote: „Look into my eyes you will understand that I am Ulysses.“
At some point Gelli had acquired an extremely rare book from the 16th century (Giovanni Battista Nazari’s Della Tramutatione metallica sogni tre 1572 ) that explained the cutting off of the hands as part of the process of transformation, shown in relation to Mercurius.
About the relationship between Ulysses and Mercurius we should know: Mercurius requires a jewel from Atlas and promises to help Ulysses to get home; back at home and forward in heaven. Home and Heaven are similar identities. The question is, which trials the candidate has to pass, which transformation he has to deal with to reach his aim.
In “Della Tramutatione metallica” appears the image of a mutilated Mercurius. He is in the stage of a bath where the cutting off of hands is necessary for transformation to occur. In alchemical theory (which has deeply influenced the rites of Free Masonry) it refers to the state of putrefaction or decomposition, which makes it equally applicable to describe a state of dismemberment and punishment for sins committed.
This state of utter despair following death occurs prior to enlightenment at the point where cutting off the hands of Mercury is necessary. It is what Jung called the moment of maximum despair before reaching personal development, also known as the “dark night of the soul”, of which Gelli admits having knowledge.
In “Della Tramutatione metallica” we have a pictorial representation of the mutilated Mercury as we would see in real life with Juan Peron and his mutilated hands.
It was to implement a state of torment, pain and suffering that Peron’s hands were cut off, but not to support his transformation to immortality. On the contrary: The criminal rituals practiced on Juan Peron's body as a form of extraordinary vengeance were aimed at preventing his transformation.
In 1996, Gelli was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, supposedly supported by Mother Teresa and Naguib Mahfouz.
During the last lectures we have learned that every work of art or design can be read as a “text”, that the “text” with its correlation of text/fragment and texture/volume builds an Inter-Position. As an Inter-Position of History, we describe a Inter-Position as a score which gives us advice for our actions. With this knowledge now we have to think about: What the aim of the given Inter-Position? What do we believe, in which position are we standing? What do we want to achieve and therefore what transformation has to be accomplished?
„Sitting in the dirt / Feeling kind of hurt / All I hear is doom and gloom / And all is darkness in my room / Through the light, your face I see / Baby take a chance / Baby won't you dance with me…“ Keith Richards, Mick Jagger
At last the question will be, do we want to grasp and, as an artist or designer, realise an Inter-Position as a score for getting on to a higher level (the level of material goods, of being famous, of reaching a higher position in politics, sciences and so on) or as a score that allows us (by experiencing) to be in the presence of life and to recover this presence always anew by reading, writing, listening, viewing and so on.