alors là

Our planet: a human zoo?
Our civilization: a bunch of cages for the “human animal”?
Our world is the grounds on which hunting parties take place, and so it provides a spectacle of human hunters, each taking aim at its fellow creature, another human hunter.
The human gets exited, he piques his excitement and stirs up those in his entourage just as an animal in the zoo does, by rattling his cage up against that of his neighbor.

Ever since man was liberated from having to live in the shadow of God, he has thought of himself as god-like.
Clean, moral and virtuous, exercising control over everything he wants and everything he does, man has almost forgotten his own origins and his own basic nature, has almost forgotten that he is, in fact, merely an… animal.
In order to survive, social animals gather together to form communities that are organized around shared activities: families, regions, nations, religions, etc…Every community develops its own system of values, its own morality, and every community cruelly defends its own “territory,” indeed, it tries to extend its field of influence. In the name of what? Faith? Freedom? A particular religious or political idea? Pretexts, all of them!
We know they are just pretexts, for if a human group could find no reason to enter into conflict with another human group confronting it, it would turn the object of its battle against itself: war would then become internalized and turn into “civil war.”
We know they are just pretexts, for if a human individual did not have to do battle in the name of his group or tribe, he would then have to do battle “in his own name,” against “his brothers.”

Man’s animal nature pushes him to make himself ferocious, irrespective of the target for his ferocity. His libido, his potential for violence, finds fulfillment in banding together, like animals, “against.”
Like a predator hunting its prey, one that excites and exults, man directs his energy toward and really sinks his teeth into competitions of every kind: social, economic, athletic, artistic, even virtual competitions…Man gets excited: he drains his energy and unleashes his violence, and he tirelessly invents the terrain, the imaginary, and the rules of the game for the savagery that inhabits him.

An economic way of waging war: capitalism has created just such a symptomatic version of our great contemporary zoo, a marvelous adaptation of a generalized and nameless evil.
A superb human hunter, better than all the others: there he is, fabricated by the Market!
Bloodthirsty and psychopathological, man bares his teeth. If he cannot sink them into his neighbor’s flesh because society prevents him from doing so, then he sinks them into his own flesh. The man who puts up with the social body, then—which is to say, he who suffers it—is he who kills himself, the lunatic, the alienated, the sick locked up in a cage. He has the world as his hospital, as his zoo.

The animal that concentrates and organizes its energies, before putting them to the test of a competition, must first create Intelligence: the guardian of a system that is authorized by a space of curiosity and creation surrounding it. The great human civilizations arise there and, thanks to their successive influence over the course of centuries, they have turned the human zoo into something glorious. In effect, these civilizations are so many relics of a harmony supposedly more beneficial to the whole, always more efficient and more all-encompassing: as a result, the zoo might be good for mitigating armed conflicts but not for changing the real nature of man, the great organizer of this zoo in which, no matter what happens, he will only ever be able to become agitated, to mess around and to suffer as well, especially when he loses.

Art and its world, the Art World, do not represent some kind of departure from this alienation of man, from this build-up of his instincts and his animal appetites. In itself, Art is just one more of its expressions, to add to the uncontrollable flood of those regularly produced by the Human Zoo.

Du Zhenjun
December 2004

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