LIFT13, Geneve

485174_10151341817622819_1289991326_nPlease do the Twitter version of your talk! Make unpleasant design! What do women want? Remote-control vibrators without hacks! Arduino do-it-yourself global artisans of the future! All of them, concepts, projects or startups at LIFT13 in Geneva, February 6-8.

I don’t think I would want to tweet a talk. On the contrary, I tend to talk my tweets. I am positive that women do not want vibrators, with or without remote controls installed, if that means hacking code rather than expressing intimate emotion. Vibrators may have left the closet after they starred in an episode of “Sex and the City,” but frankly, the Turkish historical soap opera “Magnificent Century,” starring a harem of slave girls, deals more honesty with most female contemporary experience worldwide.

Arduino users are definitely artisans of an Italian alternative to Chinese global mercantilism. Arduino is all about cheap, easy-to-learn, efficient production where somebody else makes all the money.

When it comes to “unpleasant design,” Geneva should be world-famous for its internationalized Geneva Convention aesthetic. You can be attending a tech conference, an art show, an emergency summit or a debate of the UN or the World Intellectual Property Organization, and you’re sure to experience the same huge building, with handsome high tech meeting-rooms, with toilets so clean and food so sterile, with everything so expensive and neat, that you have to wonder if the Geneva locals are all foreign-built robots.

Hugo Pratt, my favorite globalista fumetti genius, settled near this city. Pratt chose to perish in Geneva after a turbulent wanderer’s life in obscure, exotic corners of the globe.

Walking in downtown Geneva, I notice only bank ads and watch ads. Nobody peddles beer like in Serbia, or frilly underwear like in Italy. No cheap everyday thrills.

But people are kind. The women are elegant and dignified, while the trams and trains work in perfect order. Switzerland never joined the European Union. The Swiss have been indifferently independent through centuries when Europe seethed with good and evil.

When I was a young girl, I was sure that I could die of sheer boredom after three days of Swiss privilege. How could anyone survive clean, silent Geneva, the opposite of the world’s dirty cities loudly rejoicing in every human vice?

But nowadays, whenever I visit Switzerland, I enjoy the serene spectacle of the human race somehow cleansed of its actual, existent qualities.

An activist from Iceland lectured at Lift. She explained how, after the collapse of the government in 2008, the population of Iceland re-wrote the constitution, using random and internet methods. The intent was to avoid the parties and the classic formal government cliques, but, after all their labor the ruling political class simply stonewalled. How could the population of Iceland simply re-write the rules of their democracy? Imagine if such efforts were accepted as legitimate and valid.

It’s always a moral victory to fail in the face of the enemy as they watch you do the right thing. Sometimes one can live in unreal place full of conjectural things, even if state lasts only for a couple of months, days, or even minutes. After all, Switzerland has been utopian for centuries.


About jasminatesanovic

Jasmina Tešanović (Serbian: Јасмина Тешановић) (born March 7, 1954) is a feminist, political activist (Women in Black, Code Pink), translator, publisher and filmmaker. She was one of the organizers of the first Feminist conference in Eastern Europe "Drug-ca Zena" in 1978, in Belgrade. With Slavica Stojanovic, she ran the first feminist publishing house in the Balkans "Feminist 94" for 10 years. She is the author of Diary of a Political Idiot, a war diary written during the 1999 Kosovo War and widely distributed on the Internet. Ever since then she has been publishing all her work, diaries, stories and films on blogs and other Internet media.
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